“Pride and Purpose” is the slogan for Hofstra University. It could also be the slogan for the “new” Democratic party, exuded by New York State Democrats at their convention, held at the university’s stadium in Nassau County last week. There were not taking a backseat to Cynthia Nixon and the Working Families Party progressive values. Instead, Hillary Clinton, Tom Perez, Joe Biden, and Andrew Cuomo, himself schooled them on the art of pragmatic progressivism: getting progressive policies enacted.
Not the ideals, the hyperbole, the theory, not that hot air balloon that raised Bernie Sanders and still fills the Bernie Bro’s and those who attach to him, like Cynthia Nixon who has no clue at all how to achieve or change any of the wrongs. Hillary Clinton, in one of her debates with Bernie Sanders, noted that “politics is the art of the possible.”
The theme for the first day was “Moving Forward,” – a slap at Republicans cynical actions to move the clock back to a time when women, minorities, the disabled and vulnerable were subjugated without consequence. The theme for the second day, when Andrew Cuomo gave his acceptance speech, was “Fighting Back.”
Taking the podium in the same venue as the first 2016 presidential debate where she showed the presidential pretender, Donald Trump, to be the fool he is, Clinton answered the question constantly posed to Democrats (but not Republicans): What do Democrats stand for? Well, it may not fit on a hat, but Clinton provided the answer:
“Look around this room: people who stand for an economy that works for everybody, universal health care, and even better, people who have plans to get us there. You’ll see defenders of civil rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, rights of people with disabilities. I don’t believe these are minor issues –they matter to millions and millions of New Yorkers, Americans.
“So much of the progress we see in the United States is because we Democrats pushed open doors to opportunity for people who have been shut out. And we, my friends, are not going back.”
At a time when income inequality is the greatest since 1915, she said, “I think it’s a bold idea that everyone in this country should have a decent standard of living and a good job to pay for it…That everyone deserves the best possible start in life..Quality health care throughout and a safe, secure retirement. Even bolder is to have plans to make those realities, the way Democrats do.
“Let’s remind ourselves: Democrats are the party that rescued country from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; passed, then saved, the Affordable Care Act; helped keep Planned Parenthood’s doors open. We’re the party that will save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from persistent Republican attacks. We are the party that will keep fighting every day to achieve universal health care and universal job opportunities. So don’t let anyone tell you differently.
“If you want an economy that works for you and your family, you have to vote for Democrats…..quality health care….protect and expand the rights of all Americans, not just the top 1%, you have to vote for Democrats.
“If you believe in woman’s right to make her own health care decisions …in well funded public schools, colleges, and the resources so that teachers can succeed.. If you believe in actual commonsense gun safety laws to help save lives…understand that we are facing a real crisis with Climate Change…and believe we can stand up for our values and keep our country safe, you have to vote for Democrats.
“If you believe in comprehensive immigration reform and protecting Dreamers …… getting money out of politics and getting all voters to the polls..if you believe that standing up for evidence and reason and respecting the rule of Law is critical for our democracy, you have to vote for Democrats.”
“Now more than ever we need leaders who will stand up for progressive values and up against to those who will turn neighbor against neighbor and sow seeds of division. Most of all, we need leaders who believe in producing results and getting things done – leaders like Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul.”
Indeed, Cuomo has chalked up quite a record in his 7 years that align perfectly with the progressive agenda:
Erased $10 billion deficit, added 1 million private-sector jobs to a record number of 8.2 million; raised the minimum wage to $15, passed the strongest paid family leave policy in America; stood up to protect a woman’s right to choose, and defended access to the state’s version of Obamacare; implemented marriage equality and stood up against racism and sexual abuse.
Implemented commonsense gun safety laws, promoted criminal justice reform and created a mechanism to investigate deaths by police. Put affordable college education in reach of every New Yorker, making the state the first in nation to provide tuition-free college for low and mid-income students.
He’s unleashed the most massive overhaul of infrastructure since Franklin D. Roosevelt was governor, to the tune of $100 billion that has seen new bridges, mass transportation improvements all across the state (built with union labor), invested in innovation and business incubators. Much of this is also to realize the target of 50% of the state’s energy needs coming from renewable by 2030, and he has backed it up by shutting down coal-fired plants, investing in offshore windpower.
He has stood up for Dreamers and for immigrants, creating a legal fund so that those who Trump and Sessions would race to deport have the benefit of due process enshrined in the Constitution and a stable of American values.
And Hochul, probably the hardest working Lt. Governor in the nation, has done an outstanding job to promote gender equity.
“This is not your father’s Republican Party,” former Vice President Joe Biden told the audience. “They are not who we are. They are not who America is. What they are doing is sending a vision of America around the world that is distorted. That is damaging. That is hurting us… this phony populism, this fake nationalism…. It’s time to say ‘no more.'”
We have seen how the Republicans govern: pulling back on rights for workers, women, voting rights, overturning environmental, consumer and financial protections (how is that helping working people?). Doing nothing to expand access to affordable health care, rather, doing their best to destroy Obamacare and watch as health care premiums rise.. Doing nothing to make college affordable, address student debt; nothing to address the opioid crisis or address spiraling rise in drug prices that put life-saving drugs out of reach. And that $1.5 trillion infrastructure fantasy? As Biden said, Trump gave it away to the 1% in the GOP tax scheme.
“This election isn’t just about winning, though win we must,” declared Jay Jacobs, chair of Nassau Democrats. “It’s about the soul of America – what nation we are, who we will about moving forward.
Here’s the tidy slogan that Democrats should embrace and it even fits on a hat: Justice. Fairness. Opportunity.
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, US Senator and the first woman to run for President on a major party ticket, in her first sit down interview since the bruising election, nonetheless encouraged others to pursue political office, but warned to be prepared for the personal attacks, bullying. “Take criticism seriously but not personally.” She said that the Comey letter, the Russian hacking and disinformation campaign were factors in her defeat, but so was there an element of misogynism. As always, she spoke out intelligently and substantively, saying that the US should take action against Assad in Syria for the war crime of gassing civilians (later that night, Trump launched a bombing raid on the Syrian airfield where the gas attacks were launched from).
She also spoke out against the actions this administration, now in full control of right-wing Republicans, has already taken against women. “The targeting of women is absolutely beyond any political agenda’,” Clinton said. Referring to that photo of white men sitting around a table with Trump talking about removing maternity care from mandated health coverage and defunding Planned Parenthood, she said incredulously, “maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception?” And on the Trump administration’s punitive global gag order that goes beyond anything that Reagan or Bush did to defund international agencies by losing all funding if an agency helps a woman who will die if she bares another child.
“This is just not the right and moral position for the United States to take this is in our national security interest. The more we support women the more we support democracy, the more we backhand terrorism and fundamentalism that can creep into countries. So women’s issues are national security issues.”
Here are highlights from her interview with New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, in which she discusses frankly the election, her loss, her future, Putin and Russia’s unprecedented interference in the US election, and Syria (See the full interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aI0iLIwfa2w) – Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features
I’m hopeful that the Congress will pull together and realize that because of the success the Kremlin feels it’s had they’re not going to go away. So whatever party you are whatever business you run whatever concerns you have, if we don’t take action together to hold whoever was involved accountable they will be back time and time again. Look from my prospective, I know Putin. I’ve sat with him. This is somebody who plays the long game. He plays 3-dimensional chess, he’s always trying to figure out how to advantage himself, his oligarchy companions, and his country in that order. He is very much focused on He wants to destabilizing EU , NATO, the US, real democracies. People have asked me, why did he do that you? I don’t think it’s too complicated. I think he had his desire to destabilize us and others. He’s not exactly fond of strong women so you add that together and that’s pretty much where it leads. Although he did shake hands with me (laughs and applause)
HRC on white men sitting around the table with Trump discussing removing maternity care from mandated health coverage, defunding Planned Parenthood: “The things that come out of some of these men’s mouths..” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9QbpXjr02Y)
The things that come out of some of these men’s mouths like why do we have to cover maternity care? Oh I don’t know, maybe you were dropped by immaculate conception? (laughs and applause)
Well I’m currently writing a book (APPLAUSE) where I spend a lot of time wrestling with this. As you might guess I’ve thought about it more than once. I don’t know that there is one answer. Let’s be clear in any campaign there’s many different crosscurrents and events and some have greater impact than others. But it is fair to say that certainly misogyny played a role and certainly that has to be admitted. Why and what the reasons were I’m trying to parse out myself.
I would just say this: there is a constant struggle, and not just women, women & men, in a time of rapid change like the one we are living through between something that is different, that may hold out even possible positive consequences and something that is familiar and something that is really first and foremost about security of what you have right now.
I think in this election there was a very real struggle between what is viewed as change that is welcomed and exciting to so many Americans and change which is worrisome and threatening to so many others. Layer on the first woman president over that and I think some people, women included, had real problems. It’s fair to say that President Obama, my husband, they also really struggled for white votes as many as they could get. So we have to do a better job in speaking to and with people who are on the downside of the change equation and wondering what do we have to offer and why should they vote for us as opposed to well I don’t agree with him, not sure I really approve of him but he looks like somebody that has been a president before so why do I want to add more change or more potential anxiety to my life. We’re just going to go and hope he does a little bit of what he says and I think that’s where a lot of people are.
