On Rigged Elections

This election is rigged. That’s been Donald Trump’s theme for a couple of weeks. Is that possible? Accusations of a rigged presidential election are rare, but there are a few examples.

john-quincy-adamsIn 1824, John Quincy Adams won the presidency after no one got the majority of the electoral votes and the decision was thrown into the House of Representatives. Henry Clay, Speaker of the House, was later chosen by Adams to be his secretary of state, considered at that time to be the stepping-stone to the presidency. Andrew Jackson, the loser even though he started with a plurality of the electoral tally, charged that it was a corrupt bargain. He lost the election, he said, because it was rigged against him.

What Jackson didn’t allow into his thoughts is that Clay, who undoubtedly used his influence as Speaker to put Adams in the presidency, felt that Jackson was unfit for the office and gave his support to Adams because he believed Adams was the better of the two men. That, of course, never stopped Jackson from thinking he was cheated out of the office and he held bitterness over it for the rest of his life.

rutherford-b-hayes-2The 1876 election was one of the most controversial in American history. Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote but neither he nor Republican Rutherford Hayes had an electoral majority due to claims of voter fraud in some of the Southern states. This was after the Civil War and the rancor of Reconstruction.

A special commission had to be set up to determine the winner. It took until just a few days before the March inauguration to solidify Hayes’s victory. The only way Democrats accepted Hayes as the legitimate president was after he promised to serve only one term and bring Reconstruction policies to an end. Still, some Democrats refused to acknowledge Hayes as the legitimate president.

jfk-nixonThen there was 1960. Everyone knows John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon, right? Well, that’s not necessarily true. Most historians admit that voter fraud was so plentiful in Illinois and Texas that those two states should have gone to Nixon, thereby making him the next president.

Chicago has been a source of voter fraud continually; it’s amazing how many dead people vote there every time. Texas was Lyndon Johnson’s home state, and he made sure there were enough votes counted to gain the victory there, regardless of how many actually voted.

Nixon was aware of the fraud and many in his circle encouraged him to challenge the result. Tempting as that was, Nixon instead chose to step back from any challenge for the good of the nation. He felt it would be damaging to the country, especially at a time of Cold War tension with the Soviet Union, to disrupt the government in that way.

Most people don’t know about Nixon’s selfless decision; all they ever think about is Watergate.

So, yes, voter fraud might take place. In fact, I’m convinced it does on a regular basis. However, here’s the real question: could it be massive enough to make a difference this year, as Trump intimates?

First of all, it would only matter in a very close vote within a state. Consequently, you can dismiss any issue of damage to the Trump campaign in states that are going for Clinton by wide margins. California, New York, and Illinois are lost causes for Trump anyway. Even if we were to wipe out all of Chicago’s graveyard votes, he will still lose Illinois.

The only real possibility of voter fraud affecting this election would have to focus on Texas or Florida, yet both of those states are controlled by a Republican majority who will guarantee that Trump won’t be trumped by Democrat tricks.

Let’s be real. Voter fraud, while always a concern, is not going to be any kind of determining factor this year. The determining factor is Donald Trump, pure and simple. Well, he’s simple, at least.

Donald Trump Addresses GOP Lincoln Day Event In MichiganHave you noticed that every time Trump loses, he has a scapegoat? Recall the Iowa caucuses. Why did he lose there, in his mind? Ted Cruz cheated. “Lyin’ Ted” cost him Iowa. That was his story and he was sticking to it. He pretty much used the same mantra wherever he lost.

Why? Because Trump believes he is a winner. Remember that he told Republicans he was going to win so much that they were going to get tired of winning. If he loses, it can’t be his fault; it has to be some kind of “rigged” election.

Much has been made of Trump’s comment in the last debate that he will wait and see if he will accept the results of this election. Some feel he is destroying the American electoral system by saying that. I don’t go there. I know there can be fraud, and I use 1960 as a prime example.

However, what really bothers me is what it reveals about Trump’s character. His ego is so huge and vast that he cannot even imagine losing due to his own uneven temperament, lack of knowledge of the issues, and moral turpitude.

He’s also preparing the context for his loss. You see, he didn’t really lose; the election was stolen by “Crooked Hillary.” By the way, she is Crooked Hillary, but he’s “Delusional Donald.”

He will never accept the hard truth that he is his own worst enemy. Rumors abound that once he loses, his next venture will be a media network to promote his views (whatever they may be next year).

