November 20, 2020
Today I sent this letter to Congresswoman Stefanik. It’s also for President Trump.
It broke my heart to write it. My maternal ancestors arrived in Maryland in the mid-17th century. They were part of everything that happened on this soil ever since . The good, the bad, the ugly. They fought in all the wars. All wars are hell. My grandfather lost everything in the Great Depression, another kind of hell. He died in a seedy hotel in Miami Beach. Alone. As a 17-year-old country boy in 1965, I loaded my stuff into a VW and took Route 66 to California, where I would live for the next 8 years. I left California with a wife, a child, and a PhD in the history of all the above.
My letter is informed by such vignettes. Even so, writing it was like walking through a minefield. I’m resigned to this. When a nation reaches the tipping point, there are no easy answers and no good ones. They all suck. Including mine.
Read it. Ponder it. Let me know your thoughts. Don’t be glib. Don’t be shallow. Avoid slogans. Try not to polarize. (I tried. I probably failed.)
To download a PDF
Take a look at the video to the right. Rush Limbaugh interviewing a man from Georgia on Nov. 20, 2020, I believe. It illustrates my point about voter confidence. Note the passion in the man’s voice.
The issue of people’s confidence in voting integrity will not easily go away.
3 thoughts on “Letter to Elise Stefanik & Donald Trump”
I appreciate you taking the time to express your view on voting integrity.
Despite your education, I sadly must say you are very mistaken that a call for martial law and a re-election are required to restore voter faith in the election. Further, I believe that most Americans do believe their vote counts. We have just witnessed a historic number of people voting and a high percentage of eligible voters doing so,
The election was not a fraud. I have a deep background in software and process. Kindly contemplate the following:
• The founders created a decentralized framework, which makes it almost preposterous that tens of thousands of volunteers could be coordinated to cheat, without detection, in the favor of a single candidate.
• The Republican Party has long pushed voter suppression schemes as you must know. (e.g., 1 mail-in collection box per county in Texas)
• The Republican Party knew that mail-in voting would dilute their capability to suppress black and non-white votes. Thus months before election, Trump made a broad range of claims trying to disenfranchise or suppress mail-in votes, which he knew would be heavily against him.
• Mail in ballots are sent to allowed voters. Ballots themselves have special print characteristics and controls making them difficult to duplicate. Print centers are observed.
• Real-time databases control both mail and in-line voting, so a person cannot vote twice.
• Poll watchers from Republican, Democratic, and Independent parties observe the process of both in-person and mail-in voting.
• Poll workers are not erasing or modifying or discarding ballots in front of observers.
• Election machines are periodically tested with stacks of pre-counted votes to make sure the machines are accurate.
• Multiple independent observers see the machine tabulation process up close.
• Hand counts have shown that the percentage error is very very low and due to human error, not fraud (e.g., a memory card not transmitted).
• Your concern is voter confidence and integrity. Calling for martial law and a re-vote damages both. There would be citizen revolt if such actions were forced.
• I believe, despite stats, most Americans have confidence in the voting system. Publication of the process and safeguards would help.
• Trump’s baseless claims create doubt in the absence of people’s understanding of the process. In 30 court cases, where evidence must be shown, Trump has failed in embarrassing fashion.
• Trump trying to put pressure on voting officials and his federally-appointed judges is just a historic and blatant attempt at a coup to overthrow the democratic will of the people.
• The Trump supporters and my Republican Party should be ashamed at these anti-conservative and anti-constitutional actions, which may damage the party for decades.
What concerns me most is a President trying to use the court system with his appointed judges to bypass the will of the people. This just reinforces what we have learned about the pathetic character of this man.
I believe that confidence in the voting process would be enhanced by relatively simple actions: 1) voters are educated on the process and the safeguards in the existing system; 2) suppression laws are removed by the states in question; 3) actions are taken to eliminate single individuals who sit on state boards (e.g., Michigan) from blocking certification; 4) states allow mail-in ballot vote counting to begin prior to the final day of election; 5) mini-audits of mail-in ballots are taken periodically (vs the end) to insure poll-watcher confidence in what they are seeing.
I hope, sir, this information will help you moderate your solution.
Mike Boumansour, Sr.
Ego rules the world, makes war, causes depressions and vaporizes in the ether of history. Only Jesus Christ subordinated His ego to save the world.
Trump’s ego won’t let him resign to save the Republic, much less the integrity of the vote. Both sides will have to agree to start over. Both Biden and Trump should resign and the real powers behind Biden should step forward. Pence or his replacement should do likewise. Martial law is vital and mandatory. Only the Supreme Court might provide mutually acceptable arbitration in party disputes.
The dark side is more Sino designer germ warfare invasions. Islam knowing that many in our country have joined them with their “Death to America, the Great Satan.” Our currency has a transfiguration or a reverse split. World War III is likely from the Norks, Iran, Russia, & China. Let us hope that our leaders choose wisely.
What we need is a revival, not a recount.
