The worries about “fake votes”

I’m still baffled not only by Trump’s repeated insistence, in the face of all the facts, that mail-in voting leads to fraud, but by the public’s worries that Trump will, if he loses—and I fervently hope he does—make a claim of election fraud that couldn’t be quickly resolved. Yes, maybe we’ll have to wait a while until all the mailed-in ballots are counted, but I’ll bet anyone $50 that Trump will lose both the popular and the electoral-college vote, and if he makes trouble I’d hope that the Supreme Court, conservative as it is, could settle the issue.

(Trump’s repeated and dark comments about vote fraud and about the Post Office are another issue, and I think he could be impeached for making these threats.)

But I can’t agree with Frank Bruni in his New York Times op-ed today—a rather scattered piece that doesn’t get to the point (in the title) very quickly. Click on the screenshot to read.

Of course it’s ridiculous that you can win the popular vote, as Hillary Clinton did by three million votes, and still lose the Presidency. Such is the  Electoral College, and it should be changed. But it won’t this time. Regardless, Trump appears to be behind in key “battleground” states essential to a Republican victory.  Still, Bruni claims that Biden will need a “landslide” to win the Electoral College:

Well beyond the convention, I hear people worrying about their votes being thrown away; about what happens if Trump is ahead on Election Day and falls behind only when the mail-in ballots are counted; about how large a margin of victory in the popular vote will be needed to guarantee triumph in the Electoral College; about how resounding an Electoral College triumph will be necessary to make Trump shut up.

These questions aren’t the products of Trump Derangement Syndrome. They’re the fruits of exposure to Trump. They’re also the legacy of Clinton’s defeat in 2016, when there was such a strong sense that the will of a majority of people fell prey to freaky, funky twists. A lesson was learned, and Democrats are now heeding it: To eke out a victory, you need a landslide.

Well, I’d count a landslide as 60% of the popular vote, not the 48.2% that Clinton got (Trump got 46.1%).  And what I don’t understand—maybe I’m being obtuse here—is if Trump’s repeated messages about “fake votes” discourages people from voting, which is what Bruni really seems to be worried about, why would Democrats be even more discouraged than Republicans? It seems to me that Trump’s behavior around this election would energize Democrats eager to heave the narcissist out of office. Bruni’s editorial seems to me to be saying, “All the brouhaha will just make the Democratic voters say, “Ah, hell, I’m just gong to stay home.” (I’ve already registered to vote by mail.) And that doesn’t make sense—at least not in the sense of discouraging Democrats more than Republicans.

But read for yourself and weigh in below. I also have a poll, just for fun.

First, Sarah Cooper at the Democratic National Convention: first her lip-synching and then her own message. I know all of you will be voting, so I don’t think I have to tell you to get your tuchas to the polls, or do a write-in ballot.

Please vote, as I’m curious about what people think:


  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink


  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 10:59 am | Permalink


  3. GBJames
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I think Frank Bruni is right. Election meddling is a long-standing feature of Republican Party politics. Those who’s mail-in ballots are likely to be rejected are more commonly from minority communities and youth voters. It is the reason Republicans keep doing it.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Use statistics, not anecdote.

      “Critics say people could vote more than once via absentee ballots and in person.

      But there is no evidence of widespread fraud, according to numerous nationwide and state-level studies over the years.

      There have been isolated cases of postal ballot fraud in the past, such as in the 2018 North Carolina primary, which was re-run after a consultant of the Republican candidate tampered with voting papers.

      There was also a case earlier this year in New Jersey which saw two Democratic councillors charged with alleged fraud in relation to postal voting, after hundreds of ballots were found stuffed in a post box.

      But these are rare incidents, and the rate of voting fraud overall in the US is between 0.00004% and 0.0009%, according to a 2017 study by the Brennan Center for Justice.

      A voter fraud database collated by Arizona State University between 2000 and 2012, found 491 cases of postal ballot fraud out of hundreds of millions of votes.

      And a Washington Post review of the 2016 election found one proven case of postal voting fraud.

      Oregon has held postal elections since 2000 and has only reported 14 fraudulent votes attempted by mail.”

      [ ]

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Also, not that the frequency of voting fraud is order of magnitude to sway most elections based on popular vote (e.g. the Clinton-Trump election).

        If it suffice to sways the idiosyncratic electorial system, well then it’s another reason to change that.

        • Torbjörn Larsson
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

          “order of magnitude to sway ” = orders of magnitude too low to sway.

      • Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        In a generic election year, I would agree. This year, people are more motivated to exploit any weakness in the system than usual.

        Also, there were states/districts where the difference in 2016 was of only a few thousand votes, well within the effect of the anecdotal reports linked above.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

          But not nearly enough to fail to reveal Donald Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote because 3 million “illegals” voted to be a baldfaced, out-and-out lie.

  4. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    “I’m still baffled not only by Trump’s repeated insistence, in the face of all the facts, that mail-in voting leads to fraud,”
    Trump has an excuse is one reason, but Democrats have been using mail-in voting more that Republicans this year may be the politically practical reason. I don’t know how to post links so here is one source:

  5. E.A. Blair
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    I am an election inspector (that’s Wisconsinite for poll worker), and I go on duty five days a week starting 8 September through 14 October for registering voters, taking mail-in ballot applications and accpeting early mail-in ballot returns via a ballot drop box. After a week’s break, early in-person voting here runs from 20 October through 1 November. I will also be serving as an inspector on election day itself on 3 November, so I like to think I’m doing my part.

    • GBJames
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      You’re doing your part. And mine. I’ve been a Wisconsin poll worker for years but stopped with Covid-19. I feel a bit guilty about not working at the polls this year.

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        For the 11 August election, inspectors who worked that day got a $100 bonus over the regular pay, and that will probably also be in effect for November. For voting assistance and early voting, the pay rate is a fairly generous hourly wage.

        • GBJames
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          In my case, I never did it for the (rather small) pay. I’m glad that they paid a bit more once Covid hit. And my hat is off to you.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            I’ve been voting by mail since 2016. But I used to enjoy going to the polls on election day, to kibbitz with the old League-of-Women-Voters-type ladies who manned my local polling place.

            Now — and don’t ask me how in the world this happened — those old folks are suddenly my age. 🙂

            • GBJames
              Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

              “the old League-of-Women-Voters-type ladies”

              Hey! You’re talking about me!