00:15 I am really focused on just doing some things that I think I can help make a difference with. Like the supporting of young people and getting more women into politics. I very much want to help Democrats take back the congress (applause).
00:40 I have no plans. I have no plans at all other than trying to find some interesting things to do, trying to support other people to pursue their interest, spend time with my grandchildren which is a great joy. I’m not making plans to do anything.
01:10 I am looking at doing interesting things I don’t think that will ever include running for office again as interesting as I find that to be because I think you can have a big influence. I think that there are lots of ways to make difference to work in all sectors in of our society, the for-profits, the not-for-profits. I am looking for ways to help people live their own lives better, tell their own stories better.
01:38 I’ve always been really focused on kids and find some good ways to help organizations that are helping particularly kids that faced difficulties in their lives. I am passionate about the unfinished business of the 21st century, the rights and the opportunities for women and girls so I think I have a lot to do.
START: First let me say that, I don’t take any pleasure in seeing the kind of chaotic functioning … I thought I was going to win and I had a really good transition operation going. Because I understood. Remember the debates, remember that one point in the debate when my opponent was ridiculing me yet again for having prepared for the debate? And I said yes I didprepare for the debate and I’ll tell you something else I prepared for and that’s being president.
00:48 It’s the hardest job you can imagine. I thought we would’ve been prepared we would’ve been ready to move on arrange events we worked so hard on policies and already lining up personal and the likes. So clearly that wasn’t well prepared for the incoming administration and I think they’re going through some very public growing pains.
01:18 But here’s what I don’t understand. I don’t understand the commitment to hurt so many people that this administration this White House seems to be pursuing. There’s so many examples in just the first 100 days: the ban on people coming into our country. Yes it was originally aimed at 7 not 6 countries but it really set a chilling effect across the world. Not just to Muslims but all kinds of people that are saying well wait a minute don’t you still have Lady Liberty in the New York harbor aren’t we still the land of opportunity and freedom. It had a terrible impact.
02:11 And then of course what they did or tried to do with the health care bill. Which I will confess l..having listened to them discuss repeal and replace for 8 or 7 years now, they had no clue what that meant. I don’t know if any of them read the bill, read the law, understand how it worked. It was so obvious. Healthcare is complicated. They don’t know what to do. I do admit that was somewhat gratifying (cheers applause).
03:03 The targeting of women which is what’s going on is absolutely beyond any political agenda. There is something else happening here. The global gag rule bounces back between Republicans and Democrats, but the way they wrote it this time is not like Bush, and not like what Reagan did. This time, [the gag rule] would remove all aid if there is some kind of alleged breach because you provide family planning services but somebody says to a woman desperate to get an abortion because she’s told she’ll die if she tried to bare another child, if you try to help her then you lose everything.
04:00 You follow up that with [defunding] UN population fund. Which I’ve seen… the impact that those dollars have in saving women and children’s lives, in helping women having a better shot at a future because maybe she can get contraception and not have her first child at 14 and now has had 6 or 7 and is now 27 and she’s desperately trying to prevent another pregnancy and she needs it.
04:35 This is just not the right and moral position for the United States to take this is in our national security interest. The more we support women the more we support democracy, the more we backhand terrorism and fundamentalism that can creep into countries. So women’s issues are national security issues.
I’m doing pretty well all things considered. Aftermath of the election was so devastating and everything that is come to light in the days and weeks since have been also troubling. So I just have had to make up my mind that was I was going to get out of bed and yes I was going to go for long walks in the woods. I was going to see my grandchildren a lot and spend time with my family and my friends that have rally around me in an amazing way. We’ve had lots of fun, adventures, long nights talking and laughing. So I’m ok I will put it this way. As a person I’m ok. As an American I’m pretty worried. So I will take off my person hat and put on my citizen hat and there’s a lot to be concerned about.
00:56 I was Secretary of State I teamed up with Dave Petreaeus then director of CIA, Leon Panetta Secretary of Defense to present a plan for us to move more aggressively to support protestors to try to provide some back up in what was I thought likely to turn out to be a very one-sided battle. This was before ISIS came to public awareness for a caliphate and they’re setting up headquarters in Rocca. I believed that and I’ve said this repeatedly that we should’ve done more at that point.
01:49 Now, I’m the first to say these are not easy decisions. That’s why you want to get the best information you can from the best advisers you can and really drill down into this whatever the situation is.
02:03 I left the government. I then did promote a no fly zone. I still believe we should’ve done a no fly zone. I think we should’ve been more willing to confront Assad. Because remember the Russians didn’t get in at first. Iranian help was pretty much on the ground with the so called revolutionary guard force. They were enlisting Hezbollah units to fight on the ground because there was a really fight going on. But Assad had an air force, that’s the cause of most civilian deaths. As we have seen over the years and as we saw over the last few days. I really believe that we should’ve and still should take out his air field and prevent him from using them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.
03:20 I wish the international community at large had been able to reign this in. I’ve spent a lot of time with the Russians, the Arab states, the Gulf states, and I actually had worked out an agreement for a transition in June of 2012 in Geneva. We hammered it out all day long, the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov actually agreed to it and it was calling for a technocratic government and in the easing out of Assad. I know that he had, he left our meeting. I know he went to his embassy, I know he asked for guidance and he came back and agreed. So it lasted for about 24 hours because basically Assad said I’m not going anywhere.
04:15 Part of the reason Assad has been so dug in is because some of you who follow Syria follow history, his father destroyed a city that was a hot bed of opposition to his rule. Literally massacred more than 10,000 people and almost ceded the ground so that nothing would ever grow there again. That was the impact that it was meant to have. So the people around Assad that was never the person that the people expected to succeed his father thought it would be older brother so you know was viewed as a much tougher character. His brother gets killed in a car wreck he gets summoned home and given the responsibility of being the dictator of Syria.
05:22 Why do I tell you all of this. Because it mattes if you know a little bit more about that’s going on in the minds that are your adversaries.He is absolutely a prisoner of his families expectations his dead fathers looming presence and his delusion that I believe he now can pass lied detector about that everybody that opposes him is a terrorist. That’s how Putin thinks. Putin has basically weighted in particularly with air power to support this fight to the death policy that Assad has.
06:11 I think that we have to try change the dynamic and all through the campaign I would say I’m for a no fly zone and immediately whether it was in the primary or the general election people would ask aren’t you afraid of Russians? It’s time the Russians were afraid of us because we were going to stand up for the human rights, the dignity and the future of Syrian people and I actually had a lot of confidence that I could say to Putin and his team look whether you’re with us or against us with this no fly zone and here’s what we’re going to do. We don’t want any confrontation with you. We cannot let this massacre continue and the consequences that are effecting the entire region so I feel pretty strongly where we are now and what happened in these last days with a neurotoxin sarin gas is just …
07:15 Let me just say this. There will be people who say its not your fight, we don’t care, what difference does it make, we’re not involved. First of all we are an interconnected interdependent world unlike any we’ve been in history before because of mobility because of communications so what happens in other place can very have an impact on you.
07:38 But the world took a position after the first World War who’s 100th anniversary of starting we will be commemorating and we took a stand against the use of chemical weapons. We have a whole unit attached to the United Nations that is devoted to preventing chemical weapons from falling into the wrong hands to be used.
08:11 It is important we take a strong stance against chemical weapons and we thought with the deal that the Obama administration negotiated that we got rid of their stocks but who knows whether they hid some or bought more we don’t know. We just know the impact. It’s in our interest, we have to start recognizing norms of behavior in our own country and globally are just as important to keeping peace and preventing atrocities as any law that is written down. People have to know that they will be held accountable as war criminals as committing crimes against humanity if they engage in these kinds of aggressive violent acts (applause).
Secretary Clinton was introduced by Samantha Bee of Full Frontal:
Petitions are circulating such as this one from Credo:
“Donald Trump is unfit to serve as president and did not win the support of the majority of the American people. Hillary Clinton is set to win the majority of the vote by more than 2 million votes despite widespread voter suppression and the FBI’s interference in the election. Honor the majority vote and elect Hillary Clinton on Dec. 19.”
I’m wondering how many of the electoral voters are actually Never-Trumpers, and now, since they have seen how Trump would govern, who he intends to appoint to run the country (a climate denier to run the EPA; an anti-public education billionaire to run Education; an unhinged fired General to run national security), might be having a twinge of remorse, especially given the fact that Hillary Clinton actually won the popular vote by more than 2 million votes (most ever for a candidate who didn’t actually win the presidency), and new revelations about Trump’s conflicts of interest, his lack of transparency and his pay-to-play approach to foreign relations (an echo of Richard Nixon’s, “If the president does it, that means it’s not illegal”).
Nor did Trump “win” the key swing states that put him over 270 electoral votes fairly.
