America Needs an Election Intervention

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Since the year 2000, we’ve had three presidential elections that we could easily question the final results. We know about the fiasco with George W. Bush against Al Gore and the hanging chads, not to mention the purging of African-American voters by his brother and then Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush. Oh, and of course, the Supreme Court weighing in by stopping the recount as well.

There was also the election of 2004 when John Kerry lost Ohio by roughly 118,000 votes. Still, there were questions at the time of voting irregularities and purges of Democratic voters by then Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. It didn’t matter in the long run because Kerry conceded the election and never demanded a recount.

And in 2016, with a little help from the Russians and voter suppression, the future worst president of the United States was elected. Here we are on the cusp of another election in a little over five months, which may ultimately determine whether the United States of America remains a democracy.

I don’t know about you, but I’m worried. Very worried. Not so much that the incumbent might win, which is possible (heaven help us), but that the election will proceed safely and legally. I feel the time has come for a significant international observance of our national election on November 3, 2020.

I know, what the hell am I saying? We can’t allow such a thing. Americans are an independent bunch. We don’t like anyone telling us what to do, let alone a group of foreign bureaucrats. But what am I to think? We have an autocratic president with an Attorney General who only seems to care about protecting his boss instead of the American people and the Constitution.

This president is already planting the seed for what he’ll say if and when he’s defeated. Vote-by-mail, if enacted nationally, is nothing but fraud waiting to happen according to the con-man-in-chief. And that view is widely supported by the Republican Party’s large majorities and his radical base of support.

If he manages to win by a small margin, with an electoral victory as he did against Hillary Clinton, all will be well in Trump’s world. It was the will of the people; he’ll say—sorry Democrat Party, the king has been crowned, and you can all go to hell.

No matter what the outcome, the chance that he will leave office voluntarily, if he loses, or allows a recount if he wins, is highly unlikely. There needs to be a backup plan, in my view. Otherwise, do we not risk anarchy? Do we not risk the unraveling of democracy before our very eyes?

Ironically, there are already mechanisms in place for international observers of our elections, as well as partisan, non-partisan, and academic observers. Unfortunately, since our system of elections is so fragmented and decentralized, with basically 50 different states and thousands of counties having their own sets of rules, any election monitoring is an immense challenge.

Since 2002, at the State Department’s invitation, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe(OSCE) has observed six different U.S. elections. According to The Carter Center, the intergovernmental organization’s primary goal is to help foster genuine democratic elections and promote respect for international human rights.

After every election, the group issues a report, assessing the democratic quality of elections in the United States. In recent years, the findings have not been positive. In the 2018 midterms, OSCE issued an interim report: “The right to vote is subject to many limitations,” they warned, “with racial minorities disproportionately impacted.” It wasn’t much better in what they found after the 2016 presidential election: “Suffrage rights were not guaranteed for all citizens, leaving sections of the population without the right to vote.” Is it any wonder, considering the massive voter suppression and gerrymandering carried out by Republicans over the last decade?

None of the recommendations suggested by the OSCE’s final report on the 2016 presidential election ever came to fruition. Many were common-sense reforms aimed at transparency and fairness. However, since 2016, many states have enacted new voting requirements and restrictions, essentially doubling down on suppressing the vote, especially on people of color.

The bottom line is that the OSCE, while well-intentioned, has no teeth whatsoever. And with only a 13 member core team in D.C., and 36 observers deployed across the country, there’s not enough human power to make much of a difference.

Besides, several states have decided to impose severe restrictions on the observers themselves. With such distrust of foreigners in general by so many Americans, it’s not surprising.

This obstruction has to change folks. We need more, not fewer observers in this year’s election. But with time running out and a nation in the grips of a terrible pandemic, I’m not confident anything changes. Democrats are trying. Republicans are resisting. Isn’t that always the case these days?

It would be nice if we could get both parties to agree to a non-partisan commission to oversee the entire election this year, and give it enough resources and teeth actually to make a difference. Perhaps if it were a domestic only commission, we might be able to agree. But with the current president, who holds such overwhelming sway over his political party, it’s not going to happen.

Never in a million years did I think the United States of America would need such an intervention. At one time, we were a beacon of light to the rest of the world. Emerging democracies around the globe used to look at us as a model for how it’s supposed to work. Now we’re on our way to banana-republic status. Hell, we’re there already as far as I’m concerned.

We should welcome as much scrutiny as possible, whether from the international community or domestic groups. One of the more common refrains in years past from both political parties is that America stands alone on the world stage. “American exceptionalism,” they like to say.

If so, let’s show the world how a real democracy operates. Open the election up to as many international observers as possible. Or, let’s put together a bi-partisan team of observers that will leave no doubt as to the fairness of our election in 2020. We need them in every state. We need tech companies involved as well, to guard against the foreign meddling we saw in 2016. We know Russia tried to hack many of our state’s election systems. This year could be even worse if we do not act.

