By Kit Knightly – Originally at OffGuardian – Published May 29, 2020 FRN
It’s an artefact of the peculiar world in which we live that we are sometimes forced to agree with, fight alongside or even defend people with whom we would never wish to be associated.
Donald Trump is right at the top of that list. And his “feud” with twitter over tweets concerning postal votes is a perfect example.
To be clear, whatever the MAGA crowd and QAnons may wish to believe, Trump is NOT some kind of anti-establishment rebel.
Whatever small threat he posed to the status quo was stamped out shortly after the Deep State switched sides from Hillary to Trump sometime in October 2016.
From Syria to Russia to Wikileaks, most of the good parts of Trump’s “America first” or “isolationist” approach have fallen completely by the wayside. Either opposed by the Deep State to the point of total paralysis or shown to be nothing but talk in the first place.
Ever since he was elected, despite his rhetoric, Trump has been little more than a boorish Bush. Most of the time.
But sometimes, in small ways, he strikes a raw nerve with the establishment.
Like two days ago, when he tweeted out criticisms of the proposal to rely on postal votes for forthcoming elections:
Whether this was put into Trump’s mouth by his handlers to create the controversy, or whether it’s his genuine opinion, it is obviously something people are not supposed to agree with. Because twitter then took the unprecedented step of adding “fact-checking links” to his tweets.
Donald Trump is a crass, narcissistic bullshit merchant, but twitter has never done that to him before.
So why now? Why is twitter “fact-checking” Trump’s claim that postal ballots are easier to rig?
Well, it’s certainly not because he’s wrong. Because he’s actually right.
Postal ballots ARE much easier to rig than in-person voting. This is not just logically obvious, it is historically shown to be true through dozens of examples.
In 2002, a Labour councillor was convicted of voter fraud after acquiring 200 blank postal ballots, filling them in and adding them to the uncounted votes.
In 2005, when on-demand postal voting was first spreading around Britain, many councils expressed concerns that the system was vulnerable to fraud. These fears were repeated in 2010, when there was a surge in those using the system.
In 2014 the electoral commission warned that “ghost voters” could be created using mail-in ballots.
Also in 2014 Richard Mawrey QC, a UK deputy High Court judge in charge of hearing electoral fraud cases, warned that on-demand postal ballots were open to “systematic and widespread” voter fraud.
Mawrey repeated those concerns again in 2015, after former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman was convicted of election fraud using postal votes.
In December 2019 Steve Baker MP wrote that:
There is widespread abuse of postal votes, this simply cannot go on
That same month, the BBC’s political editor accidentally revealed a serious potential corruption on the postal ballot front.
Now, all of these examples are from the UK but the same frailties exist in the United States.
In fact, just two years ago, a Republican candidate was found to have committed electoral fraud in North Carolina…using absentee postal ballots.
In 2007 Teresa James and Michael Slater of Project Vote authored a report titled “Vote By Mail Doesn’t Deliver” in which they found there was evidence that:
Vote by mail is more susceptible to corruption than voting at polling places.
Vote by mail is amenable to manipulation by election officials.
They cite multiple examples, including the Miami mayoral election of 1997 being overturned by the courts after a candidate was found to have committed widespread absentee ballot fraud.
As recently as March of this year, when Joe Biden repeatedly won primaries he was predicted to lose, there were reported irregularities in postal ballots in several states, including Wisconsin, New Jersey and Ohio.
So, if there are so many recent examples of fraud – and so many obvious potential vulnerabilities to the system – why is Twitter suddenly (incorrectly) fact-checking “The Donald”?
And not just Twitter, but all of the mainstream media as well. For example, CNN, the Washington Post and The New York times all have very long, very similar refutations of Trump’s anti-postal votes diatribe.
It’s interesting to note that the Wikipedia page for “Postal Voting” has already been edited to insert the same quote twice, from a New York Times article which came out today.
Their defences of the system are, frankly, sad.
The New York Times argues that, yes, postal vote rigging does happen (and even cites some of the examples I mentioned) but says doing it on a scale large enough to swing an election would be really hard, and someone would probably notice.
CNN’s is even worse. Collapsing from incompetence to unintentional hilarity, by using a report commissioned by George W. Bush in 2002 which found there was “virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections.” (Eagled-eyed readers will note it says “virtually no evidence”, and not “no evidence”.)
Students of history will no doubt realise that this report from the Bush-era Justice Department was commissioned in direct response to allegations that the 2000 Presidential election was rigged (which it fairly obviously was).
So, apart from twitter fact-checking the POTUS for criticising postal votes, we also have all the mainstream media doing pretzel-like feats of mental and verbal gymnastics to try and refute him. Why?
Well, because postal ballots are a large part of the establishment’s agenda at the moment. They are one of the key ideas being pushed in the wake the Covid19 “crisis”.
Just three weeks ago, the New York Times had an article headlined:
We Should Never Have to Vote in Person Again
And that’s just the latest and most brazen example of the propaganda surge on this issue.
In February, well before he could use Covid19 as an excuse, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was campaigning for more postal votes.
In March Poland’s lower house approved a bill to conduct this year’s Presidential election by post (which was later rejected by the upper house). Australia likewise “urged” postal votes in their local elections this year.
You could even see this whole “controversy” as part of the propaganda itself. Trump has such a lousy reputation that any thought he expresses is instantly discredited by association.
From now on anybody that doubts the postal ballot system can be said to be “agreeing with Trump”, whilst the hordes of potential voters whose only understanding of politics is “Orange Man Bad” will throw their weight behind postal ballots as if it were some kind of moral crusade. (Expect a hashtag like #ImGoingPostal in the next couple of days).
Here, in the UK, our elections are currently totally suspended. When they “lift the lockdown”, postal ballots will be pushed as a way of “saving democracy”. But that will be far from the truth.
Trump expressed it brashly, coarsely and with his trademark lack of nuance, but anybody paying attention should definitely be very wary of widespread postal voting. And worried by the large-scale media campaign to promote it.