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Vote-by-mail is rife with potential for fraud. There is no way to verify who receives a ballot, and no way to verify who has sent it in. One can easily imagine a scenario where a party operative would go door-to-door in poor neighborhoods buying ballots (and don’t pretend it would never happen, we know what politics is like). Tell me how to stop that, and I’ll be ok with vote by mail. Here is one of several stories I’ve read pointing out that poll numbers are as encouraging for Biden as most of the media would like to think, and that, in particular, his leads over Trump is less than Hillary’s at the same point in 2016. Frankly, if there is a party likely to try and impugn the results of the ballot, it’s the Democrats. They did so in 2000, and they did so in 2016. As for the Electoral College, it’s purpose is to make sure small states count. If the Democrats can only appeal to states with large urban populations, maybe they should lose. They’d rather change the rules, though. The Democrats are so invested in their sense of self-rightiousness, that they can’t imagine any legitimate reason people would vote for Trump, nor undertand all the very good reasons for voting against Biden.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      Grr, pressing Post is the fastest way to see a type: should read polls numbers are NOT as encouraging.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I believe you are wrong on both counts but if you want to buy into Trump’s mail fraud, why should we stop you. You are dead wrong about the electoral college. Certainly back in 1787 one of the greatest battles was between the large states and the small states. The small states wanted to go the same way the Articles of Confederation stated, one vote, one state. It made the Articles useless. So yes, lets try that again. Since they gave the large states popular vote in the house they fought for the one vote per state in the Senate and sadly they got it. The electoral matter came from a different problem and that was how to elect a president. The problem was how to have a popular vote election across the entire country in those days. They did not think it possible. That is why the electoral college business was started. However, just because it made sense 200 years ago has nothing to do with today. It should be killed and buried.

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      “If the Democrats can only appeal to states with large urban populations, maybe they should lose.”

      I live in a rural area, and I am surrounded by people who say that they don’t want to be told how to live by a bunch of city people. (Neither do I, but I don’t in general share the right-wing worldview.)

      But then the question arises: Why should city people be told by rural people, whom they outnumber by millions, how THEY should live? Why should smaller states have such a disproportional influence on national outcomes?


    • ploubere
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      There are at least as many safeguards to mail ballots as to in-person voting, and nobody has ever come up with convincing evidence of wide-spread fraud. It’s been used for decades, but this is the first time it’s been impugned, by a politician who has clear motivation to do so.

      And giving disproportionate power to small rural communities over urban areas is, plain and simple, not democracy. It disenfranchises, principally, minorities and the poor.

    • yazikus
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Vote-by-mail is rife with potential for fraud. There is no way to verify who receives a ballot, and no way to verify who has sent it in. One can easily imagine a scenario where a party operative would go door-to-door in poor neighborhoods buying ballots (and don’t pretend it would never happen, we know what politics is like).

      I would very respectfully disagree. You can verify who sends in their ballot, they are checked. You can verify who they are sent to. I cannot easily imagine people selling their ballots, but even if they did, they would have to sign them first to get them accepted. The proof is in the pudding, the states where universal mail in voting happens have extremely low rates of voter fraud.

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Actually, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” That’s an oft-misquoted adage.

    • Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think you understand how a well-run state mail balloting system works. Read about Colorado’s system and you can see why many of your claims simply cannot happen. Voter suppression is much more worrisome than voting by mail.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      One can easily imagine a scenario where a party operative would go door-to-door in poor neighborhoods buying ballots (and don’t pretend it would never happen, we know what politics is like).

      There’s been precisely ONE documented case of that occurring in any of our lifetimes — on behalf of REPUBLICAN congressional candidate Mark Harris in North Carolina in 2018.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      … poll numbers are as encouraging for Biden as most of the media would like to think, and that, in particular, his leads over Trump is less than Hillary’s at the same point in 2016.

      I’ll lay you 2-to-1 odds, for any amount you can count, that Donald Trump will not get 50%+ of the popular vote (you know, a functioning democracy’s standard benchmark for victory in a two-party election).

    • Posted August 24, 2020 at 6:08 am | Permalink

      Why should any states count at all? Why shouldn’t the president be elected by a direct poll of all the eligible voters with each person having exactly the same amount of influence as each other person.

      As for the rest of your post, I agree that mail in/absentee ballots have more potential for fraud than in person ballots. However, as posted above, the evidence of this actually happening seems to be minimal.

      I also agree that Biden’ position in the polls is not as rosey as it looks to most people but I disagree that there are good reasons not to vote for him when the only alternative is the orange turd.

      • Filippo
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        “Why should any states count at all? Why shouldn’t the president be elected by a direct poll of all the eligible voters with each person having exactly the same amount of influence as each other person.”

        Makes sense to me. (But maybe I’m obtuse in the eyes of ED enthusiasts.)

        I suppose that I can always learn more about the motivations of the (white, propertied, highly-educated male) framers of the U.S. constitution. Whatever their other motivations, I gather that they were afraid of the great unwashed, ignorant (willfully or not) populace (the “Beast”?), and wanted an educated and (allegedly) high-minded group of men, “electors,” as a safety net should the populace go off the deep end. I.e., they wanted – as necessary – “faithless” electors. Re: James Madison: “The purpose of government is to protect the opulent of the minority against the majority.” And re: the recent SCOTUS decision on “faithless electors.” If they can’t somehow have elective agency, why have them gather for some fatuous, meaningless formality in the first place?

        Pure speculation on my part, but, as the populace became relatively more educated, is it that their ignorance became less of a justification for the EC, and maintaining the power of small states more of a justification?

        (I bet it galled not a small fraction of the members of the legislatures of not just the small but all states when the constitution was amended to provide for the direct election of senators by the populace.
        Amendments have to be approved by 3/4 of state legislatures. I gather that if they wanted the populace to re-elect them, they’d have to hold their noses and vote for it.)

  7. Frank Bath
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    When the day comes the lying narcissist will use any and every excuse to justify himself. Voter fraud will serve him well.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    You can pay attention to Trump’s talk or you can pay attention to his actions and they all add up to yes, he will try to take this election by all means possible. To think otherwise you have to be asleep. The propaganda is massive, exactly what Russia may be doing to hack and disrupt the election is not known. What is being done by the democrats or anyone else to prevent a fraud – not much. The democrats put out more legislation concerning the post office but it will go nowhere. They can jump up and down and attempt to get more people to vote and that is about it. Trump has installed his own lacky at the post office, at AG and throughout congress. If it did come down to the Supreme Court I suspect we are screwed. We were the last time it was their choice – 2000 election.

  9. Historian
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    There are five reasons, all legitimate, for Democrats to call for a massive turnout.

    1. To overcome, by brute force, the many Republican attempts at voter suppression.

    2. To prevent the election results being delayed weeks, perhaps months, by recounts and court challenges, such as was the case in 2000.

    3. To obviate any Trump claim that the election was “rigged,” thereby giving credence to his refusal to leave the White House and prompting him to call his supporters to take to the streets, with the possibility of violence and civil war.

    4. To remove any possibility of a second Trump term, which could have resulted in the end of democracy, theocratic dominance, anti-science government agencies (including a refusal to fight climate change), the destruction of the social safety net, and the rule of a malignant narcissist.

    5. To turn the Senate blue, which is necessary for Biden to get his legislation passed.

    In other words, there must be a complete repudiation of Trumpism, which would be manifested by both a popular and Electoral College landslide for Biden. Trumpism will not go away and the damage will be difficult to repair, but at least Biden will be able to start doing the job.