Absent these preventative and essential reforms for this year’s election, you can forget about so-called American exceptionalism. I fear the alternative.

36 comments

  1. I share all of your concerns, and a number of others as well, such as … if he does lose, what damage might he cause during the 2.5-month transition period? And, he will not leave willingly nor gracefully … if it requires the military to literally storm the White House and drag him out … would they? And, of course more than anything, I fear him cheating his way into an electoral win again, even if it means pushing the nuclear button. I really don’t think we can take anything for granted. I like your idea of an international group of observers, and I’d also like to see the United Nations get involved, for in the long run, this does pertain to crimes against humanity. Sigh. Good post, my friend. I shall re-blog it for my 3:00 a.m. post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jill for the reblog. Yep, we should all be very concerned at what the next 5 months will bring. I mean, literally now, the country is burning. We’ve been through a lot as a country in our history. But damn, we’re really staring down the rabbit hole I fear.
      I agree with you that we should welcome the UN’s involvement. Unfortunately, the right has managed to vilify them to no end over the years. Even mentioning that organization makes their heads explode. I just don’t know where or who we can turn to in order to give us some confidence that this election is on the up and up. The only real answer Jill, and you and I both know it, is to overwhelmingly kick his large ass this November. A landslide the likes of which we haven’t seen since Reagan won 49 states in 84. I know. Far-fetched to be sure. But what else is there? The results cannot be in question. With the idiot, though, he’ll make waves no matter what. Perilous times my friend….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel somedays like writing a letter to Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Claude Juncker and other European leaders and begging them to help us … heck, bomb the White House with Trump in it … whatever it takes to save us from a fate worse than death! Yes, we must kick his fat arse out in November, but … the election is so likely to be unfair and tampered with that even if he loses the popular vote by 50 million this time, I can see him staying in office. We are in uncharted territory, my friend, and I think there is nobody to help us out. Perilous times, indeed, and I feel so very helpless to do anything, to even make a slight difference. Every day I have to talk myself out of just giving up. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This will be the extreme summer of discontent Jill. Death, destruction, economic depression. Is this not a fitting end to the worst president in history?He’s going down in flames, and he wants to take the rest of us with him. We can’t let him!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think you’re right, my friend. Trump is fanning the flames with his threat to send the National Guard to start shooting protesters. We may well end up with a race war in this country over the summer. I’m amazed that nobody in his administration has the guts or good sense to shut him up!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You’re amazed about this? Where have you been, Ms. D.? The sycophants are far too afraid of what he can do to their careers to ever stand up for what’s right.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Now Nan … you know I’ve had my eyes wide open for years now, but some things still amaze me … I will never become used to the fact that he has so mesmerized his entire staff to the point that nobody remembers who they serve. Sigh.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Nope. They let him rant and rave like a lunatic and expect us to treat him like he’s just another normal president. My God…he’s the most abnormal president ever!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Twice in the past week I’ve been told that I am a horrible person for not showing more respect for “the president”. My answer both times was that I will respect a president when we have a president. As far as I’m concerned, we haven’t had a president since Obama left office on January 20, 2017. We have a braying ass pretending to be a ‘man’.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. He’s never earned one iota of respect from me, or many other millions who see him for what he is. Yes, the years after Obama…the years he’s ‘occupied’ that office, will be but an asterisk of shame and failure of epic proportions. What the history books will say about him will not be kind…unless it’s the White Supremacy history book, that is……

        Liked by 1 person

      9. That’s just it … respect must be earned. Every president in my lifetime, including those I didn’t always agree with, earned my respect. Trump has earned nothing but my scorn and hatred. No, at the end of the day, history will not be kind to Donald Trump. I only wish I were young enough to write one of those history books! Maybe I’ll start one anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s hard to believe it’s possible, after almost four years of Trump proving beyond a doubt he’s completely ethically, psychologically, and mentally unfit to be President, that he could even come close to being re-elected. Sorry to say, I never thought my opinion of a large portion of the American people would sink so low.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. If Trump loses the election (especially by a narrow margin), l wouldn’t put it past him to claim voter fraud and declare a national emergency to try to retain power and remain President….even if he has to call on the automatic weapons-toting, far right fringe to take up arms (and probably the National Guard as well) to keep him in office.
        A ‘cornered’ egomaniac is capable of almost anything.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Kim. We really are at an inflection point in this country. He is not only an American embarrassment, but a global one as well. Other countries see him for what he is. The fact we have about 40% of the public still backing him? What the hell is wrong with people?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Jeff over at On the Fence Voters, like most of us, has been giving a lot of thought to the upcoming election. He shares some of those thoughts and a possible solution to the dreaded scenarios that have played through our heads, in his post tonight. Please take a minute to read his thoughts, and let him know what you think. Thanks Jeff!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. And thanks for the follow. I followed you back. We’ll get through this somehow. I think……I hope, that is.

