Targeted by Trump for opposing him about election fraud.

Targeted by Trump for opposing him about election fraud.

Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger also raises $1.5 million

By Herb Jackson Posted July 13, 2021

Stephanie Akin contributed to this report.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney raised nearly $1.9 million during the second quarter of this year as she prepares to battle for her political survival as one of former President Donald Trump’s top targets in next year’s Republican primaries.

The fundraising from April through June comes on top of the $1.5 million she raised in the first quarter and left Cheney with nearly $2.9 million in cash on hand on June 30, Fox News reported.

The latest three-month haul nearly totals what Cheney spent on her past two reelections combined — total operating expenditures were $1.3 million in the 2020 cycle and $690,000 in 2018.

Cheney spent another $1.8 million in the 2020 cycle on contributions to other Republican campaigns and PACs, including $1.7 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Most of her fellow Republicans have since turned on Cheney, however, and, in May, they ousted her from her position as the No. 3 House GOP leader because she continued to urge colleagues to reject Trump’s baseless claims that President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election was the result of rampant fraud.

“If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person; you have plenty of others to choose from,” she said after her ouster.

Cheney joined nine other House Republicans in January in voting to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 riot by his supporters at the Capitol.

Earlier this month, Speaker Nancy Pelosi named Cheney to a select committee that will investigate the Jan. 6 attack. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has not yet named other GOP members to the panel. Cheney and Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger were the only two Republicans to support establishing the select committee, which was formed after GOP senators filibustered a bill to create an independent commission.

Kinzinger, who also supported impeachment and has been targeted by Trump for defeat, raised $1.3 million during the second quarter of 2021, according to Politico. In a statement last month, Trump included Kinzinger on a list of “losers” who are “what’s really wrong with the Republican Party.”

Trump has not yet endorsed any of Cheney’s Republican challengers. In a May statement, he made note of polls showing her being unpopular in Wyoming but warned of a scenario that could see her retain her seat.

“She is so low that her only chance would be if vast numbers of people run against her which, hopefully, won’t happen,” the former president wrote in an email blast. “They never liked her much but I say she’ll never run in a Wyoming Election again.”

Wyoming state Sen. Anthony Bouchard and state Rep. Chuck Gray, who have launched primary challenges to Cheney, raised $330,000 and 173,000, respectively, through March 31. Filings for the second quarter are due Thursday to the Federal Election Commission.

Bouchard and Gray are among at least a half-dozen Republicans who have filed to run against Cheney. A crowded field could end up fracturing the opposition and benefiting the congresswoman because, in Wyoming, a candidate needs only a plurality to win the primary. An attempt to require a runoff in races in which no one gets a majority failed in the state Senate earlier this year. 

Pelosi’s picks for Jan. 6 select committee include Liz Cheney

Bennie Thompson will chair the panel

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at podium, on Thursday introduced Democratic members of the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. From left: Reps. Elaine Luria of Virginia; Jamie Raskin of Maryland; Stephanie Murphy of Florida; Californians Pete Aguilar, Adam B. Schiff and Zoe Lofgren; and Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., will also be a member. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at the podium, on Thursday introduced Democratic members of the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. From left: Reps. Elaine Luria of Virginia; Jamie Raskin of Maryland; Stephanie Murphy of Florida; Californians Pete Aguilar, Adam B. Schiff, and Zoe Lofgren; and Bennie G. Thompson of Mississippi. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., will also be a member. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By Chris Marquette and Niels LesniewskiPosted July 1, 2021 at 11:23am, Updated at 2:06pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday announced her eight appointments to the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., who brokered a deal for a bipartisan, independent, 9/11-style commission that was later blocked by Senate Republicans, will be the select committee’s chairman.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was kicked out of her leadership role as the No. 3 House Republican after she refused to back away from criticizing former President Donald Trump for his lies that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, will serve on the panel as one of the speaker’s picks. Under the terms of the resolution the House passed on Wednesday to establish the panel, the Democrats get to appoint eight members of the committee, and the Republicans get five.

