“If all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose. That’s why he’s working overtime to subtract as many votes as possible from this process.”
It’ll surprise nobody who’s soaked in the knee-high venom of social media that this was someone’s tweet regarding the vote-counting process in Pennsylvania. The state, which President Donald Trump needs to win in order to remain in the White House for four more years, has also been ground zero for ballot-related strangeness and unaccountable delays. It’s also ground zero for Democrats accusing Republicans of baseless conspiracy theorizing.
One complication to that tweet arises when you realize it came from the attorney general of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro, who will litigate any lawsuits that might arise from vote-counting in a state that might decide the election. Another complication is that Shapiro tweeted this before a single vote was counted.
If all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose. That’s why he’s working overtime to subtract as many votes as possible from this process.
For the record, he’s 0-6 against us in court. We’ve protected voting rights. Now, ignore the noise—vote!https://t.co/mN8t6TDud7
— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) October 31, 2020
Shapiro tweeted this on Saturday, the day Trump held a series of rallies across the state in which he called it “the state that will save the American dream.” What got amplified in the Philadelphia Inquirer article that Shapiro linked, however, was Trump’s statements regarding the politicization of how votes are counted.
“He again encouraged his supporters to go to Philadelphia and scrutinize polling places there. Only official campaign poll watchers certified by the city can do that,” the Inquirer reported.
“He complained that the U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t overturned a state Supreme Court ruling extending the deadline for mail ballots. The case remains pending before the high court, and Democrats fear it may toss out ballots that arrive after Election Day with no recourse for voters. He suggested that Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, would tamper with mail ballots. County elections officials process ballots, not the Wolf administration.”
Josh Shapiro apparently thought this was the time to buttress faith in the process by tweeting before the count began, that Trump would lose. He also decided it was the moment to emphasize that he just keeps on winning against Trump because apparently, he didn’t want to look objective enough.
But, he’s not the state-level official who oversees those county elections employees that process the ballots. That’s Kathy Boockvar, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State.
On Thursday, Boockvar “spoke passionately,” according to CNN, about making sure that “every voter, every candidate and every party has access to a fair, free, safe and secure election.”
Boockvar’s passion, however, seemed designed to counteract something she tweeted before she became secretary of state:
Using the title ‘President’ before the word ‘Trump’ really demeans the office of the presidency…
— Kathy Boockvar (@KathyBoockvar) March 7, 2017
“These were four years ago and at the time I was not in the administration,” Boockvar said during the Thursday night press conference.
“I was not in any public service. I was a private citizen. It was a personal Twitter account.”
“And when I became secretary of state, I took an oath to defend and protect the constitution of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Constitution of the United States and partisan politics have no place in the Pennsylvania Department of State or any county election office,” she continued.
Boockvar’s LinkedIn page, however, evinces someone with a long career in both the law and state politics even before she was appointed acting secretary of state in 2019. Yes, she’s obviously a Democrat and no one is asking her to abdicate her sense of humor or her feelings on the president, especially when she was once a House candidate. However, she was also the auditor general of Pennsylvania and the “Senior Advisor to the Governor on Election Modernization.”
These are more serious roles in which it helps to be nonpartisan — and in which it helps not to have said “[u]sing the title ‘President’ before the word ‘Trump’ really demeans the office of the presidency.”
Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell had this take on it:
Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State will do anything to defeat Trump.
Anything. Think about having this woman in charge of vote counting…. https://t.co/rjkR7zOAnr
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) November 5, 2020
Meanwhile, Shapiro’s Twitter has a litany of clips of him appearing on the news talking about the integrity of the process and how every vote matters, along with some bromides about how we should be calm and just accept things in Pennsylvania are going to happen how they happen:
How’s everybody doing this morning?
Stay calm. Take a deep breath. Your Twitter and Facebook feeds don’t actually know what’s going to happen.
Give the public servants in your community time to accurately count the votes.
— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) November 4, 2020
Every vote matters. Let them count. pic.twitter.com/YF8dNibrAb
— Josh Shapiro (@JoshShapiroPA) November 4, 2020
Pennsylvania attorney general says voters can be confident in the counting process, but urges patience https://t.co/V1Pf4gJV24
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 4, 2020
Except Shapiro said, four days before the election, that “[i]f all the votes are added up in PA, Trump is going to lose.” At least with Boockvar, you can say she made the remarks before she became secretary of state. In Shapiro’s case, he made them just before the most contested election in all of our lifetimes in a state everyone agreed would be the linchpin of the electoral vote in a contested race. He made them as the man who’ll defend Pennsylvania in court against any challenges made by either campaign, depending on who wins or loses.
Stay calm. Take a deep breath. These are the adults in the room, and they’ll make sure every legal vote is counted fairly. Trust them.
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