Reports of Russian interference that turned the tide of the election should be a grave concern to Electoral College voters, if they consider themselves patriots. Throughout the campaign, it was clear the Russian government was actively working to influence the outcome in Trump’s favor. State-sponsored Russian hackers provided troves of damaging emails and documents to WikiLeaks and other websites. Paid Russian trolls disseminated fake news across US social media sites to spread misinformation favorable to Trump. And though Trump lied about it, his campaign was in direct contact with the Russian government throughout the election, including his strategist Roger Stone (who cut his teeth on the Richard Nixon campaign). Trump has well established connections to Russia through many business dealings, and he spent considerable time during the campaign praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Now that Trump has access to classified intelligence and the nuclear codes, we can’t trust what he will do with them. His presidency is a clear threat to American democracy and our national security,” writes Josh Nelson, Deputy Political Director for CREDO Action from Working Assets.
Moreover, there is strong evidence of voter suppression aimed at likely Democratic voters (minorities), including making it difficult to obtain newly required voter ID materials, closing polling places and reducing early voting. In Wisconsin, where Clinton lost by only 27,000 votes, 300,000 eligible voters lacked the strict forms of ID needed to vote, and the state saw its lowest turnout in 20 years, especially in Black communities. And across the country, Black people were forced to wait in line twice as long on average as white people.
In North Carolina, there were 158 fewer early voting polling places in Black communities, and Black turnout was down 16 percent. And by the way, how is it possible that the Democratic won the Governor’s race, but that Clinton at the top of the ticket didn’t win? – why is there no challenge to that vote, as the losing Republican Governor has waged?
“It’s entirely possible that without voter suppression, Clinton would have won the Electoral College along with the popular vote,” Nelson states (though it is harder to prove voter suppression than lie about the existence of voter fraud).
Indeed, Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2.5 million – a bigger margin than many elected presidents won by, and the biggest margin of any person who did not go on to actually become president (Al Gore included). Trump has already proved he will dismiss the will of the majority. Why is it that the “Real America” disqualifies urbanites, women, minorities, professionals, college educated people, especially Ivy Leaguers?
In just the first week since seizing the election, Trump has demonstrated that he will be exactly who he showed himself to be, starting with the Team of Thugs, Reprobates, Misogynists, Corporatists, Racists, White Supremacists, not to mention those who are totally inexperienced to carry out the functions they are tasked with, he has surrounded himself with and who he is naming to cabinet and key offices. It is emerging as a “Team of Billionaires and 1-Percenters,” who built their financial empires on the backs of the very white working class people that Trump pretended to care about.
He has shown that he will protect his own business profits at the expense of the national interest – unabashedly doing business and extracting favors from foreign dignitaries, evoking Richard Nixon’s line, “If the president does it, then it isn’t illegal.” There is no doubt that he has realized he could leave office $100 billion richer. He absolutely doesn’t care about conflicts of interest. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had done anything remotely like that upon becoming the president-elect. They would have impeached her before inauguration day (Republicans mounted a special investigation into the Clintons’ Christmas card list when Bill took office).
Trump already showing he will trample transparency and a free press, preferring to continue to tweet outright lies should also have the Republican electors who claim to be the guardians of the Constitution quaking. That he will attack the press and a Hamilton actor appealing for his administration to just consider all Americans, but not condemn the Neo Nazis who are cheering his victory with a Hitler salute, that he dictates to the media how they will photograph him, and shuts out media that he feels don’t represent him well, are only the preview to the propaganda he will wage.
And now Trump declares he would take away citizenship and jail anyone who burns the flag, which the Supreme Court has already ruled is protected free speech – further evidence that he aspires to follow Vladimir Putin’s model. Trump doesn’t know and doesn’t care about civil rights or the Constitution.
And those Electoral Voters should be downright shaking about the fact Trump has declined taking the daily Presidential intelligence briefing (instead obsessing over convincing Carrier Air Conditioners not to move to Mexico), and from all accounts, dismissive of Obama’s advice to him on such critical topics as the urgency of keeping North Korea in check – an echo of George W. Bush’s dismissal of President Clinton’s intelligence advisers warning him of Osama bin Laden as a grave threat, only to stand by as four hijacked planes, circling around for hours, hit their targets on 9/11 without any defense. But Trump believes, “I know more than the generals” and yet, he was shocked to hear General Mattis tell him that torture doesn’t work. Shocked!
The Republican electors may be cheering Trump’s plan to install climate deniers to run Energy and Interior and overturn climate action, the Iran nuclear deal, cancel international agreements, repeal Obamacare and women’s reproductive rights; that he will voucherize Medicare and privatize Social Security, create a registry for Muslims, and install one billionaire to destroy public education and another billionaire who amassed his fortune taking advantage of bankrupt companies to be Secretary of Commerce – but they who claim to be patriots should have concern that Trump will do all of this without care, awareness or interest of the larger consequences to the majority of Americans who rejected him.
But the Republican electors should be downright quaking in their proverbial boots over Trump’s irresponsible, erratic and ignorant foreign policy, already demonstrated in how he praised the Philippines President (for his extrajudicial murders), antagonized China in speaking directly to the President of Taiwan (when China could instantly crash the US economy and move more aggressively into Asia-Pacific territorial waters), dismissed the nuclear threat from North Korea, even as South Korea’s presidency is toppling, and embraced Putin, effectively giving him license to stampede through Ukraine and into the Balkans.
And the only reason Trump will be president is for the voter suppression and likely election (not voter) fraud tactics (not to mention the unprecedented intrusion by FBI Director James Comey just 11 days before the election) that managed to tilt key swing states by the 1-2% margin for him to hit the magic number of 270 Electoral Votes despite losing the popular vote by a wide margin. You only needed Russia to tamper with a few votes here and there in precincts in the swing states to swing the election – indeed, only 100,000 votes among three battleground states that were polling in Hillary’s favor just before the election: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
And so I write this as a last-ditch appeal to the Electoral College voters to do the right thing, the moral thing, and in those narrowly decided battleground states, vote for Hillary Clinton. This isn’t a violation of the Constitution; at most, they would have to pay a $1000 fine for respecting the will of the people. A chance to show courage and be a true patriot.
It is clear that along with the myth of the American Dream, the US has never actually been a democracy, even in present times – between the limits on access to the polls, gerrymandering, the ways that money influences elections, and the Electoral College. And instead of getting better – with the 15th, amendment giving black men the right to vote, and the 19th amendment giving women the vote – those who would obstruct democracy have only gotten more lethal, devious, and technological.
Face it, the Founders weren’t gods from Apollo, they were human beings, embarking on a great experiment in governance and were skeptical of actually giving power to ordinary people. In fact, the Constitution only gave the vote to white property-owning men. How did it happen in Jacksonian times that white men without property all of a sudden got to vote, without a amending the Constitution, while non-white males and women had to wait for Constitutional amendments?
Now, in a capitulation to the idea that 2016 may be a done deal, a movement is underway to democratize the election in time for the 2020 presidential contest.
It may be time to abolish the Electoral College but that would require amending the Constitution but since that is not likely (look at how miserably efforts to amend the Constitution to overturn the notion that corporations are people and cash is free speech). Or, since that is not likely given the fact that the party is power has benefited so royally, the Electoral College needs to be modified, which can happen at the state level.
This nation was founded as an imperfect union, set on a journey to become a more perfect one. We have yet to get there, but over time, there has been movement toward the ideal of one-person, one-vote democracy.
The Electoral College is yet another archaic relic of the Founders’ experiment and concession to small states and slave-holding states in order to keep a fragile union together. But while the furor over the 2016 election has people talking about a Constitutional Amendment to abolish it, that won’t happen because it has worked so effectively for the party in control, along with gerrymandering, Citizens United, Voter ID and all forms of anti-democratic, voter suppressing tactics.
The electoral votes awarded to states are not even reflective of the state’s population, once again giving small, rural (white) states (that Republicans like to call “The Real America,” effectively dismissing the citizenship of urban-dwellers, college-educated, professionals, women, non-whites, non-Christians) disproportional representation (like the US Senate) and moving this nation even further away from the mythical principal of “one person, one vote.”
Indeed, if California was apportioned electoral votes based on its population, it would have 200 votes instead of the 50.
“Today, the vote of a citizen in Wyoming is four times as powerful as the vote of a citizen in Michigan,” Lawrence Lessig writes in the Washington Post. “The vote of a citizen in Vermont is three times as powerful as a vote in Missouri. This denies Americans the fundamental value of a representative democracy — equal citizenship. Yet nothing in our Constitution compels this result.”
For this reason, Republicans, who, in their 2012 “autopsy” only feigned concern for Hispanics, women, blacks because they believed the demographics were going against them, have realized that, just like in controlling the House and Senate, they can control the White House very effectively without a popular majority. They can advance policies that go against the interests of most Americans (so much for the white working class “finally” getting their populist advocate).
“Conventional wisdom tells us that the electoral college requires that the person who lost the popular vote this year must nonetheless become our president,” Lessig writes, arguing that the Electoral College should vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump and not veto the people’s choice. “That view is an insult to our framers. It is compelled by nothing in our Constitution. It should be rejected by anyone with any understanding of our democratic traditions — most important, the electors themselves.
