by Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV
The United States corporate-dominated media has found that the easiest way to shape news coverage on the scores of legal challenges to the 2020 presidential election is to only report on them when the cases have lost.
After all, the more newspaper inches given to objective discussions of widespread voter fraud allegations equals the more chances an average American starts to think the election was rigged. This theory presumes that the average American is so docile and programmable that they have already completely forgotten the mainstream claims which dominated the previous four years: that the election was rigged (by Vladimir Putin).
Not reporting until a court rejects an integrity challenge also allows for a superior “I-knew-it-all-along” tone, combined with open accusations of lunacy on the part of the aggrieved party.
More than a month after the vote the party (Republicans) remains tremendously aggrieved: top pollster Gallup just reported that 83% of Republicans say that reports of Biden being the president-elect are not “accurate”. Yes, it’s an oddly-worded poll, but so many US wordsmiths have been purposely opaque since election day.
It’s always been easy to roll one’s eyes at the smug tone because such condescension will drop to the ground lack a bag of bricks with just one Supreme Court loss, after all.
Yes, the widespread US belief prior to November 3, 2020, was that their elections were poorly designed, poorly funded, poorly run, poorly counted and porous in many other ways besides, but I always thought the biggest post-election day challenge would be over the exact issue which has led to the totally unprecedented situation of states suing other states over accusations of ruining the election’s integrity:
Texas – now joined by Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas – is suing the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Wisconsin over mail-in ballots.
I’ll show that the US Constitution makes it clear their case should at least be heard by the Supreme Court. The state-on-state nature already takes the case directly to the top.
The Supreme Court always had to rule on the unprecedented expansion of mail-in balloting
What’s so interesting about “democracy with US characteristics” is how the nine justices of the Supreme Court are allowed to be so very, very removed from US society. They debate in private, they grant media interviews very rarely, they don’t have to say much in court (Justice Clarence Thomas went from 2006 to 2016 without publicly asking a question), nor do they even have to give public reasons for many of the momentous decisions they make (they just rejected a key vote fraud case in Pennsylvania with one sentence, but more accurately only one word: “denied”). It’s not the Holy See of Rome, but it’s close.
But it’s not close regarding the holiness, because what this unaccountable and unelected regime of nine holds sacred is merely the 18th century US Constitution, something which is currently losing lustre worldwide by the minute.
Some, not all, of these justices are Wahhabi-like in their insistence that the document is “dead” (and perfect in its deadness), in that it must be followed both to the letter and in the spirt of the bygone (allegedly golden) age in which it was written.
Given this ideological reality doesn’t it seem clear that executive branch orders by some governors, or even just their secretaries of state, to massively and controversially flood their states with mail-in ballots violated the US Constitution – even if these actions were approved by some in the judicial branch – because they often did not get legislative branch approval? Article 1, Section 4 of the US Constitution states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature …”
Texas’ lawsuit thus asserts: “The four states exploited the COVID-19 pandemic to justify ignoring federal and state election laws and unlawfully enacting last-minute changes, thus skewing the results of the 2020 General Election. The battleground states flooded their people with unlawful ballot applications and ballots while ignoring statutory requirements as to how they were received, evaluated and counted.” The suit claims the vote in Texas was tainted by the vote in Pennsylvania, etc.
People may notice that Article 1, Section 4 does not talk about “Elections for President”, but the US elects their president by an Electoral College, not direct vote. It is regularly inferred that this clause also applies to the presidential vote, but it is actually addressed in Article 2, Section 1: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows: Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….” Again it’s the state legislature which decides how to decide to “appoint” (not “elect”) Electoral College “Electors”, and Article 2, Section 1 is cited in Texas’ lawsuit.
I wish I could find more good media reports on this case to better inform my opinion but – as I began – you just can’t find much objective journalistic discussion on the US voter fraud causes. No well-known anti-Trump media I saw ever even broached Article 2, Section 1 – even though it was named in the lawsuit – all they had was hysterical and completely unobjective denials that the Texas lawsuit doesn’t even attempt to make a coherent argument. And yet: the Supreme Court gave the defendant states less than 48 hours to respond to Texas’ lawsuit – by 3pm on December 10.
The suit also says the expansion made the vote insecure, but forget about all the alleged vote machine tampering, the purported “smoking gun” videos, the reported 1,000 testimonies making accusations of election malfeasance – all of that either has the evidence or it doesn’t. Maybe there was a huge conspiracy of voter fraud, or maybe there wasn’t. The nation’s top intelligence official, the Director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, just said that all issues of election fraud must be investigated and only then would we see “whether there is a Biden administration”. Will they all be properly investigated? This is America, so all we can say for sure is that no matter what happens America will insist that they are the spotless beacon the world should follow.
But the question of mail-in ballots – this enormous change to the US voting system which inspired seemingly thousands of complaints by Donald Trump on Twitter, as well as from many regular American citizens – this is the dispute which has the power to immediately invalidate the 2020 vote.
I say: yes, it should invalidate the vote – that is, if Americans want to follow the rules of the antiquated and fundamentally aristocratic American system.
