The 2020 US election may have damaged the global reputation of democracy more than anyone could have imagined. The yoyo swings from Trump to Biden, Biden to Trump on a daily basis caused by the issue of "universal postal ballots" has turned the US election into something more akin to Paul Keating's jibes in his infamous "Banana Republic" speech of the 1990s.
Covid-19 may have been primarily a health pandemic but it has also been an economic recession virus, greater than the Great Depression or the World Wars. Now it may have become a political death threat that even the Chinese could not have hoped for as part of its "100-year plan". In these days of dual verification of I.D. security that we all must endure (delivered by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Bangood, Banking Corporations…. etc), why do we not accept "secure" online digital voting? It still shocks me that on voting days here in Australia, no signature or I.D. verification is required in such an important civic function as voting in a democracy. We are relatively unusual in our requirement for compulsory voting, yet voter verification is still primitive.
I wrote this original piece prior to the 3rd November election and my preceding article (Essery, OLO Nov 2020) was published the day before polling doors opened on the west coast seaboard. Voting discrepancies were then seen by me as a minor element in the reasons why the polls were so badly wrong. The oscillations of Pennsylvania in 12-hour cycles seems to epitomize the impending dilemma for western democracy, and not just the US. Given its history of electoral fraud (see Case list) through postal vote manipulation of previous elections, Pennsylvania (and possibly others) will be under extreme scrutiny now. In this 2020 election, the Pennsylvania State Governor's changes to postal voting procedures (2020 postal ballots changes) could not have been a more pertinent sign of mal-practice, that even Shakespeare would find difficult to conceive, even in his wondrous comedy, "Much ado about nothing".
The original version of this article was intended to highlight the similarities between pollsters and climate change modellers through examination of:
- the fundamental assumptions of their models;
- the application of equations/algorithms within the projections;
- the selective use of data;
- the "filtering/homogenisation" of raw data into " clean" data sets for both model calibration and verification;
- the marketing' pitches and fancy infographics being used to convey the resulting forecasts;
- their disproportionate influence on global policy implementation.
Given the consequences of this universal postal ballot issue, my previous rationale for this article now seems secondary and something that I will expand on at a later date, when this global voting, democracy threatening debacle ultimately is resolved in the US Supreme Court.
Indeed, given the supposed claims that The Supreme Court now has a 6:3 split with six so-called conservative judges and three liberal judges, even their deliberations will most likely be as damaging as the "universal posting ballot" element and voting counting decisions by US State Governors. Todays' announcements of the rationale behind the Trump legal challenge (Sky News 9th Nov 2020) testify to this, as if founded and sent to the Supreme (Federal) Court, this will be one of the most significant (and reputationally damaging) cases that they have ever deliberated on!
The five "too close to call states" are Nevada, Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia, as at Saturday 07.11.2020, 8pm. One sign of sanity is the "stepping back and up" by the Governor of Georgia (USA today, 6th Nov 2020) and his electoral spokesperson, who have refused to call the result due to concerns over postal vote counting, scrutineering and validity of postal votes. Perhaps the Founding Fathers insistence in State verification of elections, was far more inciteful than we gave them credit for!
During this contentious time, the intervention of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to try to declare a Biden win is shocking (10:50 am EST-US on 6th November 2020) stump speech, mask covering her face of course, like a modern-day Dick Turpin. When former PM John Howard reintroduced the term "hubris" into the political lexicon (ABC, 2006), who would have guessed that House Speaker Pelosi would excel in this domain.
Maybe the Supreme Court will indeed live up to its reputation for imparting wisdom. Maybe the other State Governors (particularly Pennsylvania) and County Mayors will see the dangers of any knee-jerk overreaction with respect to universal posting investigations and scrutiny, and delay any rash early declarations of results. One certainly hopes so. If the US 2020 election results are undermined (remember both Trump and Biden have claimed that the 2020 elections will be a game changer for generations to come), the implications around the world will be enormous and potentially disastrous for democracy.
One thing is clear, to me at least. It's time we stood up to the false claims of civil libertarians and political operatives who resist the modernised digital world where dual verification of identity is mandatory, just as it is with our Australian Federal Government's "MyGov" security system (not the smoothest consumer experience, but at least it is secure). In Australia, we are lucky to have the Australian Electoral Commission independently overseeing elections. Imagine if local Government Mayors in Australia were to control our elections…
1992 was Queen Elizabeth's "annus horribilis". For global democracy, 2020 will be a global "annus horribilis", and all due to the opportunism by some to exploit this Covid-19 health pandemic to win a US 2020 election race. Oh dear, what a wicked web this election has woven and how many flies will fall victim to its sticky entrapments.
I do pray that all those politicians speaking the words "stay calm, be patient", really mean it!