Only two Republicans voted for the resolution to empanel the select committee Wednesday: Cheney and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Cheney said in a statement that she was “honored” to be asked to sit on the panel.

“Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814. That day saw the most sacred space in our Republic overrun by an angry and violent mob attempting to stop the counting of electoral votes and threatening the peaceful transfer of power,” Cheney said. “What happened on January 6th can never happen again. Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner.”

Pelosi praised Cheney for agreeing to serve as an appointee of the Democratic speaker.

“The next step for us has always been to seek and to find the truth. We want to get the truth,” Pelosi said at a Thursday press briefing. “We want to do so in the most patriotic and nonpartisan way so the American people have confidence in the results.”

Democratic Reps. Adam B. Schiff of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Zoe Lofgren of California, Pete Aguilar of California, Elaine Luria of Virginia and Stephanie Murphy of Florida round out Pelosi’s eight choices for the select committee.

Schiff and Raskin, respectively, were the lead impeachment managers in the two Trump impeachment trials. Lofgren — the chairperson of the House Administration Committee, which has held several hearings investigating the shortcomings of the Capitol Police — has previously served as an impeachment manager.

“I’m honored to serve. I take it very seriously and it’s really a heavy burden that we have to make sure that our democracy is protected,” Lofgren said afterward. “I think we all feel that.”

Three members of the eight picks sit on the House Administration Committee: Lofgren, Raskin and Aguilar. Luria, a 20-year Navy veteran, and Murphy, a former Defense Department analyst, are on the 2022 midterm election target list of the House GOP’s campaign arm.

The select committee is charged with investigating and reporting on the facts and causes relating to the pro-Trump insurrection. The panel has no set end date, and the Democratic majority can subpoena witnesses without the Republicans signing off.

“I can’t give it a timeline. We’ll let the facts help determine how long we will need, but I assure you that the product will be a product based on investigations, based on what those investigations bring forward,” Thompson said at the briefing. “There’s nothing sacrosanct in this review that won’t be brought out.”

At a subsequent briefing of his own, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did not say whether he would name any members to the select committee. “When I have news on this, I’ll provide the news,” he said, amid speculation Republicans might boycott the panel.

McCarthy discouraged his conference from supporting the creation of the independent commission, which would have provided Republicans more say in the proceedings. Still, 35 members of the conference supported creating the commission and it passed the House before stalling in the Senate. He and his leadership team whipped their members to vote against establishing the select committee and ultimately only lost Cheney and Kinzinger on that vote.

The California Republican’s picks — if he makes any — are subject to Pelosi ultimately signing off on them.

McCarthy said he’s not threatening anybody on committee assignments, but noted, in reference to a question about Cheney that “I don’t know in history where someone would go get their committee assignments from the speaker and expect to have them from the conference as well.”

McCarthy said it was “shocking” and “unprecedented” for a Republican to accept committee assignments from Pelosi.

Pelosi’s appointments to the select committee met after the announcement in her office.

Luria said she expects some public hearings and that some investigative efforts could take place in a private setting.

“As soon as we are all back in Washington, I think we will be looking to have our first hearing, public hearing,” Luria said, referring to the imminent Independence Day recess.

Cheney fundraising surge continues, as Wyoming congresswoman sets second straight record

Cheney, who was ousted as House Republican Conference Chair in May, hauls in nearly $1.9M in past three months

By Paul Steinhauser | Fox News

Liz Cheney speaks out after being ousted by Republican Party

Former GOP conference chair Rep. Liz Cheney responds to being ousted of her position, and speaks out against her successor Elise Stefanik

EXCLUSIVE – Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the most high-profile of the 10 House Republicans who voted in January to impeach then-President Donald Trump, set a second straight quarterly fundraising record.

