Much Ado About Trump’s Ego

Terry H. Schwadron

May 2, 2021

Apparently, Donald Trump is not going to let us ignore the craziness that is the late attempt to recount votes of election results from Arizona.

Indeed, the clear and present danger that a private recount from a company that is devoted to believing in The Big Steal is that the approach may well be spread to other states where Team Trump disputed the outcomes.

That effort, in turn, will eventually produce a claim of different outcome of last November’s presidential vote, which will be used for nearly endless court challenges in time for the next elections.

The quickly twisting tale is based on examination of questionable sort, using bad practices, in secrecy, with plenty of bias — all in support of the notion that Joe Biden and Democrats stole the election by a variety of machine-changing, ballot-stuffing, illegal voter frauds to deny re-election to Trump, who simply lost in too many states. As we know, Trump loyalists have kept the Stop the Steal movement alive since November, even allowing a Trump mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, and spawning a generation of Republican-sponsored voter suppression laws across the country, including Florida just this week.

Recently, despite two official recounts, the Republican-majority Arizona state Senate took ballots and voting equipment from Maricopa County, the largest jurisdiction, to turned them over to Cyber Ninjas, a private contractor whose chief executive has echoed baseless claims that the election was fraudulent but has now promised a fair review of the November results. As a bonus, the re-counters include a former Arizona Republican legislator who was participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, raising a question about bias.

That process was already interrupted in court over the use of pens that might deface and possible destroy ballots, and has occurred in private, without election supervisors. Cyber Ninjas has fought these efforts to disclose its procedures but did release its manuals for counting ballots and examining equipment, which do not address how the company determines the intent of voters, for example.

One day soon, the company will announce its findings, and we won’t be surprised when they find enough votes to declare Trump won that state — even though that won’t alter an Electoral College victory for Biden.

Can’t Ignore It

Try as we might, apparently we won’t be able to ignore whatever happens in Arizona. Trump loyalists and Trump himself, apparently, are making it clear that he regards Arizona as a kind of first domino that could fall — claiming that the recount will identify problems that would justify reexamination of the count in other states, as well, said The Post.

“I think it’s going to be incredible. I think it’s going to be eye-opening,” Trump said this week on a podcast with conservative host Dan Bongino. “Because I have no question we won Arizona. We had rallies, we had such enthusiasm like nobody’s ever seen anything like it. And then all of a sudden, we lose. People couldn’t believe it.”

The previous audits of the Maricopa vote, decisions by state and federal judges, certification by Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey all supported a Biden win — and have continued to draw Trump’s scorn from his golf course perches. Nevertheless, the Arizona Senate, at the urging of state Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, ordered the new audit with $150,000 in taxpayer money.

Meanwhile, election officials in and out of Arizona, are upset that Cyber Ninjas don’t follow any recognized audit procedures — fueling speculation that they are in search of a foregone conclusion. Cyber Ninjas also sought to keep documents describing the procedures it is following in the recount under seal, unsuccessfully arguing to a judge that they are “trade secrets.”

Cyber Ninjas, for example, is examining ballots using ultraviolet lights, a process that has election officials baffled. A document described the use of the light, but did not say what Cyber Ninjas intends to detect. It indicated the weight and thickness of ballots would also be studied. One America Network reported that the lights were being used “to search for ballot watermarks and weed out phony ballots.” That prompted Maricopa County to release a fact sheet noting that the county’s ballots do not bear watermarks.

You get the idea.

But Then What?

Trump-era trade advisor Peter Navarro has been looking ahead to a similar audit in Georgia, where he predicts an audit would likely reveal election fraud in the 2020 election just as it is in Arizona. Navarro added, the scale of voter fraud in Georgia is “much larger than in Arizona” and cited preliminary estimates. The former Trump administration advisor believes election officials let fraud slide as a result of collusion between Georgia officials and Democrat Party operatives.

Presumably, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin would follow, given Republican-majority state legislatures in those states.

Based on whatever Cyber Ninjas comes up with, we’ll see new rounds of court cases and lots of election-related tumult, a huge amount of cost and challenges to a sitting president. There’s no procedure here that we have experience with that points up what to do about all of this — even if various legislatures and state officials decide that a Great Mistake had come about.

“When this all started, I thought perhaps if they really do this right, we perhaps could get beyond this and really alleviate some of the concerns,” Jack Sellers, the Republican chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, told The Post. “But the more we’ve gotten into this, the more I realize this is creating more chaos, more doubt and not solving anything.”

If anything, perhaps this is all fuel for massive fund-raising towards the expectation of a return of MAGA America and a Donald Trump re-run in 2024.

What the rest of us should keep in mind is that this entire effort does exactly nothing to solve the problems that the country faces.




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