One of the essential elements of democracy is consent of the governed. That is obtained through the electoral process. In order to work, elections must be secure, free of fraud, efficiently administered . . . and . . . MUST BE PERCEIVED AS SUCH. For the most part, the 2020 presidential election failed that test.
Let’s start with the basics. Voting is a right, but also a privilege. Every voter should be obligated to provide proof of identity. Democrats scream that voter ID is voter suppression. Horsebleep! Minority participation rates have actually increased in states with voter ID laws. Well administered ID verification lowers the risk of fraud and greatly increases the perception of election integrity. Democrats are rolling in money. If they were truly concerned about their undocumented constituents, they could spend some of it helping them get an ID. Living without a valid ID is a real handicap in our society.
Vote by mail is a bad idea. Institutional continuity is greatly enhanced by ritual. Showing up at your neighborhood polling place to insert your ballot in the box in the company of your neighbors is a very useful ritual. It solidifies commitment to democratic institutions. Voting by mail for those who are physically unable to make it to a polling station is necessary. Voting by mail in the face of the pandemic was necessary, but its haphazard administration was, in the case of many states, a fiasco. When the pandemic fades, we should go back to in-person voting on election day. Democracy is a fragile flower; it needs water and fertilizer. My hope, however, is probably futile. Democrats think mail-in voting favors them. They will push for it every chance they get.
As soon as it was clear that Biden would win the election, the Democrats and their myriad of allies in the media repeatedly told us a bald-faced and immensely harmful lie: There was no voter fraud . . . and the courts said so. For those of you who didn’t sign up for logic class, that is known as proof by assertion. It’s a fallacy. What the courts said was that the fraud and/or mismanagement alleged in the multitude of Trump lawsuits did not rise to a level that justified a reversal of the outcome. All instances of error and fraud should have been taken seriously and investigated by the media. Unfortunately, mail-in voting is here to stay. Soon to be cell phone voting. Elections will become nothing but American Idol writ large. Our democracy will be less robust as a result. If we are going down that terrible path, let’s at least find the kinks in the system and get them fixed.
The Trump legal team did a job that didn’t even rise to the level of shoddy. A serious legal effort would have begun months before the election. It should have sought volunteers to watch polling stations and observe vote counting. It should have fought in courts to be sure there was adequate access for the observers. Signature verification systems should have been looked at under a legal microscope. Unpurged voter rolls should have been challenged. Haphazard distribution of mail-in ballots to those who had moved or died should have been challenged. Mail-in ballots should have been carefully checked for valid signatures and counted as they came in. Ballot harvesting should have been monitored. To my knowledge, none of that was done.
The only solid actor in this clusterbleep was the judicial system. The courts acted promptly and rationally. Their rulings did not solve the perception problem, but they got the outcome of the election certified. Our system of government worked, but a great many voters are not convinced that it did. That is a shame and there is plenty of blame to go around. Trump’s tantrum has much more resonance than it should have as a result.