Cheney’s 2022 reelection campaign hauled in $1.88 million in the April-June second quarter of fundraising, an increase from the record-setting $1.5 million Cheney brought in during the first three months of the year. Cheney for Wyoming shared the fundraising figures first with Fox News on Tuesday morning.

CHENEY INSISTS JAN. 6 SELECTION COMMITTEE INVESTIGATING CAPITOL INSURRECTION WON’T BE PARTISAN

The nearly $3.5 million Wyoming’s three-term at large member of the House has raised so far this year surpasses the $3 million Cheney brought in during the entire 2020 cycle for her successful reelection.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters after House Republicans voted to oust her from her leadership post as chair of the House Republican Conference, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters after House Republicans voted to oust her from her leadership post as chair of the House Republican Conference, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The campaign also highlighted that the congresswoman, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has $2.85 million cash on hand as of the end of June, double the $1.43 million she had in her campaign coffers three months ago. Her money in the bank gives Cheney a significant fundraising advantage over any of the primary challengers seeking to oust her in 2022.

Cheney, a longtime vocal GOP critic of Donald Trump, was the most senior House Republican to vote to impeach the then-president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters, who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of Trump’s presidential election defeat to now-President Biden. 

Cheney immediately came under verbal attack by Trump and his allies, but in February she easily crushed an effort by Trump loyalists in the House to dump her from her leadership position as House Republican Conference Chair.

CHENEY TELLS FOX NEWS SUNDAY TRUMP SUPPORTERS WERE ‘MISLED … BETRAYED’

Trump continued to target Cheney, as well as the other nine House Republicans who voted to impeach him and the seven GOP senators who voted to convict the now-former president in his impeachment trial in February. And in May she was ousted from her number three House GOP Republican leadership position.

Cheney’s been very vocal in emphasizing the importance of defending the nation’s democratic process, and in May gave a well-covered speech in the House chamber about putting love and defense of the country above partisan politics.

She was also one of the few in the GOP to support an independent, bipartisan, commission to investigate the lead-up and the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6. The commission, backed by Democrats and opposed by most Republicans, was defeated in a Senate vote.

After the blocking of the commission, Cheney voted for and was named to serve on a House Select Committee, organized by congressional Democrats, that’s charged with investigating the insurrection.

“Liz Cheney is standing up for the Constitution, for conservative values, and for the rule of law. As these fundraising numbers make clear, she has robust support in this fight,” Cheney political adviser Kevin Seifert emphasized in a statement to Fox News.

“Liz is demonstrating the type of effective, principled leadership that Wyoming deserves from its Representative. She will continue to fight the Biden Administration’s overreach and articulate how Republicans can offer a better way forward for the nation. It’s encouraging to have so many join her effort,” Seifert added.

Cheney outraised Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who succeeded her as House Republican Conference chair. Politico reported on Tuesday morning that Stefanik raised nearly $1.5 million in the past three months.

Wyoming state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, one of the better known of the Republicans challenging Cheney from the right, said a month ago that he had raised $500,000 since launching his campaign earlier in the year. Bouchard’s congressional bid hit a bump in May when he disclosed that when he was 18-years-old he got a 14-year-old girl pregnant.

Wyoming state Rep. Chuck Gray and lawyer Darin Smith are also among the seven candidates who are primary challenging Cheney. The challengers, touting their support for Trump, have embraced the former president’s unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen.” 

So did Donald Trump lie to his supporters or was he telling us we are about to lose this America that we have known and loved because of the liberal side that voted for Biden.

The Big Lie Both Is and Is Not About Election Fraud

Jack Holmes 5/3/2021 Comments|


Donald Trump driving a car: At root, Trump and his followers believe the result of the last election was illegitimate. It was a hijacking of America. The complaints about the process are window dressing. © James Devaney – Getty Images At root, Trump and his followers believe the result of the last election was illegitimate. It was a hijacking of America. The complaints about the process are window dressing.

