Media pundits are rushing to tell 2020 Trump voters to throw in the towel and accept a new president with a blurred mandate. They expect us to forget more than four years of contempt, harassment, and ostracism that they heaped upon us. They still don’t understand our motivation and never will. And that is why we are no longer merely voters but warriors in our minds and criminal accomplices in theirs.
In 2016 I thought I was just making a choice, and it turned out to be a difficult one. During the primary I hoped that Rand Paul would be able to mount an insurgent campaign that would storm the GOP, and when that didn’t happen I voted as much of my state did in the March Ohio primary for our Governor John Kasich as part of the desperate movement to stop Donald Trump. When all attempts to stop the star of The Apprentice failed, I resolved to vote for Gary Johnson during the summer in the hopes that the public’s disgust at both Trump and Clinton would lead to a strong third party candidacy and prevent either from getting a clear majority. But the Libertarian candidate did the natural thing and Johnsoned himself by appearing clueless (“Aleppo moment”) and emotionally triggered and neurotic when asked about his tax policy.
The big moment that started my shift toward considering Donald Trump was one of the most surprising developments of the race. In August President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico invited both main party candidates to visit him and discuss the bilateral relationship and border policy. Mr. Trump immediately took him up on the offer and jetted down to Mexico City the next day. The resultant press conference was a stunning display where for the first time he was seen on the same stage potentially at equal status with a foreign leader. And even though I was at the time not a fan of Trump nor his border and trade policies one thing was obvious: He was a natural fit and he owned the room. Trump walked through a door that was opened unexpectedly, perhaps in the hope that he would turn it down, and gained tremendous standing. A week later Hillary Clinton stated that she would not visit Mexico before the election. This made an impression on me that I couldn’t ignore. Trump was willing to make every effort even on short notice to discuss the policy that was at the top of his list of stated priorities and try to make progress even with someone who had divergent interests. Clinton, supposedly the veteran Secretary of State with all of the necessary experience, basically couldn’t be bothered with such trifling matters.
It wasn’t easy, but I did fill the circle for Trump on an election day that was one of the most charged in my life. It’s the only time I’ve ever voted on election day, and also was only the second time I’d voted for president in four cycles where I’ve been eligible to vote. And despite all of the venom and controversy, it was obvious very early that it wasn’t in vain. He pursued aggressively conservative stances on taxation, repealing Obamacare, judicial appointments and regulatory reform. Trump also made it clear that he would negotiate with foreign powers on a transactional basis as opposed to just domineering over them. This yielded the USMCA in 2018 and later the “Safe Third Country” agreements with four Central American countries helped to stanch the flow of illegal immigration northward and manufacturing positions south. Did anyone expect in 2016 that the New York playboy billionaire would be able to broker deals with the likes of liberal social justice warriors like Justin Trudeau and Krystia Freeland of Canada or with career radicals like Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico? Yet as a result of media framing and the hostility of the entertainment class none of those accomplishments have been acknowledged, let alone given their due attention.
By applying this treatment to the president the media and celebrity commentators have lowered the bar of expectations tremendously such that it is incredibly easy for Trump to clear it. It therefore was a pleasant surprise that the economy and stock market did so well under him, that he was able to make diplomatic breakthroughs with North Korea and in the Middle East, and that the VA is no longer a place for our veterans to die while on waiting lists for essential surgeries. Trump also refused to renew the Patriot Act reauthorization this year, a temporary reprieve for our civil liberties. This is not to ignore the fact that Trump has failed on a number of fronts such as the Bump Stock Ban, the failure to pardon Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, and his continuation of the war in Yemen.
What also became apparent after Trump took office was that there would be no return to normalcy. Not for the nation, and not for the voters, myself included. In 2016 I had a great job as a student co-op with a medical device company and was finishing graduate school. I would have been absolutely fine going back to the day-to-day grind and not concerning myself with the daily goings on in Washington, DC. But the media did not allow for that. Immediately the Michael Flynn Affair, soon to be expanded into Russiagate broke out. Throughout Trump’s first year Trump voters and supporters were being labeled alternately Russian spies, toothless hicks, neo-Nazis or a combination thereof. I started a new position and my trainer, who was by no means a Trump supporter, would ask me questions about the news in order to get a more detailed interpretation.
