Why ballot harvesting must be made illegal.
Unlike Stacey Abrams, the Democrat sore loser in Georgia; Bill Nelson, the Democrat sore loser in Florida; Hillary Clinton and her Year 2016 Democrat sore losers; and Al Gore and his Year 2000 Democrat sore losers, I accept that the Democrats have obtained the House seats they flipped in Orange County and elsewhere in California after tons of come-from-behind votes were tallied many days after Election Day. This article therefore looks ahead to infinity and beyond. In particular, all fifty states rapidly must act to ban ballot harvesting.
- Sifting Through the Mystery of a Blue House Wave in a Still-Republican Blood-Orange County
I live in Orange County. It is so conservative-red here that I call it Blood-Orange County. I have been persuaded that the number count is accurate. (For this I acknowledge the input of several including those whom I will identify as DJB, Adam P, Steven Greenhut, and Stuart P.) But I also know that this Orange County, with the exception of one predominantly Latino community in Santa Ana, continues to be conservative red and Blood-Orange County, notwithstanding the Democrats’ House flips.
Yes, “the O.C.” is not as broadly conservative as it was half a century ago. And as someone acutely aware of the echo… echo… echo chambers in which leftists cocoon themselves on America’s campuses, in Hollywood, on Broadway, in pseudo-“journalism,” and in other such venues, I am self-aware enough to ask myself: “Is it perhaps only within my own circles here that conservatism flourishes?” Yet I am satisfied to answer that my impressionistic perceptions are validated by my surroundings, daily encounters, and by public political activity here. It is in the people whom I encounter randomly and daily, but otherwise would not know: at the supermarket and drug store, at the coffee house, the people I randomly encounter while walking to synagogue on the Sabbath Day. I recognize it in Peter who frames art work beautifully for my home, in John who has been my handyman for fifteen years and who purchases my congregation’s chametz every Passover, in the man who is my electrician, in my plumber, in the guy who zaps the spiders and ants. Nick comes to paint, and we discuss Reagan politics. Most of my doctors. They all are conservative Republicans. I meet their customers and patrons at their stores — primarily conservative. I do not pick them for their politics; they just all happen to be Republicans because that is the local demographic here in Blood-Orange County.
Of course there are many liberals here, too. This is not the Soviet Union, Venezuela, or any Arab Muslim country, where 98% of the voters cast their ballots one way, and the other 2% are sentenced to thirty years hard labor. Of course there is a dichotomy, with perhaps 40% or 45% of the locals being more Democrat and liberal oriented. Indeed, my recognizing that phenomenon and those people reflects that I am not viewing the current here monolithically through a tunneled vision. It is just that this region is politically conservative. It just still is.
Some liberal judge tried to force a homeless encampment here. No one needed Rasmussen or Gallup to survey local attitudes. The local leftists tried an “Occupy Irvine” thing here. It was pathetic, with maybe fifteen or twenty people, mostly out-of-town students from the local University of California outpost here, youths who visit the O.C. for four to six years, depending on how long they need to grow up and get finished with college and a bachelor’s degree majoring in Identity Studies and minoring in boycotting Israel and harassing Jewish students.
So what happened in November that turned the House seats blue? A few things.
- Money, Money, Money — and Shifting Realities
First of all, out-of-towners Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, and others of their ilk pumped millions of dollars into the region’s House races just before the elections. They bought millions in ads, campaign workers, phone-bank volunteers, and mailers for the Democrats. The hapless California GOP was blind-sided while the national Republican Congressional effort was caught flat-footed. Republicans need to understand that politics is cyclical, and realities flip.
It used to be that White ethnic Catholic blue collar immigrants were a lock for Democrats. As one example, the 1855 Louisville Riots saw at least 22 and perhaps hundreds of Irish- and German-American immigrants murdered on “Bloody Monday” by locals who were stirred up to stop those new immigrants from voting for Democrats. West Virginia once was solidly Democrat. It used to be, until the 1970s, that the Democrats had a century-long lock on the entire Deep South. But time heals, and those locks have flipped. Even among Jews, the Orthodox Jewish community, the fastest-growing American Jewish demographic and slated to be the Jewish majority in the coming decades, now is overwhelmingly pro-Trump Republican conservative — even as Jews now have shifted overwhelmingly throughout the world to affiliate with conservatives from England to Israel. On the other hand, Virginia, the seat of the Confederacy after it moved its capital from Montgomery, now is becoming Democrat as D.C. left-oriented political activists move to nearby suburbs, and the California that gave us Nixon and Reagan is lost to the GOP for the next generation as a result of the porous southern border that the Republicans never firmed.
