The Dominion Voting Systems, which has been used in multiple states where fraud has been alleged in the 2020 U.S. Election, was rejected three times by data communications experts from the Texas Secretary of State and Attorney General’s Office for failing to meet basic security standards.
Unlike Texas, other states certified the use of the system, including Pennsylvania, where voter fraud has been alleged on multiple counts this week.
Dominion Voting Systems, a Canadian company headquartered in Denver, is one of three companies primarily used in U.S. elections. The others are Election Systems and Software and Texas based-Hart InterCivic.
The Dominion system was implemented in North Carolina and Nevada, where election results are being challenged, and in Georgia and Michigan, where a “glitch” that occurred reversed thousands of votes for Republican President Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden.
While Biden declared victory Saturday in his U.S. presidential race against Trump, the Trump campaign is launching several challenges to vote counts in states across the country, alleging fraud.
Dominion’s Democracy Suite system was chosen for statewide implementation in New Mexico in 2013, the first year it was rejected by the state of Texas.
Louisiana modernized its mail ballot system by implementing Dominion’s ImageCast Central software statewide; Clark County, Nevada, implemented the same system in 2017. Roughly 52 counties in New York, 65 counties in Michigan and the entire state of Colorado and New Mexico use Dominion systems.
According to a Penn Wharton study, "The Business of Voting," Dominion Voting Systems reached approximately 71 million voters in 1,635 jurisdictions in the U.S. in 2016.
Dominion “got into trouble” with several subsidiaries it used over alleged cases of fraud. One subsidiary is Smartmatic, a company “that has played a significant role in the U.S. market over the last decade,” according to a report published by UK-based AccessWire.
Litigation over Smartmatic “glitches” alleges they impacted the 2010 and 2013 mid-term elections in the Philippines, raising questions of cheating and fraud. An independent review of the source codes used in the machines found multiple problems, which concluded, “The software inventory provided by Smartmatic is inadequate, … which brings into question the software credibility,” ABS-CBN reported.
Smartmatic’s chairman is a member of the British House of Lords, Mark Malloch Brown, a former vice-chairman of George Soros’ Investment Funds, former vice-president at the World Bank, lead international partner at Sawyer Miller, a political consulting firm, and former vice-chair of the World Economic Forum who “remains deeply involved in international affairs.” The company’s reported globalist ties have caused members of the media and government officials to raise questions about its involvement in the U.S. electoral process.
In January, U.S. lawmakers expressed concern about foreign involvement through these companies’ creation and oversight of U.S. election equipment. Top executives from the three major companies were grilled by both Democratic and Republican members of the U.S. House Committee on House Administration about the integrity of their systems.
Also in January, election integrity activists expressed concern “about what is known as supply-chain security, the tampering of election equipment during manufacturing,” the Associated Press reported. “A document submitted to North Carolina elections officials by ES&S last year shows, for example, that it has manufacturing operations in the Philippines.”
All three companies “have faced criticism over a lack of transparency and reluctance to open up their proprietary systems to outside testing,” the Associated Press reported. In 2019, the AP found that these companies “had long skimped on security in favor of convenience and operated under a shroud of financial and operational secrecy despite their critical role in elections.”
In its third examination of Dominion systems in 2019, Texas officials once again rejected using it after identifying “multiple hardware and software issues that preclude the Office of the Texas Secretary of State from determining that the Democracy Suite 5.5-A system satisfies each of the voting-system requirements set forth in the Texas Election Code.”
The examiners raised specific concerns about whether the system “was suitable for its intended purpose; operates efficiently and accurately; and is safe from fraudulent or unauthorized manipulation.”
They concluded that Dominion systems and corresponding hardware devices did not meet Texas Election Code certification standards.
Last December, a group of Democratic politicians sent a letter to leaders of private equity firms that own the major election vendors asking them to disclose information including ownership, finances and research investments.
"The voting machine lobby, led by the biggest company, ES&S, believes they are above the law,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Intelligence Committee and co-signer of the letter, said. “They have not had anybody hold them accountable even on the most basic matters.”
ES&S Chief Executive Tom Burt dismissed the criticism, telling NBC News that it was “inevitable and impossible to answer,” and called on Congress to implement “greater oversight of the national election process.”
“There are going to be people who have opinions from now until eternity about the security of the equipment, the bias of those companies who are producing the equipment, the bias of the election administrators who are conducting the election,” Burt told NBC News.
“What the American people need is a system that can be audited, and then those audits have to happen and be demonstrated to the American public,” Burt said.