In 2018 I lost my job. Suddenly every day was an empty expanse of nothing and I had to find something to fill it so I turned to writing. By mistake, while attempting to write an article concerning distorted media coverage of the concocted Russian collusion scandal, I found a real one. Not only Donald Trump had been tainted with fabricated allegations of Russian influence but former rival presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Worse yet, the allegations against him were based on the flimsy assertions of a former TV reporter and Bernie campaign volunteer who had ties to the pro-Clinton Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century. I did the best to research this man, John Mattes, and before long I had written several articles and interviewed a number of his former Bernie volunteer acquaintances. My conclusion was that Mattes had started out in late 2016 as a sheepdog to corral disaffected progressives into voting for Clinton, and when she lost decided to hitch his star to the Russian collusion saga by alleging that it had affected other campaigns besides Trump’s. But there was a problem: I was at the time writing only through the online Hard News Network alternative website. Mattes on the other hand had appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show and been cited as a source by Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and The New Yorker. It became apparent over the next year and a half that discovering new information about wrongdoing is irrelevant if the subjects are media figures and the person critiquing and exposing them (me) is not.
Since 2018 I have gone on to write other investigative stories about such subjects as CNN and theSunrise Movement, the Venezuelan state financing behind actor Danny Glover, and the Biden “colleges of collusion“. But to this day I feel that the story of John Mattes was the turning point when I changed from just being a commentator and observer to someone involved in current events. Unfortunately, few if any person that I contacted about the affair whether conservative or progressive understood the significance of this story and why it should be litigated:
- Mattes’ lie had been presented without any actual data or evidence and rested on a premise that smeared four colleagues of his as “Russian bots” without hearing their side of the story. To this day those featured by name, Jo Piarulli and Jim Boydston, on screen have been completely ignored.
- The willingness of Bernie Sanders to accept the media’s version of this “scandal” showed that millions of Bernie Sanders voters had been basically stepped on by their idol. He never even appealed for an investigation to verify the claims.
- The lie was repeated and amplified by over a dozen major media organizations that were credulous of his allegations of “Russian infiltration” despite no evidence being shown and often through second hand repeating of other publications of the same story.
We are seeing in real time, day after day, a recreation of the same type of disinformation and repetition that I and the witnesses experienced first hand. I am convinced in retrospect that as Americans our partisanship and inability to bridge divides in pursuit of the facts, regardless of which candidate each person supported in 2016, was the reason that I couldn’t get traction for the story. Regretfully I have failed my commitment that I told to Piarulli and Boydston repeatedly to carry the fight for their good reputations to its conclusion.
Patterns of convenience
After more than a week of America being in limbo over the election, I will not fill you with false hope about the direction of the litigation over it. I am operating under the assumption that the result will hold and Joe Biden will enter office next year. Based on what I expected, it didn’t look the least bit legitimate. In the week before the vote, I had to make a trip from my home in northeast Ohio to Detroit and my impression was that Democratic support was confined to select urban and college areas like Toledo and Oberlin. In Detroit there was signage mainly for down-ballot Democrats like Sen. Gary Peters. In my limited time, I did not get the sense that the Michigan or Ohio electorates were unusually electrified, but that was just anecdotal observation. The real data of course came on election day, and the following list of notes about two states (Ohio and Michigan) based on current vote totals is why I don’t believe the final result and the big “Biden surge” in other Midwestern states and am fully on board with litigating the tallies and investigating every irregularity.
- Both main party candidates boosted their vote totals for the presidency. Trump gained 233,413 votes over his 2016 total, while Biden gained 209,567 over Hillary Clinton’s. The aggregated polls had given Clinton an advantage of 55-45 in the last cycle as late as October 25, and he ended up winning by a almost 51-43 split. This time, with third party voting collapsing, Trump won by a 53-45 split despite most aggregates only giving him an advantage of less than one percentage point.
- On top of this, Lorain and Mahoning (Youngstown) counties voted for Trump for the first time since 1984 and 1972 respectively. The only county statewide to flip the other way was Montgomery where Dayton is located.
- After months of watching my county (Cuyahoga) bedecked in Biden-Harris signs everywhere the truth became obvious: This blue teardrop was diluted within a sea of red. Moreover, the Democratic vote surge in Cuyahoga was itself more than compensated for by a GOP surge. In 2016 398,276 persons voted for Clinton compared to 184,212 in Cuyahoga County. In 2020 Biden got 402,315 votes, a “surge” of slightly more than four thousand compared to Trump’s 195,089 which amounts to almost eleven thousand.