In the same cyclical way, the Democrats now have shifted into the party of Big Money: Wall Street money, Silicon Valley money. That money now is Democrat. Other than Sheldon Adelson and a few others, Big Money no longer is the provenance of the GOP. Rather, the Republicans now have become the party of the Middle Class, the union workers (though not their bosses), and pensioner seniors who were campus radicals in the late Sixties. The GOP must confront this new reality: the Democrats buried them in campaign spending on House races. That played a role in the House flips.
- D.C. Republicans Wasted Two Years, Proved Unable to Govern, and Forgot to Address Health Care and Immigration
Washington Republicans promised for years to repeal and replace Obamacare, and they lied. It was insufficient merely to end Obama’s “individual mandate.” Beyond repealing Obamacare, the need still existed to solve the health insurance crisis and adequately to cover pre-existing conditions. In past decades, Republicans were the party of the rich white-shoe country-club set, the Romneys and Bushes and billionaire Koch Brothers types. Those Republicans kowtowed to the corporate sorts who have no problem importing Illegals and overrunning our southern border with cheap undocumented labor in order to maximize their profits while choking off the wages of low-income American citizens, including hard-working People of Color. In that past, such social economic issues as health care and social security retirement income were concerns of the Democrats, the party of White union workers and seniors, while RINO Republicans utterly did not care.
But Ronald Reagan and then Donald Trump have transformed the GOP into the party of the working stiffs and the Middle Class, the union workers, the ethnic Catholic and blue-collar laborers who work forty-hour weeks for a living and pass it on down the line, and seniors. Those hard workers pay the taxes that sustain this economy. They have earned the right to expect results on health care reform. They are entitled to care about retirement and Social Security because they worked hard and paid into it all their lives. Although “Welfare” is not an “entitlement” and “Food stamps” are not an “entitlement” — no matter what Obama called it — a secure Social Security pension is an entitlement because the recipients paid for it.
The white-shoe Republicans in Washington forgot about those voters and their imperative for health-care reform. Remember how proud Republicans were when companies started announcing $1,000 and $2,000 bonuses after the Trump tax cuts passed? Remember how Republicans rightly mocked Nancy Pelosi when she dismissed that money as “crumbs”? So what about a health care system where a responsible person does not wait until he or she is sick to buy insurance but responsibly buys coverage proactively when young and maintains it responsibly for decades, buying a good plan that covers 80 percent of all physician, medical, and pharmaceutical costs, with the patient paying only 20 percent? Good, right? And then what happens when someone in the family tragically is stricken with a severe disease later — heart disease, organ failure, cancer — and suddenly finds that even that excellent plan leaves the insured household with an out-of-pocket add-on cost of $5,000-$10,000 per year? Republicans in Washington forgot to address this financial reality: Just as it is not “crumbs” to get a $1,000 or $2,000 pay bonus as part of a tax cut, it also is not insignificant when a hard-working responsible taxpayer gets hit annually with an out-of-pocket $5,000-$10,000 add-on health cost each year, beyond the premiums for good insurance. The D.C. Republicans never addressed fixing health care after repealing the obscene Obamacare mandate. They forgot the critical third word of “Repeal and Replace.” How will those stricken randomly, through no fault of their own, with outlier high-cost diseases be protected by the same social net that rightly protects others victimized randomly by “acts of God”?
Likewise, Washington Republicans never solved the border crisis. They did not resolve DACA — whether to legalize all of them, deport all of them, or something in between. They did not allocate the needed Wall funding. They did not tighten the border securely enough to keep out the scourges of opioids, human trafficking, MS-13 animals, and outright terrorists. They dropped the ball all over the place as though it were New Year’s Eve at Times Square. They did not govern. If it were not for President Trump achieving so much unilaterally — driving through fabulous judicial nominations, deregulating the economy by executive authority, conducting a muscular foreign policy, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving our embassy there, staring down the priggish Europeans over their NATO cheap penny-pinching and staring down ISIS and others, the past two years would have been a complete waste.
So that explains more of the votes that Republican House candidates lost locally to Democrats.
