If Donald Trump is elected in 2024 and he manages to get his way legislatively, the United States could be taking a page from the French when it comes to its elections.
On Tuesday night, Trump announced what we all knew but assumed would be coming after the December Georgia Senate runoff, not before: He’s running for president, aiming to become only the second man to serve non-consecutive terms in the White House. (Democrat Grover Cleveland did it in the late 19th century.)
“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump told a crowd at his estate in the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, according to CNN.
Of course, a mere announcement on its own wouldn’t suffice.
“I’m Trump, you know who I am, vote for me in another two years,” isn’t a compelling argument — and Trump, being the showman that he is, knows it.
Thus, a few policy rabbits were pulled out of the first declared Republican candidate’s hat on Tuesday night. Among them was an initiative to remake American elections as we know them. Not only that, it would do so in the exact opposite way that the Democrats planned to do it with their failed federal voting overhaul.
“We will do whatever it takes to bring back honesty, confidence and trust in our elections,” Trump said in his remarks.
“To eliminate cheating, I will immediately demand voter ID, same-day voting, and only paper ballots.”
NEW: Donald Trump says he will demand voter ID, same day voting, and only paper ballots to ensure the integrity of elections pic.twitter.com/tulebWXUxg
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) November 16, 2022
The president’s plan stands in stark contrast to Democratic lawmakers’ attempt to enact a federal election law package that would have eliminated voter ID laws, made mail-in voting universal, banned restrictions on ballot harvesting and allowed voter registration up to Election Day.
That legislation was torpedoed after two Democrats in the evenly divided Senate, Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, said they wouldn’t eliminate the filibuster to enact the legislation, despite President Joe Biden urging the party to do away with the 60-vote supermajority necessary for most legislation to proceed under the Senate rules.
In addition to the change to voting laws, Trump said he would “push for a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on members of Congress. It’s time.”
TRUMP: “We will dismantle the deep state and restore government by the people. To further drain the swamp, I will push for a Constitutional Amendment to oppose term limits on members of Congress.”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) November 16, 2022
He added that he would push for “a permanent ban on taxpayer funding of campaigns [and] a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress and cabinet members.”
Of course, there’s a pack of fact-checkers somewhere lamenting the fact Trump was casting doubt on America’s electoral security, claiming that every election that the Democrats have won over the past few decades has been fast, fair and transparent, and that anyone who says otherwise is engaged in disinformation.
Aside from the obvious irregularities this time around in places like Arizona, Nevada and California — in the “Golden State”, numerous House seats haven’t been called over a week after the election — perhaps the establishment media should consider that Trump is merely taking a page from France (American liberals usually swoon over the governments of Western Europe).
Here’s how The Associated Press described the French presidential election earlier this year: “Paper ballots tucked in paper envelopes. No absentee voting, and no early voting either. French voters in Sunday’s presidential election are using an old-school system that has defied calls for more flexibility or modernization.”
“Voters make their choices in a booth, with the curtains closed, then place their ballot in an envelope that is then put into a transparent ballot box. They must show photo identification and sign a document, next to their name, to complete the process,” the AP’s report continued.
“Machine-voting has been allowed on an experimental basis, but the purchase of new machines has been frozen since 2008 due to security concerns. Only about 60 towns still use them, out of 35,000 municipalities in France.”
As for mail-in voting? That “was banned in 1975 amid fears of potential fraud.” The only exception to the voting rules is a laborious vote-by-proxy system in which someone who can’t go to the polls can authorize another individual to vote for them.
Once the votes are in, the votes are counted by volunteers — by hand, one by one. While the results are reported by a state-run software system, the paper ballots are the only official tally. If there’s a challenge, that’s what they go back to count.
Amazing how a nation of 67.5 million people can manage to run a presidential election smoothly with an analogue process like that, but Maricopa County, Arizona (population about 4.5 million), can’t handle a simple midterm without a tabulator mess.
Well, if Trump takes the White House in 2024 and the Republicans have enough votes in Congress, expect that to change posthaste. It would be a “great and glorious” blow struck for election integrity, indeed.
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