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Don’t buy into the notion that the problems encountered during Florida’s recount were systemic or mechanical. That’s the conclusion I reached after I read this investigative article.

I’m being charitable if I say that Broward County’s management is ineffective. I’d call them the ‘county that can’t shoot straight’ but that wouldn’t be accurate. Remember that when the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting happened in Broward County, the deputies refused to enter the building, much less confront the shooter.

Think about this: 2 of the biggest stories this year happened in Broward County, FL. The Parkland shooting and the FL recount highlighted Broward County’s mismanagement. With the Parkland shooting, Sheriff Israel’s ineptitude was highlighted. With the recount, Dr. Brenda Snipes’ ineptitude was highlighted.

That said, Palm Beach County’s recount wasn’t a picture of perfection, either:

“It became evident through the vigorous pace of counting that the machines used for the recount were starting to get stressed,” Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher told reporters last week.

In a further twist, the company behind the Palm Beach machines says official claims that they overheated are false. “The idea that this equipment is at fault is a mischaracterization,” Kay Stimson, vice president of government affairs for Dominion Voting Systems, told RealClearInvestigations. “There were no reports of overheating machines during the recount. We had engineers on the ground there, available 24/7, and they heard nothing from anyone at Palm Beach County.”

This is fantastic news:

Good riddance. As a good friend often says, “Don’t let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.’ By the time the recount finished, pretty much the only people still supporting Dr. Snipes were relatives. Gov. DeSantis will pick Dr. Snipes’ replacement.

Lost in all the shouting about Brenda Snipes’ ineptitude and corruption was the fact that Florida completed its gubernatorial recount on time. Lost in the shuffle is the fact that Ron DeSantis is the all-but-official Governor-Elect of Florida. He isn’t officially the Governor-Elect until Florida’s Secretary of State signs the document saying he’s Florida’s next governor.

It’s worth noting, though, before going forward that Broward County missed the recount deadline by 2 minutes even though they completed the machine recount a little after midnight Thursday night. (The deadline was 3:00 pm ET.)

While we’re at this point in history, it’s time to inspect all the flaws in Florida’s election system. The most important thing that must be done is to rewrite the recount laws. For example, in the governor’s race, 8,000,000+ votes were cast. DeSantis’ margin of victory was .41% or 33,000+ votes.

Let’s admit that there isn’t a snowball’s prayer in hell of overturning an election with a margin that big. Further, let’s admit that machine recounts are the most accurate recounts known to man. Finally, let’s admit that, while .41% sounds close, it isn’t when you’re talking about 8,000,000 votes.

I’d even argue that .25% on a statewide race is beyond overturning. In the Florida Senate race, Bill Nelson trails by 12,603 votes or .18%. There isn’t a snowball’s prayer in hell that Nelson will close that gap in any meaningful way.

The lesson is that Florida should rewrite their statewide recount laws to say automatic recounts aren’t triggered unless the margin is less than 1,500 votes. Even then, it’s doubtful that they’d overturn that election.

While we can’t outlaw the term ‘count every vote’, it’s totally acceptable to highlight the fact that nobody opposes the counting of legally cast ballots. Highlight the fact that Democrats can’t provide proof that any vote anywhere hasn’t been counted. Question Democrats on the details. Ask them if any of the ballots in any county in Florida, whether they were absentee ballots, early ballots or ballots cast on ‘Election Day’ weren’t counted.

Finally, Florida and other states should put in place strict rules for interpreting a voter’s intent on undercounts or overcounts. Trying to diving the voter’s intent is as trustworthy as picking winning lottery numbers.

Congratulations to Gov-Elect DeSantis for keeping Florida in Republican control.

Ed Morrissey’s post on the Florida recounts should become required reading. As Ed highlights in his posts, changing the outcome of statewide races is virtually impossible.

In his post, Ed highlights the fact that “According to an analysis by the nonpartisan group FairVote, which advocates for electoral reforms that make it easier to vote, out of 4,687 statewide elections between 2000 and 2016, just 26 went to a recount. Of those 26, just three recounts wound up changing the initial result of the race: The 2004 Washington governor’s race, the 2006 Vermont state auditor’s race and the 2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate race.”

While I don’t have statistics on recounts of legislative races, the odds aren’t high. I have experience with legislative recounts. It isn’t extensive but it’s something. In 2008, I was part of a team working on the recount of a state senate race. In that race, with over 35,000 votes cast, the margin of victory was reduced by 1 vote. In 2010, my state legislator won by 13 votes. That margin didn’t change.

