“A small country, especially in South and Central America, that is poor, corrupt, and badly ruled.” – The definition of Banana Republic from the Cambridge Dictionary.
What Donald Trump is saying is absolutely correct. Hastily thrown together mail-in-voting on a nationwide scale invites fraud, widespread confusion, multiple lawsuits, could easily lead to accusations of a rigged election and yes, could be so problematic that we may never really know who won the election.
Given that claims that the election loser REALLY WON have become common in America (see Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Stacy Abrams for three prominent examples) and the oft-expressed fear from Democrats that Donald Trump will claim that the election is rigged if he loses, it’s hard to understand why we’d want to make radical changes to our election system in a number of key states that are practically guaranteed to cast doubt on the results. The excuse given is the Coronavirus, but if people all over America can go to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and the grocery store along with protests all over the country, there is no rational reason that voting should be any more dangerous than any of those activities. Moreover, there may be some relatively small states like Hawaii, Oregon, and Utah where they have pulled this off successfully after years of practice, but given the DISASTROUS results we’ve already seen around the country this year from states trying to figure out mail-in-voting on the fly during the primaries, you don’t have to be Nostradamus to see the potential pitfalls.
In Nevada, more than 223k ballots were returned undelivered and over 100k were sent back in little Rhode Island. In New York, large numbers of ballots were rejected. “19% in Queens and Manhattan and 28% in Brooklyn.” Additionally, they didn’t declare a winner in some races for a MONTH AFTERWARDS. In Paterson, New Jersey, 20% of the ballots were rejected and 4 men were charged with voter fraud. In Michigan this year, over 10,000 ballots were rejected and 846 ballots from dead voters were found. 40,000 ballots were rejected in Michigan and another 23,000 ballots didn’t make the cut in Wisconsin. Overall, the Washington Post noted over half a million ballots were rejected across 23 states this year.
So, what happens if it’s a close race and as expected, a large number of ballots are disqualified in a number of close states? Are we going to have to redo the Bush/Gore court battle over Florida in multiple states? Worse yet, what if we don’t know who wins the race until long after it’s over? That is a real possibility. For example, Ohio, which is a crucial battleground state, is ALREADY warning that we won’t know which candidate won that state for weeks. Even worse, this nightmare scenario is possible:
A top Democratic data and analytics firm told “Axios on HBO” it’s highly likely that President Trump will appear to have won — potentially in a landslide — on election night, even if he ultimately loses when all the votes are counted. …Under one of the group’s modeling scenarios, Trump could hold a projected lead of 408-130 electoral votes on election night, if only 15% of the vote by mail (VBM) ballots had been counted.
Do you know what ANY AMERICAN POLITICIAN is going to do if they appear to have won a crushing victory on election day? They’re going to declare victory. Do you know what ANY POLITICIAN AND THEIR SUPPORTERS are going to think if, in a bizarre, never before seen twist, massive numbers of votes are counted for the other side AFTER THE ELECTION that changes their landslide victory into a defeat? They’re going to think that the game was rigged, and they were cheated. Incidentally, they may be right because any time you tell people who’s winning and who’s losing and then allow them to put their thumbs on the scale and determine which ballots count and which ones don’t, some of them are going to cheat. It wouldn’t take much to pull off either if you know where the votes are coming from, how partisan the area is, and how many votes you need to win. Let’s say Joe Biden needs 5,000 votes to win and 20,000 ballots were disqualified from a very liberal area. You just find a way to bend the rules a little bit to make sure those rejected ballots are counted and next thing you know, he has the votes he needs to win. The chances of this happening in different parts of the country are practically 100% and no, that’s not something that should happen in an honest election.
Granted, we’ve had controversial elections before, but just being able to say, “These are the rules we agreed to and we’ve done it this way before” is enough to keep the majority of people thinking, “This was on the up-and-up.” When you make highly partisan, unnecessary, radical changes to how the votes are going to be tabulated in an election year, not only can it create suspicion, it SHOULD create suspicion. That’s because it sounds like something that would happen in a Banana Republic’s crooked election. As a result of those kinds of shenanigans convincing the populace of those nations that their elections aren’t legitimate, do you know what else happens in Banana Republics? Widespread political violence, political instability, dictatorships, and coups. Part of the reason America has managed to largely avoid those kinds of problems is that up until now, we may not have agreed about all the particulars, but people across the spectrum have acted as if having honest, fair, timely, well-run elections matters. When we throw all that away and act like a Banana Republic, no one should be surprised if some of the other bad things that go along with being a Banana Republic end up occurring as a result.