As the Republican Party coalesces around a new cult initiation ritual, in which anyone who desires to win the party’s nomination for any level of elected office must recite the magic words

—The Election Was Stolen From Mr. Trump—

it’s important to keep in mind that this both is and is not about fraud in the 2020 election, of which there is zero actual evidence. On the one hand, all Republicans must now claim there were, at the very least, some sort of shadowy”irregularities” around the election. Depending on what state you’re in, this might focus on mail-in ballots, say, or the overall record turnout that saw Joe Biden secure 80 million citizens’ votes. The explanations of the supposed fraud are rarely specific, though, and sometimes the believers don’t even focus on a particular issue like those above. There was just something fishy going on.

This is because, while it is about the”fraud,” it’s also not. Like Donald Trump himself, the ranks of the faithful were always going to claim the election was illegitimate if it did not produce their desired outcome. Trump telegraphed this for months and months before the election, making clear he would sow paranoia and distrust if he lost. Just like in 2016, he started saying the election was rigged before it even happened. (In this formulation, the President of the United States knew the upcoming election would be manipulated with fraud and did nothing, in all his power, to stop it from happening.) The root of this is that the conservative base sees the result itself, not the process that produced it, as illegitimate. Biden’s election was fraudulent because Biden was elected instead of their guy, whom they consider, as Real Americans, to be the totem of power as exercised by Real Americans. The people they imagine in their mind’s eye as having voted for Biden had no right to choose the president, therefore the election was illegitimate.

Another way you can tell this is via the larger apocalyptic tone with which The Leader chooses to communicate. He issued a press release imitation of a tweet Monday morning in which he shamelessly tried to co-opt the term”Big Lie” just as he once did”fake news.”

But you might also note the header

—”SAVE AMERICA”—and the political action committee—”Save America PAC”—

that paid for this. The not-even-really-subtext is that it was not just the election, but The Nation Itself that was stolen from Trump and his supporters. Because he was the expression of Real America’s will, and thus an assertion of their power over the country, his defeat represents the hijacking of America by fake citizens with illegitimate claims to determining how this place ought to be run. This is the conclusion that the faithful began with. Everything else is window dressing—shards of evidence or paranoid fantasy gathered or summoned to support that original, inevitable conclusion. If it wasn’t for the mail-in ballots, there would have been something else darkly referenced as shady and fraudulent. The Wrong People are choosing the president, you see, and America You Know and Love is set to be stolen away. That’s also why some Conservative Intellectuals are now arguing outright that not all citizens are worthy of the vote. They truly believe the country only belongs to some, and everyone else should just be happy they’re allowed to be here.

Why Not Fewer Voters?

By Kevin D. Williamson April 6, 2021 7:38 PM

Voters at a polling place in San Diego, Calif., in 2016. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

The fact is that voters got us into this mess. Maybe the answer isn’t more voters.

Much of the discussion about proposed changes to voting laws backed by many Republicans and generally opposed by Democrats begs the question and simply asserts that having more people vote is, ceteris paribus, a good thing.

Why should we believe that?

Why shouldn’t we believe the opposite? That the republic would be better served by having fewer

— but better — voters?

Many Americans, being devout egalitarians, recoil from the very notion of better voters as a matter of rhetoric, even as they accept qualifications as a matter of fact.

Categorically disenfranchising felons has always been, in my view, the intelligent default position, with re-enfranchisement on a case-by-case basis. It is likely that under such a practice some people who ought to be considered rehabilitated would be unjustly excluded. But all eligibility requirements risk excluding somebody who might make a good voter, or a better voter than someone who is eligible. There are plenty of very smart and responsible 16-year-olds who would make better voters than their dim and irresponsible older siblings or their parents. That doesn’t mean we should have 16-year-old voters — I’d be more inclined to raise the voting age to 30 — it means only that categorical decision-making by its nature does not account for certain individual differences.

