Op-Ed: Georgia Officials May Be Preparing to Indict Trump, But There's One Glaring Issue


Authorities in Georgia may be preparing to indict former President Donald Trump for election tampering.

The New York Times reported last year that “prosecutors in Georgia have started a criminal investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s attempts to overturn Georgia’s election results, including a phone call he made to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which Mr. Trump pressured him to ‘find’ enough votes to help him reverse his loss.”

The claim is that his actions amounted to criminal “solicitation of election fraud, the making of false statements to state and local governmental bodies, conspiracy, racketeering, violation of oath of office and any involvement in violence or threats related to the election’s administration.”

Hey. Newsflash! Electoral hanky-panky has been going on since George “I cannot tell a lie” Washington.

Is this noble? Of course not. Yet no less than Lyndon Baines Johnson was widely thought guilty of the identical tactic (in his initial Senate primary) of which Trump is being accused. And LBJ thereby finagled his way into the U.S. Senate.

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William F. Buckley wrote in 1977 of when a young professor introduced him by saying:

“’Mr. Buckley’s grandfather … was a Texan …  a law-and-order sheriff and an adamant Democrat. Indeed, although he died in 1904, such was his attachment to the Democrats that he voted for Lyndon Johnson in 1948.’ …

[Years passed and a scholar who had been sent by Washington  to observe the South Vietnamese elections reported back with] a little residue of Yankee wryness by saying he had found the election in South Vietnam ‘every bit as scrupulous as elections in Massachusetts.’”

Should Trump be indicted for election tampering?

Buckley furnished an observation from the blessed G.K. Chesterton: “All democrats object to men being disqualified [from voting] by the accident of death.”

Buckley, vindicated! The vaunted New York Times reported in 1990 that “a study of Lyndon B. Johnson provides new evidence that the 36th President stole his first election to the United States Senate, in 1948.”

“It has been alleged for years that Johnson captured his Senate seat through fraud, but [author Robert A.] Caro goes into great detail to tell how the future President overcame a 20,000-vote deficit to achieve his famous 87-vote victory in the 1948 Democratic runoff primary against a former Governor, Coke Stevenson. A South Texas political boss, George Parr, had manufactured thousands of votes, Mr. Caro found.”

This revelation did not much tarnish LBJ’s prestige in the eyes of his fellow progressives. And ballot tampering by Democrats is not exactly new news.

I don’t condone Trump’s apparent blandishments and veiled threats. But the feigned indignation of Democrats is preposterous.

Buckley archly concluded, “I am very proud of my grandfather’s sense of civic obligation.” Amen.

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The Wee Left-Wing Conspiracy is devoting itself to propagating the narrative that the Republican claim of election theft is a Big Lie. Phooey! It’s only a little fib.

Meanwhile, much of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy is consumed with pearl-clutching over election theft. Pshaw! Pearl-clutching over “election integrity” is beneath conservative dignity.

I grew up in Albany, New York. Its politics were dominated by the Dan O’Connell Democratic organization, older than and second in political dominance only to that of then-Mayor Richard Daley’s Chicago (itself notorious for “voting the cemeteries”).

A century ago, O’Connell confronted and beat the then-dominant Albany Republican machine. How? By out-politicking the GOP on what we mere voters care about most. Jobs.

Way back in the previous millennium, I was a registered Democrat, raised as such by my staunch FDR Democrat parents. (Rest in peace, Max and Roz.) My family was friendly with a few Albany Democratic operatives. They showed me the ropes.

One Albany operative told me how O’Connell (who died in a modest suburban home, rosary in hand, with neither great fortune nor great crime behind him, his graft ever honest) gained and maintained his political dominance.

O’Connell would get the Albany Democratic Party to go all out to get out the vote for whoever the Democratic gubernatorial nominee was. When a Democrat won — during my time there, about half the time in terms of tenure — he would summon Uncle Dan to his office and ask what he wanted.

O’Connell always would reply, “I want the power to hire all the menial jobs in the capitol: the elevator operators, the janitors, the charwomen, the lawn crews…”

The new governor-elect would express surprise and ask why he didn’t ask for more plum appointments. O’Connell would reply, “If I make someone a judge, all I get is one ungrateful former lawyer, useless to me. If I have hiring authority for 400 steady jobs, that’s 400 votes, each with 10 family members, neighbors and friends, giving me a 4,000-vote edge in every election.”

I myself would not be shocked to learn that my late father and mother, good party regulars, interred hard by Albany, are still casting Democratic ballots.

Would that the good and great President Chester A. Arthur, a stalwart member of New York’s Republican Conkling political machine, interred in Albany Rural Cemetery, still voted Republican.

Bill Buckley, asked what he would do first if he won the 1965 New York City mayoral election, famously declared, “Demand a recount!”

Voter fraud? Ballot integrity?

Welcome to realpolitik.

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