In addition, California Republicans knew there would be a political price exacted when Congress decided to pay for the Trump tax cuts in part by reducing the amount of property taxes and mortgage-interest that Californians hereinafter can deduct on their 1040 filings. That financial consideration, too, cost local Republican candidates votes among Independents, even though Republican-aligned voters accepted the “hit” not only as a sacrifice for the common good but also as an investment from which they ultimately would benefit under a revived and booming post-Obama economy they knew would ensue.
- Harvesting Ballots: The Democrats Control Everything in California, So Cheated by Corrupting the Election Rules
The big “kicker” — the freeway robbery — emerges as the “harvesting of ballots.” Now that ballot-harvesting is on the national radar, it must be stopped elsewhere. Here is what outgoing Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown — once known as Governor Moonbeam — approved in a polity that exploited the porous southern border so that Democrats control all statewide offices and control both legislative houses with super-majorities, therefore can implement absolutely anything they want unless stopped by the United States Supreme Court:
On Election Day in California you can go vote in person; alternatively, you can mail in your ballot. Your mailer ballot consists of pages with pre-printed names, with little circles (“bubbles”) printed alongside them. With dark ink, you fill in your selected bubbles, sign your name and date your ballot. You put it into an envelope, seal the envelope, and sign and date that, too. You then have to bring it into a voting facility by no later than Election Day, or you may affix a postage stamp and mail the envelope. The envelopes will be counted as long as they arrive no later than three days after Election Day, as long as postmarked by Election Day.
That means you fathom who is running and for what office, and you also ferret through numerous statewide and local ballot “propositions.” There also are numerous Unknowns running for judgeships and county school boards and water boards and local committees. For many in the electorate, the ballot is so overwhelming that they do not vote. (Indeed, I urged those overwhelmed just to vote for the Governor, the House, and the state legislature seats — and to skip the rest of the ballot.) Ultimately, you have to (i) fill in the bubbles, (ii) sign the ballot, (iii) date it, (iv) seal it in the envelope, (v) get a postage stamp, (vi) sign the envelope, (vii) date the envelope, and (viii) get the sealed envelope mailed or hand-delivered. It does not sound hard, but it is a real mega pain. This explains partly why so many do not vote. The propositions are near-impossible to decipher. They are deliberately written to say the opposite of what they mean because proponents want to emphasize the short-term benefits while hiding how much each proposition ultimately will cost or what it really aims to change. Despite all that, responsible voters get their ballots done, find the stamps, and somehow get to the post office before the deadline.
But here is where large-scale cheating comes in on this Moonbeam Harvest: They now allow ballot harvesting here. That means, on first blush, that a volunteer can offer to take a sealed, signed, and dated envelope and mail it or drop it off for the trusting voter. But the reality actually penetrates deeper: The volunteer may even offer to provide the postage stamp. (Is that a bribe? Who will know?) And who will be any the wiser if the Moonbeam Harvester even offers by-the-by to fill in the bubbles for the voter? Who will know? The ballot, after all, does not entail handwriting the choices, just filling in circles. So if the voter is a relative newcomer — let’s even assume legally, which is an assumption here — but let’s assume reasonably that the voter is not so adept in English, does not speak it or read it. Well, now you have this Moonbeam Harvester in the voter’s home, offering not only to advance the postage stamp and to take the envelope and drop it off or mail it — but even to fill in the bubbles for the voter who does not know English or otherwise has no time to ferret.
Welcome to Moonbeam harvesting:
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing votes stuffed inside our sleeves.
By and by the harvest, and the neighbor friended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing votes stuffed inside our sleeves.
- In Conclusion: How Blood-Orange Temporarily Shaded Blue
So what color is the dress — white and gold, or blue and black? In November, Blood-Orange County seemed to turn blue, but the denizens still are blood-orange. Alas, Republicans were caught flat-footed on campaign financing. The GOP dropped the ball on health care, on pre-existing conditions, and on out-of-pocket add-on health costs that are not “crumbs.” They blew it on immigration, DACA, and the Wall. They fell on a sword for reducing Form 1040 deductions for property taxes and home-mortgage interest. And the same hapless state GOP, which missed the ball when California changed its primary balloting system to the “Jungle Primary,” again went AWOL when the Democrats of California changed balloting rules so that votes could be delivered by Harvest Moonbeam volunteers, opening the door to other forms of election fraud. Harvesting ballots must be banned.
Jeremy Bishop tidesinourveins/Creative Commons