How Jack Smith Is Twisting Our Election Process

If Special Counsel Jack Smith has his way, election integrity as we know it will be a thing of the past, and all election results in the future will be suspect. 

I’ve got a particular interest in election integrity. As the leader of Tea Party Patriots Action, I’ve spent the better part of the last two and a half years traveling the country, training tens of thousands of citizens for work as election officials and poll workers.

Our work has been necessitated by the doubts raised about election integrity in recent election cycles. Poll after poll demonstrates Americans’ distrust of our elections. Our hope is that we can help reestablish the public confidence in elections necessary for them to function as they must -- to allow the electorate to exercise its right to choose our leaders.

Our Founders recognized that the legitimacy of government itself derived “from the consent of the governed,” in Thomas Jefferson’s memorable phrase. Their concept of choosing government leaders by means of elections open to a larger public, so novel at the time, has been embraced worldwide, in name if not in fact. Even dictators seeking to burnish their claims to legitimacy now go through the motions of holding elections. 

Our Founders, of course, understood something dictators don’t -- our Founders understood the importance of free speech and vigorous debate as the means to determine truth, an essential underpinning of the concept of a free election. Jefferson, for instance, wrote that "research and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a free rein to them, they will support the true religion by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only…"

“Research and free inquiry” are “the natural enemies of error.” It’s a shame Smith appears to be unfamiliar with Jefferson’s writings on the subject.

Ending the use of free speech and vigorous debate to contest and challenge the results of elections will be the inevitable result of this political persecution of Trump. If Smith is successful, political leaders in the future will be so scared of potential criminal charges being brought against them for exercising their lawful, civil right to challenge election results that they will simply keep their mouths shut and let questionable election results go unchallenged.

You know what kind of governments don’t allow questions to be raised or challenges to be launched against election results? Authoritarian and totalitarian governments, like the governments of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania, or Saddam Hussein in Iraq, or Kim Jong Un in North Korea -- or like the government of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who is reputed to have once said, “There is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.”

That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Freedom after speech?

There must be provisions for elections and election results to be challenged. Even if they are never or rarely used, their presence, and the mere possibility that they can be used, if deemed necessary, provides a sense of legitimacy to the elections they safeguard. And without that security, there is a break between the government and the consent of the governed, a chasm so great that it calls into question the very legitimacy of the government itself.

Smith clearly believes we don’t need such safeguards.

Like tens of millions of other law-abiding American citizens, Trump believes the 2020 election was rigged. He believes the loosening of laws and regulations by courts instead of legislatures, regarding mail-in ballots and extended and expanded early access to voting sites; widespread use of unattended and insecure ballot drop boxes; irregularities in the counting, transporting, and storing of ballots; illegal registering of voters who should not have registered or voted; illegal ballot harvesting; and a host of other irregularities related to voting all combined to corrupt the results of the election and allow the Dominant Media wrongly to assert that Biden had won.

Trump complained, he criticized, he declared his belief that the election results were wrong. He spoke loudly and firmly, in private and in public. He called close friends and distant allies to talk about the search for evidence and his concern for the Republic, and he held discussions with supporters outside the government who believed they had pertinent information to share.

In other words, he exercised his right to free speech.

Trump did more than speak -- he took action to prevent the “Biden has won” narrative from firmly establishing itself. He worked officials in his own executive branch and he lobbied officials in various state governments, all in the effort to find proof that the election had been tainted and have other government officials take appropriate action to remedy the situation. 

In other words, he petitioned the government for redress of grievances. 

Did Trump give up his First Amendment rights when he became president? Of course not.

Yet now the government -- controlled by his chief political rival, the man whom the narrative says beat Trump, and who will stand for reelection against Trump -- has chosen to attempt to criminalize Trump’s refusal to meekly accept the results of what Trump believed (and believes) to be a rigged election by charging Trump with crimes that have never been charged before.

Imagine if Smith’s view of the law had been in vogue in previous years. Hillary Clinton could have been charged for her repeated assertions -- as recently as the month before the 2020 election! -- that her 2016 loss to Trump “was not on the level”; Stacey Abrams could have been charged for her repeated and longstanding refusal to accept the results of her 2018 loss in the race for governor of Georgia. 

Or perhaps former California Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer could be charged for challenging the results of the 2004 election -- as, come to think of it, could current Mississippi Democrat U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson, who, coincidentally, happened to serve as chairman of the last Congress’ House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.

And let’s not forget former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who challenged the legitimacy of the 2016 election -- “Our election was hijacked,” she tweeted in May of 2017.

Were Clinton, and Abrams, and Boxer, and Thompson, and Pelosi wrong to challenge the elections they did? Smith would have you believe so.

By attacking Trump’s right to contest an election, Smith assaults the fundamental rights each of us hold as citizens of our constitutional republic. Worse, he attacks the foundation of election integrity -- our right to question, to argue, to debate, to challenge the results, and the processes and procedures that got us there.

We cannot allow Smith to twist our election process into a charade that does not allow for challenges of election results. Without the ability to challenge questionable results, the electorate will lose faith in the integrity of not just one election, but the election process itself. Smith’s charges must be defeated, for the good of our republic.

Jenny Beth Martin is Honorary Chairman of Tea Party Patriots Action.

Image: Pix4Free

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