by Edward Ring
In a society that retains trust in its institutions, the most authoritative source for news and information would probably be the publicly funded media property that is supposed to adhere to the highest standards of journalistic objectivity. Here in America, that would have been PBS. Except it isn’t. The American media, by and large, along with Silicon Valley’s social media communications oligopolies, are doing everything they can to deny American voters the opportunity to politically realign their nation.
It’s always useful for conservatives to watch the legacy networks, starting with PBS, to fully appreciate the level of bias that pervades their “news” organizations. While watching them all the time might quickly become intolerable, return periodically to be reminded: The political content on these networks serve the interests of the Democratic Party.
These days, and for at least the past year, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, along with every PBS reporter, repeats the term “election denier” dozens of times during every daily news broadcast. They repeat it without irony, without hesitation or qualification. It doesn’t matter what level of skepticism someone may have about the 2020 election. Skepticism in and of itself makes one a “denier.” One can have well founded, incrementalist concerns about election integrity, or one can believe every allegation ever made about systemic election fraud, but there’s no room for such a continuum. According to PBS, all these folks are “election deniers.”
Characterizing anyone concerned about election integrity as an “election denier” is manipulative and deceptive, and with rare exceptions, every major news network is doing it. The pervasive deception practiced by the national media throughout the Trump presidency and ever since, in addition to being deliberately manipulative, is designed to cause profound election consequences. We know it was coordinated; we know it was effective. It still is. And all of it designed to elect Democrats and defeat Republicans. Does that constitute “rigging” an election, and if not, why not?
The media’s role in rigging elections to favor Democrats cannot easily be overstated, but it’s far from the only way in which elections in America are rigged. We’re all familiar with the way laws were ignored in swing states by partisan election officials. Depending on which state these violations occurred, they included ballot drop boxes, ballot harvesting, mailed ballots, changes in procedures governing ballot custody and ballot verification, same day registration, waiving voter ID requirements, and more. We all remember how one activist multi-billionaire sent over $400 million dollars to public agencies tasked with administering elections, and restricted his donations to Democrat-heavy precincts in these same swing states in order to “get out the vote.”
To reduce this to the obvious: Ignoring laws is against the law. And public entities accepting private donations that are made with explicitly partisan objectives, at the very least, violates the supposed impartiality and political neutrality of the election bureaucracy. Does any of that constitute rigging an election? Why not?
These allegations are beyond serious debate. Nearly all media is partisan, favors Democrats, and manipulates their audiences. Election officials broke state election laws to help Democratic candidates. Partisan private-sector billionaires made donations to public entities with the goal of increasing Democratic turnout.
But there’s so much more. Consider the manipulated search results on Google, and the suppressed content on the major social media platforms. The partisan participation of America’s social media and search giants in manipulating public opinion, all by itself, has decisive election consequences. These communications platforms deliberately shape political sentiments in open defiance of their legal obligation to refrain from censorship in exchange for their Section 230 exemption from publisher liability. If nothing else were stacking the deck in favor of Democrats, the activities of Google, Facebook, and Twitter would be sufficient reason to allege the 2020 election was rigged.
And then there were the statistically improbable results, the dubious integrity of the ballot counting process and the questionable security of the voting machines. We can go down that speculative path a very long way. But we don’t have to. It is enough to say that legacy media, online platforms, partisan election bureaucrats, and billionaire donors made sure the election went their way. Because they rigged what they reported, what content we saw, the rules they violated, and every donation they made to a public entity. In my book, that’s a rigged election.
Small wonder there are new laws being passed in multiple states requiring (gasp) voter ID, signature verification, a secure chain of custody for ballots, cleaned up voter rolls, paper ballots that can be saved for audits, restrictions on partisan donations by private citizens to public election bureaucracies, and other reasonable measures to reduce the probability of another rigged election. And for their trouble, Judy Woodruff & Co. calls the people supporting these measures “election deniers” engaged in “voter suppression.”
The Partisan Corruption of Election Bureaucracies
At the time of publication, the polls will have just closed on the West Coast. But for any close race, we won’t know the results for several weeks. In California, election results don’t have to be certified and publicly disclosed until December 16.
This is preposterous on its face. No major nation except America requires such a protracted period to count votes, and this never happened in America until very recently. The reason for it has little to do with the COVID pandemic, because just one reform would have solved that problem (and still would): Restrict mail-in ballots to absentee voters who complete a rigorous application process.
What the partisan media won’t share with their audience is the degree of corruption that has infected the administration of elections in urban, Democratic Party-controlled counties for decades, or how the new laws enabling same day registration, early voting, ballot drop boxes, mailed ballots, ballot harvesting, and similar measures have enabled even worse corruption. In California, where the supposedly enlightened fight against “voter suppression” is the most evolved, it is uncanny how every race initially reported as too close to call ends up, several weeks later, a victory for Democrats. The voter file in California, according to expert Democrats and Republicans alike, is a mess. And as voter sentiments realign and races tighten even in this blue bastion, voter integrity matters.