Ohio’s two other major urban counties, Franklin (Columbus) and Hamilton (Cincinnati) broke harder for Biden. However, other counties in Ohio showed a similar pattern to Cuyahoga, where a Democrat surge was offset either somewhat or totally by an attendant one for Trump:
- Lucas (Toledo) – 2016: 55.7-38 for Clinton, 2020: 57.2-40.7 for Biden.
- Athens (Ohio University) – 2016: 55.6-38.5 for Clinton, 2020: 56.6-41.9 for Biden.
- Summit (Akron) – 2016: 51.5-43 for Clinton, 2020: 54-44.5 for Biden.
- Biden also garnered less votes or a lower share in the following counties carried by Obama and Trump in the past two cycles: Trumbull, Portage, Ottawa, and Sandusky.
By any standard Biden got boat-raced in the Buckeye State. Importantly, the figures in all of the counties were not significantly higher than the last three cycles going back to Obama’s 2008 victory in Ohio which saw record turnout across the state and the country.
In the Mitten State, which currently has been flipped by the Democrats, the patterns get much more confusing. First and formost the aggregate polls gave Biden a 5.9% advantage, but the latest totals show him winning by less than 3%. Some of the polls used by major networks, like Morning Consult (NBC) and SSRS (CNN) had Biden leading by leads of 7.5% and 12% in the last two weeks with margins of error of 2% and 3.8%. Even by accounting for the late mail-in balloting that has supposedly put Biden over the top, there is no rational explanation for why the race was so narrow. Michigan’s main differences politically speaking with Ohio are limited but significant. Like Ohio, the core of the Democratic vote is focused within one major metro area (Detroit’s Wayne and Oakland counties). Other strongholds include Ingham and Washtenaw counties that include the state capital of Lansing and Ann Arbor as well as the two largest public universities in the state the University of Michigan and Michigan State. Within these and other counties there were results that at least should have people scratching their heads.
- Wayne County, the largest in the state in population, showed a spike in turnout on both sides with 587,074 voting for Biden and 264,149 for Trump. This was an increase of 13% for Biden and 15% for Trump.
- In adjacent Oakland County turnout for Biden (433,982) and Trump (325,916) was also boosted, but this time by 12.6% for Trump, and a gigantic 26.5% for Biden. This gave the former vice president 61,000 more votes than Obama received in that County in 2008 and 90,000 more than Clinton in 2016. Two of the county’s four districts were only recently flipped by the Democrats. I know that it’s possible, but it is difficult to believe that this type of suburban area would show such a tremendous surge. Admittedly the Trump vote tallies are also eye popping, but at least can be somewhat explained by his packed campaign rally there on Oct. 28.
- Macomb County, which is northeast of Oakland, also had a stunning boost in votes on both sides. Biden earned almost 50,000 more votes than Clinton with Trump gaining 40,000 perhaps some joining after his Nov. 1 rally there. Biden visited for the last time in September in an event that was “not open to the public”. This resulted in leads to vote tally increases of 17.7% for Trump and 27.9% for Biden. In 2008 Obama won the county with 223,784 votes; in 2020 Biden supposedly lost it with 225,561 votes. Are we really to believe that after four years of Trump, over 90,000 people said “that’s it, this time I’m voting”? Maybe, but I think this deserves at least an audit.
In the rest of the state, other results should cast a cloud of question marks over the results.
- One county flipped by Biden, Leelanau at the northern end up the Lower Michigan Peninsula, saw Trump improve on his 2016 total by 9.3% while Biden gained almost 30% on Clinton.
- Genesee County showed the margin remaining ten percentage points in favour of the Democrat from 2016 to 2020, but with turnout spikes for both amounting to about 17%. On the Saturday before the election Biden campaigned with Obama and Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Flint, holding a rally of about 180 carloads. And does anyone not think that at least some Flint Democrats hold a grudge against Obama and Biden for their failure to solve the Flint Water Crisis?
