A Comprehensive Investigation into the 2020 Election is Patriotic. Preemptive Surrender? Not So Much.

The Hartford Courant’s editorial “Trump’s effort to steal the election is a step towards fascism in America,” subtitled “If you call yourself a patriot, you can’t support it,” is an instance of hysteria that, albeit exemplary, is hardly an outlier. But democracy is not under threat—at least not from Trump. The Trump campaign is not acting in a fascistic manner by challenging the results of 2020. The Hartford Courant is illustrative of the rampant fear mongering that has surrounded the presidency of Donald Trump since its inception.

The vote is extremely close in several states and there are significant voting irregularities across the country. Less than one percent separates Biden and Trump in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin, and the processes in Michigan and Pennsylvania are suspicious. The situation is sufficient for auditing and recounting votes before certification. Allegations of fraud—both election and voter fraud—must be thoroughly investigated. The Trump campaign is contesting the vote and pursuing legal avenues. But states shouldn’t wait for lawsuits. Nor should they wait for the Trump campaign to spoon-feed them the evidence. Nor should the media. Government and media should take the initiative and make sure the election was on the up and up. I know it’s cliché, but what do they have to hide? A more revealing question might be: What do they have to lose?

There is nothing unlawful or even extraordinary happening. Al Gore did not concede the election until December 13, and in that case only one state was in doubt. Although I regret casting my vote in 2000 for Al Gore (and for John Kerry in 2004), I am proud to have supported the effort to get to the bottom of the Florida controversy. I was disappointed that the Supreme Court stopped the count. I was also disappointed the reticence of the Gore campaign to fully press the matter. We would have learned sooner than later what we now know: Al Gore won Florida in 2020. Jon Schwarz at Intercept makes two points about this: “First, we know that Gore won Florida in 2000. If a full, fair statewide recount had taken place, he would have become president. Second, Gore lost largely because, unlike Bush, he refused to fight with all the tools available to him.”

The Florida Recount Of 2000: A Nightmare That Goes On Haunting : NPR
Judge Robert Rosenberg of the Broward County Canvassing Board examining a dimpled chad on a punch card ballot, November 24, 2000 during a vote recount in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

While 2000 fell short of a robust democratic process, a thorough and transparent investigation into the voting system is what democracy and the rule of law look like. The Constitution provides a process for adjudicating the situation before us. The Founders foresaw all this and the country has in the past selected its president in a manner different from to one to which citizens are accustomed. In 1876, Republican-dominated election boards invalidated enough votes in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina to give those states to Rutherford Hayes. The question of what to do with the electors handed the election to Congress which, via bipartisan commission, awarded those electors to Hayes.

It is those who oppose transparency and seek to stop the process and declare Joe Biden President-Elect who seek the undemocratic path to removing Trump from office. Indeed, the Democratic Party and the establishment media have created a situation that, if Trump is selected for a second term, the nation will suffer even more chaos on the streets. Complicating the situation is that Trump supporters appear to have finally awakened to the threat the republic faces from the violent far left insurgency that was raging before Trump entered office. Many Trump supporters are prepared to meet violence with violence. (See Playing China’s Game: Obscuring the Character of American Chaos.)

Investigating the election results is important not only for determining who the next president is, or planning the next step if state elections cannot be certified, but for making sure that the way we conduct elections in this country actually reflects the will of the people in the various states. Tens of millions of people have good cause to doubt the soundness of the election process in several states. It is vital that we restore confidence in the system, not by declaring than it works and gaslighting those who are skeptical of claims that in fact does, but by thoroughly examining the process.

Biden may be president in the end; if the process follows the law, that will be the correct outcome. After a thorough and transparent examination of the evidence, we may find that the process did not work. That’s part of making it work in the future. If the House of Represents selects Trump, the process will have worked. The rule of law demands we respect that outcome. Those who seek to prevent this from happening by unlawful means are acting in a treasonous fashion. The institutions of the republic must be preserved. Otherwise, we don’t have a country.

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Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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