“The framers believed, as Alexander Hamilton put it, that ‘the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the [president].’ But no nation had ever tried that idea before. So the framers created a safety valve on the people’s choice. Like a judge reviewing a jury verdict, where the people voted, the electoral college was intended to confirm — or not — the people’s choice. Electors were to apply, in Hamilton’s words, ‘a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice’ — and then decide. The Constitution says nothing about ‘winner take all.’ It says nothing to suggest that electors’ freedom should be constrained in any way. Instead, their wisdom — about whether to overrule ’the people’ or not — was to be free of political control yet guided by democratic values. They were to be citizens exercising judgment, not cogs turning a wheel.”
And so I write this as a last-ditch appeal to the Electoral College voters to do the right thing, the moral thing, and in those narrowly decided battleground states, vote for Hillary Clinton. This isn’t a violation of the Constitution; at most, they would have to pay a $1000 fine for respecting the will of the people. A chance to show courage and be a true patriot.
Most elections involve some measure of hysteria, assertions that they are “transformative,” “historic,” and “the election of our lifetime.” This election between Hillary Clinton, the most qualified candidate ever to seek the most powerful office on the planet and the first woman to ascend to the Presidency, and Donald Trump, the most unfit, is just such an election.
“We’ve never had such a stark contrast – of character, of vision. The stakes in this election could not be more clear,” First Lady Michelle Obama declared.
Their differences are not merely matters of degree, these two individuals are diametrically opposed in every conceivable way.
But even if Donald Trump weren’t the most temperamentally unfit, inexperienced, morally bankrupt and wrong-headed candidate to ever seek the presidency, I would still whole-heartedly endorse Hillary Clinton, beginning with her biography, her career, her values, and finally, her experience, her competence, her platform and agenda.
I could go down the list of the extraordinarily detailed policy plans she has presented – to address income inequality, immigration reform, criminal justice reform, climate action, education, college affordability, health care, drug prices, infrastructure development, research and development, women’s reproductive rights, gun violence prevention, voting rights, workers rights, parental leave (I could go on and on and on). (Go to her website, hillaryclinton.com, for details.)
I am cheered that at last, a Presidential candidate really “gets it” – prioritizing issues that have never before been at the forefront precisely because she is a woman and understands what families are going through, what women are still going through, the struggle the middle class is going through. She knows the slings and arrows of being the first woman to have crashed through the barriers to become a major party’s nominee for President and (hopefully) and would be the first woman to hold the office in our history. She brings that sensibility, that understanding, that lifetime of triumphing over adversity as a true trailblazer for women’s equality, going back to her earliest years after Yale Law School, fighting against discrimination and the backlash in Arkansas until she dropped her “Rodham” name for a married name of “Clinton.”
And in the same way as I whole-heartedly supported Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, she has the skills, the big-picture vision, the pragmatism and the tools to actually get these done (assuming she isn’t blocked, obstructed, stymied and delegitimized by the Republicans as they already promise they will do as they did to Obama). I am excited about a pragmatic progressive as President.
But while Hillary Clinton has been specific in her long, long list of policy proposals, which indicate her sensibilities and priorities, Donald Trump, has been vague, offering pie-in-sky – promising on Day 1 to end criminal violence, restore law and order, defeat ISIS (the list goes on and on giving you the idea that Day 1 will be Biblical in length). To the extent he has been more detailed, he has been frankly, frightening.
His pronouncements of what he would do to the nation domestically (repeal Obamacare, rescind the Clean Power Plan, withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, shut down the EPA, overturn regulations, eliminate corporate taxes, round up millions of undocumented immigrants), would destroy millions of jobs, raise the national debt and plunge the US into another recession. But while what he would do domestically is chilling, his outrageous, erratic statements about military and foreign policy are horrifying.
His fawning over dictators, strongmen and tyrants like Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, while gushing in the admiration they express for him, and indeed, his close collaboration with Russian interests (including encouraging Russian espionage and interference in US elections) is unsettling, but his willful ignorance, naivete about his role as Commander-in-Chief should strike terror.
Trump has said he knows more than the generals, has touted using torture and killing family members of suspected terrorists. He has said he would not come to the support of NATO allies who don’t pay and would advocate nuclear weapons for Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea, and is cavalier about using nuclear weapons in Europe (“If you have weapons, why wouldn’t you use them?” “I would bomb the shit out of them.”). He tries to disguise is lack of an actual plan by saying he wants to keep it “secret” and he wants to be “unpredictable.”
Trump has demonstrated over and over that he is temperamentally, intellectually and morally unfit as commander-in-chief, and completely ignorant and inept in anything approaching foreign policy. His undisclosed but suspected business dealings, including Russian oligarchs and debt to the Chinese National Bank, coupled with his propensity to use his campaign to enrich his business, are warnings that he would run foreign policy for his own self-interest. Indeed, as a narcissist, he would conflate the national interest with his own.
Since declaring his candidacy, he has swept away decades that have slowly led to a cultural acceptance of diversity, reinvigorating racism, misogyny, religious bias. He’s made it okay to hate “others” and brought White Nationalists and Neo-Nazis unbelievably out of shadows and into the mainstream.
Trump has run as the “successful businessman,” the anti-politician, the outsider with the predictable outsider, non-politician slogan of bringing “change” to Washington and “draining the swamp”. And during a campaign built upon one lie after another (75% of the time, according to fact checkers), the biggest lies are that he is a successful businessman, a philanthropist (he isn’t), and basically everything he has promised. Trump has basically boasted that he sees politics as a sales job – or more accurately, a Con Job – leaving a string of defaulted and defrauded investors, contractors, workers and customers. For him, getting sued and suing (3500 lawsuits, including pending ones concerning Trump University and an allegation of rape) are all par for the course – he thinks because he has more money than his adversary, he will win. (Not to mention his henchman, Roger Stone, who may well have been the connection between Russian hackers and Wikileaks, was a dirty trickster for Richard Nixon.)
He has stoked a strain of populism that is virulent, divisive, full of hatred and bigotry – because it has served his political purpose. He has shown contempt for the Bill of Rights protections of religious freedom, press freedom, freedom of speech and ignorance of the Constitution.
Consider who Trump, who has surrounded himself with bullies, misogynists, profligates, sexual predators, racists and corporatists, would appoint to key offices: Roger Ailes, Steve Bannon, Chris Christie, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Steve King, David Duke, Carl Icahn. And he has already provided a list of Supreme Court likely nominees, each and every one who would overturn Roe v Wade and continue down the anti-democratic path to oligarchy.
Finally, consider the fact that if Donald Trump wins the election, it means that the Senate and House will also remain in Republican hands, the Supreme Court will shift wildly further toward right wing extremism overturning civil rights, women’s rights, voting rights, criminal, economic and environmental justice for decades; all the committees will remain in control of Republicans who have been responsible for the stagnation, gridlock and dysfunction in government that is the source of national malaise.
“We can’t have a racist climate denier who lies about his personal fortune lead our country,” said Raúl Grijalva. “Our country needs a president who understands that issues like climate change, systemic racism and immigration reform are serious and demand a competent federal response.
“Donald Trump has nothing to offer but anger and grievance and blame. And so he – his closing argument asks, what do you have to lose? Well, I’m here to tell you: everything,” President Obama said at a campaign event in Miami Gardens, Florida. “Progress is on the ballot. Civility is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Equality is on the ballot. Our democracy is on the ballot.”
Quite literally, all the values that America is supposed to stand for are on the ballot.
It’s why this is not an election where out of pique against Hillary Clinton (recognizing a 30-year propaganda campaign waged, yes, by a right-wing conspiracy), voters either cast a ballot for the absolutely unvetted third party choices, Gary Johnson (whose outrageous comments suggest he broke his own promise not to smoke marijuana during the campaign), or Jill Stein (if the same level of scrutiny had been leveled, or the same standard of measure, would they get a vote?), or stay home. Staying home is exactly the objective of Donald Trump’s campaign, whose officials have declared that the only way Trump can win is to suppress the vote of three key groups: idealistic white idealists, young women and African-Americans.
On the other hand, if Hillary Clinton is elected, there will be comprehensive immigration reform, a further move toward universal access to health care and rationality in drug prices, continued push to climate action and environmental protection, tax reform that both promotes jobs creation and narrows income inequality, pay parity and paid parental leave, more access to child care, affordable college tuition, and a wide array of policies that promote the well being of families and working people, and the biggest investment in infrastructure since World War II.
“This is truly an unprecedented election,” First Lady Michelle Obama declared in Winston-Salem. “I don’t think we’ve ever had two candidates with such dramatically different visions of who we are and how we move forward as a nation. One candidate has a vision that’s grounded in hopelessness and despair, a vision of a country that is weak and divided, where our communities are in chaos, our fellow citizens a threat. This candidate calls on us to turn against each other, to build walls, to be afraid.
“And then there’s Hillary’s vision for this country, a vision of a nation that is powerful and vibrant and strong, big enough to have a place for all of us, a nation where we each have something very special to contribute, and where we are always stronger together.”