    • GBJames
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      I think you imply it, but I’d add:

      6. To so thoroughly defeat the Republican Party that it will be forced to rebuild from scratch, giving it the opportunity to do so without relying on racism and conservative religion as core values.

      • Historian
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Yes, that would be a salubrious outcome as well. I will add to my point 5 that the Democrats winning the Senate would also allow Biden to get his appointed judges to be confirmed.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        It’s difficult to see it when you look at the unholy mutant beast that is the modern Republican party but there is significant ground to be made up by an American conservative party(whether that’s a new party or a rebooted GOP) that appeals to the social conservatism of many immigrant and minority communities.

        It’s an unspoken truth on the left that plenty of the people white liberals and progressives defend on a daily basis are socially conservative. There’s a lot of homophobia and sexism in traditional African-American and Latin-American families. Asian families too. And of course social conservatism is stitched into the fabric of Islam. A conservative movement that recognised this and acted on it would be very, very dangerous. I can’t see any other way forward for the American right post-Trump besides playing on this reactionary strand in the Democrats’ most reliable voting demographics. And I think in the long term it’ll be successful.

        It reminds me of the great disappointment the socialist movement faced when it realised that the working classes were essentially reactionary. The same thing will happen with minorities unless the liberal-left reins in its extremes and starts to bear this factor in mind.
        Which is not to say that social conservatism is baked into any community, for ever amen, and it’s not to say that Democrat candidates don’t factor the different social values of minorities when they’re out campaigning…but so far it’s been an uncomfortably dissonant fact that most liberals have tried to ignore as best we can. Eventually the right will glom onto it, and it’s best to face up to it before it gets to that point.

        • Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          “A conservative movement that recognised this and acted on it would be very, very dangerous.”

          It would be scary but how would they reconcile this with the anti-immigrant and racist views of their current base? I don’t see a path to that kind of coalition.

          Totally agree on liberals reining in their extremes. That’s partly what we’re here for, right?

        • GBJames
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          I don’t entirely disagree with you, Saul. But I do have a hard time imaging how a “revised” conservative party could pull those socially-conservative ethnic minority voters away without giving up the socially conservative racism that currently binds it together. Somehow they need to abandon their hostility to reason, hostility to immigrants, and… well, just their hostility to most everything.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

            Well, the choice for the American right is to do so or die. There will really be only one direction for them to go in. Their white base is slowly dying off and they’re only afloat right now because of the one-of-a-kind moron-magnetism of Donald Trump. By which I mean this kind of extremist right wing politics only works when there’s someone with Trump’s brilliance at populist manipulation, and once he’s gone there’s no-one who can do what he did. He is a singular character(I hope). So this style of white identity politics has a lifespan of…however long Trump’s in power. After that it’s dead. Which doesn’t mean it’ll stop of course, no chance of that, I just mean it’s not going to work in getting votes anymore.

            There’s really nowhere else the American right can go. Other than Russia maybe.

            • Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

              It could pretty much disappear like communism in the US.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

                I don’t think conservatism can disappear. It’s like trying to get rid of the north pole. Whatever we call it there’ll always be a more conservative counterpoint to liberalism.

              • Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

                No, you couldn’t get rid of conservatism for the reason you suggest. I was thinking of the GOP and what conservatism in the US currently represents.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election to Barack Obama with 47.2% of the vote (1.1% more than Donald Trump received in 2016), the Republican Party commissioned an “autopsy report”, which recommended the Party conduct an outreach to the groups you mention.

          Instead, it doubled down on Donald Trump and white nationalism. The GOP has lost the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. And its ability to cling to power in congress depends on the ruthless use of gerrymandering, voter suppression, and wielding of parliamentary rules (as well as the inherently undemocratic nature of representation in the US senate).

          That the Grand Old Party as we know it is moribund is a fait accompli; the clingers just haven’t realized it yet. It will be interesting to see what type of center-right coalition emerges from its ashes.

  10. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Re. the vote, I’m sort of interested in who honestly thinks he won’t try to hold onto office by claiming voter fraud. 10% of people seem to think he’s going to hold up his* hands and accept that the best man won. I would like their addresses so I can sell them a cancer-curing windmill I own.

    *tiny little

    • Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      How do we know that all those Yes votes weren’t fake? How. do. we. know???

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        “People are saying Why Evolution Is True had a poll…oh boy, they don’t like me, the man, the guy, he says, people say to me, he says…things that are not nice. A professor! That’s what they say, a professor…of…bology.”

        (looks down at page)

        “Evolshun…ry…bology. Evolshun…evolish… He didn’t come to my inauguration. Didn’t come. Jumpy Jerry they call him, jumpin’ because he’s so jumpy, like crooked Hillary, jumpy, they’re all going to jail. So this professor does a poll. A fake poll, and they say, with dogs voting in it…dogs! The guy hates dogs, loves cats…what does that tell you? Tells you he’s okay with letting dogs vote in his poll…so long as they say the right thing, and believe me they say the right thing, because this professor…”

        (looks down again)

        “of bology…who studies bology? Bology, never heard of it. Who studies it? I don’t, and I won in ’16. And they’re still crying. Still polling dogs…dead dogs too. They say this professor creeps down to the cemetery and digs up dead dogs – sick, the democrats are sick. They say he rubs their dead paws in ink and pushes it onto the computer to make the poll go bigger. Think of all the inky computers. What a waste, what a waste. And they talk about the green deal! And this poll…it’s a big poll. A big poll! Big poll. Polls. Sounds like ‘poles’, in a way, doesn’t it? I invented the word poles, no-one says so but it’s true. The dictionary guy said ‘that’s my favourite word ever mr Trump, I want to put it on every page’, and then he started crying and kissing my feet, I just said you keep writing that book buddy, we need you to fight the Chinese. Where was I? Oh right, dead dogs….”

        etc., until the end of time

        • GBJames
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          You just won the day here!

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            I think I have too much time on my hands

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

              Nah. Just the right amount of time.

        • Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          That was brilliant! I swear you were channeling.

        • Posted August 24, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Brilliant! 😂🤣

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      They won’t buy your windmills because those people think windmills *cause* cancer. 🙂

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Well, I’m on the other side of the pond (like you, Saul?), and I am optimistic enough to think that if he dared to claim voter fraud in the face of a decisive (not necessarily landslide) vote, there are enough honest Republicans remaining who would take him by his (tiny little) hands and just lead him out of the White House.

      But I accept that if there aren’t, you lot really are f***ed.

      • Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Because voting is a state-by-state process, it seems unlikely that Trump could actually mess with the vote assuming it isn’t really close in just a couple of states. Each state has bipartisan committees that oversee everything. His only real hope is to create enough doubt and upheaval to delay the count long enough so it can’t be validated. There are going to be a lot of people in each state fighting against this. His final hope, of course, is causing his minions to rise up. I can’t see that being successful either. He can do a lot of damage, of course. He can also win if the vote is close because of the GOP’s dominance right now.

        • Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          Although we’re told that tRump had nothing to do with it, someone(s) in the national levels of the Post Office already has, perhaps, terminally messed us up re voting by mail. If I remember correctly,700+ sorting machines have been removed or dismantled in predominantly large blue cities. Seattle tried to reconnect, but a federal PO message was sent out recently telling all POs not to do that.

          First class mail, ballots, etc. were sorted and delivered in the morning and less important mail delivered later in the day. That has been stopped. (The important mail is being held over. One trip. No overtime.) Very important to expedite delivery of medications (many of them essential) and live chicks (4000+ have arrived dead thus far.)There’s more.

          But, please go online and read the 8-21-2020 article by David Ewing Duncan in vanity “It looks like they’re targeting blue urban areas: new postal service plan is setting o9ff election alarms.”

          I lived in Oregon and voted safely by mail for all elections there for many years. It worked like a charm. I live in Washington now and also vote by mail here. Same ease and safety. Any other state that doesn’t do this could surely review the processes these two states (and others who do all voting by mail) and use there processes as starting points.

          We need those sorting machines back and DeJoy has said he will not do that; they were not needed.. We need to push back the programs DeJoy, or whomever, has already implemented and get more coordination throughout the entire system. Not only focus on DeJoy’s supposed area of expertise. If this doesn’t happen, those of us who routinely vote by mail and those who want to remain safe from Covid-19, need to vote as soon as the ballots are sent out, fill them out very carefully so they can’t be excluded for a mistake, and make sure they get right back to the post office, an elections drop box or other election sanctioned site ASAP.

          • Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I wasn’t clear when I said that Trump couldn’t mess with the vote. I agree that this USPS problem is real. Still, I suspect that there are enough postal workers who care about the country in each state, and people that watch them, that this will result only in a delay in the reporting rather than a change in the winner. A delay allows people to imagine all kinds of cheating going on behind the scenes and Trump will do his best to amp that up. What I am saying, in short, is that his actions won’t change the tally but people’s faith in the result.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        That’s pretty much the way I, as a Yank, see it too, Steve.

        And I’m the kinda guy who likes to be kissed before he gets f***ed.

        • Steve Pollard
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Well, good luck mate. I hope the thought of being kissed by DT before he f***a you is enough to point voters in the right direction.

  11. yazikus
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Proud Washingtonian (the western one) here – and we have excellent election records. Our Republican Secretary of State runs a hell of a tight ship. We get our pamphlets well in advance of the election, without having to request. We all get our ballots via USPS, and don’t even need to pay for postage. I cannot imagine why every state does not do this. Oh wait, it’s because some states, and one party in particular, doesn’t want people to vote.

  12. Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I want to say loudly within earshot of some Trumpians: “I’m going to vote early and often!”

  13. nay
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    “I’d count a landslide as 60% of the popular vote, not the 48.2% that Clinton got (Trump got 46.1%)”-don’t know that I’d call 60% is a landslide, but 48% (v. 46%) is a simple majority. Note that Repubs have previously called 51% a “mandate”.

  14. Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    “And that doesn’t make sense—at least not in the sense of discouraging Democrats more than Republicans.”

    My guess is that Trump and his enablers have lots of ways to take advantage of confusion during the election besides discouraging Dems from voting. If he loses, he will have every one of his sycophants crying “fraud”. This is just the build-up to the eventuality.

    BTW, this morning Trump tweet-dumped on the use of ballot boxes to collect votes, claiming that they allow fraud of course. There’s no bottom to what he’ll do to win.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      I think just planting doubt and creating chaos and discord will go a long way in helping Trump get re-elected so that’s what he’s doing.

  15. AlTazim
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, this is the future of American politics for the foreseeable future: when the Republicans lose, claim voter fraud. When the Democrats lose, claim voter suppression and campaign finance violations. Both parties will claim meddling by outside actors, either from outside the locality in question at the local or state level or outside the country at the federal level. Plenty of lawsuits and investigations to follow. Neither party agrees on what the rules for free and fair elections should be, so every contentious election will be considered “stolen”; to the extent that the federal judiciary tries to resolve these questions, Republicans and Democrats will blast judges that don’t rule in their favor as partisan activists, hacks of the other party. Eventually someone will refuse to acknowledge a loss, likely not at the presidential level, but at a lower level, probably a governor’s race or US Senate seat.

    • GBJames
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Classic false equivalence.

      There is no evidence of systematic voter fraud. None at all that could affect an election. There is, on the other hand, considerable evidence of the consequences of voter suppression, a set of tactics for reducing representation of minorities that has a deep history in our country.

      • sugould
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        A Warning from Iowa, Richard Hasen’s article from February this year,
        detailed so many other things that did and could go wrong with our elections.

        My favorite excerpt: “But it’s important to get the message out that it’s bad enough to call someone incompetent, but to call them cheater is a lot worse. And it makes a big difference, right? What do they say— that a dog knows the difference between being kicked or being stumbled over? Same kind of idea, that intentions matter here.”

        I’m pretty sure the dog is getting kicked.

    • ploubere
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      The democrats accepted the outcome of every election in which they unfairly lost, in 2000, in 2016, and arguably in 2008. It is the republicans who promote false narratives of voter fraud, because in reality they would lose far more seats if the system were truly representative of the majority, both at the federal and state levels. Any republican campaign manager will acknowledge that, and some have openly admitted it.

      • ploubere
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        My mistake, 2004, not 2008. Kerry vs Bush, there was legitimate concern over discrepancies in Ohio. But the dems didn’t belabor it. and Kerry gracefully conceded.

    • Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

      Sure, except the voter suppression is real and the voter fraud isn’t. Big difference.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      We have a winner for both-sidesism comment of the day!

      • Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        It appears regularly and is what seems to pass for trolling on this website. There’s really two kinds of both-sideism, active and passive. Active both-sideism is where the commenter deliberately wants to downplay one side of the controversy by pretending both sides are equal. Passive is where they don’t know enough about the issue to have an educated opinion and are just lazy.

        • GBJames
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

          But, how to tell the difference?

          • Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            True, it’s hard. One tell is that after being called out, the passive both-sider doesn’t try to make their case.

  16. ploubere
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I have no doubt that Trump will refuse to accept the election results unless he wins. I won’t be surprised if he invokes emergency powers before the election to suspend it even, or calls on his supporters and members of the military who support him to defend him and, in effect, overthrow the state.

    It’s simply not within his character to gracefully accept defeat, and he has no respect for the constitution or the rule of law.

    I fear for my country.

    • ploubere
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      After all, this is a man who thinks he deserves to be added to Mt. Rushmore. He has been “treated most unfairly, more unfairly than any president, even Lincoln”.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been saying for a long time — since well before the pandemic and the resultant brouhaha regarding mail-in ballots — that, if Trump loses the election, he will raise a helluva stink and will refuse to participate in the orderly transition of power to the new president (the way every other incumbent US president to lose an election has deigned to do). The stink he raises will likely include court challenges to mail-in ballots in every state in which Trump thinks he stands a chance to wrestle away a win, as well as rousing the rabble of his base.

