Life Events: Election 2020

It’s over, right? We can all agree it’s over.

Let’s start with the simple. Joe Biden will be president on Jan 20th.

By the time this post goes up it’s “yesterday,” I am writing this Wed night. My heart aches. I do not have WORDS for how much I grieve.

The rhetoric of “the election was stolen from 75 million people” is false. Your candidate lost. That doesn’t mean it was stolen. That doesn’t mean it isn’t fully legitimate. It is the ultimate chant of a spoiled child who didn’t get their way. This isn’t something new in our country though.

Let’s talk about 1876. That is when the Jan 6th counting started. To summarize it in the shortest language possible, it was a shit show. Several southern states HAD actual election fraud. From voter intimidation to ballot stuffing to throwing out votes based on race…. it was a SHIT SHOW. How much was true and how much was allegations I do not know. I do know in my history classes there was enough evidence of fraud to be very troubling.

So several southern states ended up in essentially an internal civil war. Literally, like rival governors and legislators set up and each crying THEY are the legitimately elected congress people. And the presidential election was just as messy.

Tilden, the Democratic candidate, won the popular vote. He definitely won 184 elector votes. He needed 185 to outright win. Hayes, the republican candidate, had 165 votes. 20 votes between four states (Florida, Louisiana, S. Carolina, and Oregon) were in dispute. The dispute was because in those four states they literally had multiple slates of electors and enough legitimacy/suppression/etc. issues…. it was a shit show.

The house and the senate wanted to avoid a second civil war barely a decade after the last one. So they created an “Electoral Commission” with seven Democrats, seven Republicans, and one independent. But the independent won a Senate seat and promptly resigned from the commission. An eighth Republican got the tie-breaking spot. As such, the Republicans pushed through a decision to award ALL 20 electoral votes to Hayes. Again, this isn’t my area of expertise in history, but it looks kind of dirty.

This electoral debacle helped lead to the Electoral Count Act of 1887 (yeah it took a long time to make changes because 1880 and 1884 were close and it worried members of Congress). It really actually sets out to put the burden of resolving election issues on the states. Per the act, Congress is only supposed to get involved if the states fails to certify a single slate of electoral votes (if like in 1876 two sets of “certified” electors are sent in or if the state’s governor can’t certify the electoral votes for some reason).

That is why the cries for change for Jan 6th were a waste of breath. As soon as all 50 states had certified their electoral votes – Congress really can’t do anything. The Vice President is (as I have heard a friend say), a glorified Vanna White in the process. All he does is open the envelope and read the contents.

My sister wrote up this and I am quoting her because it is well said.

PLEASE, stop saying that Jan 6 was four years in the making! This was not 4 or 5 years in the making as if it arose with Trump. I wish it were only 10 years in the making (or 12 depending upon how one recalls the tea party’s rise), but let’s get real. This is the result of 25 years of shock radio hosts spreading toxic hate and stupidity. Jan 6 was Fertilized by 50 years of the republican “southern strategy” to thwart infrastructure and social safety net spending by leaning into evil identify RACIST politics. But it didn’t start there. And while I’d love to only blame the corrupt GOP, as a white person I must accept that history has been lying about what fair means for more generations than I can count. And we MUST stop shirking away from discomfort and do the complex, hard, weird work of deeply changing our entire civilization, and how people define themselves as HUMAN. So stop it. This wasn’t 4 years in the making, and these specific individuals have been cultivating this SPECIFIC insurrection since at least the mid90s when Newt Gingrich decided politics over governance and declared his leadership to be about saying “no”.

I think this important because this isn’t a fluke. This isn’t something that is “just D. Trump” or just a Boomer thing. This is a threat to our republic over and over. The 12th Amendment in 1789. The Electoral Count Act in 1887. 2020. I don’t know what will come out of this election, but we need to continue ensuring that voting is a Right. That votes are protected. That safe and fair elections are the foundation of our common conversation.