The “evidence” of the recent election is already almost completely forgotten. By the numbers, Donald Trump LOST. Few people have bothered to inquire into the shenanigans in the swing states that bear out this conclusion. But it’s patent. If there were an accurate count, I have no doubt whatsoever that Hillary Clinton would win—both the popular and the electoral vote. Hands down.
But, of course, there wasn’t an accurate count. That fact provides cover for Trump people to object. They taunt: “Prove to me that Hillary Clinton won those swing states.” My riposte is clear: “I’d love to prove it to you. But you won’t let me! An accurate count is precisely what Jill Stein and the Green Party tried so hard to do. But you stopped her. You hypocrites!” Stein tried mightily to obtain a correct tally of the vote in those three swing states. But the GOP opposed her efforts at every step. (See here and here for just two supporting pieces of evidence.) This election will go down in history as a full-court press by the GOP, a high-water mark in disenfranchising the People.
Democracy is supposed to be different. In a democracy, the will of the People determines the government of the People. That’s why we go through absolutely amazing contortions every four years (lasting well over a year and costing many, many millions of dollars)—to poll the will of the People. We call it voting. But without an accurate count of the vote, we’re actually just giving the impression of democracy—while caving to the monied interests. This past election was a charade. It looked like an election. But it really wasn’t. The People spoke one way—they elected Hillary Clinton. That is beyond the shadow of any doubt. She won the popular vote by a number now approaching three million—the second greatest popular vote margin in U.S. history. And she also won the Electoral College.
Yes, Hillary Clinton also won the Electoral College (EC). Now, I am quite aware that the official numbers speak otherwise, and that the history books will chronicle that Trump won about 300 EC votes and Clinton about 240 (we’ll all be given the exact tally on January 6). The thing is, the official EC vote is also incorrect when measured against the will of the People. Read on…
In Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (and also in N. Carolina and Florida—but I’ll leave these out of consideration for now) the GOP won unconstitutionally. Amendment 14 of the Constitution prohibits abridging “the privileges or immunities of citizens,” and Amendment 15 states that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged.” Now, if you’re in any doubt at all that the GOP engaged in massive voter suppression, failed to ensure adequately functioning voting machines, and resisted an accurate vote tally in minority precincts—then you need to get your head out of the sand. The evidence is clear, and I have documented it in previous posts, particularly here.
No doubt, Democrats actually won the swing states—and with those states, Democrats also won the presidency. All indications point in this direction. In Pennsylvania, for example, on the day after the election Trump was reported to be ahead by 126,091 votes, but that lead narrowed to 44,321 within a week after officials started actually counting the ballots by hand. So, the GOP immediately stopped the recount. In Michigan, the votes of 87,000 people for president were not reported. (Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump by less than 11,000 votes in Michigan, out of several million votes cast. If only a few of those 87,000 so-called undervotes were incorrectly scanned and actually went to Clinton, that would give the state to her.) Numerous voting machines also suspiciously malfunctioned in Wayne County—the Detroit area which is largely black. In Wisconsin, for it’s part, the recount efforts never reached the sensitive minority precincts. As Jill Stein said, “They looked everywhere except where they needed to.”
The Trumper can insist: “Well, you René Salm have still not proven that Hillary Clinton won.” This is true. But what proof is required when the GOP itself has bragged regarding its success at voter suppression? When Clinton won three million more popular votes? When the above-mentioned problems in swing states are taken into account? Nobody, in good faith, can maintain that Trump won this election fair and square.
Most Republicans would probably agree. But for them, “fair and square” is not part of the deal—even if it is in the Constitution. The GOP has demonstrated once again that it has no intention of ‘playing by the rules’ of democracy. In my opinion, this alone disqualifies the GOP from government. A country without the GOP would be fine and dandy with me—a country with only the Green Party, the Democratic Party, and other parties that put the Constitution first. Wouldn’t that be grand? Sure, I won’t hold my breath. What I’m getting at is that the GOP has once again shown its colors: the 1% comes first. This election it was successful in a big way, and the 99% must now suffer the consequences.
Then there’s the astonishing Russian angle. It should—still could?—invalidate the GOP victory. According to one report, “The Russian government, through middlemen, interfered with the election and members of Trump’s team and the Majority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell knew about it.” In all the upside-down aspects to this election, this bizarre twist might provide legal precedent to invalidate the 2016 presidential election. But will it?
For me, it’s all about truth
There are striking similarities between what is happening now in American politics and what happened two thousand years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean. Then, too, civilization experienced a gross perversion of truth—with dire consequences. If you believe, as do I, that Jesus of Nazareth did not exist, then you are able to appreciate that western civilization has been in hock to a delusion for almost its entire existence. On the very day that I am writing this, December 25, all Christendom celebrates the birth of a mythical savior. Does it matter? I say: You betcha. How much was science put back in all those religious centuries? How many books were burned? How many heretics? How many good people? You bet it matters.