Burt argued last year in an op-ed published by Roll Call that national regulatory oversight was needed, including requirements for paper backups of individual votes, mandatory post-election audits and additional resources for the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
NBC News examined publicly available online shipping records for ES&S and found that many parts for U.S. election machines, including electronics and tablets, were made in China and the Philippines. When it raised concerns about the potential for technology theft or sabotage, Burt said the overseas facilities were “very secure” and the final assembly of machines occurs in the U.S.
The AP also surveyed the election software being used by all 50 states, the District of Columbia and territories. Roughly 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide were using Windows 7 or an older operating system in 2019 to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts, the AP found. Windows 7 reached the end of its operational life in January 2020.
After Jan. 14, Microsoft stopped providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, making Windows 7 easy to hack unless U.S. jurisdictions paid a fee to receive security updates through 2023, the AP found.
According to its assessment, multiple states were affected by the end of Windows 7 support, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, many counties in Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
The Center Square
The role of the journalist is to ask questions from those who have the answers.
It’s not to shut down a point of view as it's being expressed, but to challenge it after it’s been expressed.
Let's think about this today, after The Associated Press and the networks one by one declared former Vice President Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election on Saturday morning and ahead of what President Donald Trump vowed would be a fight to the finish. The Center Square vows to stay with this story until the end.
Journalism cannot be practiced fairly or ethically if we silence the newsmakers – whether their opinions jibe with the truth or our own beliefs of what is truthful.
It should be more than a bit concerning to all Americans – regardless of their political leanings or affiliations – that the national legacy news media are shutting off direct access to a seated president days after the most intensely contested election of our lifetimes.
ABC, CBS, CNBC, MSNBC and NBC each cut away from a live feed of Trump speaking from a podium Thursday in the White House about alleged instances of voter fraud. USA Today dropped its online feed.
“President Trump, without evidence, claimed the presidential election was corrupt and fraudulent. We stopped the livestream of his remarks early and have removed the video from all our platforms. Our job is to spread the truth – not unfounded conspiracies,” Nicole Carroll, editor in chief of USA Today, the country’s widest-circulated daily newspaper, said.
The networks offered similarly worded explanations and justifications for their actions.
Without question, Trump can be vitriolic and hyperbolic, but he’s the president and more than 70.6 million Americans appear to have voted for him. It’s the second-highest vote total for a president in U.S. history, and more than former President Barack Obama received in 2008. The 74.8 million votes Joe Biden has been credited with thus far in Tuesday’s election stands as the highest vote total. Keep in mind that votes were still being counted Saturday and both totals will change.
Americans have every right to scrutinize election results, and to be skeptical of them in an election such as this, amid a global pandemic, when virtually everything about our lives is slightly off or different from what we remember as normal. Pandemic aside, it would be reasonable to seek answers in these election results – simply because they are so very different in the volume of returns, the expansion of mail-in votes, counting method and tabulations than any election of our time.
Biden, who had run for president three times previously in a 47-year career in politics, who until 2020 never before won the nomination, whose candidacy for this year’s race started in obscurity and proceeded through perhaps the most low-key presidential campaign of the past 70 years, just scored the most votes in U.S. presidential history – more than 4 million more votes than Obama secured 12 years before.
Precincts in some cities are reporting turnout via ballot return or onsite votes cast above 90%. It’s been reported that some precincts have been above 100%, though that’s not verified. There is so much noise on this front that still needs to be reported accurately. Regardless, that should suggest to an objective media that something outside the norm has occurred, and it should be pursued – regardless of how outlandish any individual claim of voter fraud may sound.
The means by which those votes came in, trickling in via mail-in ballots whose counts are equally unprecedented, is new territory for all of us to observe and process amidst the backdrop of COVID-19. Voting and trust in voting protocols may never be the same. I write this from the shadows of Chicago. Voter fraud is not a fairy tale.
The Americans who voted for Trump, who were so enthusiastic about early results Tuesday evening, watched as Trump's lead dripped away in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania because of massive numbers of mail-in ballots. They also watched as Arizona was called for Biden earlier in the night, probably prematurely, in a race that remained open and still was counting ballots as of Saturday.
While the high totals of mail-ins were anticipated, and delays in declaring state winners had been forecasted throughout the campaign, the sheer size and impact of these ballots could not be adequately foretold by the media covering the election.
Therein lies the rub.
You have – at the very least – the optics of a potentially stolen election, and fraud claims from a president whose leads in states critical to his reelection chances diminished by what is arguably the least-secure voting process we’ve ever allowed as a nation.
In the moment when Trump makes this claim to the American people, the networks – acting independently, but in unison – turned off the feed.
