In defense of electoral skepticism

Nowadays, whenever Democrats beat the odds and pull a victory out of (well, you know where), any serious doubt that is cast upon their success is considered by them to be a criminal act.  However, when Republicans shellack the Democrats, democracy itself is being threatened.

Way back in 1960, when John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon in a true squeaker, my father told me that, had Nixon demanded a recount in Cook County, Illinois, he'd have won the election.  Why would my dad say that?  In his youth, he was employed to count ballots in Chicago.  Well, they didn't really count them.  They weighed them on meat scales from the stockyards.

Harkening back to the election of 1876, neither Rutherford B. Hayes (R) nor Samuel J. Tilden (D) was able to acquire a majority of votes in the Electoral College.  In accord with the Constitution, the contest was thus decided by the House of Representatives...where the fix was in.  The historic backroom deal that was made let the Republicans continue holding on to the White House, while the Democrats were given an end to Reconstruction.  When the Union army was removed from the old Confederacy, the imposition of Jim Crow began in earnest.

Continuing to rattle around in today's political discourse is, of course, the election of 2020.  Fueling this discord is Biden's bumbling incompetence — which was plainly obvious long before 2020.  But the truly empirical anomaly of that election is the objective fact of an incumbent president losing to such a weak opponent while his party still managed to pick up fourteen seats in the House of Representatives.  Dinesh D'Souza's 2000 Mules adequately documents the reasons for much of this discrepancy...but Biden and Harris were still inaugurated.  Just as was Rutherford B. Hayes.

Lurking beneath the surface of all this discourse, and likely contributing mightily to the tremendous efforts being made by all sides to win elections, is not altruism or a desire to make our world a better place.  It is, rather, a relentless quest for power and the trappings that come with it — both financial and personal.  Trump's presidency broke this mold.  He was already a billionaire and living a splendid life.  Rush Limbaugh repeatedly pooh-poohed requests for him to enter electoral politics by his claiming not to want to take the pay cut.  President Trump, however, went ahead and made the sacrifice, and now his lawyers and their antagonists are eroding some of his vast fortune.

When William F. Buckley once ran for mayor of New York City, he was asked what would be the first thing he'd do were he to be elected.  "I'd demand a recount" was his answer.

Bottom line: Government has way too much influence over the ways in which we live our lives.  Politicians seeking elected positions have way too much incentive to get their hands on the reins of power at the expense of the inherent freedom that comes with self-government.  Gone are the days of the Jeffersonian yeoman, content to provide for himself and, on occasion, accept the burden of taking the responsibility for maintaining the local common areas and the security of his neighbors.  Now we are being constantly lectured about the evils of "misinformation"...which is usually nothing more than honest disagreement with "official" orthodoxy.  Or should I say dogma?

Image: Elvert Barnes.

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