"Remember Donald Trump's ceaseless, tireless, classless repetition of the claim that the election is, quote, "rigged." But remember it in the context of what one of this year's great patriots, his Art of the Deal ghostwriter Tony Schwartz, observed about Trump and projection. Remember that Schwartz tweeted, "most negative things he says about others are actually describing him." Since Trump has endlessly bleated this charge that Hillary Clinton and everybody else are trying to rig the election, since his interests and those of the Russian hackers and Wikileaks are running on parallel tracks, if not the same track, go into the last stretch here assuming that Trump's charge of rigging is actually an admission of an attempt to rig the election on his behalf, not against him."
-Keith Olbermann October 26, 2016
When I first conceived of my most recent blog entry, Rutherfraud B. Hayes and the (S)election of 1876, I was not consciously attempting to engage in prophecy. The portion of the video that was shot at the U.S. Hotel where Hayes stayed was done months ago in conjunction with an invitation to attend my sister's wedding and reception, which was held on the premises. Perhaps on a subconscious level, I was digging into the past to correlate election fraud with the possibility of it occurring this year as Donald Trump and his associates proclaimed throughout the campaign. Then again, maybe on a deeper unconscious level, I might have heard about the Schwartz tweet and forecast my concerns as Olbermann would later do in his video for GQ, Does Trump's Obsession With Vote Rigging Signal Something About His Own Plans?
Either way, it happened. The 2016 election was stolen. It may not have occurred in the exact fashion in which the 1876 election was stolen, but it did happen. There are three primary sources on which I base this judgment: Greg Palast, Jonathan Simon and J. Alex Halderman. Palast has reported on this kind of chicanery before in 2000 and 2004. On November 11, 2016, he wrote an article spelling out what he concludes about the most recent presidential election titled The Election was Stolen - Here's How... Using a system called Crosscheck, Trump operatives under the direction of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach purged 1.1 million Americans of color from the voting rolls of GOP-controlled states including Michigan and North Carolina. Palast details many additional methods, including felonious caging, that proves that "Jim Crow, not the voters, elected Mr. Trump."
Then, there are the exit polls. As Palast writes, "Exit polls are the standard by which the US State Department measures the honesty of foreign elections." Jonathan Simon did extensive research into the discrepancies between exit poll results in swing states and the final vote tallies. These discrepancies, which Simon calls a "red shift," includes North Carolina, which was a 5.9% shift from Clinton, who won the exit poll by 2.1%, to Trump winning the state vote count by 3.8%, which Simon calls "way outside the margin of error for that poll and therefore very unlikely to occur by chance." Also in this category is Pennsylvania, which gave Clinton a 4.4% lead in the exit poll margin, yet Trump wins by 1.2%, a 5.6% red shift. Florida had a 2.6% red shift with Clinton ahead in exit polls by 1.3%, then losing by 1.3%. This research was corroborated by Mark Crispin Miller, who detailed in 2004 how Kerry lost Ohio in the same fashion.
Finally, as CNN reported yesterday, there is the research from a team of computer scientists including J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society. They found evidence that vote totals in three states, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, could have been manipulated or hacked. Specifically, they found a questionable trend in which Clinton received 7% fewer votes in counties which relied on electronic voting machines compared to counties which relied on paper ballots. They presented their findings to top Clinton aides last Thursday and urged them to call for a recount. At this time, it is not known whether the Clinton campaign will request an audit based on the findings.
So who is responsible for the theft? Donald Trump? The GOP? Russia? At this point, I don't presume to know and neither should anyone else. We need to find out! Rarely do I use this blog as a platform to call for political action, but this is an exceptional exception. Today is the last day to contact the Department of Justice to demand an audit. The number is (202) 514-2000. Wait to hear the menu, then press option 4 to leave a voicemail. Tell them to audit North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida due to reports of widespread voting machine tampering. Tell them they need to ensure the will of the American people and our democratic processes must be honored. That's what I did. Time will tell if this will motivate government action, but time is of the essence. Act now!
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Monday, November 7, 2016
U.S. Hotel - 1880 Built by George Holt for his fiancee Madame Jeanne De Reboam. The first guest was President Rutherford B. Hayes.