What’s at stake? The Supreme Court. Climate Action. Immigration Reform. Civil Rights. Criminal Justice Reform. Tax Reform. Economic Justice. Environmental Justice. Women’s Reproductive Rights. Women’s Rights. Voting Rights. Gun Violence Prevention. Diplomacy. Alliances. National Security.
And on January 20, 2017, if she is elected – as I pray she is – I hope she will take the oath of office as Hillary Rodham Clinton and forever be known as President Rodham-Clinton. She never gave up her individuality and her personhood because she was married, and her legacy should be in her own name, as well.
Hillary for America has released a new video on the “Trump Effect,” highlighting the differences between Hillary Clinton’s vision and approach and Donald Trump’s.
“Hillary Clinton believes in an America where everyone counts and everyone has a place. She’s spent her life acting on those beliefs, from her early work at the Children’s Defense Fund through a campaign that has consistently called out Trump’s division and hatred while offering a policy agenda that would bring people together and address the issues that keep us apart. Hillary has prioritized issues like immigration reform, endingLGBT discrimination and criminal justice reform.
“American voters face a choice of two different visions for America: Donald Trump’sdark and divisive vision that could tear our country apart, or Hillary Clinton’s hopeful, inclusive vision that says we’re stronger together.
“Donald Trump set the tone of his campaign by insulting Mexican immigrants and has continued using those kinds of insults and divisive comments through today. From Muslims to Gold Star families to a judge of Mexican heritage born in America to one of his own African American supporters just this past week, no one has been safe from Trump’s insults and lies.Trump has also built his political identity on conspiracy theories, starting with the racist lie that President Obama was not born in America and support from hate movements like the alt-right—whose leaders Trump has embraced.”
Clinton has been campaigning in Nevada and Arizona where she highlighted Trump’s divisive agenda and the high stakes in this election by pointing to Trump’s long record of insults against communities of color. In Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio’s backyard, Clinton will counter their attempts to silence Latinos by mobilizing the community to break with history and turn the state blue on November 8th.
Also today, Hillary For America is launching a new video showing how Trump words and actions have encouraged bullying and fear in schools across our country, something experts are calling the “Trump Effect.” Children — members of the groups that Trump so frequently attacks — are speaking out about the harassment and threats they are facing because the Republican nominee has targeted who they are or how they pray.
“As millions of Americans continue to vote early, and with election day less than a week away, it’s worth taking a look back at Trump’s history of divisive and hateful rhetoric,” the campaign noted:
THE “TRUMP EFFECT”
Trump’s rhetoric has given rise to bullying and violence in schools and communities across America.
Adopted children in Wisconsin and New York worried they would be sent back to Africa.
A child in New Jersey worried he, his mother, and sibling would be separated from his father because they have a different skin color.
California school children have endured xenophobic taunts on the playground, including being told they were “born in a Taco Bell.”
Students broke out into chants like “build the wall” when their sports teams competed against Latino students in Colorado, Indiana and Wisconsin. A fraternity in Louisiana constructed a wall made of sandbags “emblazoned with pro-Trump slogans.”
A teacher in Arizona allegedly told a student “I can’t wait until Trump is elected. He’s going to deport all you Muslims.”
A man and a woman were attacked in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. respectively by people who attributed their motivations to Donald Trump.
Trump would deport children born in America because he does not think their citizenship is valid.
Trump said Mexico was sending “The bad ones over because they don’t want to pay for them.”
Trump’s campaign CEO, Steve Bannon, is currently on leave from his job as head of Breitbart News. Breitbart drove conspiratorial reporting about Chobani in retaliation for hiring immigrants and refugees, making the company’s founder the target of vicious social media attacks.
Trump called to ban an entire group of people based on their religion.
Trump on his proposed Muslim ban: “I’m not softening my stance at all … In fact, you could say it’s an expansion.”
Trump said “I’m looking now at territories. People were so upset when I used the word Muslim… Now, we have a religious, you know, everybody wants to be protected. And that’s great. And that’s the wonderful part of our Constitution. I view it differently. ”
Trump defended his Muslim ban by comparing it to Japanese internment camps. Not surprisingly, he said he might have supported internment camps.
Trump suggested he would create a database to track American Muslims.
White Supremacists and Klan members supported Trump, comparing his views to their views.
Former KKK Leader David Duke said Trump has “Made it OK to talk about these incredible concerns of European Americans today, because I think European Americans know they are the only group that can’t defend their own essential interests and their point of view.
Virginia KKK Leader Endorses Trump: ‘What He Believes In, We Believe In.’”
Trump on being supported by White Supremacists: “A lot of people like me.”
TRUMP ENCOURAGING VIOLENCE
Trump said to a protester “I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya” and mourned “we’re not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days … They’d be carried out on a stretcher, folks.”
Trump offered to pay the legal fees of a supporter who attacked protester.
The newly disclosed possibly “pertinent” (or possibly not) Hillary Clinton emails, which are all part of the same single issue of using a private server and have nothing to do with deliberately handing classified information to enemy forces (does anybody really understand what the issue is all about), do nothing to reverse the clear and present danger that a Donald Trump presents if he becomes the “leader” of the Free World and the most powerful person on the planet, with unique control over nuclear weapons.
To remind you of this, the Hillary for America campaign provided a handy list of what The Donald has already said and done.
The comparison with Hillary Clinton’s experience, her steady hand, her maturity, her ability to see the long view, to balance complex competing constituencies, and her willingness to listen, learn and most importantly, admit and learn from mistakes, makes it clear:
The Choice is Clear: Trump is Unfit to be President and Commander-In-Chief
Americans deserve a president who’s ready on Day One to keep us safe. As a former Secretary of State and senator, Hillary Clinton brings vast experience to the Oval Office, having dealt with the key issues facing Americans around the world for decades. Traveling nearly a million miles as America’s top diplomat, Hillary has handled issues ranging from nuclear proliferation to military readiness, from women’s rights to climate change, and is ready to lead from day one.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has proven himself again and again to be temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief.
Beyond his lack of understanding of foreign policy and unwillingness to learn, Donald Trump is a loose cannon with dangerous views on major global issues. Trump would encourage the spread of nuclear weapons around the world, has insulted our allies and praised several authoritarian dictators. He even encouraged a foreign government to hack Americans, and since then has refused to acknowledge the U.S. Intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russian government has done just that.
Americans deserve a president who understands the challenging world in which we live, not one who is too erratic and uninformed to have control of nuclear weapons.
Throughout his career, and throughout this campaign, on subject after subject, Trump has proven he is unfit to be commander-in-chief. As we begin the final week of the presidential campaign, here is a look back at Trump’s dangerous record on matters of defense and foreign policy:
On nuclear weapons, Donald Trump has displayed a reckless disregard for fact and fails to understand the dangers of nuclear proliferation. Simply put, he doesn’t have the temperament to be trusted with the nuclear codes.
On the prospect of nuclear war in Asia, Trump said, “good luck, enjoy yourself folks.”
Trump’s rhetoric pushed dozens former nuclear launch officers to sign a letter saying Trump “should not have his finger on the button.”
U.S. MILITARY AND VETERANS
Trump has repeatedly insulted our military, our veterans and their families. He has been disrespecting our veterans for decades, continually proving he’s unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief.
Trump maintains that we don’t know if Russia is behind recent hacks, despite being personally briefed by Republican Representative Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
Trump called the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia was behind that hack was “public relations, frankly” and repeatedly denied their conclusion.
Trump has been accused by a former acting CIA director of being “an unwitting agent of Putin.”
For decades, America has held strong alliances across the world – including those with NATO countries. NATO has stood with the United States, for example, invoking Article 5 after 9/11 and collaborating to fight the war on terror today. But on the campaign trail, Donald Trump has outlined plans to cut off America’s allies.
Donald Trump seems to have an admiration for dictators from across the world. From Vladimir Putin to Saddam Hussein and beyond, Trump has repeatedly complimented foreign leaders known for their records of oppression and abuse..
Trump said North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un deserves “credit” for taking out his rivals and has “got to be pretty smart.”
Trump gave Saddam Hussein undue credit, saying “he did one thing well, he killed terrorists.”
Trump believes that, during the Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese government showed “strength.”
Trump thinks Vladimir Putin is a better leader than President Obama, “saying in terms of leadership, he’s getting an A and our president is not doing so well.” (But of course, his praise for Putin doesn’t stop there.)
FOREIGN BUSINESS ENTANGLEMENTS
Trump’s extensive foreign dealings would present significant conflicts of interest and endanger our national security. Trump refuses to disclose the full extent of his foreign business entanglements – but without knowing the details of them, how will Americans know whose interests Trump is putting first? What we do know is concerning.
Donald Trump’s approach to Iran is devoid of any substance. He has prefered to denigrate American leaders and spew lies when it comes to Iran — though he was willing to deal with Iran when it made him money.
Trump would open to door to nuclear proliferation in the region. When asked whether it’s “fine” for Japan and South Korea to get nuclear weapons, Trump said, “Can I be honest with you? It’s going to happen anyway.”
In only one respect, Donald Trump may well be right: there is great potential for 2016 to be a stolen election – but in his favor.