Similarly, asking for government-issued photo ID at the polls seem to me obviously the right thing to do, even if it would result in some otherwise eligible voters not voting. I’m not convinced that having more voters is a good thing in any case, but, even if I were, that would not be the only good, but only one good competing with other goods, one of which is seeing to it that the eligibility rules on the books are enforced so that elections may be honestly and credibly regulated.

We could verify eligibility at the polls rigorously and easily, if we wanted to, just as we have the ability to verify who is eligible to enter the country or to drive a car. Of course that would put some burdens on voters. So, what? We expect people, including poor and struggling people, to pay their taxes — why shouldn’t we also expect them to keep their drivers’ licenses up-to-date? If voting really is the sacred duty that we’re always being told it is, shouldn’t we treat it at least as seriously as filing a 1040EZ?

There would be more voters if we made it easier to vote, and there would be more doctors if we didn’t require a license to practice medicine. The fact that we believe unqualified doctors to be a public menace but act as though unqualified voters were just stars in the splendid constellation of democracy indicates how little real esteem we actually have for the vote, in spite of our public pieties.

There are tradeoffs in voting, as there are in all things. Democrats prefer to minimize attention paid to voting fraud and eligibility enforcement,

I f you have ever had a conversation with a Democrat friend about election fraud, you know how it goes:

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE

“There isn’t any election fraud.”

Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan:

“Of course there is. A Philadelphia judge of elections just went to jail for rigging an election in exchange for a bribe of $300, which isn’t very much money, even in Philadelphia.”

Scrooge McJudgy: Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan:

“I never said there wasn’t any election fraud.”

Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan

Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan: “But it isn’t widespread.”

“Well, it fits the most common definition of ‘widespread,’ inasmuch as it has happened in a lot of elections in a lot of different jurisdictions. We’ve had convictions from Maine to Hawaii — more than 1,000 of them, in fact. And that’s just the ones that result in criminal convictions. So, I think ‘widespread’ is fair.”

Scrooge McJudgy:

“I never said it wasn’t widespread.”

Scrooge McJudgy: “. . .” Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan:

“But it hasn’t actually changed the results of any elections.”

Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan:

“I assume that those Philadelphia Democrats were bribing the judge of elections to stuff ballot boxes because they wanted to change outcomes, rather than simply inflate their margins. And we’ve seen cases where fraud has unquestionably changed outcomes. We’ve seen elections thrown out by courts because of fraud. Al Franken probably won his first Senate election on the strength of illicit votes.”

Scrooge McJudgy:

“I never said it hasn’t changed the results of any elections.”

Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan: Scrooge McJudgy: “. . .”

“It hasn’t changed the results of a presidential race.” All Our Opinion in Your Inbox

Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan:

“Probably not. Maybe in 1960, but, probably not. Still, wouldn’t you feel better if there were more reliable oversight in place?”

Scrooge McJudgy: Caitlyn Moonbeam-D’Vegan: “Sedition! Sedition! Sedition!”

Etc.

Students of rhetorical stratagems and logical fallacies know all about these kinds of conversations: question-begging, moving the goalposts, motivated reasoning — all the stuff that makes street-level democracy so dreadfully stupid.

You can dramatize the intellectual dishonesty by changing the subject from election fraud to gun control. When a horrible crime like the one perpetrated in Boulder on Tuesday — and in Atlanta only a week before — occurs, the story is always the same.

“This wouldn’t happen if we had universal background checks.”

“The guy in Boulder could have passed background checks all day and apparently did — he had no felony convictions or other disqualifying factors. The killer in Atlanta passed a background check — he bought his gun from a federally licensed dealer; i.e. in one of the most heavily regulated commercial transactions most Americans ever encounter.”

“Nobody should have these weapons of war. There’s no legitimate use for them.”