Deep blue Los Angeles offers a good illustration of just how broken the system can get. Consider this excerpt from a report in City Journal that describes the voting process: “This year, every registered voter was mailed a ballot, and 84 percent of ballots were cast by mail. The city now permits ballot harvesting and unguarded drop boxes, and it doesn’t check signatures.”
The City Journal story describes how Democratic Socialists are on the verge of complete control over the Los Angeles City Council, where they have, among other things, committed to “no new cops,” the “abolition of police and jails,” “a universal public and unionized education system,” and “new housing that is permanently affordable and not operated for profit.”
These fanatics get a pass from the media, they get funding from feckless, virtue signaling, delusional billionaires, and, more to the point, they operate in an election system that is rife with defects. In 2019, to settle a lawsuitbrought by Judicial Watch, the State of California agreed to purge over 1.5 million names of inactive voters. At the time, in violation of federal law, which requires the removal of inactive registrations that remain after two general elections, Los Angeles County had more registered voters than citizens old enough to register. The voter registration rate was 112 percent of the adult citizen population.
One year later, in the 2020 primary election, Los Angeles County officials rolled out new and unproven voting machines, or “ballot marking devices,” which would “be accessible for everyone, including the disabled and visually impaired.” The result—jamming ballots, confusing procedures, election gridlock, and incomplete screens so voters had to push “next” merely to see all the candidates competing for each office, were so disastrous that even the very left-wing American Prospect called it a debacle.
There isn’t much reason to expect that problems with the voter rolls or the voting machines have been completely fixed. Much more likely, what happens in Los Angeles elections is the opposite of “voter integrity.”
A prime example of this can be found in the recent attempt to recall Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, someone who is either a certifiable idiot or a cunning revolutionary bent on destroying civilization. On the surface, the story of how the Gascón recall failed is merely questionable. The petitioners failed, by an eyelash, to produce enough valid signatures, and that’s all there is to it. One might raise eyebrows at a 27 percent rate of invalid petitions, but it happens.
Since 2008, however, the man in charge of ensuring Angelenos are given secure elections is Dean Logan. This excerpt from UpintheValley.org, one of the best political blogs in America that nobody’s ever heard of, describes Logan’s history, and how he oversaw verification of Gascón recall petitions:
In secret, courtesy of Dean Logan, Registrar of Voters, who managed to disqualify 195,000, or 27%, of the signatures away from the eyes of Recall Committee observers, who were banned from the building on the grounds it was not an election but a signature verification process. Dean Logan has a history. In 2004 he was the Director of Elections in Seattle during the Dino Rossi-Christine Gregoire gubernatorial race, in which Rossi prevailed by 261 votes, then 46 votes in the recount, and then in a second manual recount Logan ‘found’ 573 votes for Gregoire, previously disqualified due to -wait for it- signature matching issues. The blowback was so intense Logan was forced to resign. Because one can only fail upward in the administrative state, Los Angeles hired him soon after.
Partisan election functionaries such as Logan, concentrated in corrupt urban strongholds where Democratic Party machines exercise absolute political power, are never the ones under the media microscope. Yet they always seem to select the right combination of ballot irregularities and technicalities to decide close races in favor of Democrats, taking full advantage of the extended period allowed for vote certification and the gaping loopholes in election security enacted by partisan legislatures.
Reserved instead for microscopic scrutiny and withering stigmatization are those “election deniers” whose candidacies for the influential secretary of state offices in states across the nation are a mortal “threat to democracy.” But these reform candidates are not the threat. The threat to democracy is to leave things the way they are. Rigged.
Americans, by the millions and irrespective of their background or ideology, are increasingly appalled by the psychotic absurdity of what are now mainstream Democratic talking points. Murdering a full-term fetus is a woman’s inalienable right. Mutilating a child who “chooses” a new gender can be done without parents’ consent. Burning down cities in pursuit of social justice is not a crime. Smothering city streets in feces and discarded syringes is necessary to protect the rights of homeless drug addicts. Criminals are victims. Productive, hard-working citizens who struggle to maintain financial independence are privileged oppressors. White people, men, heterosexuals, and Christians: Bad. BIPOC, LBGTQ+, women (if they’re liberal or trans), and non-Christians: Good. Shutting down the energy industry so an entire nation can freeze to death is necessary to counter “climate change.”
And if you vote against the political party that spews this dishonest, nihilistic, manipulative, misanthropic insanity, you are “endangering Democracy.”
Democratic Party power will diminish as a result of this election. But if not for a rigged system that is rotten to the core, they would be handed a ticket to well-deserved oblivion.
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Edward Ring is a senior fellow of the Center for American Greatness. He is also is a contributing editor and senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013 and served as its first president. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).