To the extent the election is stolen or rigged, this is how: voter suppression (outright intimidating voters at the polls as well as depressing turnout through a disinformation campaign), election fraud, hacking of election results, and intimidation at the polls. While in-person voter fraud is a phantom boogeyman, these are more likely and more lethal to a fair election.
“I would like to promise and pledge to all of my voters and supporters and to all of the people of the United States that I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election, if I win,” Trump told supporters in Ohio in his first comments since the final debate, when he said he would withhold acceptance of election results, thereby threatening a peaceful transition of power. “I’ll keep you in suspense.”
Revving up his minions with charges of a “stolen election,” Trump has urged his most rabid supporters to racially profile people coming to the polls. And in this election, more states have open-carry, so one could conceivably imagine a couple of thugs standing with an assault rifle at the door. This makes the US look and feel more like a Banana Republic than the “beacon of democracy” we hold this nation to be. This is actually a violation of the consent decree imposed on the Republican National Committee stemming from voter intimidation tactics that resulted in Republican Tom Kean defeating Democrat Jim Florio for New Jersey Governor, but should also be a crime.
And afterwards, many of his minions, so convinced by Trump that the election would be stolen and that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency and a danger to national security and the nation’s existence, are ready to mount violent revolution.
Can you imagine this is America? Former one-term Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh tweeting that if Trump loses on Nov. 8th, he will grab his musket on Nov. 9th? That you have schools closing or moving their students away from polling areas fearing violence?
Key to this strategy is disinformation – lying, misrepresenting policies – and anything that reinforces the image created over decades by right-wingers that Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy. In this, FBI James Comey went beyond the pale in resurrecting the email controversy from the unrelated investigation into Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting. Trump is having a field day, conflating the vague suggestions of what, exactly? with a breach of national security.
Young voters who tend to move around a lot, rent and not own a home, and not register at a new location and college kids who registered during high school and then again at their campus – are intimidated not to vote because of intentional confusion over their right to vote. Students are also threatened with losing state aid, that they will be found in violation for failing to get a new drivers’ license, registration and insurance, etc. Republican operatives literally challenged Bard and Vassar students in upstate New York as they attempted to vote in 2009 and 2010.
Here’s another source of intimidation: actual extortion to scare off Clinton votes. The threat of armed insurrection if Clinton wins is as if to say, if you don’t want a revolution on your hands, you will not vote for Clinton.
And Republicans are already (even before election day!) threatening nonstop investigations leading toward impeachment if Hillary is elected, which also means a continued policy of obstruction and gridlock, as if to suggest, “We dare you to vote for Clinton.” Will voters actually vote for Trump thinking it as a means of relief? What a mistake, since right-wing Republican extremists would have a clear path to overturn every progressive policy put into place since before Theodore Roosevelt.
This will be the first Presidential Election since the rightwing Majority on the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, unleashing a hoard of regulations in states and localities explicitly (unabashedly in some cases like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and North Carolina) designed to suppress, obstruct, depress and disenfranchise voters who tend to vote for Democrats.
The pretext for this wave of regulations was the phantom bogey-man of Voter Fraud. While in-person voter fraud is rare (according to a Washington Post study, just 31 instances in 1 billion ballots cast from 2000 to 2014), those who argue for the dire need to “preserve the sanctity of the ballot,” can point to problems with the voting rolls. Some estimates put the number of dead people still registered as 2 million. Indeed, there may be irregularities with as many as 24 million registrations – the occasional Mickey Mouse among them – but that doesn’t mean Mickey Mouse is voting. (What it does mean is that incredibly low turnout number – 60% for a Presidential election – may be artificial.)
There is no evidence that zombies are voting. No truth to the myth that black people are being bused in from other states to vote eight or nine times in inner cities as the hysterical former “America’s Mayor” Rudy Giuliani accused, or that illegal immigrants are registering, let alone actually casting a ballot, as Donald Trump has charged.
Some 2.9 million are registered in more than one location – but how many people are going to risk five years in jail to vote twice?
However, this is definitely a weakness in the system because, as of now, no one checks. So you can very possibly have someone still registered where they grew up and registered in their new location, voting in person and by absentee.
The absentee ballot is a significant weakness in the integrity of the voting system, but interestingly, none of the Republican-lead voter ID laws and other restrictions would address the problem of in-person voter fraud. So you have to question why that would be, if it is so, so terribly important to Republicans to protect “the integrity of the ballot.”
Still, using “in-person voter fraud” as a pretext, Republican-dominated legislatures have unleashed a whole series of regulations designed to suppress voting –imposing new voter ID requirements and making it difficult for some demographic groups to obtain necessary ID (gun permit is OK, college ID not OK), literally making it hard to reach offices to obtain the ID, limiting hours, and denying applications even after providing ample documentation, and ultimately not processing registrations in a timely fashion (as many as 100,000 in Georgia); shutting down polling places or not having an adequate number of voting machines on hand, so that people are forced to wait hours on line (as in Arizona); reducing the number of early voting days, which hurts young parents and wage earners (as in North Carolina).
These tactics disproportionately hurt women (whose names change frequently over the course of their life), young people who move around a lot and rent instead of owning a home, old people who don’t drive or have their original birth certificate, minorities, poor people, homeless people, hourly wage people who are disadvantaged when voter registration places and polling sites and hours are made hard to reach – voters who are deemed more likely to vote for Democrats.
It starts with gerrymandering districts – cracking and packing districts, drawn into contorted Rorschach shapes, to dilute the voting power of a targeted group – so that the candidate gets to choose voters rather than voters choosing their representative. And with Big Data-mining technology that have become available since 2010 – when Republicans made a concerted strategy to take over State houses in advance of redistricting– they are able to gerrymander districts with extraordinary precision never before known. That’s the election rigging that is most profound.
North Carolina State Representative David R. Lewis, chairman of the redistricting committee, openly admitted, “I think electing Republicans is better than electing Democrats. So I drew this map in a way to help foster what I think is better for the country.”
Then there are other tactics, which are chalked up as if a game rather than a criminal violation of Equal Protection under the Constitution: destroying voter registrations, sending out notices of wrong election dates, times and places or threatening that anyone with outstanding parking ticket will be arrested for attempting to vote. Also, purging voting lists based on the similarity of names to felons or people registered in another district or some other bogus excuse (Ohio purged 144,000 voters from in its three biggest, Democratic-leaning counties – those containing the cities of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati), without giving the voter a chance to protest. (See New York Times, Critics See Efforts by Counties and Towns to Purge Minority Voters From Rolls.)
Indeed, some states – where there is a high minority population – refuse to reinstate voting rights to people who have served prison sentences, and because of the systemic racism in arrests and incarceration, some 6 million African-Americans are permanently disenfranchised.
Hacking? If Russian-agent hackers could penetrate state voter databases – let alone the NSA, Office of Personnel Management, Colin Powell and the DNC – there is no reason why they couldn’t invade individual precinct tallies, or even impact where the local district totals are tabulated at the state level.
The argument that a national election can’t be hacked because it is too decentralized at the state and county level is not entirely true, because a president isn’t elected by a cumulative popular vote, but by electoral votes – it would only take manipulating results in key counties in key battleground states to swing the election, and if the election is tight in those places, no one would be the wiser. Indeed, experts have shown how easy it is to hack voting machines – going back to the 2000 election – and it is suspected that the 2004 Bush v Kerry election was stolen by shifting the tallies in Ohio. (Walden O’Dell, CEO of the Diebold voting machine company, had promised, ”I am committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president. Early voters in Florida have already complained they saw their votes switched, evoking the 2000 election.)
Some 14 states vote on machines that do not even provide a paper trail so cannot be audited, and in 43 states voting machines – purchased with federal funds after the Help Americans Vote Act (HAVA), itself a reaction to the disastrous 2000 election debacle – are more than 10 years old. One of them is Pennsylvania, a state that could prove pivotal this election, where Trump has centered his “stolen election” meme and is recruiting poll watchers into minority districts. (“You know what I mean.”)
All of this means that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic candidates need overwhelming, uncontestable majorities to make sure there cannot be the subtle irregularities.
Some polls are indicating just such a win, but even so, Trump acolytes are threatening revolution because they believe the polls are rigged and the election will be stolen.
Trump has fed into this, declaring that if he loses, it means that the election was stolen from him is strategic: In the first place, this is a guy whose entire life revolves around him being a “winner” – even failures (like multiple bankruptcies) are to him successes (since he manages to shift harm to others and reap benefits). Also, it sets him up as a martyr (he’s already compared himself to Jesus), to lead this phantom “movement” (“like nothing this nation has seen before,” he claims), in order to bolster his newest business/narcissistic (Trump TV) media enterprise. (He is likely the first candidate in history to make a profit on a campaign, with his campaign “expenses” being revenue to the Trump Organization.)