The only way to change the victor is to illegitimately expand the universe of ballots to be counted. Once the Broward County judge ordered the reports published, the Senate recount essentially ended. Based on the reporting, it looked like Marc Elias, Sen. Bill Nelson’s recount attorney, tried doing exactly that. That’s why Rick Scott’s decision to file a pair of lawsuits last week was so important.

Gov. Scott didn’t hesitate like Norm Coleman did in 2008. The importance of those lawsuits, which required Broward County elections supervisor Brenda Snipes to hand over the vote totals reports to authorities, determined how many ballots had been cast. That eliminated the possibility of ‘finding’ additional ballots. Once those reports became public, Bill Nelson and, especially, Andrew Gillum, were sunk.

This video explains why Floridians will be significantly better off after Gov. Scott officially becomes Sen. Scott:

Sen. Nelson hasn’t done much legislatively to help Floridians in his time in the Senate. Good riddance. BTW, now that he’s lost the governor’s race, Andrew Gillum will have more time to meet with defense attorneys in his potential corruption trial.

John Feehery’s op-ed talks about 2018 in a way I hadn’t seen prior to tonight. Feehery opens his op-ed by saying “Money, message and ultimately the map, in equal measures. That’s what wins political campaigns.” I couldn’t agree more.

Back in 2011, I wrote lots of articles about redistricting. The effects of redistricting didn’t highlight themselves in 2012 because that was a presidential election. In 2014, they showed up when Republicans flipped the House. This year, redistricting is likely to kill the national Democrats’ wave. The GOP landslide of 2010 wasn’t just about winning 63 net seats in the US House. It went well beyond that. When I wrote this post, I wrote about watching the Journal Editorial Report. During the show, they said “Republicans gained 680 state legislative seats in last Tuesday’s elections.
According to their map, Republicans control both houses of their state legislatures in 25 states. Here’s the list of states where Republicans control both houses of the legislature: Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Maine, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina and New Hampshire.”

That meant Republicans had full control of the redistricting process. That, in turn, meant that they could strengthen the marginal districts that they just won. Fast forward to Feehery’s op-ed, in which he said this:

Finally, there is the map. Republicans have a distinct national advantage going into this election. As Mother Jones reported in March, “A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice calculates just how much of a landslide Democrats will need in order to win in districts that were drawn specifically to withstand Democratic waves and elect Republicans. The result, report co-author Michael Li says, should be a ‘reality check’ for Democrats.” To win the House, the Democrats would have to win the popular vote by 11 points, according to this left-leaning organization.

Is that possible? Yes. Probably? No.

Let me rephrase that in my own way. Is that possible? No. Is that possible? Not a snowball’s prayer in hell.

Apparently, the DFL hasn’t figured out what it believes, other than believing in acquiring power. A pair of bills in the Senate illustrate this perfectly. SF2959 is a gun control bill. Here’s the language for one of the main provisions in the bill:

The following persons shall not be entitled to possess
ammunition or a pistol or semiautomatic military-style assault weapon or, except for clause
(1), any other firearm:
(1) a person under the age of 18 21 years except that:
(i) a person under 18 who is 18 years of age or older may possess a pistol;
(ii) a person under the age of 21 years may possess ammunition designed for use in a
firearm that the person may lawfully possess and ;
(iii) a person under the age of 18 years may carry or possess a pistol or semiautomatic
military-style assault weapon (i) :

In other words, people under the age of 21 aren’t capable of handling a firearm. That bill was submitted by Sen. Latz, the most prolific DFL gun-grabber in the Senate. SF3453 was submitted by Sandy Pappas. It’s a proposed constitutional amendment. Here’s the ballot question that would be on the ballot if this passes (it won’t) the House and Senate:

Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to allow persons 16 or more years of age
to vote in state and local elections?

Yes __________

No __________

In other words, Sen. Latz would prohibit a 20-year-old single mother from protecting herself or her family but Sen. Pappas thinks 16-year-olds are mature enough to make informed decisions and vote? That’s twisted logic on steroids.

Actually, it isn’t difficult to figure out what the DFL is thinking. First, they want tons of uninformed voters flooding the system. It’s the only way they can win elections. Next, the DFL wants to control people’s lives. Raising the minimum age for buying a gun won’t solve any problems but it will give government more control of people’s lives. Controlling people is part of the DFL’s DNA.

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the indictments of 13 Russians and “3 Russian entities”, Rosenstein specifically said “There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is no allegation in this indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome.”

Somewhere, Adam Schiff is likely crying in his beer.