    But I do not see any of this as creating an existential threat to our Republic. The threats one sees coming, one can deal with. It’s the threats that come at you out of the blue that pose the gravest danger.

    I look for Biden to win the national popular vote 52% to 45% (maybe 46%) over Trump — the biggest blow-out since Clinton took Dole by eight-and-a-half points in ’96. I don’t think third parties will win much more than a combined 3% of the vote this time (compared to the 5.7% third-party candidates won in 2016). There also aren’t nearly as many undecided voters at this stage as there were in the last election. I mean, how in the hell can someone not know by now whether they prefer Joe Biden or Donald Trump?

    And I agree with our host that the anachronism of the electoral college has gotta go-go. What kind of cockamamie way is that to chose the soi-disant leader of the free world anyway?

    • Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Trump will definitely dispute the election if the vote doesn’t go his way. However, I would hope his GOP support in the states will not go along with it. Those that have political careers that they hope are still ahead of them, unlike McConnell and many in Congress, will not want to back Trump’s fake claims of a fraudulent election. My fingers are crossed though.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Obama beat McCain by 7.2% of the popular vote in 2008. I think Biden will beat Trump by about the same.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      The electoral college should have ended when they began popular voting for president. It is most distasteful because it is tied to the even more disgusting 2 senators per state which was won by the small states in 1787. I would recommend the book – The Summer of 1787 for those who missed it. Helps to explain a lot of things the people today seem to mostly prefer to twist in the wind.

      • Max Blancke
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        I suppose how people view this issue depends on where they live.
        If California had as much power in the senate as do the 25 least populated states, I imagine they would have no further water issues, as they would just take more of ours. Maybe all of it.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          Heck, in that case let’s just apportion representation according to the snowpack.

          • Posted August 23, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

            Those of us in Colorado would give strong support to that!!

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          Actually it should not matter where you live the Senate is the most undemocratic thing in the Constitution. Remember it is We The People, not We the States. It is a throw back to before there was a country and we long since should have outgrown it.

      • Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        There is the argument, which I think has some merit, that our system does ensure that the low population areas (read as large, fly-over states) get a fair share of attention and influence in our national government. Without the e. c., presidential candidates would mainly campaign along the coasts and the people in low population areas could feel disenfranchised.
        That said, it is the case that our current e. c. seems overly weighted toward those fly-over states. So rather than argue for doing away with the e. c., there is the option of modifying it.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          What you are doing is engineering the issue from the wrong end of history. The e.c. as you call it should be gone. It was established because voting country wide in 1787 was considered impossible. That was the only reason for it. So now that you know, is it not time to kill the damn thing.

          • Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

            I am really bringing up the argument for the e.c., or “an” e.c. The reply to that, I think, is that was then, this is now. The reasons for having an e.c. has changed long ago. The voters in the fly-over states do want to see that they matter too.

            • GBJames
              Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

              How exactly would that work, Mark? And what is the rational for justifying a system where the majority of the population “don’t matter” because they live in urban areas?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

          Without the e. c., presidential candidates would mainly campaign along the coasts and the people in low population areas could feel disenfranchised.

          You mean the way voters in all but a handful of swing states feel now?

          But, yeah, if we’re gonna keep the electoral college, let’s have a wide open debate on the best way to apportion the electoral-college votes. Let those in favor of keeping it as-is explain to the dirt farmer in the California’s central valley why his or her presidential vote should count for less than a third of that of some city-slicker in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      They should have the electoral college run like it did in the beginning and have representatives go to Washington on horse back.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        Hell, let’s go back to limiting the voting franchise to the landed gentry. Otherwise, the poor and un-propertied will get a say in how others’ land can be used and taxed.

        How can that even be fair?

      • Posted August 25, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

        Pay 250 years of back taxes & we might have you back… 😁

  18. Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    US American democracy is fragile, if it is a democracy at all — which is at least arguable. I refer to a study by Princeton’s Gilens & Page from 2014. They say…

    The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.

    That‘s pretty bad.

    Then there‘s an omnipresent corporate media which perpetuate their own tribal narratives every hour, like soap opera versions of reality with villains and heroes. If you get through that, your vote is gulped up and dissolved by a lizard-shaped district, created by gerrymandering. You anyway only have a choice between two coarse and crude options. Just the Democrat spectrum reaches over what would make three or four different political party flavours in a European democracy.

    If some care for democracy still remains, you may be locked into a state that is firmly in one party hand. Not much to do here, but to symbolically uphold or ursurp the rule. The vote is basically maintenance.

    If some rest of democracy remains in your heart, you may flock to the only election booth this side of the Atlantic, and after a busy day after work face a queue that crosses three states. Americans made it so that there are rare and prized vacation days, and voting on a Tuesday.

    Taken all that into account, Americans pretend in good faith and in all earnest that Trump or Republicans actually care about democracy and want it done in a fair way. Billionaires may literally buy a staff of politicians to write some laws in their favour, but someone who may vote twice by mail — that‘s really the problem here? It‘s absurdist theatre of the highest order. It‘s such preposterous and ridiculous that it would not be unseemly to roll laughing on the floor while attempting to aim with a finger at the Republican who brings up voting concern.

    • ploubere
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink


    • Historian
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      The Trump cult and perhaps many outside of it view democracy in purely transactional terms. If they perceive that it doesn’t meet their needs, they would have no hesitation in discarding. This is the realization that has allowed Trump and other authoritarian demagogues throughout the world and history to gain power. People want two basic things out of life: economic security and a sense of high self-worth (often manifested by their perception of status – how they compare to others). From my study of history, I have concluded that the latter is often more important than the former. In times of social change, people with a superior sense of status, feel threatened that it is about to change by the demands of other people or groups. In today’s world, Trump promises to ward off the threat coming from minority groups that threaten the status of lesser educated white folks.

      My conclusion is that democracy fares poorly when it doesn’t provide the security and self-worth people crave. In their desire for these, people are willing to give up the freedom democracy provides. They are also willing to hurt or suppress other people or groups to achieve them. This is why democracy can never be taken for granted.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. And that’s why the Democratic Party needs to take seriously the income inequality that has become ever more extreme for fifty years.

      • Posted August 25, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        You are probably not wrong, Historian. However, I find it too easy to dismiss Republican voters merely as cult followers who (allegedly) vote against their best interests.

        Maybe they don’t.

        What if US politics doesn’t offer much for the Common American, and what if it all comes down to wedge issues and identity, and hence they vote that way. I cannot really fault them, even though I am on the left and much further leftwards than most regulars (and the host). Wedge issues and identity are individually important for sure, but not really that important in the grand scheme of things. That way, the club of millionaires that is congress, and their billionaire and millionaires sponsors can do business unconcerned by what ordinary Americans want or need.

        In every metric I looked at, US workers are worse off than their European counterparts and that in the richest country in human history. It’s remarkable and really also the product of the Democrats who for quite a while have become a party of Wall St, too.