      Like

  4. What does our Constitution say about free elections? What is allowed or not? I don’t see any provision for outside interference or assistance from a foreign nation. Also, what’s to prevent Trump from bullying or buying off the OSCE? Just another obstacle to overcome while fixing the election. Anything that is not to his liking he simply recruit his army of lawyers along with AG Barr.
    Tech companies are actually part of the problem, they are just as polarized when it comes to politics. There is no neutral, bipartisan or even fair self monitoring, forget monitoring the actual election. Example: during the 2016 election, Google and Facebook, to some degree Twitter had no qualms about taking ad monies from Russia, China, and a few other questionable nations. This is clearly direct interference of our elections, and yet when Congress questioned Mark Zuckerberg about it, he denied knowing anything…. he promised to look into it. Nearly 4 years later none of the tech companies implemented meaningful protections on their platforms. And I’m sure they would not refuse ad monies from foreign bad actors, b/c how do you distinguish legit ad purchases from trolls? Russia promoted Trump while bashing Hillary, but that ad is simply expressing political opinion, is that illegal? What if the UK, France or Italy expressed an opinion, who’s to decide on intent or interference?
    So unless tech companies ban all political ad revenue….. I don’t see change happening. Upcoming 2020 election will be just as divisive and confusing as ever. Greed trumps patriotism, excuse the pun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t argue with anything you said. Look what’s happening now with Twitter. All they did was do a fact check on one of his many thousands of lies, and he goes berserk. He calls the media, whose job is to fact check him, fake. Twitter is the one place he could go to say whatever crap he wants to. Now of course he’s screaming censorship.
      I think the only way to change any of this is to go to a popular vote. Like you said though, that’s not happening anytime soon. The state compact might be the best way to do it. I think it’s up to about 170 or so now, in terms of the amount of states and their electoral votes who have signed on. I hope it changes in my lifetime. Hope is all I have at this point.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Like you, I can point out all the obvious problems and corruption with our political system. Solutions are elusive b/c the establishment thwart our efforts at every turn. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was the perfect example. He had a HUGE movement fighting for M4A free healthcare, living wage, free tuition, green new deal. What does the DNC do?
        Squashed!
        We can protest, write letters, email, blog, but i don’t see any meaningful change either. Hope is all we can afford 😦

        Like

  5. Jeff, every move made by Donald Trump, whether it is inane, reasonable or Machiavellian, can be traced back to feeding his large ego. He values perception over reality, because he can more easily manipulate perception.

    Before the 2016 election, he claimed the election was rigged to mask his own efforts to rig it. He was aided and abetted by the Russians and those who said it did not matter are disregarding how narrowly and surpingly he won.

    He is doing exactly the same thing in 2020 aided by Senator Mitch McConnell. This attack method was predicted by many when McConnell failed to push for federal money to protect the integrity of the election. Even then, we stated McConnell was setting the stage for the most corrupt and deceitful president in my 61 years to cry foul. Trump’s corrupt and deceitful behavior is not new or unexpected. The message that Republican voters need to hear is this person SHOULD NOT be reelected, not will he or won’t be. And, GOP The Lincoln Project and Republicans for the Rule of Law agree with me. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I talk to my Trump loving friends about the Lincoln Project and other Republicans who’ve turned away from him, they have no answer. No response. It’s pretty clear they’re all part of his cult. It seems as though the mantra for them is going to be something like this: well yes, he’s insensitive. Yes, he’s a pain in the ass and not very nice. But he gets stuff done. Really? That’s the selling point? I’ll never understand it Keith. Never.

      Like

      1. Jeff, thanks. Two points. When a Trump supporter said I just did not like Trump after I mentioned these two groups, I said these are Republicans saying joining George Will, Michael Gerson, David Brooks, Eric Erickson all conservative pundits.

        As for the rough around the edges, Teddy Roosevelt was rough around the edges. Donald Trump acts in a corrupt, deceitful and bullying manner. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

  6. AN OPINION PIECE
    The Repuglycans will be cheating, stake your life on that. So why shouldn’t the Dems cheat too? Because they aren’t quite as corrupt, one hopes.
    But Trump already told us this election has a foregone conclusion, he wins. Nothing anyone else does changes that. There is no longer democracy in the United States of America. Democratic states should secede, now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not a bad idea rawgod. For far too long I’ve lamented Democratic passivity. Republicans play to win. Democrats play fair. We’re way past the time for cut-throat politics. We’re dealing with an autocratic bully and criminal. No time for weak-kneed BS.

      Like

    1. Something is right, Dan. With divided government in Congress, though, there’s not much chance. What else can Dems do except shout from the mountaintop?

      Like

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