This did nothing but disenfranchise voters, stoke divisiveness and ramp up mistrust for the media. It’s absolutely the wrong approach. We should all be fighting for transparency and openness, integrity and truth.
And you cannot get that without allowing what is nearly half of the electorate to hear from their candidate and then determine the relevance of what has been said.
In the jeers and insults hurled each other’s way during the first debate, many more of them authored by Trump than Biden, it was Biden who said, “Will you shut up, man?”
But for media to willfully shut up a seated president, considering all the angst around this election, is reckless and dangerous.
When that silencing is done in what appears to be an act of unison, or comfort within a pack – as was the case Thursday night when the networks dumped the Trump feed – it further feeds the notion that media is a team sport rather than races run by individual, free-thinking journalists.
Americans have a right to hear from the president and the former vice president who may be our next president, uninterrupted, and to consider their words before journalists report on them in whatever way they may choose to interpret the news. Media cutting the cord and then taking the news wherever they’d like is not journalism. It’s censorship. It’s elitist. And it’s wrong.
When media companies say they are sparing their readers or viewers from the news, they’re taking a position that is not theirs to hold. Journalists are not arbiters of the truth. Live-action fact checking is not fact checking. It’s quite literally interference. It’s an attempt to control what is being said rather than reporting on what’s being said.
Look, we’ve watched the frustration that journalists have had in covering the Trump presidency. The flip side of that is that at least 69 million Americans have watched the president’s frustration with the media covering his presidency.
But what is our responsibility as an industry?
I look at it this way: Media silencing a president is a sin as great as – if not greater than – a president attempting to silence the media. Journalists must rise above not being appreciated, liked or respected and do a difficult job that this country needs to be done.
The Center Square
Donald Trump may end up losing the 2020 election in the Electoral College, but he won the campaign that ended on Nov. 3.
Democrats had been talking of a "sweep," a "blowout," a "blue wave" washing the Republicans out of power, capturing the Senate, and bringing in an enlarged Democratic majority in Nancy Pelosi's House.
They visualized the ouster of Trump in a defeat so massive and humiliating that it would serve as an eternal repudiation of the man. And, most intoxicating of all, they believed they would be seen by history as the angels of America's deliverance.
It was not to be.
The American electorate failed to perform its designated role in the establishment's morality play. Indeed, Democrats ended Tuesday night terrified that America had again turned its back on them and preferred Trump to the leaders and agenda they had put forth.
By the campaign's end, Democrats were freezing the ball and running out the clock.
Consider the immense burdens candidate Trump had to carry.
Early in his reelection year, the nation was struck by the worst pandemic in a hundred years that, by Election Day, would kill nearly a quarter of a million Americans and cause an economic collapse to rival the Great Depression.
Trump had to endure daily the near-universal hatred and hostility of the nation's academic, media and cultural elites. How hostile is this city to President Trump?
He lost D.C.'s three electoral votes by a margin of 20-1.
Yet, even so burdened, Trump won 3 million more votes in 2020 than he had in 2016, and, as of midnight on Election Day, he seemed headed for victory in the Electoral College.
Giving the energy and effort he put into his campaign -- a dozen rallies in the last three days -- and the enthusiastic response from the huge crowds, Trump has much to be proud of.
Trump may lose the presidency, but Trumpism was not rejected.
Nor was it repudiated by the people if, by Trumpism, one means "America First" nationalism, securing our borders, using tariffs to bring back our manufacturing base, bidding goodbye to globalism, staying out of unnecessary wars and swearing off ideological crusades.
And if Joe Biden becomes our 46th president, the tenure of office of this visibly frail and enfeebled leader is likely to be among the more abbreviated in American history, and bereft of high achievement.
For Democrats appear to have lost seats in Nancy Pelosi's House, and, instead of sweeping to power in the Senate to make Chuck Schumer the new majority leader, Senate Democrats appear to have gained only a single seat. As of now, Sen. Mitch McConnell is set to be the gatekeeper to any passage of the Biden-Harris and Sanders-AOC agendas.
Good luck getting something enacted that Mitch McConnell doesn't like.
As of today, the 2020 election has restored to Senate Republicans veto power over any and all administration legislation, be it liberal, progressive or socialist. This election may have made McConnell the most powerful congressional leader since Lyndon Johnson.
With McConnell leading a GOP majority, Democrats would be unable to end the filibuster or pack the Supreme Court, and the GOP majority would have the power to kill the Biden tax plan, "Medicare for All" and the "Green New Deal." There will be no statehood and two senators for Puerto Rico or D.C., and no reparations for slavery. Mayors and governors seeking blue state bailouts to avoid defaulting on overdue debts will need McConnell's blessing.
