Dick Sciaroni: Enough with bogus election fraud claims
Manny Montes’ recent column on the 2020 presidential election requires a response, particularly in light of his later online claims that he is acting as a patriot, thereby implying that those who would disagree with him are not.
Whenever I read or hear someone claim the mantle of patriotism, I am reminded of James Boswell’s record of a 1775 conversation he had with Samuel Johnson:
“Patriotism having become one of our topics, Johnson suddenly uttered, in a strong determined tone, an apothegm, at which many will start: ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’ But let it be considered, that he did not mean a real and generous love of our country, but that pretended patriotism which so many, in all ages and countries, have made a cloak for self-interest.”
It is easy to claim the mantle of patriotism, but simply making that claim does not make it so. As a California appellate court once noted, “Simply calling a goose a duck cannot make it quack.”
But enough of patriotism, which too often is the bulwark of charlatans who would clothe themselves in the flag of patriotism to perpetrate the impermissible. The rioters who assaulted the Capitol on Jan. 6 after hearing Trump exhort them to “march on the Capitol” and be “strong,” claimed the mantle of patriotism and carried the American flag (along with Trump and Confederate flags). Does that make them patriots? Hardly.
Let’s look at Mr. Montes’ claims and complaints. The thrust of the column is that, given four years of Democratic hatred of Mr. Trump, it is simply not possible to “believe this hatred would not engender initiatives to try to steal the election.” In other words, Mr. Montes claims that Democrats so hated Trump that they managed to pull off a nationwide conspiracy involving millions of ballots, hundreds of election officials and scores of courts.
His argument is flawed for any number of reasons. It is based on supposition and assumption and supported only by unproven allegations of wrongdoing by both Democrat and Republican officials that have been rejected by over scores of federal and state courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Mr. Montes begins with the notion that as yet unidentified “Progressive operatives” so feared Trump’s reelection that they decided to do whatever was necessary to defeat Trump. That’s not evidence, that’s hyperbole.
Next, he turns to Biden overtaking Trump as more votes were processed on election night — particularly mail-in ballots that were not counted until after election-day ballots were counted. As he puts it, “vote totals added to Biden’s column shot up like a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral. Believable? Come on, really? Want to buy the Brooklyn Bridge?”
Elections are decided by votes, not hyperbole.
Finally, Mr. Montes offers a laundry list of supposed improprieties by Democrat and Republican election officials that he claims demonstrates election fraud. He ignores the controverted fact that in state after state, in state and federal courts, judges of every color and creed, Democrat and Republican, including U.S. Supreme Court justices, considered those claims. They acted as they do for any claim and found them wanting.
What Mr. Montes does not know, or refuses to recognize, is that courts often test claims at the outset of proceedings to determine whether the allegations give rise to a justiciable controversy. In such proceedings, the court assumes the truth of a plaintiff’s allegations in order to decide whether the plaintiff should be permitted to proceed further. Again, in case after case, state and federal courts found no basis to allow claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election to proceed.
Many Trump supporters, and perhaps Mr. Montes, would have us believe that all those courts were complicit in denying Mr. Trump a second term. Really? Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett, all appointed by Trump, were complicit in election fraud? Really? Even the challenges mounted by Sens. Cruz and Hawley to certification of Electoral College votes, based on the same allegations? They were roundly rejected. Only a mere handful of senators supported any of those claims. Most were rejected out of hand. Even former Attorney General Barr rejected them.
So, we are left with unsubstantiated claims of election fraud that have been roundly rejected by the nation’s judiciary, numerous state governments and both Houses of Congress. They were conceived in the head of our now ex-president. Hopefully, and for the good of the country, they will begin to fade now that he’s left office.
Dick Sciaroni lives in Grass Valley.
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Is that how I wanted to spend my birthday? Yes and no. The original plan was to take a weekend trip to the coast for a few days of relaxation.