The indictment itself specifically states that a company called “Internet Research Agency, LLC” was created in 2014, long before the presidential campaign started. Further, the indictment states that the Russians plan was a) sophisticated enough to fool American political activists that the activists thought they were dealing with other like-minded American activists. The Russians’ goal was to sow distrust.

On one day, Nov. 12, 2016, the defendants organized a rally in New York to “show your support for President-elect Donald Trump” while at the same time organizing a “Trump is NOT my president rally” that also was held in New York.

While this indictment doesn’t totally clear the Trump campaign, it’s definitely a defeat for the Democrats, especially Rep. Schiff. Schiff has invested tons of time in front of TV cameras insisting that he’d seen proof that Trump colluded with Russians.

This is the biggest news from the special counsel’s office thus far. Not only does it not accuse the Trump campaign of colluding with Russians, it states that people from Trump’s campaign “unwittingly” participated in the Russians’ plot:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the defendants created hundreds of accounts using fake personas on the social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to advance their scheme. One example of that was the Twitter account “Tennessee GOP,” which used the handle @TEN_GOP,” and “which falsely claimed to be controlled by a U.S. state political party,” the indictment said. “Over time, the @TEN_GOP account attracted more than 100,000 online followers.”

The defendants also allegedly used a “computer infrastructure, based partly in the United States, to hide the Russian origin of their activities and to avoid detection” by US authorities, the indictment said.

It isn’t a stretch to think that this plot achieved its goal, which was to create distrust in our election.

What’s sad is that the MSM is totally content with sowing additional distrust with their ‘reporting’.

This article is good news for GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, saying “The new poll of likely Virginia voters by Republican firm Optimus/Firehouse Strategies over Wednesday and Thursday shows Gillespie leading his Democratic opponent Ralph Northam by 40.4 percent to 37.4 percent.” The thing that’s most encouraging, though, is that the Latino Victory Fund ad enraged independents and fired up Republicans.

As a result, turnout should be high for the GOP candidate. Meanwhile, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam is having difficulty turning out the Obama coalition. Those 2 things should help deliver a victory for a victory to Governor-Elect-in-Waiting Gillespie.

Turnout for Northam might be hurt because he’s played into Republicans’ hands on sanctuary cities. The article says “Northam has also received criticism among party members and progressive voter groups for his break with party rhetoric on so-called sanctuary cities, which do not comply with federal immigration laws, saying he would sign legislation banning them ‘if that bill comes to my desk.'” First, that’s taking a defensive position, which isn’t good anytime but especially troubling the last week of a campaign.

Then there’s this:

Following headliner Stephen K. Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News, populist-nationalist 2018 U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart addressed the Remembrance Project National Conference in Washington, DC, Saturday. The event, at the capital’s famous Willard Hotel, featured a “who’s who” of leaders in the fight against illegal immigration, including headliner Bannon, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, and Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, in Remembrance Project’s largest annual event to honor Americans killed by illegal alien crime and the “angel families” they left behind.

Finally, there’s this observation:

“MS-13 is not just a Northern Virginia problem. It’s not just in Northern Virginia and tidewater,” Stewart told Breitbart News on Saturday. “It is spreading down the [Interstate] 81 corridor and is becoming a statewide issue … It’s an issue that will drive not only conservatives but independent voters who are concerned about it.”

The winner of the big elections is the candidate that finds the issue that evokes the most visceral reaction. I think MS-13 is this year’s visceral issue. We’ll see Tuesday night whether I’m right.

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Yesterday, I wrote this post, which I titled “Why Ed Gillespie will win”, I wrote “Don’t be surprised if this causes an anti-Democrat backlash that swamps Northam. In fact, I’d argue that the backlash has already started.” This NRO article examines the Latino Victory Fund’s offensive ad.

Ben Shapiro wrote “Monday, just days ahead of Virginia’s hotly contested gubernatorial election, the Latino Victory Fund released an ad opposing Republican Ed Gillespie. The ad is uniquely horrifying. It features four minority children, Latino, Asian, Muslim, African-American, running for their lives from a white man driving a pick-up truck. The truck is festooned with a giant Confederate Flag, a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ license plate, and a prominent ‘Gillespie for Governor’ bumper sticker. It runs the children into a dead end, its lights washing out their terrified faces. The children wake up in their beds. We then flash to video of the Charlottesville white-supremacist march, as a voice asks, ‘Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American dream?’ This sort of thing is insane, and it divides the country beyond any reconciliation. Alexander Hamilton recognized the danger of impugning the motives of political opponents in Federalist No. 1: ‘In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution. . . . And yet . . . a torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose.'”