Lose he will, and probably “bigly.” And it won’t be because of voter fraud. It will be because he is the worst candidate the Republicans have ever chosen as a standard-bearer.

Doing Away with Childish Thinking

“All politicians are the same.” “We need to fire all of the bums.” “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the parties.” “We need someone outside of politics to lead us.”

Those are the refrains I’m hearing constantly. They stem from anger and frustration with the current mess. I agree that we currently have a mess. Yet I don’t use those phrases. Why not? I find them to be emotionally driven, intellectually lazy comments.

Christians, in particular, need to forego superficial analyses like those. Do we really believe that every last congressman, senator, and governor is a bum? Should we throw out every person in government simply because we don’t like the overall direction of the country?

If we do, we will lose a lot of principled people as well. We will lose many whose experience with the system can make them effective. Novices may arrive en masse with no idea of how to make things happen. How is that an improvement?

And when we lump everyone together into the stereotype of “the crooked politician,” we are condemning the innocent along with the guilty. Christians are to judge each person on an individual basis, just as God does. The kingdom of heaven consists of individuals who have submitted to the Lordship of Christ.

Are we saying there are no such individuals in our government?

Righteous JudgmentWe are to judge, to be sure. That’s what I’m doing with these comments also. But our judgment is to be an honest one, not merely a flip statement that condemns everyone involved with politics.

Look carefully at the Republican candidates for president. Can you not find even one who has a record of achievement in politics based on principle? If you say you cannot, I would have to respond that you are not taking enough time to investigate the field.

Another problem is that we—and this applies to Christians also—are drawn to celebrity and other outward forms of “strength.” Instead, we should concentrate on personal character in the candidates, not their ability to be bombastic and anti-establishment.

We should examine what they have accomplished, not whether they know how to get attention or use catchy phrases. Neither should we be impressed by anyone who descends into juvenile behavior in response to criticism.

It seems that with every approaching election, I, and others, say that this one could be the most crucial of all. Is that the case for this next round of elections? If so, we need to be sober in our judgments and choose as wisely as possible.

“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child,” notes the apostle Paul. Then he says, “When I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

It’s time to stop acting like petulant children. It’s time to be men and women of principle and sound judgment. Truly, the fate of the nation depends on that. Christians are to be the salt of the earth. When we speak and act like everyone else, we are useless.

The Deeply Flawed Candidate

The Hillary Clinton coronation is off and running. In her recent swing through Iowa in her campaign van, she kept talking (whenever she would deign to speak to anyone) about how she is the champion of the average American. She demonstrated this by stopping at a Chipotle in Ohio on her way to Iowa, where she spoke to no one—she wasn’t even recognized by the employees.

When she arrived in Iowa, her van parked in a handicapped spot, as if she had no need to follow the rules. But, of course, she is a Clinton; those rules don’t apply to her. There is a great discrepancy between the image she is trying to promote and the reality of who she is:

Champion

Wherever she went, she castigated those who make too much money—you know, all those CEOs who are taking advantage of you. Never mind that she makes more than most of those CEOs. You’re not supposed to pay attention to that:

Speech a Week

She avoided the media, yet those in the mainstream media don’t seem to care. They have already made their choice for 2016, and it’s quite obvious:

Match Hasn't Started

If the media were to be truly honest about her, this is the kind of report you would see:

Campaign 2016

Her views on CEOs are not the only views that are extreme. Speaking out in support of Common Core, she actually said that education is “the most important, non-family [emphasis mine] enterprise” in the country. Education is a “non-family” enterprise? No, Mrs. Clinton, it is the most family-centered enterprise that exists. Parents are the ones responsible for the education of their children, not the state. But, you know, it takes a village. I’m trying to remember—who said that once and wrote a book about it?

Then there’s her consistent position on abortion, which she considers something that should never be limited. Rand Paul, one of the declared presidential candidates on the Republican side, recently challenged DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she, and the Democrat party as a whole, really believes it is right to abort a near-term child that could weigh as much as seven pounds. Her answer was, in short: yes. That is the mentality of the entire Democrat party leadership now, and fully reflects Hillary’s position.

Not Viable

The latest controversy (there are always controversies surrounding the Clintons, usually of their own making) is the donations given to the Clinton Foundation by foreign countries and corporations in exchange for preferential treatment when Hillary was secretary of state. A new book on that subject is being released in a couple of weeks. The New York Times got an advance copy and is already pointing out the problems. That’s the New York Times, mind you—a source that normally will give every benefit of the doubt to progressive politicians.