Courtesy Dolores Steele
This is the United States Hotel in Jacksonville, Oregon. It was built in 1880 and one of its first famous guests was President Rutherford B. Hayes. President Hayes, however, was one of the most infamous presidents in American history. He only served one term, but it was how he became President that made him truly infamous.
The election of 1876 pitted Democratic Party nominee Samuel J. Tilden, the distinguished Governor of New York famous for exposing William "Boss" Tweed as a corrupt leader of the Tweed Ring within Tammany Hall, which was an engine for graft and corruption in New York City during the Gilded Age, against Republican Party nominee Rutherford B. Hayes, the Governor of Ohio who was the choice when the convention had stalled after six ballots. According to historian Henry Adams, Hayes was chosen as, "a third rate nonentity, whose only recommendation is that he is obnoxious to no one" and "necessary for party harmony." When all the votes were counted, Tilden had clearly won the popular vote, 4,284,000 to Hayes' 4,037,000.
But as anyone who followed the hanging chad cliffhanger in 2000 knows, U.S. Presidential elections are never decided by popular vote, but through the electoral college. Tilden was ahead of Hayes in that arena, 184 electoral votes to 165. However, there were 20 electoral votes unresolved. In three southern states, South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana, each party declared that its candidate had won the state. There was also a dispute in Oregon because one of the state's electors, deputy postmaster John W. Watts, had his vote declared invalid by Oregon Governor La Fayette Grover. Grover, a Democrat, declared that Watts, a Republican Hayes supporter, violated the rule prohibiting electors from holding a federally appointed office.
So what does the U.S. Constitution say should happen when there is not a clear winner in the electoral college? This was clarified by the 12th Amendment ratified in 1804, which states that if no candidate has a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives, with each state delegation having one vote, chooses the President and the Senate, with each Senator having one vote, chooses the Vice President. But instead of following this Constitutional procedure, Congress passed a law on January 29, 1877 forming a 15-member commission to settle the result.
This commission consisted of five members each from the House, Senate and Supreme Court which resulted in seven Republicans, seven Democrats, and one independent, Supreme Court Justice David Davis. But at the same time, Davis was elected by the legislature of Illinois to the Senate. While Democrats in the Illinois legislature thought they were securing Davis's support on the commission by voting for him, this backfired when Davis resigned from the Supreme Court (and the commission) to take his Senate seat. The justices on the commission then chose Justice Joseph P. Bradley, a Republican, as his replacement.
There were double sets of returns for each of the four states in dispute. While Hayes probably did win South Carolina (by a razor-thin 889 votes) and Florida, Tilden won in Louisiana with a majority of 9,000 of 207,000 votes cast. Matthew Josephson in his 1938 book The Politicos wrote: "Supported by Republican ‘visiting statesmen’, not to mention regiments of Federal soldiers, the Louisiana Returning Board proceeded to accept the testimony of perjurers, thieves and prostitutes, and to throw out the ballots of whole parishes, until over 13,350 Democratic votes were canceled and a Hayes majority of over 4,000 votes were produced."
Yet in spite of this evidence of fraud, Justice Bradley joined his seven other Republican members in a series of 8-7 votes that awarded all 20 disputed electoral votes to Hayes, giving him a 185-184 electoral vote victory. How could Tilden and the Democratic Party have accepted this outcome? A secret meeting was convened between representatives of both parties at the Wormley Hotel in Washington D.C. on February 26, 1877. According to journalist Matthew Josephson, "Democrats would abandon presidential claims and Republicans promised federal troops, which enforced the constitutional amendment giving (African-Americans) full rights of citizens, would be removed from the South." This is the real legacy of the election, or rather, the selection of 1876: the so-called Compromise of 1877, which was the end of Reconstruction and the entrenchment of white supremacy-fueled segregation that denied African-American civil rights through Jim Crow laws for generations to come.
Being the only president ever elected by congressional commission, President Hayes was given the nickname "Rutherfraud" Hayes. While his tour of the western states including Oregon in 1880 may have been part of an effort to reach out to citizens who felt disenfranchised, the taint of the disputed election ultimately led Hayes not to seek re-election that year.