        • GBJames
          Posted August 25, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          I find that sort of “both sides” argument unconvincing. Let’s have this thought experiment… Imagine that America’s Republicans are disappeared… raptured away with Jesus or something. Would “Wall Street” and the American economy move along as it is now, unchanged? I doubt it.

          • Posted August 25, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

            I agree. And many of those left (the Dems) would work towards removing money from politics. At least I would like to believe they would.

          • Posted August 25, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            I don’t understand this thought experiment. Republicans are a supervillain party and the most dangerous organization on the planet, because with them, a leading nation like the USA is hurtling over the cliff and may make our planet inhospitable for organised life. They are also a club of criminals, crooks and liars. I don’t believe that “both sides”, meaning both parties are equal in a general sense.

            They are equal enough in some respects, and that is the dominance of a collection of wedge issues and partisan identity to distract the people from real concerns, while they cater foremost to lobbies and special interests. I see it as evident, because that’s what the evidence suggests.

            • GBJames
              Posted August 25, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

              I can’t see the thought experiment as all that difficult to grapple with.

              The two parties don’t contain equal distributions of “billionaire and millionaires sponsors”. They don’t contain equivalent numbers of advocates for libertarian free market politics. The parties have very different points of view regarding addressing, in some way the extreme income inequality we now see. One party is entirely described by your framing. The other, while some of it is to be found, simply is not.

              The viewpoint you represent here simply fails to recognize the the political spectrum isn’t binary. It is, in my opinion, much of the reason that progressives (and I consider myself one, can’t achieve much. We can’t seem to recognize allies and think that if someone (generic Democrat) doesn’t align closely enough to us, then they must be as bad as your generic Republican.

              • Posted August 26, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

                Keep in mind that I am not American. It’s true that perfect is the enemy of good. It’s true that the Republicans are much more bought by the rich and powerful. It’s also true that we are much better off if Democrats are in charge, and I thought I made that clear above. Here I agree with you.

                But I strongly disagree with the “lesser evil or else” style of politics that has shifted American politics only rightwards and is now bordering on the far right (the Republicans are already off the charts, with their dominionist, theofascist wing, and outright corporate-owned mainstream).

                There will be worse and even worse candidates on the right, considering the trend, and they may not be narcissistic morons that time. Are the normal Americans for eternity blackmailed into voting atrocious candidates just because the blue guy promised to not outright blow up the planet, or turn America into a theofascist military state? Technically, that’s preferable and everyone must vote for them, but how is that democracy?

              • GBJames
                Posted August 26, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

                Well, it doesn’t much matter where you live, IMO.

                I’m not arguing that the political landscape here in the US and A is healthy. The Democratic Party, on average, has in my lifetime, until just the last few years, drifted more and more conservative as Republicans have veered to the extreme. It was a process I decried for decades.

                But that is irrelevant when it comes to the habit of many of my fellow on-the-left-ers to pretend that voting for a (generic) Democrat is no different from voting the the (generic) Republican. It is a viewpoint that leads people to waste their vote on the Ralph Naders and Jill Steins of the world, or to stay home instead of going to the polls. It is, in my view, not only irresponsible but poisons the ability of those of us on the left who are more interested in improving things than we are in peevish virtue signaling. It is, in part, what leads to the process of slide-to-the-right.

                When not blowing up the planet or not installing a theofascist state is only seen as “technically better”, one give up your role as a human who’s willing to actually make things better.

  19. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a worry on the Woke side, a link from Second City Cop (in Chicago):

  20. Max Blancke
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Whether there is an election or not, the President’s term of office ends at noon, on 20 January. If he wants to be president that afternoon, he will need the Chief Justice to swear him in for a new term.

  21. Mobius
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I am almost certain he will make the claim. And I think it is almost certain that he will refuse to cooperate with the incoming Biden administration on the transfer of power.

    Will he willingly leave office? I think that is the real question. I think it possible that he will refuse. It may well be that the Secret Service will have to escort him from the building.

    Here is what I hope happens. First, Biden wins the election by a wide margin. Second, Trump throws a fit, a certainty, but agrees to leave office peacefully. Yeah, I know, a pipe dream on that last one.

    • sugould
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Will Trump “graciously” concede on election night, tweet later on the “new information” “he has heard” about “how he was robbed”? And then right up to the day Biden is to be sworn in, hint at— and then playfully disavow more veiled threats and comments?

      Is that how we’’ll be defining “leaving office peacefully”?

      • Posted August 24, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        You are right except for the first part. No way will Trump ever concede. It’s just not ever part of his playbook.

  22. Mark R.
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I voted “yes” like the majority of readers. Trump knows that it is only the Presidency and his sycophants like Barr that are keeping him out of real trouble. We know who the “unindicted co-conspirator” is, and that’s just the Cohen case. Other cases loom. He’ll do anything to stay out of jail, thus he’ll do anything to stay in power.

  23. Thanny
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The point of the Electoral College is to prevent large, populous states from stepping all over smaller, less populous states. It’s why every state has two Senators, regardless of population.

    The only bad thing about the Electoral College is that states treat their votes as winner-take-all, when the votes should be distributed proportionally to the popular vote within that state.

    Moving to simply a popular vote would not be good for the nation.

    Finally, it’s worth pointing out that if the Electoral College worked the way it should, Clinton still would have lost, by a single vote. Her loss is her own fault. She catered to the far left authoritarian extremists, and alienated people closer to the center. There were non-trivial numbers of people who voted for Obama, but were so turned off by Clinton’s rhetoric that they voted next for Trump. I know I had to hold my nose when I voted for Clinton (Trump just wasn’t, and isn’t, an option for me).

    The real trick to beating Trump is to get rid of the crazy leftist identitarian politics poisoning the Democratic Party. Which is difficult because Biden is one of its biggest proponents on one front (i.e. VAWA). And he chose an awful running mate in Harris, who is thoroughly corrupt.

    If the Democrats win, it will only because Trump caused himself to lose, with his mishandling of the pandemic.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      “The real trick to beating Trump is to get rid of the crazy leftist identitarian politics poisoning the Democratic Party. Which is difficult because Biden is one of its biggest proponents on one front (i.e. VAWA). And he chose an awful running mate in Harris, who is thoroughly corrupt.”

      This doesn’t sound at all right to me.

    • Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      I am just going to point out that Clinton lost for a variety of reasons, but one big one was that too many Democrats sat it out, thinking that Hillary was surely going to win since that was what the media was predicting over many months.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        I think you’re probably right about the “too many Democrats sat it out”. But I don’t think the reason was that they thought she would win. I think it is more that they didn’t realize the serious consequences of her failing to win.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      ‘Harris is thoroughly corrupt’. Please explain.

      • Posted August 23, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Standard Trump like attack, although she was boinking Willie Brown when he was still married. 😋

      • Thanny
        Posted August 25, 2020 at 3:00 am | Permalink

        She slept her way to the top in her field (something it would take a great deal of disingenuous argumentation to deny).