But there is strategy, as well: Trump’s ploy in charging the system is rigged and inviting scorn saying he would not necessarily accept the results, thereby threatening a bedrock tradition preserving American democracy, the peaceful transition of power, is aimed at getting Democrats to insist the election cannot be rigged, and cower Hillary Clinton and Democrats from contesting elections that have in fact been manipulated, as in Florida 2000. He’s already planted seeds that Ruth Bader Ginsberg should recuse herself if a Bush v Gore redux comes to the Supreme Court, which would give Republicans a 4-3 majority to anoint Trump.
But elections can be stolen and have been stolen. Florida 2000 provided a manual for how it is done. (Just watch the movie, “Recount,” to see the GOP stole Florida in 2000, with complicity of Governor Jeb Bush, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Truly chilling.)
And Trump, by challenging the accuracy of polls that predict Clinton the winner, is aimed to disguise an actual election rigging and voter suppression, so that Trump can emerge the winner despite polls that predict otherwise. Trump will simply say “I told you so.”
All of this should not discourage people from voting. On the contrary, people should be more determined than ever to exercise their right to vote, and a big margin is more important than ever to counteract a rigged election. That’s what happened in 2008 with Barack Obama’s election.
See next: 2016 Presidential Election Points to Needed Reform
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus demanded FBI Director James Comey release more details about the letter he sent to Congress just 11 days before Election Day – an unprecedented action – renewing the email scandal that has plagued Secretary Hillary Clinton’s entire campaign. Otherwise, they charge, it raises questions about Director Comey’s political motivations, handing Donald Trump’s campaign the ammunition they were looking for to depress voter turnout.
“For months, Donald Trump and his henchmen have led chants of ‘Lock her up.’ Now they are trying to turn this letter into something it is not, because the only way he can win is to hijack the election,” stated Congressman Luis Gutierrez (Illinois), and suggested that FBI Director Comey was similarly bullied into making this unprecedented statement, with the effect of breathing new fire into the Trump’s imploding campaign.
But, Gutierrez asserted, “The more we learn, the more we know it is overblown. Initially we told that the investigation has been reopened. That’s debunked. The emails don’t come from Clinton’s server at all. It may be that most or all are duplicates of others that have already been turned over.”
But he said, it raises questions about Comey’s own motivations. If only to give an update on an investigation, he noted, “You don’t hear Comey giving updates” on Russia’s role in the hack of the Democratic National Committee and whether the Trump campaign had any involvement.
“Why go so far as to send this highly questionable, unusual letter? [With so little information] it doesn’t make sense…He sent it, knowing it would be leaked, and he sent to 8 Republican chairmen who were sworn to defeat Clinton.
“Trump may bully the FBI but we cannot let him bully us out of this election,” he said.
Congresswoman Lujan Grisham of New Mexico called it, “another political ploy that has nothing to do with fairness or even professionalism.”
The action casts a shadow over Comey’s leadership, Grisham charged. “It is very difficult for them to rebut the presumption that this was politically motivated, which really should shake us to our core about the DoJ and FBI. This is absolutely unprecedented. You don’t engage this way, so close to an election and without any facts.
“Given that there has been a lot of pressure to the FBI to do something, find something, it is not difficult to figure it out. It allows one side to paint a scenario.” The conclusion that must be drawn, she said, “is that it is aimed at voter suppression, to depress turnout because Clinton is the most qualified candidate ever to run. She has incredible, proven track record for getting things done that this country needs to get done. It appears that that kind of distraction that might suppress remaining voters to stay home. We need Comey and FBI to explain.”
To illustrate how unusual Comey’s action is, she said, “it is not the practice of the FBI or Justice Department to release any kind of information related to ongoing or potential investigation, of which this is neither. And members of Congress should not engage or interfere. Because if you don’t hold to that practice it minimizes the independence and objectivity of the office. That highly unprofessional, out-of-practice effort, particularly engaging 8 Republican members of Congress, told us this is political.
“This has nothing to do with private server, Secretary Clinton’s emails. This is about somebody who has worked with Clinton, and part of an entirely separate investigation.”
Congressman Joaquin Castro (Texas) highlighted the unprecedented timing of releasing such a potentially inflammatory statement just 11 days before an election.
“This would be strange before a City Council election, much less a Presidential election…Director Comey showed extremely poor judgment in deciding to release the letter he did yesterday. He is irresponsible if he does not provide further information as to why looking at these emails. There has been no indication the emails are from or to Secretary Clinton or that she is involved in any way.”
The Hillary for America campaign documented the reaction:
Comey Under Fire After Sending Unprecedented Letter
FBI Director James Comey is under widespread criticism for breaking department precedent by commenting on an ongoing investigation, and doing so just days before a presidential election. Indeed, the Washington Post reported this morning senior Justice Department officials made perfectly clear to Comey that he would be in violation of long-standing DOJ policy.
Moreover, according to CNN, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates both objected to Comey sending this inappropriate letter to Congress. Nevertheless, Director Comey independently decided to move forward, rattling the presidential election with a note that was heavy on innuendo and extremely light on actual information or needed details.
The result? Broad bipartisan condemnation and demands for the swift disclosure of more information:
Washington Post: Justice officials warned FBI that Comey’s decision to update Congress was not consistent with department policy: “Senior Justice Department officials warned the FBI that Director James B. Comey’s decision to notify Congress about renewing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was not consistent with long-standing practices of the department, according to officials familiar with the discussions. Comey told Justice Department officials that he intended to inform lawmakers of newly discovered emails. These officials told him the department’s position “that we don’t comment on an ongoing investigation. And we don’t take steps that will be viewed as influencing an election,” said one Justice Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the high-level conversations.”
CNN: Comey notified Congress of email probe despite DOJ concerns: “Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates objected to FBI Director James Comey’s decision to notify Congress about his bureau’s review of emails related to Hillary Clinton’s personal server, law enforcement officials familiar with the discussion said. Comey decided to disregard their objections and sent the letter Friday anyway, shaking the presidential race 11 days before the election and nearly four months after the FBI chief said he wouldn’t recommend criminal charges over the Democratic nominee’s use of the server.
New York Times: Justice Dept. Strongly Discouraged Comey on Move in Clinton Email Case: “Mr. Comey’s letter opened him up to criticism not only from Democrats but also from current and former officials at the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, including Republicans. ‘There’s a longstanding policy of not doing anything that could influence an election,’ said George J. Terwilliger III, a deputy attorney general under the first President George Bush. ‘Those guidelines exist for a reason. Sometimes that makes for hard decisions. But bypassing them has consequences.’”
Politico: Comey’s disclosure shocks former prosecutors: “James Comey’s surprise announcement that investigators are examining new evidence in the probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server put the FBI director back under a harsh spotlight, reigniting criticism of his unusual decision to discuss the high-profile case in front of the media and two congressional committees.”
Los Angeles Times: “The emails were not to or from Clinton, and contained information that appeared to be more of what agents had already uncovered, the official said, but in an abundance of caution, they felt they needed to further scrutinize them.
Washington Post Editorial: The damage Comey’s bad timing could do: “Mr. Podesta said he is ‘confident’ full disclosure ‘will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July.’ If so, the question will be how badly damaged was Ms. Clinton’s candidacy by the 11th-hour re-eruption of a controversy that never should have generated so much suspicion or accusation in the first place.”
New York Times Editorial: “But Mr. Comey’s failure to provide any specifics about a new, potentially important development, less than two weeks before Election Day, is confounding. As Mr. Comey put it in July: “The American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest.” They deserve details even more urgently today.”
Bloomberg: FBI Shocker on Clinton Fuels Criticism of Comey’s Tactics: “FBI Director James Comey is facing extraordinary pressure to explain himself after dropping a bombshell on the campaign of Hillary Clinton just 11 days before the presidential election… Former prosecutors and lawmakers from both parties expressed shock and dismay at Comey’s highly unusual decision, which flouted decades of legal custom that call for avoiding taking actions that could affect the outcome of an election.”
Washington Post: FBI Director James B. Comey under fire for his controversial decision on the Clinton email inquiry: “Nick Ackerman, a former federal prosecutor in New York and an assistant special Watergate prosecutor, said Comey ‘had no business writing to Congress about supposed new emails that neither he nor anyone in the FBI has ever reviewed.’”
Huffington Post: News Outlets Dial Back Reports Of FBI ‘Reopening’ Clinton Email Case: “The story took several other turns on Friday afternoon that complicated the early, screaming headlines, and then ensured the story would remain a topic of discussion in the days ahead. Multiple outlets subsequently reported that the new emails weren’t sent by Clinton and didn’t come from her private server.”
CNN Legal Analyst, Paul Callan: Time for FBI director Comey to go: “Comey’s public announcement in July that the FBI had concluded its investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in the conduct of official State Department business and would not recommend the lodging of criminal charges was historically unprecedented in a high-profile political case.”
Washington Post Op-Ed by Former DOJ Spokesman Matt Miller: James Comey fails to follow Justice Department rules yet again: “With each step, Comey moved further away from department guidelines and precedents, culminating in Friday’s letter to Congress. This letter not only violated Justice rules on commenting on ongoing investigations but also flew in the face of years of precedent about how to handle sensitive cases as Election Day nears…. The director of the FBI has great power at his disposal…. With that independence comes a responsibility to adhere to the rules that protect the rights of those whom the FBI investigates. Comey has failed that standard repeatedly in his handling of the Clinton investigation.”