“Neither the Boulder killer nor the one in Atlanta used a ‘weapon of war’ in the sense of something exotic not commonly owned by civilians. They used common weapons that Americans commonly use for common things, from home defense to pest control. One used a 9mm handgun, one of the most common firearms around, and the other used an extremely not-unusual 5.56mm semiautomatic rifle; i.e., literally the most common rifle sold in the United States. Interestingly, in spite of their being so common, these so-called assault rifles are, statistically speaking, vanishingly rare when it comes to murders, as indeed are all rifles and shotguns generally.”

“Still, if it saves one life!”

“How about if something prevents one instance of voting fraud?”

“Sedition!”

Etc.

Our kooky friends on the radio notwithstanding, the Democrats did not steal the 2020 presidential election from Donald Trump — but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t election fraud and that it isn’t a problem. If they had half a brain, Democrats would understand that even low-level electoral fraud like those apple-stealing shenanigans in Philadelphia is mother’s milk to demagogues like Donald Trump and pure oxygen for the worse demagogues who may yet follow in his footsteps, undermining faith in the ordinary procedures of democratic self-government and inviting tit-for-tat norm-breaking that leads inevitably in a dangerous authoritarian direction. In a sensible country, electoral fraud would be taken far more seriously than, say, illicit commerce in marijuana. Kamala Harris racked up about 2,000 marijuana convictions in California, and . . .  rather fewer election-fraud cases.

By the same token, there are things we can and should be doing to reduce violence in the United States and to keep firearms out of the hands of malefactors. Unfortunately, two factors work together to prevent that from happening.

The first and arguably more important factor is that prosecutors and police do a poor job — indeed, a culpably negligent one — when it comes to going after straw-buyers and other low-level traffickers in illicit firearms, and, in most jurisdictions, of prosecuting simple firearms-possession cases. That kind of police and prosecutorial work is very labor-intensive, very unpopular, and generally thankless — careers don’t get made by putting away some habitual criminal’s idiot nephew or terrified girlfriend on a straw-buying charge. But that’s how you actually keep criminals from obtaining firearms.

The second factor: On top of the lack of law-enforcement incentives, progressives treat gun control as a pure Kulturkampf issue, which is why Democrats turn their noses up at prosecuting career criminals in Chicago while obsessing over new ways to inconvenience and restrict federally licensed, highly regulated firearms dealers and the people who do business with them, a population that is pretty much by definition generally law-abiding. That’s not to say that people who acquire guns legally never commit crimes — they do, as the past week attests — but they do so relatively rarely, and it is very difficult to imagine a constitutionally permissible set of prior restraints that would keep somebody with no criminal record or other ordinary disqualification from acquiring a firearm that he might — might — later use in a crime.

This is one of those sharks-and-bumblebees things. Progressives like to present themselves as data-driven pragmatists, but they are fixated on scary-looking black rifles that are as a matter of easily verifiable fact rarely used in homicides. They do this for the same reason that people worry about shark attacks when they are more likely to be killed by a bee or a cow or a moose. The stereotypical NRA member of the left-wing imagination (middle-aged, white, suburban or rural, conservative, bigoted, egg-bound) isn’t a public danger — he’s a cultural enemy, one who presses all sorts of aesthetic and social-status buttons.

He probably worries a lot about election fraud, too.

but even a little bit of fraud or improper voting is something that should be discouraged and, if possible, prevented. It is

— spare me your sob stories —

something that should be prosecuted in most cases. It is a fact that many of the things that would be useful in discouraging and preventing voting fraud would also tend to make voting somewhat more difficult for at least some part of the population. Republicans generally think that tradeoff is worth it, and Democrats generally don’t. Is there motivated reasoning at work there? Of course. But the mere presence of political self-interest does not tell us whether a policy is a good one or a bad one.

One argument for encouraging bigger turnout is that if more eligible voters go to the polls then the outcome will more closely reflect what the average American voter wants. That sounds like a wonderful thing . . . if you haven’t met the average American voter.