In times past, there was often comity between the parties, or at least an attempt at comity. In mid-August of 1974, after he took office, President Gerald Ford went before Congress to declare: "I do not want a honeymoon with you. I want a good marriage."
It was not to be. And in the ideological divide and poisoned politics of this city, there is little likelihood of compromise -- or even civility.
Biden faces other troubles, too.
The worst of the COVID-19 crisis, in terms of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, may be ahead of us. And Democrats will not be able to blame Trump indefinitely. And if their answer is, as Joe Biden has at times indicated, a national "shutdown," a Biden honeymoon is unlikely to last.
Bottom line: Joe Biden is not going to be the "transformational" president of his imagining. Nor is he going to be the "most progressive president since Roosevelt" as some Democrats have been promising.
And the reasons are obvious.
FDR had massive Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress throughout the 1930s. And he won the presidency in 1932 by capturing 57% of the vote and 42 of the 48 states of the Union. In 1936, he carried 46 of 48 states, losing only Maine and Vermont.
Biden has no such mandate and no such power base, and he lacks the natural gifts of FDR. Sorry, but there is no new "Era of Good Feelings" in store for America. To the contrary.
Patrick J. Buchanan
President Donald Trump on Wednesday began taking legal steps to challenge election counts in certain states, filing a lawsuit against Michigan, intervening in an existing Pennsylvania case and seeking a recount in Wisconsin.
Former Vice President Joe Biden held a 248-214 electoral vote advantage over Trump as of Wednesday afternoon, according to The Associated Press, which called the race in Wisconsin on Wednesday afternoon.
While races in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and North Carolina remain undetermined, Biden said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference that he had a clear path to the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
"When the count is finished, we believe we will be the winners," Biden said.
Biden pulled ahead in Michigan on Wednesday morning after Trump led the state after midnight. Trump still led in Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon, but that lead was shrinking.
At issue in both states was mail-in ballots.
"This is the most important election of our lifetime, and President Trump made clear our path forward last night: ensure the integrity of this election for the good of the nation," Justin Clark, Trump 2020 deputy campaign manager, said in a statement.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said Wednesday morning that hundreds of thousands of votes still need to be counted but officials hoped to finish by the end of the day. With 99 percent of the vote counted in Michigan, Biden led by about 60,000 votes, or about 1 percent.
But Bill Stepien, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, said the campaign hasn't been given access to all counting sites in Michigan, so it filed suit to halt the count.
“President Trump’s campaign has not been provided with meaningful access to numerous counting locations to observe the opening of ballots and the counting process, as guaranteed by Michigan law," Stepien said. "We have filed suit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to halt counting until meaningful access has been granted. We also demand to review those ballots which were opened and counted while we did not have meaningful access. President Trump is committed to ensuring that all legal votes are counted in Michigan and everywhere else.”
In Pennsylvania, predictions that it might take the Keystone State several days to sort through an unprecedented number of absentee ballots appeared to be coming true.
Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, the state's top election official, said Wednesday that the state still needed to count 1.3 million mail-in ballots, out of 2.6 million that were sent in by voters.
Trump still had a sizable lead in Pennsylvania on Wednesday afternoon, with a margin of more than 315,000 votes, giving him a 52-47% advantage. But onlookers noted that the mail-in ballots that had been counted so far were favoring Biden by a margin that, if it held up, would allow the Pennsylvania native to catch up to and surpass the president and claim the state's 20 electoral votes, which would be devastating to Trump's chances at reelection.
Trump's campaign said Boockvar, in collusion with the state Supreme Court, illegally allowed for mail-in votes to arrive and be counted well after the election.
"The United States Constitution is clear on this issue: the legislature sets the time, place, and manner of elections in America, not state courts or executive officials," Clark said. "As the President has rightly said, the [U.S.] Supreme Court must resolve this crucial contested legal question, so President Trump’s campaign is moving to intervene in the existing Supreme Court litigation over the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s unlawful extension of the mail-in ballot receipt deadline."
The campaign said the law was on the president’s side: "as the Eighth Circuit just said, to change the ballot receipt deadline is in fact a change of the time, place, and manner of the election – and only a state legislature or the United States Congress can do that under the Constitution."
The Trump campaign also said it will sue the state of Pennsylvania to, similar to the case in Michigan, "stop Democrat election officials from hiding the ballot counting and processing from our Republican poll observers – observers whose only job is to make sure every valid ballot is counted, and counted once."
In Wisconsin, with 99 percent of the vote counted, Biden led Trump by about 20,000 votes, enough for The Associated Press and other media outlets to call the race there.
Trump's campaign team said it would seek an immediate recount in the state after claiming irregularities with the vote count.
"Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been razor thin as we always knew it would be," Stepien said in a statement. "There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubt about the validity of the results. The President is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so."
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said about 200,000 absentee ballots remained to be counted and the state hoped to have those done this afternoon.
In North Carolina, between 100,000 to 200,000 absentee ballots still needed to be counted.
Votes in Nevada, an expected Biden win, and Alaska, an expected Trump win, were also still being counted Wednesday and no winner has been declared in either state.
If the contests in Nevada (6 electoral votes) and Alaska (3) finish as predicted and Trump wins in the states he's currently leading in, including Pennsylvania, the president likely still needs to win in Michigan to be reelected or win a recount in Wisconsin.
Trump so far has been declared the winner in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Biden won Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The Center Square
Mr President, why would the Governor of Pennsylvania and AG say that when the “after 11/3 mail in ballots” are counted, Biden will definitely win? What do they know that we do not?
Don’t you know, that as the President it’s your responsibility to ensure that all the ballots counted are legit and legal and not counterfeit? Let me ask you this…would George Soros, who owns vote counting manufacturing businesses, counterfeit ballots and provide them to Democrat workers who are as honest as Donna Brazil to be filled in and delivered for counting?
It’s the FBI‘s responsibility to investigate voter fraud. Direct AG Barr to prepare a generic search warrants for all those polling centers, in all those States that are in play, that are counting mail in votes . The purpose to confiscate/take custody of all mailed in votes to protect the evidence and for forensic examination to determine authenticity, legality and whether or not there is voter fraud. Order FBI Wray to immediately send Agents to all those State vote counting locations to protect those ballot after they are counted!
Do you not believe that these people are capable of destroying ballots, accidentally, after counting?
If Hillary could order 33,000 emails,that were under subpoena, destroyed…don’t you think they would destroy ballots? Remember she told Biden never to throw in the towel after 11/3! Wait until all votes are counted…wait for all the Soros votes are counted, my words.
Look at it this way…what the hell do you have to lose… if they declare Biden the “mail in” elected President? If you don’t have those ballots…you have nothing!
Most of the of the 11/3, in person votes were for you but 75% of the millions of mail in were for Biden?
I do not believe that’s even, honestly, possible!
J.Gary DiLaura FBI RED
Retired, Extremely Dangerous
The candidates have campaigned for months, the last of a record number of voters will cast their ballots across the nation Tuesday and the 2020 election will be over but for the counting.
And, of course, the litigating.
Florida, again, is among the states most likely to have litigative-contested results after Tuesday’s election, according to University of California-Irvine political science professor Richard Hasen’s annual pre-election projections of post-election chaos.
Because of the state’s decade-long familiarity with mail-in ballot processing, expansive early voting opportunities and law that allows local elections supervisors to count ballots as they are received, any issues Florida encounters Tuesday likely will be because of razor-thin margins, not technical, legal or administrative failures.
Nearly 9 million of the state’s 14.44 million registered voters had cast ballots through Sunday, according to the Florida Division of Elections (FDOE). As many as 3 million Floridians are expected to cast ballots Tuesday.
The national Democratic and Republican parties are not investing heavily in efforts to avert or prepare for recounts, which state law automatically triggers if final margins between candidates are within a half-percent or less when certified Saturday.
Democratic challenger Joe Biden’s campaign has 4,000 lawyers on standby or already working in Florida, it assured the 13 Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation last month.
The Democratic National Committee’s leading election lawyer, Marc Elias, who is has litigated many cases in Florida, already is on attack in jurisdictions nationwide over alleged GOP voter suppression.
State Democrats, the Biden campaign and Common Cause Florida have trained volunteers to watch for evidence of voter suppression.
Of the 2,500 people Common Cause has trained to monitor polls nationwide, about 1,000 will be deployed to Florida.
“We are deploying our poll monitors in 25 major counties, but we are covering most of the state, probably 55 counties (of the 67), with smaller groups of folks who are those enthusiastic volunteers who want to do something this election cycle,” Common Cause Florida Chairperson Liza McClenaghan said.
Florida Republicans also have trained “hundreds” of attorneys and volunteers to serve as poll watchers who will observe Tuesday’s vote at poll sites and canvassing boards where votes are counted and will monitor legal developments, state party spokesperson Alia Faraj said.
“Our efforts include ensuring that supervisors of elections are following the law and observing and documenting any potential fraud or irregularities that could impact the election,” Faraj said. “Our top priority remains ensuring that every legal vote is counted, that no voter is disenfranchised, and that voters understand election laws and procedures.”
At least one potential lawsuit already has surfaced. State Voices Florida, a nonprofit group that promotes voting and civic engagement, said last at least 21,000 mail-in ballots had been rejected because of issues such as new addresses and mismatched signatures.
Voters can “cure” these problems but only if they are made aware of whatever mistake they need to remedy, State Voices Florida Executive Director Juanica Fernandes said.
“This leaves a voter without an opportunity to have their voice heard, and that’s not acceptable,” she said. “What’s happening is they are not counting the ballots at all.”
On the last days of the 2020 campaign, President Donald Trump was holding four and five rallies a day in battleground states, drawing thousands upon thousands of loyalists to every one.
Waiting for hours, sometimes in the cold, to cheer their champion on, these rallygoers love Trump as few presidents have been loved. This writer cannot recall a president and campaign that brought out so many and such massive crowds of admirers in its closing days.
And who are these cheering, chanting loyalists who have brought their children out with them to see and remember "the great Trump" -- in the eyes of our dispossessed elites?
They are people who belong in a "basket of deplorables," sneered Hillary Clinton: "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic" bigots, and a sub-species of humanity that is "irredeemable."
Today's election is an us-versus-them choice unlike any other, for the issues in dispute are broader and deeper than ever before.
And those issues raise questions: No matter who wins, can this nation come together again? And if it cannot -- a real possibility -- what form will America take as it disintegrates?
Even as voters were mailing in ballots in the millions, stores in our great cities were being boarded up against rioters, looters and arsonists.
Suburban residents, fearful that the urban mobs may one day be coming for them, were stockpiling guns and ammunition.
How divided are we?
The New York Times "Sunday Review" devoted its entire section to Donald Trump, as seen from the eyes of its columnists. On the cover page of the Review ran the headline, "All 15 of our columnists explain what the past four years have cost America, and what's at stake in this election."
Each of the 15 trashed Trump from his or her perspective.
Since World War II, America has held elections where the country seemed at sword's point. Not all were like 1960, where scholar Arthur Schlesinger Jr., felt compelled to write the book, "Kennedy or Nixon: Does It Make Any Difference?"
Schlesinger felt he had to explain that despite the similarity of the candidates, both in their 40s, it made a difference who was elected.
Yet, even after the most divisive elections of the post-war era -- 1952 and 1968 -- the country pulled back together. President Dwight Eisenhower, from 1952 to 1956, and Richard Nixon, from 1968 to 1972, restored unity to the nation during their first terms by ending the Asian wars into which their predecessors had taken the nation.
New leadership ended the wars and brought the United States together.
The difference today?
Americans are not divided over war. One of Trump's successes has been to keep us out of new wars, even if he has not yet extracted us from the wars he inherited.
Today, we are divided over ideology, morality, culture, race and history. We are divided over whether America is the great nation we were raised to revere and love or a nation born in great sins and crimes -- such as the near annihilation of indigenous peoples and their cultures and the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Black peoples from Africa.
Are we the nation of 1776 and 1789, or the nation of 1619, whose institutions are still infected with the "systemic racism" of our birth?
In this divided country, at times, Americans seem to detest each other.
Indeed, if the United States did not exist as one nation, would this diverse people ever agree to form a compact to come together, or would we seek to retain our separate identities?
In tearing down the statues of explorers such as Christopher Columbus or the Founding Fathers and their successor presidents, from Andrew Jackson to Abraham Lincoln to Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the contempt for the country these men helped to bring into being, and for what this country stands for today, is manifest.
A significant slice of America's young believes that the nation to which they belong was detestable from its birth, and that the Western civilization from which it sprang is not worth saving.
In his farewell address, President Ronald Reagan spoke of the America where he was raised and which he cherished:
The hope of human freedom -- the quest for it, the achievement of it -- is the American saga. And I've often recalled one group of early settlers making a treacherous crossing of the Atlantic on a small ship when their leader, a minister, noted that perhaps their venture would fail and they would become a byword, a footnote to history. But perhaps, too, with God's help, they might also found a new world, a city upon a hill, a light unto the nations."
(In this election we will see, just) How many Americans still believe what Reagan believed?
Patrick J. Buchanan
Last month, Americans had their final chance before the election to listen to the presidential candidates present their competing visions for the country. This debate was much better. And, the differences should now be clear.
Fighting COVID-19 provided President Donald Trump the opportunity to point out that former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden's administration left us with little capacity to deal with a pandemic. While Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were calling Trump racist, he closed down travel from China, which clearly saved American lives.
While New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was sending nursing-home residents infected with SARS-CoV-2 back to infect other residents/family members, Trump was sending a ship to New York to reduce the burden on hospitals and rallying American companies to supply the needed surge in personal protective equipment and medical supplies. The sad reality is that people die in a pandemic. But Trump's early action clearly saved lives. The vaccine is on its way, and the economic damage done through good intentions must be negated by an active, robust economy going forward.
American families will be better off under a Trump administration.
A Stanford University study released this week revealed that the policy that would be implemented if Biden and Kamala Harris are elected would result in a $6,500 drop in
median household income, with 4.9 million fewer jobs. Their plan is so egregious that rapper-actor 50 Cent has endorsed Trump. He understands that a vote for Biden-Harris is a vote for a 62% tax rate in New York.
Trump's focus on law and order is also better for families. To build a prosperous family, you must be able to work, shop for groceries and get gas without being afraid that you will be a victim of violence. In contrast, rioters and looters who destroy businesses hurt entrepreneurs and the ability of workers to provide for their families.
His detractors label him as racist, but actions speak louder than words.... Trump has delivered real results for blacks, just as he has for all Americans. Trump signed the First Step Act, funded historically black colleges and universities, and created Opportunity Zones. The historic growth in jobs that occurred under Trump's administration fueled a sharp increase in minority employment. Meanwhile, Biden is focused on pitting racial groups against one another as Trump is focused on providing opportunity for all, regardless of race.
Under Trump's leadership this year, the Great Outdoors Act was signed into law, an accomplishment that none of the last five presidents had been able to achieve. It provides permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. A Biden-Harris administration would pass the Green New Deal, which is job-killing legislation. The Democrats base this on a false choice that we can have either a good economy or a better environment. Trump understands that American ingenuity -- through innovation and tax incentives -- will allow both to happen.
National security is a topic where Trump stands ahead of Biden. He puts America and Americans first, negotiating with other countries to get the best deal for the American people. This stands in stark contrast with the Obama-Biden administration, which started off with an apology tour and was consistent in blaming America first.
As for leadership, while others will focus on Trump's tweets, comments and personal abrasiveness, the contrast is unmistakable. While Biden-Harris might appear to have good motives, their policies are inadequate, ill-conceived and mistaken. Based on the Stanford report, their policies would result in a greatly reduced America. Biden has been in politics ...... leading for 47 years; he has had his chance -- and he has failed.
Trump's leadership has yielded real results in a short time. A Gallup poll last week noted that 56% of Americans said they were better off today than they were four years ago. While the news media
focuses on divisiveness, Americans understand that shared values hold us together as a nation; that freedom allows us as individuals to make our own choices; that we have the right to speak freely about our beliefs and the right to vote for the person we believe will be best for our country.
The choice is between Trump, who has confidence in the American people and the foundation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and Biden, who believes we will be better off if we cede more control to the government.
Trump understands that confidence is contagious. America is not perfect, but it's the safest, freest, most prosperous nation in the world. Immigrants rush to come into our country, not because we are an evil place with systemic problems but because we believe people have the right to chase their dreams as they see fit, in an environment based on the rule of law, freedom, liberty and a respect for individuals.
In the first months of President Donald Trump's presidency, the briefing room was standing room only. Around the room's 49 assigned seats for the press, with the front rows reserved for big media, reporters with smaller news outfits jostled for space and a chance to pose a question of then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Playboy's Brian Karem named those of us standing in the sidelines "the aisle people."
Trump was a full employment act for political journalists. Networks and newspapers couldn't get enough of a story that sold itself to news consumers. Trump himself has been more accessible to the press corps than predecessors who had nicer things to say about the Fifth Estate.
Three press secretaries later, the briefings have come to a standstill. What used to be a must-see spectacle has evaporated. Blame it on the coronavirus and Trump's idiosyncratic mandates.
Trump and Kayleigh McEnany, his fourth press secretary, both tested positive in early October, which made briefings untenable. After McEnany was able to return to work, she was focused on the campaign trail. There hasn't been a press briefing in about a month.
Not a first. Trump's third press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, did not preside over a regular briefing where she took questions during the nine months she held the prestigious post.
Enter the White House Coronavirus Task Force that brought energy and new characters to the Trump Show -- with Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx informing the public about a pandemic that required Americans to do things -- socially distance, stop working and stay home -- that went against their instincts.
They had a different approach than Trump, which added dramatic tension.
Partisans fault Trump for not taking extreme shutdown measures in January or February. They forget how skeptical many Americans were, that many blue state governors hesitated to close nonessential businesses and that local officials generally had a better sense of what they needed to do and could accomplish.
After taking the job in April, McEnany brought back the back-and-forth, but also COVID-19 changed how the administration communicated with the people.
The briefings got smaller because the White House Correspondents' Association, more concerned about the health and safety of its members than the White House was about its staff, worked out a plan that strictly limited who should work in the press area and when. The WHCA set up a rotation schedule for 14 seats, banned reporters standing in the aisles and discouraged members from working at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. unless they were in the press pool or had their turn in one of the 14 seats.
The new order worked well for folks such as me. To her credit, McEnany tried to call on everyone in the room -- not just the front rows - and that provided chances to ask questions about Las Vegas and an administration decision to deny Paycheck Protection Program funds to small casinos, which the administration revoked.
At the same time, The Washington Post and The New York Times stopped sending reporters to briefings -- despite journalists' designation as essential workers. Not a coincidence: The left wing had begun to call for journalists to boycott White House events during an election.
Where does it go from here?
If Joe Biden wins this week, the briefing room will be back in business and big media likely will flock to the center of power to lob softballs at the new president and his new press secretary.
But given Biden's limited press availability during the campaign, the often fawning questions directed at the Democratic nominee and his team's quickness to shut down any reportage on Hunter Biden's cashing in on his father's connections, the result could be more civility but less information.
If Trump wins, he will be governing in a shrinking bubble.
The 45th president doesn't talk to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He berates former stars in his White House team. Then he retreats to the warm embrace of his rallies rather than find a way to bridge divides. Is the now empty briefing room a metaphor for the Trump presidency? Figure it wouldn't happen to any other president.
Debra J. Saunders
When it comes to achieving confirmation of conservative judges, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has good reason to be "tooting (his) own horn."
The Kentucky Republican admitted that's what he was doing when telling the New York Times on Tuesday that the judicial confirmations in a polarized Washington, especially those of three Supreme Court justices in less than four years, were more "consequential" than the accomplishments of any other majority leader. If he isn't right about that, he is close.
The raw numbers don't lie, and they tell much of the story. Indeed, the more numbers one peruses, the more impressive McConnell's record looks. Through Oct. 27 of a first term, no president has secured more judicial confirmations than the 220 confirmed for Donald Trump under McConnell's Senate leadership. (George W. Bush and Bill Clinton tie for second at 203.) More impressive still, 53 of those appointees were for the crucial federal courts of appeal. That's 11 and 18 more, or 20-30% more, than the next two highest, the elder and younger Bushes.
Then, there are the three Supreme Court justices, all of the highest professional qualifications, all pushed through with narrow majorities under difficult circumstances.
Those difficult circumstances are not only quantifiable but astonishing. Never in U.S. history has the minority party in the Senate gone to such extreme procedural lengths to block the confirmation of judicial nominees. Again and again, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's Democrats have forced lengthy debate and used procedural hurdles against even noncontroversial nominees, gumming up the works in the Senate in piques of sheer spite.
For 214 years, all but the most divisive nominees advanced to a final floor vote without even a threat of a filibuster, with no need for "cloture" votes to overcome minority opposition. Only one cloture vote was required for any of President Ronald Reagan's judicial nominees, one for the elder Bush, one for Clinton. Until the Trump term, the record for judicial cloture votes was 13. Schumer, though, has forced McConnell to take 174 cloture votes -- yes, 174, or more than 13 times as many as the prior record! -- in order even to allow final votes on Trump's nominees.
Still, McConnell persisted.
And McConnell won. He won for two years, with a mere 51-49 Republican majority, and for two more, with just 53-47. And he won for good reason: These nominees were outstanding. As the Congressional Research Service has shown, and as even liberal judicial analysts have admitted, the percentage of judges appointed by Trump and confirmed under McConnell earning "well qualified" ratings even from the hostile American Bar Association has been at the very top end of all presidencies.
Under the original constitutional design, courts and judges were not meant to be as consequential as they are today. Nonetheless, after 100 years of liberal judicial activism, judges effectively set the parameters for a large host of divisive social and economic issues. It is thus of tremendous importance for the courts to be seeded with judges who are willing to stay in their lanes, as it were -- judges willing to set aside their own policy preferences and instead be bound by the original public meaning of the actual text of the Constitution and laws they apply. In almost all cases, that's what the Trump-McConnell judges are doing.
The result will be an appropriate rebalancing of American government with elective branches or clear constitutional text, not hazy notions of some cosmic justice, predominating.
Against leftist Democratic obstructionism (and, oft-times, smears), it is quite an accomplishment for McConnell to have held his focus and his colleagues together to confirm 220 such judges, including Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. But McConnell needs not toot his own horn because constitutionalists will be tooting it for him.
The Washington Examiner
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