        She sentenced people to prison who didn’t belong there. She kept people in prison after their sentences had been commuted by a high court (overcrowding was ruled to constitute cruel and unusual punishment), on the grounds that the state would lose access to cheap labor (i.e. slave-wage labor) if they were actually released.

        • GBJames
          Posted August 25, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          “She slept her way to the top”

          Talk about your sexist tropes. Imagine someone making a comment like this about a male.

          • Thanny
            Posted August 26, 2020 at 1:41 am | Permalink

            There’s nothing remotely sexist about the statement, and it’s not at all difficult to imagine it being said about a man.

            It’s just a fact that there are far more opportunities for a woman to do it than a man, for many reasons.

            • GBJames
              Posted August 26, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

              It is easy for me to find examples of unicorns in my imagination. I’m sure you can offer some examples from the real world, though.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      If the electoral college is such a hot idea, and if the trick to fixing it is to distribute the votes proportionally, then maybe we should employ the same system for other elections, such as those for governor and mayor.

      I mean, shouldn’t we prevent the people in large, populous counties and precincts from stepping all over smaller, less populous counties and precincts?

      Or just maybe the notion “one person, one vote” stands for something after all.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        And if we’re gonna make the electoral college proportional, shouldn’t we limit it to 436 electoral votes — one vote for each congressional district (and an extra for the District of Columbia)?

        Why should the states with only enough population to merit a single seat in the House of Representatives be rewarded with two extra electoral votes just by virtue of their having tiny populations?

      • Thanny
        Posted August 25, 2020 at 2:55 am | Permalink

        I can only suggest you should have paid more attention in history class.

        The term “United States” today is typically treated as a singular in grammar, but that wasn’t always the case. Because it’s not a singular. It’s a collection of individual states, each of which has individual sovereignty.

        Creating a system of representation which didn’t let large populous states overwhelm smaller, less populous states was required to make the nation as a whole happen.

        Counties aren’t sovereign entities.

        There are, of course, attempts to avoid disenfranchising people within a state, such as Congressional district boundary drawing. And corrupt attempts to disrupt that process, like Gerrymandering. Another aspect of United States politics you would be aware of if you had paid better attention in history and/or civics class, in any public school.

        • GBJames
          Posted August 25, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          IMO, Thanny, your comment is long on insult and short on understanding the nature of rhetorical questions.

          • Thanny
            Posted August 26, 2020 at 1:43 am | Permalink

            You’re entitled to your opinion. Just like I’m entitled to consider it baseless and glib.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      The real trick to beating Trump is to get rid of the crazy leftist identitarian politics poisoning the Democratic Party. Which is difficult because Biden is one of its biggest proponents on one front (i.e. VAWA). And he chose an awful running mate in Harris, who is thoroughly corrupt.

      Right. In the meantime, the Republican Party has half a dozen adherents of the lunatic-fringe QAnon conspiracy theory running for congress on the GOP ticket this Fall — some of whom Trump and the other ranking Republicans have embraced, none of whom will they disavow, and about all of whom they pretend to know naught concerning their beliefs.


      • Thanny
        Posted August 25, 2020 at 2:39 am | Permalink

        The “But they have crazy people, too!” defense isn’t going to win any elections.

        Police your own, or suffer the consequences. You know, like putting DONALD TRUMP in the White House.

  24. Ruth
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Seen from my German point of view:

    Electoral colleges are an anachronism, but what really needs to go is the winner-takes-all-semidemocracy. Parties should be represented according to their proportion of votes. How a country apparently obsessed with proportional representation in other contexts can stand for a majority vote system beats me.

    If the elections can’t be postponed (as was recently amicably done in New Zealand), I am pro mail-in voting because of Covid. But mail-in voting is in fact much more prone to fraud than booth voting here in Germany.
    We had some relatively large-scale fraud cases, some of them using people from ethnic communities who are not well integrated and don’t normally vote. Mostly, local candidates themselves or their close entourage were behind cases of fraud. Sometimes, the people whose votes were used were tenants or blue collar employees of the fraudster.

    Both US parties have of late been guilty of doubting the results of the voting process, and doing so in an unconstructive partisan way.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      You’ll get no argument from me that electoral systems that do first past the post are flawed. I really want Canada to change that and adopt the model both NZ and Germany use – MMP.

  25. rickflick
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I pretty sure he will try. The question is how vociferously, and to what end. There are several scenarios, but one I think is real possibility is he’ll try to set up enough resistance to leaving the White House that there will have to be a move on the part of law enforcement to pry him out. That way he gets the thing he craves: huge ratings. Ratings bigger than O.J. Simpson in his white Bronco. This will be a setup for his next move that will be a reality or talk TV show.

  26. phoffman56
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Thinking about coups in other countries over the 65 or 70 years that I have paid attention to that sort of thing, mostly about South America and Middle East I guess, it seems like the successful person or group is always the one which is supported by the military commanders, or most of them, hardly surprising.

    I checked above for the obvious words like chief of staff, military, generals, and there is virtually nothing.

    Is it really the case that people here think it couldn’t happen on Nov. 5 roughly, or maybe just that it wouldn’t happen at present?

    So Trump loses, he and his cohorts phone up the Pentagon, etc. etc. Do you people utterly dismiss this or at least its success?

    I think its success is unlikely, but I had thought Mass Murderer donald’s success four years ago was also unlikely.

    And if the USians here do dismiss it as out of the question, how does that stack up against the lies you were almost certainly fed about US history etc. as children, and against the clear majority of USians who seem to believe in the superiority of their political system over all other ‘western’ countries, something which has become more laughable by the day recently?

    • Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      The military’s top brass is definitely not with Trump but I worry that the rank and file are still taken with him. The police forces might also be a problem. Many have taken Trump’s side due to the recent “defund the police” efforts.

      I agree on the teaching of history in the US. When I was a kid growing up in California, it used to bug me no end to hear the constant patriotic drone. I was born in the UK so I had a different point of view. Many kids were taken in by this junk and extrapolated it. I was asked if England had bicycles and nylon stockings. Obviously they didn’t talk about those things in class but they had taken to heart the idea that the US was better than every other country.

      My hope is that Trump and the pandemic will remind American citizens that our choice of leaders, their actions, and that of government as a whole, do matter.

      • GBJames
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        ” Many have taken Trump’s side due to the recent “defund the police” efforts.”

        Mostly they were Trump supporters all along.

      • phoffman56
        Posted August 23, 2020 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        “The military’s top brass is definitely not with Trump”

        Is there any real evidence for that?

        Statements by retired military bigwigs aren’t worth much.

        There was the apology from the joint chief chairman for parading in his military uniform with Mass Murderer donald and his bible a few weeks ago. But that sounded like PR to me, and that man doesn’t sound too bright. Are his loyalties with the country or with whatever his own ambitions are?