Voters — individually and in majorities — are as apt to be wrong about things as right about them, often vote from low motives such as bigotry and spite, and very often are contentedly ignorant. That is one of the reasons why the original constitutional architecture of this country gave voters a narrowly limited say in most things and took some things

— freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. —

off the voters’ table entirely. It is easy to think of critical moments in American history when giving the majority its way would have produced horrifying results. If we’d had a fair and open national plebiscite about slavery on December 6, 1865, slavery would have won in a landslide. If we held a plebiscite on abolishing the death penalty today, the death penalty would be sustained.

If the question is the quality of policy outcomes, then both major camps have reasons to dread genuine majority rule. Conservatives ought to at the very least be mindful of the fact that if policy truly represented the preferences of the average American, then we would have fewer economic liberties and diminished Second Amendment rights; progressives should consider that if policy actually represented the preferences of the average American, then abortion rights would be limited and tax hikes would not fly, while we’d be spending more money on the Border Patrol and less on welfare as work requirements reduced the rolls. Popular opinion does not break down along neat ideological lines.

The real case — generally unstated — for encouraging more people to vote is a metaphysical one: that wider turnout in elections makes the government somehow more legitimate in a vague moral sense. But legitimacy is not popularity and popularity is not consent. The entire notion of representative government assumes that the actual business of governing requires fewer decision-makers rather than more.

Representatives are people who act in other people’s interests, which is distinct from carrying out a group’s stated demands as certified by majority vote. Legitimacy involves, among other interests, the government’s responsibility to people who are not voters, such as children, mentally incapacitated people, incarcerated felons, and non-citizen permanent residents. Their interests matter, too, but we do not extend the vote to them. So we require a more sophisticated conception of legitimacy than one-man, one-vote, majority rule. To vote is only to register one’s individual, personal preference, but democratic citizenship imposes broader duties and obligations. When we fail to meet that broader responsibility, the result is dysfunction: It is no accident that we are heaping debt upon our children, who cannot vote, in order to pay for benefits dear to the most active and reliable voters. That’s what you get from having lots of voting but relatively little responsible citizenship.

Voting is, among other things, an analgesic. It soothes people with the illusion that they have more control over their lives and their public affairs than they actually do. Beyond naked political self-interest, it probably is the sedative effect of voting that makes expanding participation attractive to a certain kind of politician. The sedative effect is why the Philadelphia city council has not been drowned in the Schuylkill River and why the powers that be in California have not been exiled to North Waziristan. When people vote, they feel like they’ve had their say, and they are, for some inexplicable reason, satisfied with that.

We don’t accept that in other areas of life: If Amazon fails to deliver your package, you expect Amazon to actually do something about it

— either get you what you ordered or give you a refund. You wouldn’t be satisfied simply yelling at a customer-service representative and thus having had your say —

you expect your deliverables to be delivered. It is good to have your say, but that is not sufficient. That holds true almost everywhere, but not in politics.

Thus the unspoken slogan of every incumbent’s campaign:

“You’ve had your say, now shut the hell up.”

Progressives and populists like to blame lobbyists, special interests, “the Swamp,” insiders, “the Establishment,” vested interests, shadowy corporate titans, and sundry boogeymen for our current straits, but the fact is that voters got us into this mess. Maybe the answer isn’t more voters.

Kevin D. Williamson is a fellow at National Review Institute.

How can you spot a stolen election? Maybe just as important, how can you spot an election that isn’t stolen? You can never be entirely certain when the margins are fairly close, which is why stolen-election theories hold a natural attraction for conspiracy-minded partisans. But in terms of evidence, there are three signs to look for that might show that an election’s outcome was the result of fraud by voters or election officials: (1) direct evidence of illegally counted or discounted votes, (2) evidence of an unlawful process, and (3) anomalous results that make sense only if the election was …

Dan McLaughlin is a senior writer at National Review Online. @baseballcrank

Leave a Reply

HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com