Two very different versions exist of the 2020 U.S. election. As a neighbouring Canadian I have taken an interest and tried to understand what actually happened. The whole saga is enthralling. It makes one wonder if a different story would have emerged if Elon Musk had bought Twitter two years ago.
I am deeply impressed by the reveal of a February 4, 2020 New York Times article, The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election, disclosing in detail the strategy behind the U.S. election win. It is a breathtaking account of election engineering which is nothing short of profound.
Compare this with the Front Page Mag opinion article entitled, Yes It Was a Stolen Election, published on December 23, 2020 which tells what it was like to be on the receiving end of the election protection machine. This article is complete with 93 links to sources. Fascinating reading, both articles.
The New York Times documentary makes the claim that this magnificent effort was all about “protecting the election process.” This front doesn’t hold to the end of the article. It soon becomes apparent that the intent was to ensure an election win. Interestingly, many fell for the narrative, including some Trump supporters and religious leaders who got on board with “election protection.” Duping people into cooperation by telling them this is about preventing election fraud is clever indeed.
Here is an excerpt explaining what was accomplished in the name of protecting the election process. Note I have inserted a numerical outline and bold highlights.
Their work touched every aspect of the election. I. They got states to change voting systems and laws and II. helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. III. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, IV. recruited armies of poll workers and V. got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. VI. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and VII. used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. VIII. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, IX. preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. X. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result. “The untold story of the election is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation,” says Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program.
The article is long and gives a very detailed account of how the election was won. It also reveals how 400 protest groups, ready to hit the streets, were told to stand down. They were only necessary to protest election fraud if for some reason Trump managed a win.
The article begins this way.
A weird thing happened right after the Nov. 3 election: nothing.
The nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle. In a poll before Election Day, 75% of Americans voiced concern about violence.
Mike Podhorzer is credited with being behind the election success. Although his primary objective is presented as election protection, he did serve as senior adviser to the president of the largest union federation in the U.S. where he was reputed to have used the latest methods, in particular data analysis, “to help favoured candidates win elections.”
Podhorzer organized a “well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.” Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, ‘a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group’, reported that, “Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated.”
Among the private philanthropy groups that stepped in to help was The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative that contributed $300 million and agreed to curb election misinformation online. To help prevent ‘election meltdown’ Podhorzer reached out to “members of the labor movement; the institutional left, like Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace; resistance groups like Indivisible and MoveOn; progressive data geeks and strategists, representatives of donors and foundations, state-level grassroots organizers, racial-justice activists and others.”
It looks like there were some tense moments in the effort to gain cooperation, as indicated by the report, “In November 2019, Mark Zuckerberg invited nine civil rights leaders to dinner at his home, where they warned him about the danger of the election-related falsehoods that were already spreading unchecked. “It took pushing, urging, conversations, brainstorming, all of that to get to a place where we ended up with more rigorous rules and enforcement,” says Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who attended the dinner and also met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others.”
All of this was designed to ensure that any claim made by Trump regarding election impropriety would be ignored and regarded as false allegations. In a March 3 confidential memo by Podhorzer on the topic of threats to the 2020 Election, he stated “Trump has made it clear that this will not be a fair election, and that he will reject anything but his own re-election as ‘fake’ and rigged.”
This was a set-up. It took advantage of two things, weakness in the electoral system, and Trump’s mistrust of those running it, and combined them to a spectacular end. Trump would be the villain no matter the outcome. Either he would be a poor loser who claimed the election was stolen or he would be the one who stole the election. In the case that the efforts to secure a Biden win failed, people were ready to hit the streets and create chaos. Buildings were boarded up in advance.
“We knew exactly what Trump was going to do: he was going to try to use the fact that Democrats voted by mail and Republicans voted in person to make it look like he was ahead, claim victory, say the mail-in votes were fraudulent and try to get them thrown out,” says Protect Democracy’s Bassin. Setting public expectations ahead of time helped undercut those lies.
According to the article, Podhorzer’s game plan was five-fold: winning the vote was only the first step to winning the election. After that came winning the count, winning the certification, winning the Electoral College and winning the transition.
Rarely have I been as fascinated by an article or a strategy as I was by this disclosure of how the election was won. Read the Front Page Mag article I alluded to earlier, for comparison. Here is a sample of data reported in the article.
What happened in Georgia
In Georgia, illegal ballots were cast by, or in the name of: more than 2,500 felons; 66,247 underage voters; 2,423 unregistered voters; 4,926 individuals who had failed to register prior to the state’s voter-registration deadline; 395 individuals who voted in two states; 20,311 voters who had moved out of state and thus were no longer eligible to vote in Georgia; 40,279 people who had moved across county lines in Georgia without re-registering in their new county of residence; 30,000 to 40,000 people whose absentee ballots lacked a valid, verifiable signature; and at least 1,043 individuals whose voter registrations claimed postal facilities as their home address and disguised their box numbers as “apartment” numbers. Almost all of the people in this latter category were absentee voters who cast their ballots early….
A vote update in Georgia at 1:34 AM on November 4 added 136,155 votes for Biden and 29,115 votes for Trump.
Read both articles with an open mind and draw your own conclusions.