Republicans should not be afraid to challenge her. She is not royalty who will automatically be swept into the White House. She is a deeply flawed person and candidate. They should be chomping at the bit to take her on:

Ready for Hillary

Whoever the Republicans choose must be steadfast in principle and able to communicate those principles effectively. That kind of candidate will be far more appealing to the average voter than a scandal-plagued Hillary.

Not Another Sequel, Please

Filmmakers only make sequels when the first film is a big box office hit. Even then, the sequel often falls flat as it tries to match the appeal of the first one. We have an attempted sequel in the making in politics right now. Enthusiasm for it is less than overwhelming.

Sequels

By the way, for me and for millions of others, the original was not all that appealing. Another Clinton in the Oval Office does not promise hope, trust, or respect.

In her somewhat subdued announcement that she is a candidate for president, Hillary Clinton attempted to position herself as the one who will fight for the everyday American. As if she knows anything about what most would call everyday life. People who demand to be paid up to $300,000 per speech are not “everyday people,” to borrow the words of an old song. If you really believe she’s in this for you, look more carefully.

About Me

And then there’s all of that baggage, a meme that’s going to show up in a multitude of political cartoons for the next year and a half.

Bellhop

Yet there are those who will blindly follow her wherever she may take them. They have faith, but in what or whom? It would be best to examine your idol first to see if it is worth worshiping.

Kool-Aid

Maybe you have to be my age to get the Kool-Aid reference. Google it. Then, for the sake of the future of this country, do some hard thinking, please.

My Ideal President

Presidential SealLet’s talk about an ideal world, where we have someone residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. that we can trust. Having the right president is not the solution to our national problems; those problems go much deeper, since they are spiritual in nature. But it can make a difference who the chief executive is.

What am I looking for in this ideal president? I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I’ve surveyed the field of candidates for 2016. Here are the characteristics that I want.

Dedication to Biblical Principles

This is the starting point. Our president should understand that God’s law is the basis for man’s law, and that anything in man’s law that contradicts God’s law is invalid and should be changed. He or she needs to be someone who honors God above everything else, realizing that public opinion is not the final judge of one’s actions.

This president would advocate for the sanctity of life, the Biblical definition of marriage, a limited role for government in our lives, and private property and free enterprise. The rule of law would be this person’s hallmark, overturning the rule of man that has characterized the current administration.

As I said, this is the starting point, but it’s not enough.

Christian Character

I could give a whole laundry list of character traits I would like to see in this president’s life, but I can summarize with these three, which I believe might encompass many others: integrity, courage, and humility.

Integrity means this president would be a person who does what he/she says, and acts with complete honesty, above board and truly transparent. This president must be a person who has the kind of courage that will tackle the knottiest of issues, regardless of the personal cost to one’s popularity, which is fleeting at best anyway.

As an aside, what we have witnessed the past few days in Indiana and Arkansas is lack of courage on the part of the governors in those states. The so-called Religious Freedom Restoration acts eventually signed into law in those states are worse than useless now; they actually may be turned against Christians’ freedom of religion. That kind of spinelessness at the national level would ruin us completely.

The courage I seek in the ideal president would be coupled with a genuine humility. This president needs to acknowledge that he/she is not the “savior” of the nation, but merely a servant who is fulfilling God’s command to do His will. There is no room for arrogance; pride leads to destruction.

Strategic Wisdom

It’s not enough to simply believe in the right things and have the proper character. This president must know how to make things happen to turn the country around. There might be any number of candidates who fit into the first two categories, but who lack the wisdom to carry out the correct policies. How do we get where we need to be? Not everything can be a frontal attack. Politics is a tricky business. This president will have to know how to manage the system for good without compromising principles or personal character.

Excellent Communication Skills

My ideal president will be a great communicator, in the style of Ronald Reagan, who knew how to connect with the people. Unfortunately, Republicans often choose a candidate who is marginal, at best, in being able to help citizens understand the principles that the country needs to be based upon and the policies that flow out of those principles. We need someone who can articulate those principles and policies clearly.

There may be other traits necessary, but if those four exist, I will be ecstatic. I think that kind of candidate can win this next election. Who is that candidate? I’m still evaluating the options before us. I see solid principles in some; I resonate with the character of many; I have opinions about the strategies they have used in the past and about their ability to communicate effectively.