- In Washtenaw County Biden’s vote count (157,130) surpassed Obama’s in 2008 (130,578) by almost 25,000. In Ingham County, home to Michigan’s capital Lansing and Michigan State in East Lansing, Biden slightly surpassed Obama from 2008. But Biden never even visited Ann Arbor, instead dispatching Bernie Sanders to a poorly attended rally on Oct. 5. His wife Jill hosted a canvass launch in Lansing on Oct. 29, while local media reported that “thousands” came to greet Trump there on Oct. 27. Both counties had voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary. Both went for Biden this time, but in a primary clouded by COVID19 shutdowns.
- The biggest surprise is Kent County, historically voting Republican since 1964 in every cycle except 2008 when Obama narrowly carried it. This time Biden won it by a margin of almost 52-46, a swing of nine percentage points for the Democrat. But even more glaring is the fact that while both candidates gained votes this cycle, Biden experienced a climb of 34.6% from Clinton as opposed to only 11.6% for Trump. This means that of the votes thrown in from four years, Biden had a 3-1 advantage. Biden’s 186,753 votes even represented a 25% gain on Barack Obama in 2008 who couldn’t even reach 150,000 against a much weaker opponent, John McCain.
- The vote margin in Kent County would represent right now 17% of Biden’s lead statewide, while its registered voters only represent 6.1% of the statewide total. Does the fact that Kent is one of the counties with Dominion Voting Systems conducting its ballots have anything to do with it? Most of the county is in Michigan’s 3rd House District as well, which was held by Never Trump Republican defector Justin Amash until now. In this election, the GOP regained the seat with roughly the same proportion that Amash earned in 2018.
Much of what’s been going on could have a logical explanation, but as of right now it defies logic. Michigan suffered harder from the coronavirus, but both their Democrat governor Whitmer and our Republican Ohio governor Mike DeWine had to contend with strong protest movements against restrictions. Yet the Ohio vote was tallied and called on the night of the election whereas Michigan’s took days and has shown evidence of at least one major glitch in Antrim County favouring Biden, also involving Dominion Voting Systems. Looking across the country, changes in voting patterns were largely reflected in down ballot races as well. Democrats stand to lose up to three House seats each in New York State and California. They have already lost two House seats in Florida amid a long term trend there. In neither Michigan nor Ohio did a single House seat flip from one side to the other, even though we are supposed to believe that the Democrats had record voter turnout in some of the key counties. The same is true of Pennsylvania, where turnout statewide shattered all previous records.
Careening towards a new Concord and Lexington?
Obama’s 2008 sweeping victory was partially negated by the 2010 Tea Party wave in his first midterms. However that movement has largely dissipated and been subsumed within the Trump candidacy. Our federal officials still ignore the fact that this country was born in large part due to protests against taxes on tea, published works (Stamp Act), and molasses. The liberal and progressive portions of our nation find it convenient to forget that, as does much of the Republican Party populated by the likes of Mitt Romney and Charlie Baker.
Similarly, they consider our belief in the 2nd Amendment to be a consequence of a violent and racist subculture, regardless of the fact that Americans of all races have been buying weapons in record numbers in 2020. Our opposition to abortion is clearly a result of our bigoted religious fundamentalism, even if we object to it on grounds related to medical ethics. Support for strong borders and American manufacturing? They say it is just a function of xenophobia from backward rednecks that need to learn to code. Joe Biden has said that he wanted to bring Americans back together: “We are not enemies. We are Americans. This is the time to heal in America.”
Let me respond to Biden, who claims to be the second president to “profess the Catholic faith”, with a quote from the first one, John F. Kennedy: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Kennedy was grossly overrated, but he knew that delegating control to the “experts” would lead to disaster as happened with the Bay of Pigs and the American advisory mission in Vietnam. Joe Biden has no such instinct for caution. He has spent his entire career bamboozling the voters, left and right alike. The riots will not stop under his watch, because he cannot reasonably deliver on the demands of groups like Antifa and BLM, and in any case he and Kamala Harris are not radical enough to earn their support.
And as for me, there is no reason to accept his olive branch. As vice president he helped transform the intelligence community, IRS and Department of Justice into a political police. The Obama-Comey FBI made J. Edgar Hoover look like Jerry Garcia, and we should expect no better from Biden. Even if Donald Trump is gone, it doesn’t change the fundamental problems that he exposed about our society, government, and the media. I didn’t stop criticizing Trump even though I voted for him, so don’t expect some grace period when Beijing Biden comes into office. I will support any left-wing person in the pursuit of fighting to end the wars and defend civil liberties but I draw the line there.