Q: Have American “elections” always been a fraudulent farce, something any self-respecting banana republic would look at with horror and disgust?
A: Pretty much, yeah.
The scenario is familiar. A presidential election ends with uncertain results. Millions are convinced the election has been stolen. Congress steps in to reassure the nation, picks a president, and opens a wound that just divides the country further.
Welcome to 1876. That was the year Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote and was just one vote short of an Electoral College victory, but somehow lost to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes when the electoral votes of four states were “reconsidered.”
If you think the presidential election of 2020 was controversial, suffice it to say that if half the irregularities of 1876 had been repeated in 2020, America would have been torn apart.
Not only was an Electoral College majority certified for neither candidate, Congress opted in 1876 to invent a wholly novel “solution.” Instead of following the constitutional mandate putting an unsettled election in the House of Representatives to resolve, Congress improvised, passing a law on Jan. 29, 1877 that formed a 15-member Electoral Commission which was authorized to decide for the entire country who had won the election. Not surprisingly, every decision favored the Republicans on an 8-7 party-line vote, and the commission ended up awarding all 20 disputed electoral votes to Hayes. Democrats reportedly allowed Hayes to become president in exchange for his promise that he would end Reconstruction and withdraw federal troops stationed in the South after the end of the Civil War.
Trust me, if there had been an Internet or 24/7 cable news back then, the “Compromise of 1877” probably would have ignited a second civil war instead of putting an unofficial end to the first one. But even without the nonstop blare of social influencers and the Twitter mob, plenty of people knew they were being had.
The Savannah Morning News spoke for many when it opined in its Feb. 24, 1877 edition: “[T]he Democratic leaders in Congress have been bullied, cajoled, betrayed and cheated into a surrender not only of the fairly won victory of the party at the polls, but of the constitutional right of the people to self-government.”
Consider for a moment what that statement means in the context of 2020, when mainstream Republicans were bullied by the mainstream media into abandoning President Trump and his claims of a stolen election. The lesson is clear: If you think the election was not free and fair, if you think victory was stolen from you, then fight for it with all your might. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Don’t surrender because someone told you it was a bad look.
As the Savannah editor wrote in the same edition: “A people who can calmly submit to and acquiesce in such a betrayal of their rights and liberties need give to history no better proof of their unfitness for self-government.”
Ouch. Can any of us feel anything less than great personal shame that present-day Americans have so completely confirmed the veracity of those words?
Then again, though, a people in such an advanced stage of degeneracy and decline probably don’t care a whit about self-government anyway, and are blissfully unaware that the right to self-government was stripped from them long ago. Happily, not all of us fit that description, not quite yet.
If Twitter had been around in 1877, however, the Savannah Morning News would have been censored. If there had been an equivalent of the Jan. 6 House select committee, the editor would have been subpoenaed, shamed, and possibly prosecuted. As the mainstream media has essentially told us, when it comes to elections: “If you see something, say nothing.”
But just as in 1876, millions of Americans don’t believe what they are being told, and they don’t want to just shut up and go away, which has made them enemies of the establishment. Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, Ginni Thomas and others who dispute the 2020 election results aren’t committing treason; they are committing free thought. And they are being treated as criminals for doing so.
The rest of us are being told to stand down, to acquiesce to the idea that the votes of the American people should never be “overturned” once they are officially recorded. This is ridiculous, both as a matter of logic and as a matter of history.
The logical fallacy is easy to spot. Only a fool would claim that elections are the one area of human experience that is immune from fraud, corruption, or criminal conspiracy. Because so much is at stake in elections, especially the presidential election, we must posit that they would be a most attractive target for subversion.
Would it matter to Democrats that the Electoral College appeared to confer the victory on Trump if they had evidence that an election was stolen? Of course not. Would they stop fighting simply because the other side called them sore losers? Hell no. And if we mean to take democracy seriously, then we have to be prepared to admit that if an election is found to be corrupt, there is no morally viable solution other than to overturn the result. Again, forget about the 2020 presidential election. This is not an issue that should be decided by whether or not you like Donald Trump.
What we need to ask is how to deal with election fraud when and if it inevitably occurs.
Whatever specific measures might be adopted in this entirely hypothetical attempt at reform, the punishment must be swift, certain, and extremely harsh. Such a hard-handed approach would serve several useful purposes at once: it would reflect not only the seriousness of the crime, but that We the People are cognizant of that seriousness, and will not tolerate any flouting of it; it would serve as a real deterrent to all but the most hardened Democrat fraudster; it would restore and nourish a sense of community and shared values which the Left deliberately stripped Americans of in their fanatical pursuit of the Marxist fever dream.
In any event, I think it fair to say that this hypothetical reform is just another one of those many things that of right ought to happen—need to happen, in fact must happen—but never will, unless and until Real Americans rise up, force the issue, and make it happen.