Shapiro calls LVF’s anti-Gillespie ad “the worst in political history.” He’s right. What the LVF did was stupid. This close to election day, GOTV operations are super-important. This ad will create a turnout higher than any GOTV operation Ed Gillespie could’ve put together:

That’s why Ed Gillespie will win.

A month+ ago, Ed Gillespie didn’t seem to have much of a chance of becoming Virginia’s next governor. This morning, I’m predicting that he’ll win next Tuesday’s election. This article explains why he’s likely to win. The article opens by saying “A television ad depicting supporters of Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Ed Gillespie as Confederates who attack children of color has been pulled in the wake of the terror attack in New York City. The Democratic group Latino Victory Fund removed the controversial ad, which showed a pickup truck driver chasing down children of color on Tuesday, Oct. 31.”

This close to an election, polling isn’t reliable because things are fluid. At this point in the campaign, it’s all about Get Out The Vote (GOTV) operations, capitalizing on backlashes and momentum swings. I’d bet the proverbial ranch that the pulled ad is creating an anti-Northam backlash. Cristobal J. Alex, the “president of the LVF,” posted a tweet saying “We knew our ad would ruffle feathers. We held a mirror up to the Republican Party, and they don’t like what they see. We have decided to pull our ad at this time. Given recent events, we will be placing other powerful ads into rotation that highlight the reasons we need to elect progressive leaders in Virginia.”

Alex apparently didn’t learn the first rule of holes, which is that “if you’re in one, stop digging.” This Washington Post editorial states “Ralph Northam would not have run this ad and believes Virginians deserve civility, not escalation,” a spokesman for Mr. Northam emailed us.” Northam didn’t criticize this ad immediately:

Northam’s silence says everything that voters need to know about Northam’s lack of character. Ben Shapiro’s article details the ad, saying “Monday, just days ahead of Virginia’s hotly contested gubernatorial election, the Latino Victory Fund released an ad opposing Republican Ed Gillespie. The ad is uniquely horrifying. It features four minority children, Latino, Asian, Muslim, African-American, running for their lives from a white man driving a pick-up truck. The truck is festooned with a giant Confederate Flag, a ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ license plate, and a prominent “Gillespie for Governor” bumper sticker. It runs the children into a dead end, its lights washing out their terrified faces. The children wake up in their beds. We then flash to video of the Charlottesville white-supremacist march, as a voice asks, ‘Is this what Donald Trump and Ed Gillespie mean by the American dream'”

Don’t be surprised if this causes an anti-Democrat backlash that swamps Northam. In fact, I’d argue that the backlash has already started.

One thing that I’ve noticed about Wisconsin since Scott Walker became governor is that it’s essentially become a red state, thanks mostly to Act 10 becoming state law. It isn’t a coincidence that Wisconsin become a red state now that public employee unions are shrinking as a result of Act 10. According to the report, “public employee union membership dropped significantly after the law passed, with AFSCME reporting a drop from 62,818 in 2011 to 28,745 in February 2012.”

That’s a pretty significant enrollment drop in a year. Think of how many fewer Democrat campaigns that AFSCME will be able to fund. Don’t stop there, though. Think about how restricted PEUs would be if people couldn’t be forced to pay union dues. Actually, it might not take that long before that vision might become a reality. John Hinderaker notes that “While rich leftists are often assumed to be the main supporters of the Democratic Party, it is public sector unions that provide the lion’s share of the Democrats’ funding. They take money involuntarily from their members, a large majority of whom have never even voted on whether to be represented by a union, and many of whom disapprove of the union’s agenda, and recycle that money into left-wing causes, Democratic Party candidates, and inflated salaries for countless union officials.”

If the Supreme Court rules in Mark Janus’ favor, public employee unions will lose millions of dollars and tons of political clout. The worst thing that can happen with Democrat-supporting organizations is for them to lose influence. If the PEUs lose union dues, they’ll lose clout almost immediately.

It isn’t a stretch to think that this ruling might happen before the midterm campaigns start. With Democrats not having an agenda, they need tons of money to buy races. In the short-term, it isn’t likely that Democrats can compete. John is right with this analysis:

Minnesota, where I live, is one of a number of states where public sector unions, especially teachers’ unions, are by far the most powerful political force. Conservatives who rely on voluntary contributions cannot begin to match the enormous revenues the teachers’ unions extract by force from people who are legally compelled to pay them. If the Supreme Court sides with the Janus plaintiffs, the political landscape in such states will be transformed.

I don’t know it couldn’t happen. To the left, Janus’ lawsuit literally is an existential threat.