Regular readers of this blog know that I wrote two comprehensive books showing that Nazareth did not exist at the time of ‘Jesus.’ That’s evidence regarding the Jesus story—unfortunately, two thousand years too late. But even now, that old truth matters more than ever, for it (obviously) makes a huge difference to realize that “Jesus of Nazareth” was a myth. Witness: at this moment the bells are tolling outside. They are inviting good Christians to go to Church on this especially holy Sunday. Well, are those Christians chumps?
You decide… But I’ll say this: those who accept Trump as a legitimate president are chumps. They’ve been had. Manipulated. Bamboozled. Given the bait-and-switch. And, for their grievous naivete, it looks like we (as in: the whole world) are going to go through some very, very difficult times.
This election marks an unfortunate watershed in our history. Donald Trump has degraded the office of the presidency and the country—just as photos of his wife (too risqué to post here) are surfacing to degrade the position of FLOTUS. Trump is illegitimate. The GOP knows it. The Democrats know it. The Green Party knows it. The country knows it. Donald Trump knows it. And because he and his administration know it, the federal government now begins from a false, warped, defensive posture. Trump says he wants to make America great again. But before he can do that, he has to negotiate with the American people for acceptance. That will be an ongoing aspect of his administration, and it may take up most of his energy and time. Consensus has already been sacrificed. Only force is left—accompanied by its ugly handmaidens: propaganda, media suppression, and intolerance. That’s tyranny.
Why did this election happen?
It’s a good question, one that historians will no doubt argue for a long time. The common answer is: “The people want change. Things weren’t working.” True. We all know that the last several decades have witnessed a massive degradation of the working class in America, accompanied by an equally massive transfer of wealth upwards to the “one percent.” The top twenty richest Americans own as much wealth as half the country! So, the electorate is angry.
Unfortunately, anger is not conducive to good reasoning. The electorate in 1930s Germany was also angry, following a humiliating World War I loss and then a bruising depression—perfect conditions for a demagogue like Adolf Hitler, someone who promised to make Germany great again. And we all know what Hitler delivered.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The “prevention” in this case would be: an accurate recount of the votes in the swing states. That’s all. It’s not easy, of course. But I can’t think of anything more important to the nation. Even if it takes martial law to count the vote, I feel that Barack Obama should have stepped forward and grabbed the bull by the horns. As our acting President, he should have made sure that a national election on his watch was fair and free. But he didn’t. And that’s why I hold Obama complicit in what has happened.
Hillary Clinton, too, should not have conceded the election. When doubts began to accumulate that the swing states were improperly counted, she should have raised her voice loudly—even as Donald Trump and the GOP would have done had the vote gone the other way. But Clinton didn’t raise her voice at all. She’s been all but invisible since the election. And, for that, she also is complicit in her own demise and in the country’s misfortune.
And the People, too, should have raised their powerful voice in these intervening weeks between election and inauguration. They should have cried “foul.” But they haven’t. A country will only receive as much democracy as it is willing to fight for. And in this case, that’s not much democracy at all. The People have given a sword to an extremely undemocratic element in society. They must now suffer the consequences of that sword continually pointed at their own throat.
One might think that a call for martial law is entirely out-of-proportion to the problem. But, in my opinion, nothing is worse than tyranny. And, in this case, we have a president-elect who is also a very dangerous man. Only yesterday he endorsed a nuclear arms race. He has surrounded himself with hard-right characters for whom “compromise” is a dirty word, a word tantamount to defeat. Martial law in a few states, for a few weeks, is a small price to pay for democracy itself.
It is uncertain that this country will be able to mount a free and fair election any time soon. The GOP gained several governorships, and the next time around the deck will be even more stacked in its favor. The die has been cast. 2016 was the watershed moment. Now is when the People, the Democratic Party, and American patriots should rise up. But it’s not happening. We have only voices—individual senators, pundits, bloggers like myself, left-leaning websites…
“The People united will never be defeated.” Unfortunately, the People are not united. And we are being defeated.
Note to regular readers: I anticipate returning soon to my regular blogging subject—early Christianity. As the untoward results of this election begin to manifest themselves, however, it can be expected that the entire atmosphere of free discourse will be affected. I expect the Internet to be less free in the coming years, as taxes and other hurdles (possibly even ideological) appear constraining more radical ideas, such as those that I proffer. Together with you, however, I will try to continue the discussion on this particular subject of mutual interest—Christian origins. But I do so now with an element of angst, knowing that both writer and reader are less free than only a few weeks ago. Let us go forward together with good intentions and hope for a better world. —René Salm