One thing is for sure: the mainstream media will hold Republican candidates to a level of scrutiny that they will not apply to Hillary Clinton.

Media Bar

I’m holding the Republican candidates to a high bar also, but it’s not the same one the media is interested in. Let’s make our decision for the best candidate based on the kinds of traits I’ve listed above. This next presidential election could be the most crucial in our nation’s history.

About Those Election Results

I was going to move on from the election results today. I really was. But I just can’t. I blame the political cartoonists; they’re doing some of their best work right now, and I would hate to let it go to waste. Let’s see how they’re handling this GOP victory and corresponding Democrat defeat.

What makes the victory even more compelling is that the media remained solid in support of the president and his minions. Yet the people pushed aside that heavy influence in their favor and voted against them anyway. It appears the strategy didn’t work:

Low Information

Democrats are fond of calling conservatives “deniers” when it comes to issues such as global warming [which isn’t exactly happening, so I guess I’m a “denier”], but they are becoming experts at real denial themselves:

Upset with Republicans

As for the president, he’s acting as if this whole election thing is no big deal:

Cavalier

He’s also claiming that he “hears” those who didn’t vote, implying they are all on his side. That’s an amazing trick:

Hearing Voices

Ocean of People

Obama is unbowed by the results. His approach is as in-your-face as ever:

Give & Take

Toast

And after accusing Republicans of every kind of evil and stalling all legislation in the Senate for years, we’re suppose to believe this election is a call for Republicans to be more conciliatory toward Democrats and be bipartisan [translation: you do what we want even though you won and we lost]?

Work Together

Let me be clear—to quote nearly all politicians—I believe in reconciliation and in principled compromises that advance good policies, and Republicans shouldn’t have a chip on their shoulders and refuse to work with Democrats. But keep in mind that goes both ways.

Acquiescence to intransigence on the Democrat side—insistence to continue their failed policies—would be to repudiate the results of this election, and Republicans must not go there. They must be principled and lead accordingly.

Their ideas may continue to be rejected by President Obama, and he may veto everything they try to do, but if he does, the American public will receive an overdue education that should lead to another Republican victory in 2016.

Have We Learned Our Lesson?

Let’s continue to talk about the ramifications of last week’s elections. Why? Because it’s a relief to finally have something positive to say about politics in our country. Most people understand what those elections meant. I say “most” because there are some who still just don’t get it:

When It Doesn't

The hypocrisy and self-serving nature of Obama’s response is pretty blatant. At his now-infamous press conference the day after the elections, he revealed that he isn’t changing his views on anything. And he tried the same old tired lines about how reasonable he is and how he’s oh-so-willing to work with Republicans. Well, he’s said that for six years and never followed through. The evidence?

Harry's Desk

Every time Republicans in the House sent a bill to the Senate for debate, it disappeared into a Harry Reid black hole, never to be seen again. Everyone knows this was done at President Obama’s direction. He never sought to have an honest debate about any issue and continued to say Republicans had no ideas, when, in fact, they had been brimming with ideas backed up by legislation.

His now widely ridiculed remark about how he “hears” the 2/3 who didn’t vote—more, apparently, than those who truly cared to vote and who sent the real message—again reveals his inner Barack, the One who believes the people who “really” count are all for him. The actual voters? Not so much.

I Hear You

Commentator Jonah Goldberg has some salient points to make about the one-note Obama presence at this news conference:

But as Obama droned on and on in that press conference on Wednesday, it felt like a horrible realization was washing over the Johnny Bravo Fan Club [the White House press corps]: Obama’s grown stale. Johnny Bravo has a shelf-life. There was Obama prattling on and on about how he had a mandate, he heard the voice of the non-voters, the GOP has an obligation to do what he wants, he did nothing wrong, blah blah blah. It was all so tone deaf and otherworldly and—most of all—it was so unfathomably boring. As I joked on Twitter, he could have seamlessly segued into reading the instructions for how to change the toner cartridge on a Xerox machine and the audience might not have noticed.

Maybe I’m wrong. But it kind of feels like Obama is a karaoke singer who doesn’t realize someone unplugged the machine. He’s out their belting out his golden oldies and no one is tapping their toes any more.

Thomas Sowell, the black conservative commentator and scholar, also has weighed in on the meaninglessness of Obama’s reign and offers a warning for those who were fooled by him and his promises. If you were fooled once, why would you fall for a second false scenario?

Sowell Quote

The all-important 2016 election now looms large. Have we learned our lesson?