About cheating and fighting


Editor’s note: This piece ran as an editorial in TACEdition January / February 2021, which went to print in mid-December. As we prepare for a change of power today, we present it here. Become a member of to get full access to the print magazine TAC Here.

The period of dictatorial rule known to the Indians as “the emergency” when Indira Gandhi repealed the constitution and ruled by decree from 1975 to 1977 began with an election fraud case. A political fly named Raj Narain lost 100,000 votes to Ms. Gandhi in her last general election. He sued to set aside the result, alleging bribery and other wrongdoing. Four and a half years later, a judge ruled in his favor, cleared up Ms. Gandhi’s election victory and threw the country into a constitutional crisis.

This is what we think about when people say that the 2020 election battle will surely be over by inauguration day.

This edition of TAC Hours before the Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin Supreme Court deadline to respond to Texas’s lawsuit seeking to invalidate their election results. It is unclear whether the Texas Supreme Court will review the lawsuit in Texas after these states’ response.

President Trump and his lawyers should keep fighting until the Supreme Court drops the curtain for two reasons. First, because their constituents deserve their day in court. Second, because it will underscore the importance of ensuring that no choice is as dubious as this one is ever again. The massive expansion of the mail-in ballot was an experiment that should never be repeated. Republicans should aim for these and other easily hackable voting methods in the New Year.

Donald Trump isn’t the first larger-than-life tycoon to deny an election defeat by fraud. William Randolph Hearst held the New York courts in litigation for three years after losing the 1905 mayor’s race to George McClellan Jr., son of the Union General. Given that his opponent was Tammany Hall’s candidate, Hearst could have had a point.

Irregularities abounded. Tammany stations withheld their return until other counties’ totals were reported. Over 8,000 Hearst votes were classified as corrupted due to foreign markings. A box with tons of ballot papers was discovered in the back of a hair salon. All in all, there were more than enough red flags for the state Supreme Court to order a recount.

Two days later, when Hearst picked up votes and 700 boxes of ballot papers, the appeals court ordered the case to be closed on legal grounds. It was never taken up again. McClellan was sworn in as mayor three weeks later.

Hearst probably stole that mayoral election. If it’s any consolation, 100 years later, millions of people are still watching Citizen Kane and talk about the fascinating character of William Randolph Hearst, and nobody remembers McClellan at all.

In a century, people will certainly still be talking about Donald Trump. TAC I will continue to talk about him – what his choice meant, what realignments it anticipated, what political ideas it confirmed. In this issue, Curt Mills and Aram Bakshian both look forward to the Republican Party’s political future after Trump finally shook the status quo. Robert Merry and Michael Desch examine new trends in foreign policy discussions and find them promising. Mark Pulliam studies a new trend in legal theory and finds it flawed.

Antonio De Oliveira Salazar is a name that isn’t on everyone’s lips a century after taking power in Portugal, but maybe it should be, as Michael Warren Davis argues in our Arts & Letters section.

Not everything is about Trump or even politics, which is why Graham Greene, E. E. Cummings, Joan Didion and Don DeLillo are featured in our winter book edition.

The post about cheating and fighting first appeared on The American Conservative.

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