America is not a modern democracy, nor is it accountable – don’t expect the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the outsider Trump
Yes, pro-Trumpers were wrong to wait until after the election – to see if their candidate lost – before bringing this suit, but who’s to say that elite Democrats wouldn’t have forced some of their own governors to do the same thing if Biden was the projected loser? How can judges rule on a case which was never brought before them? The bottom line is that checks and balances are what make democracy “democracy”, whether that democracy is Athenian, American, Chinese socialist or Iranian Islamic, and one person should not be able to change the fundamental nature of how elections are held, even if that person is a state governor or secretary of state, and even if a state judge says their change is ok.
Modern democracies have (at least) three branches for a reason, but it’s ok that mail-in ballots were often routed around the legislative branch?
(I often say Iranian democracy has revolutionarily created a “Supreme Leader branch”. I’d also say the massive influence of the internet/digital age gives more credence to making the unofficial “Fourth Estate” – the media – an official branch. What’s wrong with more than three branches, other than: But the bourgeois West doesn’t do it?)
The re-routing (and some state legislatures, such as Nevada, did approve a sweeping expansion to mail-in ballots) of democratic processes into the hands of one person should be seen as a continuation of what Western democracy truly is: liberal strongmanism. This process became out in the open with Dubya Bush’s phony war on Iraq and the Patriot Act, continued with the ignored anti-austerity elections in Greece, is part and parcel of Emmanuel Macron’s “rubber bullet liberalism” war on France’s Yellow Vests, and was seen in 2020 when some US governors essentially said: We want Trump out so badly that we’ll change the elections by fiat to do it.
(Corona was not a valid excuse in November, because by then 2020 had seen many nations successfully and safely hold elections.)
A coronavirus vaccine was announced just two days after Biden declared victory; after months of refusals – which have fiscally disemboweled the US lower classes – Democrats finally agreed to negotiate on their heretofore totally inflexible 2nd stimulus position as soon as the calendar turned from election November to December; Facebook, Twitter and the US mainstream media currently censor the average Republican’s election reflections as if these citizens were calling for a second Holocaust.
Those are not conspiracy theories but are listed to reveal how truly terrible and power-monging the political and cultural elite is in the United States. They overreach their power time and time again, no matter how negative the effect on their domestic public or the rest of the world.
Such persons wanted Trump out, and I’m not saying that they engaged in a massive conspiracy of election fraud to do so – I’m saying that they obviously changed the fundamental nature of the election to do so.
In the US states decide individually how elections are run, but there should have been formal legislative debate about any huge changes to the election format and not merely a gubernatorial order reflected upon in private by a judge. It was undemocratic political overreach in a nation full of people who have been conditioned to believe that the boss/CEO/president can and should be able to fire/personally enrich/sanction at will.
There are enough “strict constructionists” ,”originalists” or (as I call them) “American Salafists” currently on the Supreme Court to see the logic of Texas’ argument. However, I do not think the Supreme Court will find in favor of Texas – the power-holders in the US system are fundamentally anti-Trump, I think 2016-2020 has proven ad nauseam.
Trumpism was vindicated in a grassroots way – like it or not – on November 3rd, but there are no “Trumpist” judges in the top court. Who knows, maybe Trumpism will last long enough that one day there will be, but for now what all Supreme Court judges are is merely typical American conservatives. The idea that even though Supreme Court justices are the most untouchable persons in American society and yet they will bend over backwards to please Trump is, I think, a major (but common) fallacy.
It’s clear that the 2020 election was drastically changed (just look at how voter turnout suddenly was the highest in 120 years), and it’s clear that legislatures often did not fulfil their check and balance role, and it’s clear that “strict constructionism” was not something invented by Justice Anthonin Scalia but is an ideology which has been widely discussed since the very beginning of the American republic… all that will be thrown out to throw out Trump, I predict.
This article has not been pro-Trump or anti-Trump, it is reminding how very drastic the actions of anti-Trump power-holders in the US have been. They changed the nature of the 2020 vote, and they don’t want to admit that, and the Supreme Court is not likely to unconservatively ok a shocking, once-in-three-lifetimes reversal to the 2020 presidential vote – not because of the chaos and alienation it would cause among the 99%, but because American democracy is and has always been expressly designed to protect the elite, not the people/workers/lower classes.
By the way, the only presidential vote which ever mattered at all takes place in less than a week – the Electoral College votes on December 14th. I think this year’s general election on the presidential vote has provided a more interesting – yet legally meaningless – diversion than it normally does, don’t you?
Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (1/2) – November 5, 2020
Results are in: Americans lose, duopoly wins, Trumpism not merely a cult (2/2) – November 6, 2020
4 years of anti-Trumpism shaping MSM vote coverage, but expect long fight – November 7, 2020
US partitioned by 2 presidents: worst-case election scenario realized – November 9, 2020
A 2nd term is his if he really wants it, but how deep is Trump’s ‘Trumpism’? – November 10, 2020
CNN’s Jake Tapper: The overseer keeping all journalists in line (1/2) – November 13, 2020
‘Bidenism’ domestically: no free press, no lawyer, one-party state? (2/2) – November 15, 2020
Where’s Donald? When 40% of voters cry ‘fraud’ you’ve got a big problem – November 17, 2020
The 4-year (neoliberal) radicalisation of US media & Bidenites’ ‘unradical radicalism’ – November 22, 2020
80% of US partisan losers think the last 2 elections were stolen – December 3, 2020
Trump declares civil war for voter integrity in breaking (or broken) USA – December 5, 2020
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.
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