Thank you, Calvin. Wonderful to capture the voice of the Georgia voter, and let as many as possible hear the true passion of an anguished patriot. This is very moving.
My bumper sticker.
Editor’s reply: Understand, I don’t care if he won or lost. I wrote the above letter as a professional historian, not as a partisan of one side or the other.
My point can be summarized in a sentence. Voting protocols have to be impeccable and bullet-proof against fraud when the nation is bitterly divided. This was not the case on November 3rd. Nor was it the case 4 years ago, when Trump beat Clinton. We have had 4 years of Congressional turmoil ever since. Everyone was counting on the 2020 election to be a kind of referendum–mandate, if you like–for one side or the other. The sides going by the names Conservative and Liberal. With electronic voting (note: anything electronic can be hacked: this is an iron law of the Digital Age), unprecedented numbers of mail-in ballots (partly due to Covid constraints), reports of improper poll watching procedures and vote counting–with all this it’s virtually inevitable that one side or the other would call “Foul!”
The “Foul!” call could have gone the other way, by the Biden (Liberal) side. We should all have known on the eve of November 3rd that with a voting apparatus riddled with loopholes, the outcome would be a f–king disaster. Hindsight is 20/20. I suspect Trump was hoping for an avalanche of votes. Too cock-sure, was he? Anyhow, the avalanche didn’t materialize, at least not to the extent he hoped, and he got whacked.
The reason I call for martial law is for one purpose alone: re-do the vote, with strict, in-person procedures and protocols. With members of both parties (Dem & Rep) present at all times for every single ballot cast.
This ain’t an easy thing to do–re-do the vote, I mean. First of all, there are constitutional hurdles to clear: voting is a state prerogative, not federal. Assuming the Congress would amend the Constitution to by-pass the states, we then have the logistical problem of arranging for another vote–this time in the flesh. In person. Nothing mailed in and nothing electronic.
I don’t see the Dems doing this. Certainly not now that the results say Biden won. And Trump has only several weeks to challenge the vote. His legal team is sprinting to get lawsuits before various levels of courts. Do the arithmetic: they’re not going to get definitive rulings before the Electoral College renders its decision on Dec 14, or even in time for the January inaugural. Especially given Covid constraints on courts.
What to do, then? Take a deep breath and ask Mr. Trump to exercise executive authority and put the election process on hold, while he and the Congress and states hammer out a deal for a new election. Other countries do this. So can we.
The only way Donald Trump can “put the election process” on hold is by declaring martial law. Martial law can be easily abused. It can easily become horrific. For instance, under martial law I can be summarily arrested at 4 am and spirited off to a secret army barracks where I am water-boarded 24/7 and forced to eat Twinkies. Or it can be as benign as parking tanks and personnel carriers at key intersections in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philly, DC, and NYC. Oh, and Kenosha, WI. (I witnessed martial law in Montreal, Canada, in the Sixties when PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Justin’s father, brought in the Canadian army as a show of force against a Separatist, FLQ insurrection. He parked a tank or two at the gates of McGill University on Sherbrooke St. No one got arrested at 4 am, no waterboarding, no Twinkies. Not a shot fired. And Trudeau, a French-Canadian former law professor at the University of Montreal, quelled the mayhem.)
Even so, my idea is a shitty one. (Forgive my French.) I’m a left-over guy from the Sixties. Yeah, the Peace Movement and all that. I demonstrated against the Vietnam War. I was a graduate student at the Univ. of Calif. when the National Guard rolled in in trucks and fired tear gas canisters. Students burned the Bank of America. A kid was shot, as I remember. (Fifty years ago. Details are getting cloudy.)
Martial law is a shitty idea, but it’s the least shitty of the alternatives, which I see as being (a) do nothing and see what happens, and (b) rapid deterioration of social order with more urban looting, burning, brawls. Option (a) merely postpones the chaos, guaranteeing it will be even bigger than before. Option (b) brings it on pretty quick. Now the question arises, who the f–k is going to deal with this chaos? Democrat mayors of cities? Democrat governors? Nope! The Democrat platform is all about defunding cops. (I know. I’m on the police commission in my little village, set up by Gov. Cuomo to defund the cops. Every NYS municipality has been ordered to set up this commission/committee to “reform” and “reinvent” its PD. If we don’t comply by April Fool’s Day 2021, we get all state funds cut off. I’m not kidding.)
Soooo. You’re gonna have riots with either (a), (b), or (c). What’s (c)? (C) is my shitty idea: Trump’s martial law. Under (c), at least you have a force—the army—willing and able to put the kibosh on the riots, looting, and brawls. Trump has balls; he won’t stand for BLM or Antifa or Proud Boys trashing cities. At least, I don’t think he would stand for Proud Boys doing this. If it turned out I read him wrong, and he let the Proud Boys commit mayhem, then I would deserve being arrested at 4 am and fed Twinkies 24/7.
In sum, America needs to secure the integrity of the vote, ASAP.