New York Times: F.B.I. Chief James Comey Is in Political Crossfire Again Over Emails: “The reaction was swift and damning, with Mrs. Clinton’s supporters and even some Republicans blasting Mr. Comey. Indeed, Mr. Comey, who was attacked this summer by Democrats and Republicans for both his decision not to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton and for the way he handled it, found himself in an even stronger crossfire on Friday.”
Los Angeles Times’ Michael McGough: FBI director should have known what his Clinton emails letter would unleash: “Having raised new doubts about Clinton so close to an election, Comey has an obligation —a moral obligation if not a legal one — to do everything he can to expedite the “additional work” required to determine whether this new information does, in fact, cast doubt on his earlier conclusion that Clinton wasn’t criminally culpable.”
Aurora Sentinel Editorial: FBI’s Comey needs to come clean on details, motivation — or resign: “If there’s damning or critical information about Clinton staff handling of email that creates the clear and immediate threat to national security that would warrant such a ploy, Americans deserve to have Clinton explain them, and Clinton must get that opportunity. Otherwise, Comey needs to apologize for his infelicity and possibly politically motivated stunt, and immediately step aside.”
Newsweek: Hillary Clinton’s Emails: The Real Reason The FBI Is Reviewing More Of Them: “Unfortunately, by trying to have things both ways – revealing the change in circumstances while remaining vague about what the agents know – Comey has created that misleading impression that could change the outcome of a presidential election, an act that, if uncorrected, will undoubtedly go down as one of the darkest moments in the bureau’s history.”
New Yorker: James Comey Broke With Loretta Lynch And Justice Department Tradition: “Coming less than two weeks before the Presidential election, Comey’s decision to make public new evidence that may raise additional legal questions about Clinton was contrary to the views of the Attorney General, according to a well-informed Administration official. Lynch expressed her preference that Comey follow the department’s longstanding practice of not commenting on ongoing investigations, and not taking any action that could influence the outcome of an election, but he said that he felt compelled to do otherwise.”
Charlotte Observer Editorial: Comey drops Hillary Clinton email bombshell; so tell us more: “But it is extraordinary for such volatile information to emerge so close to Election Day and that’s especially true given how few specifics are known. Because Comey was so vague, voters can’t know what to think. The new emails could be anything from meaningless to evidence of criminal activity by Clinton to most anything in between.”
ThinkProgress: The ‘new’ Clinton emails might all be duplicates: “So, to be clear, the FBI Director delivered a gut punch to the Clinton campaign, despite the fact that 1) he doesn’t know what he has; 2) it may be something that he already had; and, 3) whatever it is that he has, it reportedly didn’t come from Secretary Clinton, and was not sent to her.”
Huffington Post: Heat Rises For FBI Director James Comey As Both Campaigns Demand Email Answers: “Both camps demanded that FBI Director James Comey disclose more details about the emails and the bureau’s investigation, which he made known in a letter to Congress just 11 days before the election…. Many challenged the FBI director’s motives, increasing the pressure on him to comply with calls from both campaigns for more information.”
It is so concerning how the Donald Trump campaign has seized on the vague statement FBI Director James Comey made, initially first to eight Republican Congressmen, and only later did he bother to clue in the Democratic members of the committees. Trump seized on this revelation as 1) “bigger than Watergate” and 2) satisfying that in fact, the FBI was not part of the conspiracy to rig the election as he had previously charged. But it has fed into the Trump campaign strategy which, in face of dwindling poll numbers, has focused on suppressing turnout from those who would vote for Clinton.
Here’s how the Hillary for America campaign has responded:
“Yesterday, Republican Congressional leaders leaked an unprecedented letter from FBI Director James Comey, with initial reports including dire headlines for Hillary Clinton. But like most “bombshell” discoveries about Clinton over the course of this campaign, it fizzled rapidly as facts actually became available,” the Hillary for America campaign stated. Let’s review…
YESTERDAY’S BOMBSHELL: NBC News: FBI re-opening investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server
Rep. Jason Chaffetz: “FBI Dir just informed me, ‘The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.’ Case reopened”
GOP: “BREAKING NEWS: The FBI is re-opening their investigation into @HillaryClinton’s secret server.”
Investigation not reopened. Huffington Post: News Outlets Dial Back Reports Of FBI ‘Reopening’ Hillary Clinton Email Case
No emails had been withheld. NBC News: “the e-mails Comey announced today were NOT originally withheld by Clinton or campaign.”
Emails not from Clinton’s server.Bloomberg: New Clinton E-mails Not From Her Private Server, AP Says
Emails reportedly not to or from Clinton. Los Angeles Times: “The emails were not to or from Clinton”
No indication emails bear significance. Comey memo to employees: “we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails”
Many emails likely duplicates of ones already turned over.ThinkProgress: The ‘new’ Clinton emails might all be duplicates
Comey letter violates DOJ policy. Washington Post: Justice officials warned FBI that Comey’s decision to update Congress was not consistent with department policy
Comey overruled AG Loretta Lynch. CNN: “Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates disagreed with FBI Director James Comey’s decision to notify Congress about his bureau’s review…”
Former officials on both sides of aisle criticized Comey. New York Times: “Mr. Comey’s letter opened him up to criticism not only from Democrats but also from current and former officials at the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, including Republicans.”
Clinton and Trump both calling for more information. Huffington Post: “Both camps demanded that FBI Director James Comey disclose more details about the emails and the bureau’s investigation”
This is hardly the first time. It seems the script is always the same, the campaign noted:
Bombshell allegation is made hastily without facts available
Media breathlessly covers the latest supposed Clinton Scandal
Republicans declare that this time they’ve found the smoking gun
Initial explosive reports slowly fizzle on account of facts
Here are five of the many recent examples:
BOMBSHELL: @GOP, 8/30/16: “BREAKING: State Dept discovered 30 emails recovered from Hillary Clinton’s private server that discussed Benghazi.”
…facts emerge: Los Angeles Times, 9/7/16: “There appears to be only one new communication related to Benghazi… a complimentary note from a diplomat to Clinton, praising how she handled herself before a Senate panel investigating the matter.”
BOMBSHELL: @GOP, 5/5/16: “Hacker ‘Guccifer’ told news outlets that he repeatedly accessed Clinton’s unsecure email server & that ‘it was easy’”
…facts emerge: FOX News, 7/7/16: Comey: Hacker ‘Guccifer’ Lied About Accessing Clinton’s Emails
BOMBSHELL: @AP, 8/23/16: “BREAKING: AP analysis: More than half those who met Clinton as Cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation.”
…facts emerge: Vox, 8/24/16: “Except it turns out not to be true. The nut fact that the AP uses to lead its coverage is wrong, and Braun and Sullivan’s reporting reveals absolutely no unethical conduct…. the AP excluded from the denominator all employees of any government, whether US or foreign.”
…facts emerge: CNN, 10/7/16: “Okay, so what’s in this latest batch? Short answer: No bombshells. More than half of the emails are these so-called “near duplicates” of previously released emails… There are also a number of emails between Clinton and her close aides in which they discuss scheduling matters — timing for phone calls, meetings, etc…. None of the new emails contained information marked as classified or upgraded to classified.”
BOMBSHELL: The Hill, 7/5/16: FBI director: Clinton emails were marked as classified at the time
…facts emerge: MediaIte, 7/7/16: FBI Director Admits Hillary Clinton Emails Were Not Properly Marked Classified
In response to the letter sent by FBI Director James Comey to eight Republican committee chairman in Congress, Hillary for America Chair John Podesta released the following statement Friday:
“Upon completing this investigation more than three months ago, FBI Director Comey declared no reasonable prosecutor would move forward with a case like this and added that it was not even a close call. In the months since, Donald Trump and his Republican allies have been baselessly second-guessing the FBI and, in both public and private, browbeating the career officials there to revisit their conclusion in a desperate attempt to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
“FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairmen. Already, we have seen characterizations that the FBI is ‘reopening’ an investigation but Comey’s words do not match that characterization. Director Comey’s letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are and the Director himself notes they may not even be significant.
“It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election.
“The Director owes it to the American people to immediately provide the full details of what he is now examining. We are confident this will not produce any conclusions different from the one the FBI reached in July.”
Earlier in the day, Donald Trump at a raucous rally irresponsibly inciting chants of “Lock her up,” and said, “I need to open with a very critical breaking news announcement. The FBI has just sent a letter to Congress informing them that they have discovered new emails pertaining to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s investigation, and they are reopening the case into her criminal and illegal conduct that threatens the security of the United States of America.
“Hillary Clinton’s corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office.”
And after weeks of declaring that he could only lose the election if it were rigged, he said he had newfound faith in the system.
“I have great respect for the fact that the FBI and the DOJ are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made. This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understand. It is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected.”
What FBI Director James B. Comey actually wrote in his letter was far from how Trump mischaracterized it:
“In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.
“Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work. I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.”
Apparently, the emails came to light in the FBI’s unrelated investigation into former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal. One would wonder how that would relate to national security.