        Do you know the ‘chain’ for deciding to go along with the monster president and unleash a thermonuclear disaster? It is very clear that the mass murderer (as his niece even called him) doesn’t give a ‘sweet shit’, as we used to say, about the approximately quarter of a million USians now dead because of the virus, and never did. The future of the human species doesn’t seem far behind that.

        As I said, this seems to me quite unlikely to happen.

        But not extraordinarily unlikely at this stage, unless somehow there has been a backroom ‘plot’ to simply not obey him under almost any circumstance. I’m sure millions, likely billions, have been hoping that is the case all along the last four years. But it’s now when the shit is really hitting the fan. Pardon the unoriginal metaphor which is obviously infinitely too weak for such a circumstance and the only way I happen to have to be clear about my feelings.

        In a discussion about a desperate rat trying to avoid going down, it surprises me how little this matter has come up in this lengthy discussion. Is it only the world outside the US that is concerned about that (as well as climate change of course in how badly it affects us non-USians and our descendants)?

  27. denise
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I worry about the integrity of all of our voting systems, vote-by-mail included. I part ways with other Democrats about fraud: that little has been found to have happened so far does not lessen my concern about it happening in the future. I think there are weaknesses that can be exploited all over the place, and it allows Donald Trump to undermine faith in the system because people know that the weaknesses do exist.

    Obviously this can’t be solved for this election, but we need eventually to be able to reassure people about the integrity of the systems with something more convincing than just that we’ve looked for fraud retrospectively and not found very much. I would not want my bank telling me I can consider my money secure because they haven’t been robbed yet.

    • Posted August 23, 2020 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Please identify these weaknesses you claim. Otherwise it just sounds like general unease. People have written a lot on the various possibilities but, so far, none have really made much of a case, IMHO. It seem like any attempt at a fraud big enough to sway the election would not go unnoticed. I do share some fear that after a fraud was noticed, so much data is lost that it can’t be corrected. Still, surely this is something that every state is concerned with. The lack of confidence is certainly real though I suspect fraud is not so much.

    • phoffman56
      Posted August 24, 2020 at 4:27 am | Permalink

      And you just started worrying about this after the lying monster started his obvious slimeball ranting? Or has it bothered you in the many previous elections where it has been legal, but somehow you never raised it? If you did, let’s hear the details and any evidence. Otherwise, anybody with half a brain would have suspicions about how you voted four years ago and how you intend to now.

  28. Leigh
    Posted August 23, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    When I moved to a rural area I was surprised to find I had to vote by mail. It took me completely by surprise, but I got used to it. There was something enjoyable about sitting around the kitchen table with husband and children punching votes on the card, talking about why we were voting for this person rather than that one, or bemoaning races in which there were no good choices, or rarely, too many good people. I never actually mailed in my ballot; I always took it to the Register of Voters office and turned it in. We did not have a polling place for many years — until urban sprawl overtook our valley. I’m wondering if people on this list who live in rural areas also had mail-in precincts?

    No one worried about fraudulent votes — probably because rural voters tend to vote Republican. It was just accepted that sparsely populated areas could not support a physical polling location. I’m sure there were abuses — as in making it hard for native Americans to vote, using excuses for not providing local polling locations. But by and large, mail-in votes were accepted as.

    • Wayne Y Hoskisson
      Posted August 23, 2020 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

      I live in rural southern Utah. Utah switched to mail-in ballots a few elections ago. Voter turn out has been higher since switching. I contribute to a non-profit that promotes voter registration on the Navajo Reservation. I volunteered at one registration effort on the Reservation. There are some complex problems getting Navajos on the reservation registered. One of which is a lack of a US postal address. There people working on such problems.

      In Utah P.O. gives the ballots directly to the county clerk or the clerks representative. This begins as soon as ballots arrive at the P.O. Voters can also drop ballots off at the county clerks office any day until the Monday before the election. They can also drop off the ballot on election day. Residents can register up to and including the day of voting. If the registration is too close to election day or on election day the voter will receive a provisional ballot that will be counted once the registration becomes official.

      The envelop containing the ballot requires a signature that is sealed so that it cannot be separated from the envelop and ballot until the ballot is counted. Envelop and ballot both have a ballot ID number which is recorded on the voter polling register. The envelop and ballot are retained for a period of time after the vote has been certified or canvassed (I think that is the term used). I used to be a polling judge, which means I was one of a team of four people who counted the ballots. The judges are no longer needed since the votes do not need to be counted in a brief period after the polls close.

      It is also illegal for one person to collect the ballots of others to deliver to the P.O. or the polling location.

      Violations could mean prosecution for both election fraud and postal fraud.

      So far I think mail-in ballots work and there seems no more chance for fraud than than with polling places and booths. In fact I feel better about the paper mail-in ballots than I did about the electronic voting machines we started using. The paper trail is assuring.

      • sugould
        Posted August 24, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Good for you for your work ensuring Navajos (real Americans) might get to vote!

  29. Greg Geisler
    Posted August 30, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    There’s scant evidence for voter fraud and Trump and his lawyers failed to produce any last week after being ordered by a federal judge in Pennsylvania to do so. There IS plenty of evidence of election fraud though, which I rambled on about yesterday. Suppression, corruption, voting system vulnerabilities, hacking, voter intimidation.

    Vote by mail is also not as secure as people think. Recent piece in WAPO:

    “More than 534,000 mail ballots were rejected during primaries across 23 states this year — nearly a quarter in key battlegrounds for the fall…”

    “Studies have found that votes cast by mail, a process that involves several steps and more opportunity for error, are more likely to be rejected than those cast in person at polling locations.”

    “…research also found that ballot rejections can disproportionately affect younger voters and voters of color.”

    Regarding intimidation, Trump has already stated he plans to send thousands of poll watchers to “police” who votes and how. And just two years ago a federal judge ruled that a Consent Decree established in the 80’s that would prevent that form of intimidation was dissolved. How convenient.

    So, expect armed election gestapo at precincts that are Democratic.

    • phoffman56
      Posted August 30, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      “..thousands of poll watchers to “police” who votes and how”

      I’m no fan of the man whom I (alone here?) consistently and justifiably call Mass Murderer donald. I’m also sure most of the attempted illegal perversions of the election by him and his minions will happen.

      But I do think, just as a matter of principle, as well as not handing the Drumpfians ammunition—‘they’re just as dishonest as us!..’—that wording should be careful.

      Do you really mean the words “and how” above? That seems to imply that they will have illegal access to people’s votes.

      • Greg Geisler
        Posted August 31, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Yes, I do mean “how”. And this is based on past evidence. The “how” also refers to the method of voting and not simply access to cast ballots.

        I agree with you, I am very careful to not misrepresent and I frequently call out people for doing so. We have to rely on evidence before making claims.

        If you are interested in said evidence visit this link:
        View at

        • phoffman56
          Posted August 31, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink


          And possibly some people here will find the advice and encouragement on those websites useful during the election.

          I’m a Canuck and a non-voter, but of course what happens south of the border has an enormous effect on us. Pretty big effect on the entire human species.

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: