Patterico's Pontifications


Throwback Thursday: Remember That RIGGED Al Franken Election?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:19 pm

In our headlong rush to make Donald Trump get in a time machine and declare that next month’s election “was” fair — even though it hasn’t happened yet — we all might do well to remember some history that has happened: Al Franken’s 2008 Senate race, won by 312 illegal votes — all of them, and more, illegally cast.

This August 2012 piece from Byron York makes for an enjoyable if infuriating read these days.

In the ’08 campaign, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman was running for re-election against Democrat Al Franken. It was impossibly close; on the morning after the election, after 2.9 million people had voted, Coleman led Franken by 725 votes.

Franken and his Democratic allies dispatched an army of lawyers to challenge the results. After the first canvass, Coleman’s lead was down to 206 votes. That was followed by months of wrangling and litigation. In the end, Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes. He was sworn into office in July 2009, eight months after the election.

During the controversy a conservative group called Minnesota Majority began to look into claims of voter fraud. Comparing criminal records with voting rolls, the group identified 1,099 felons — all ineligible to vote — who had voted in the Franken-Coleman race.

Minnesota Majority took the information to prosecutors across the state, many of whom showed no interest in pursuing it. But Minnesota law requires authorities to investigate such leads. And so far, Fund and von Spakovsky report, 177 people have been convicted — not just accused, but convicted — of voting fraudulently in the Senate race. Another 66 are awaiting trial. “The numbers aren’t greater,” the authors say, “because the standard for convicting someone of voter fraud in Minnesota is that they must have been both ineligible, and ‘knowingly’ voted unlawfully.” The accused can get off by claiming not to have known they did anything wrong.

Still, that’s a total of 243 people either convicted of voter fraud or awaiting trial in an election that was decided by 312 votes.

But it’s not like felons would overwhelmingly vote Democrat, is it? (Yes, that’s a joke.)

Now: felons are probably not going to be enough to throw this presidential election. Even widespread voter fraud would be unlikely to change the results of this election. Trump looks like he is headed for a historic defeat.

But . . .

But you never know.

WARNING: DIGRESSION! And in addition to felons, there is another large group of potential illegal voters out there: illegal immigrants. I wrote about this potential problem back in 2008 here:

We have gotten about 500,000 new illegal immigrants per year every year since 2004; from 2000-2004 this number was even higher, ranging from 800,000 to 850,000 new illegals every year.

We all know that these illegals do much of what citizens do: drive, work, receive health care, etc.

Many do these things off the books, driving without licenses and working without documentation. But many others do these things with phony documentation, obtaining fraudulent licenses and filling out work papers with bogus information.

Why wouldn’t they vote, too?

Of course, I’m not sure where I might have gotten the idea that illegal immigrants might be motivated to vote against Donald Trump . . .



Oh. Right.

But surely Democrats would never encourage people they believed to be illegal immigrants to vote in federal elections, right? Well . . . um . . . James O’Keefe caught Democrats on camera doing exactly that in 2014.

END DIGRESSION! Anyway, getting back to Al Franken: his 2008 Senate race, like the 2000 presidential election, shows that very important political races can come down to a handful of votes. Democrats always have the advantage in those situations, because people who would vote illegally — like felons or illegal aliens — tend to vote Democrat. So voter fraud always benefits Democrats.

No wonder Democrats want the Republican candidate to declare fraud is not a problem before we even hold the election.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Ted Cruz Should Have Been the One Debating Hillary Clinton Last Night

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:30 pm

Chris Wallace, who has received all sorts of (in my view largely unmerited) accolades for his performance last night, began the debate with one of the dumbest questions I have heard this election cycle:

First of all, where do you want to see the court take the country? And secondly, what’s your view on how the constitution should be interpreted? Do the founders’ words mean what they say or is it a living document to be applied flexibly, according to changing circumstances? In this segment, secretary Clinton, you go first. You have two minutes.

Think about that for a moment. Chris Wallace asks the candidates where they want the Supreme Court to “take the country.” But it’s not the Supreme Court’s job to take the country anywhere!

For a constitutional conservative, this was a hanging curveball over the fat part of home plate. Trump should have been able to knock it out of the park! So what does the bumbling Donald Trump do with it instead? Well, because everything is about him, he immediately thinks about the time one of the justices insulted him personally:

Well, first of all, it’s so great to be with you and thank you, everybody. The Supreme Court, it is what it is all about. Our country is so, so, it is just so imperative that we have the right justices. Something happened recently where Justice Ginsburg made some very inappropriate statements toward me and toward a tremendous number of people. Many, many millions of people that I represent and she was forced to apologize. And apologize she did. But these were statements that should never, ever have been made.

This pathetic and predictably narcissistic answer got me thinking: how would the debate have gone if Ted Cruz been on stage instead of Donald Trump?

He would have let Hillary Clinton have it dozens of times. He would have explained the O’Keefe videos in a pithy way, and tied them to Hillary effectively. He would have had a mastery of the details of the Wikileaks revelations, and hit her hard on that too.

And how might he have answered Wallaces’s little softball question about the Court? I imagine it might have gone a little something like this:

Thank you, Chris, and thank you to UNLV and everyone who took part in hosting this debate. It’s great to be here.

Chris, it’s not the job of the Supreme Court to “take the country” anywhere. It is the job of Congress to pass laws, and the job of the Court to interpret them according to the plain meaning of the words. If the Court followed that simple mandate, it would not be “taking the country” anywhere. It would be interpreting the law, which is its only function.

But Chris, I understand why you think it’s the Court’s job to “take the country” places, because far too often, that’s what the court does: ignore plain meaning and founding principles in favor of instituting the policy preferences of its elite members.

For example, in their Obamacare decisions, this handful of unelected judges rewrote the text of Obamacare twice in order to impose that failed law upon millions of Americans.

The first time, the court ignored federal law and magically transformed a statutory penalty into a tax. The second time, these robed Houdinis transmogrified a federal exchange into a exchange “established by the state.”

This is lawless conduct. Justice Scalia said, “we should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” and I agree.

Unelected judges have become legislators — and bad ones at that. They are lawless and they hide their prevarication in legalese. Our government was designed to be one of laws, not of men, and the transparent distortions of the court are disgraceful.

These justices are not behaving as umpires calling balls and strikes. They have joined a team, and it’s a team that’s hurting Americans across this country.

If those justices want to become legislators I invite them to resign and run for office. That’s the appropriate place to write laws: on the floor of Congress — not from that courtroom. And if you elect Hillary Clinton, you’ll just get more of the same leftist and elitist arrogance.

Ted Cruz would have wiped the floor with Hillary Clinton.

OK, I have to confess: I’m not imagining Ted Cruz saying those words, so much as I’m repeating Ted Cruz’s words. Virtually everything you just read is a quote or very close paraphrase of things Ted Cruz has already said. You can read much of it here.

Why do I bring this up? Because, pretty soon, after Trump loses, we’re going to have to reassess where this party has been and where it’s going, and answer the question: What do we do next?

And, I don’t know. Somehow, I think this little mental exercise I just took us through . . . it feels relevant to that question.

Don’t you think?

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

Megyn Kelly Neatly Slices And Dices Donna Brazile

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:06 pm

[guest post by Dana]

After the debate last night, Megyn Kelly was relentless in confronting current Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile about the damning videos released by James O’Keefe this week, and the Wikileaks revelation that Brazile tipped off the Clinton campaign about a specific question ahead of an upcoming townhall debate when she was a political contributor at CNN. Brazile desperately sought to deflect the truth blows being lobbed at her by Kelly, whining that she, a “Christian woman,” was being “persecuted” by the tenacious Kelly. It is a delicious demonstration of a reporter determined to do the work that reporters are supposed to do. It is the antithesis of the many mainstream journalists who let their own craven ambitions and personal politics determine what they will say and how hard they will press.

In a follow-up to Megyn Kelly’s evisceration, Brazile was again confronted a by another ballsy reporter. This time, Jordan Chariton with the Young Turks, pushes Brazile on the issue of the leaked question. The look of utter disbelief and disgust on his face at the 2:19 mark is priceless. I can’t embed the video, but definitely watch it at the link.

In a depressing election, it’s great two see two determined journalists forcefully pushing back on the DNC company line and the obvious untruths they are being fed. Letting nothing prevent them from doing their due diligence, Kelly and Chariton provide American voters a golden opportunity to catch a glimpse of the level of dishonesty and corruption at the top of the DNC.


Another Fact-Check from Our Media Betters

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:02 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In the aftermath of last night’s lamentable debate, the sophisticated Eastern Corridor media has assumed their sacred role of fact-checkers, assuring us that while the Dem candidate sometimes shades the truth or jumbles her facts, the GOP candidate is an inveterate liar who invents facts wholesale. Comes now [I stole that from the late William Safire, I think] one Brooke Baldwin of CNN, who last came to our attention when she declared that the Baltimore riots were fueled by returning veterans (presumably working as cops) who have a hankering for shooting up communities in which they have no emotional investment. Earlier this week (in fact, before the debate), Ms. Baldwin put her ignorance of the legislative branch of our government on full display, in a vain effort to criticize the GOP nominee:

So Ms. Baldwin is under the impression that members of Congress are already subject to term limits, which in her eyes makes the GOP nominee’s call for a Constitutional Amendment superfluous and dumb. Note her snide exclamation, “Correct me — there already are term limits for members of Congress, so what does he mean?” Watch her roll her eyes as she forthrightly exposes the ignorance of the GOP nominee who doesn’t know the first thing about civics and actually seems to believe that some elected politicians spend decades mucking about Capitol Hill. How difficult it must be for Brooke Baldwin to suffer these fools who are nominated for the Presidency!

Once Ms. Baldwin makes her declaration that Congress is already subject to term limits, check out the two men staring dumbly into the camera with their vapid TV grins affixed to their mugs. It’s up to CNN political analyst Dana Bash who seems to give a slight “oh shit: I can’t believe she said that” head-bob before gingerly trying to set her colleague straight:

“Right. Well, there’s term limits on the Presidency of course, and one of the big debates for some time has been whether or not the fact that there are no term limits in Congress — whether that helps to breed corruption because it breeds a whole industry of lobbyists. . . .”

If you watch Ms. Baldwin during this exchange you can sort of detect the moment when it dawns upon her that she is completely wrong. She manages to maintain her poker face throughout the Ms. Bash’s response, but at one point she departs from staring into the camera in order to look down at her notes. Wouldn’t you love to know what a producer might have been saying into her earpiece during those moments? The video ends at that point and I don’t care about this to track down how the rest of the segment played out. Ms. Baldwin, to my knowledge, has not publicly addressed the issue, but she is being lit up on Twitter. Behold a sampling of some tweets she has received in response to a tweet of hers in which she discusses bumping into GOP campaign manager Steve Bannon on a recent flight:


Here’s a huge surprise: outside of the usual suspects in right-wing media, no traditional outlets seem to care that a CNN political host is so substantively wrong on what is a pretty well-known fact. I agree with Patterico and Dana that this election is probably lost, and now we’re going to have to deal with an insufferable media that believes that it has performed some special service to the republic by putting their thumbs on the scale of the election coverage. I’m afraid that things just get worse from here on in.


Guess Who Else Refused to Accept the Results of a Presidential Election?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 am

Americans face a stunning situation this morning: a presidential candidate who refuses to accept the results of a presidential election.

I’m speaking, of course, of Hillary Clinton.

As Jim Geraghty notes in National Review this morning, Hillary told fundraisers in 2002 that George W. Bush was “selected, not elected” in 2000.

If that phrase sounds familiar, it’s because it’s been a recurring theme for Democrats for almost 16 years now. It’s a mantra that has been repeated by everyone from Joe Biden (who said Al Gore “was elected president of the United States of America”) to Jimmy Carter (who said there is “no doubt in my mind that Gore won the election”) to Jonathan Chait (who wrote a piece titled “Yes, Bush v. Gore Did Steal the Election”).

Yes, Democrats have been rewriting the 2000 election for years, saying that Al Gore really won. But until the last 12 hours or so, I never heard their new revisionist history: that Al Gore in fact graciously surrendered power. The very same Chait who still alleges fraud in 2000 is claiming that Al Gore conceded, end of story:

Um, no.

Here’s what actually happened: news media called the election for Gore about an hour before polls closed in Florida, depressing turnout of the Republican vote in the panhandle, which was in a different time zone and heavily populated by Bush voters. Then the media retracted their call and very late that night awarded the contest to Bush. Gore called Bush and conceded.

Then he retracted it.

After automatic machine recounts showed Bush still winning, Gore sought manual recounts. But despite his rhetoric about “counting every vote,” Gore did not ask for a statewide recount of all votes, but a recount only in four Democratic counties that were more likely to favor him. As recounts proceeded, shenanigans were happening in these Democrat-controlled counties, with standards shifting constantly in ways that benefited Gore. Here’s a passage from the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore:

As seems to have been acknowledged at oral argument, the standards for accepting or rejecting contested ballots might vary not only from county to county but indeed within a single county from one recount team to another.

The record provides some examples. A monitor in Miami-Dade County testified at trial that he observed that three members of the county canvassing board applied different standards in defining a legal vote. 3 Tr. 497, 499 (Dec. 3, 2000). And testimony at trial also revealed that at least one county changed its evaluative standards during the counting process. Palm Beach County, for example, began the process with a 1990 guideline which precluded counting completely attached chads, switched to a rule that considered a vote to be legal if any light could be seen through a chad, changed back to the 1990 rule, and then abandoned any pretense of a per se rule, only to have a court order that the county consider dimpled chads legal.

It was chaos, and utterly . . . rigged. Yes, that term is a fair description of what Al Gore tried to do. He tried to steal the election, by having selective recounts and supporting an absurd and partisan “counting” process . . . and failed.

Ultimately, Gore conceded when he had to, and not one second before. And, as Sean Davis from The Federalist notes, Gore grudgingly conceded only the “finality” of the outcome while still disputing the correctness of the Supreme Court’s decision. And he spent years implying that he had really won. I watched him do it, on talk shows and in other appearances.

And Hillary Clinton pushed that same line, too. Which makes it ironic that she is getting on her high horse about Trump’s refusal to validate the fairness of an election that hasn’t even happened yet. An election where James O’Keefe has revealed Democrats acknowledging Democrat voter fraud, and inciting violence and pretending it resulted from “spontaneous” demonstrations . . . that DNC officials linked to Hillary actually orchestrated. An election where the DNC put its thumb on the scales for Hillary in the primaries. An election against a party, the Democrats, with a long and storied history of stealing elections, from LBJ’s first Senate race to JFK in 1960 to Al Gore’s attempt in 2000 to Hillary’s nomination this year.

Trump is wrong to claim that the vote counting process is rigged against him. He has no evidence of that. But he is not wrong to refuse to agree to concede the fairness of an election that has not even occurred.

And Hillary Clinton is wrong to refuse to concede the fairness of an election that did occur.

But good luck reading any of this anywhere but conservative blogs.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]

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