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They Never Learn

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

I’m confused, because when people have disputes, they are supposed to resolve them in court and that’s what Donald Trump is doing about this manifestly flawed election. You don’t have to buy into the secret squirrel stories about Green Beret raids in Stuttgart to see that there are a lot of things that stink in this election – and anyone who tells you there is no evidence of shenanigans is lying to you.

There is evidence. There are, for example, affidavits attesting to shenanigans. They constitute evidence. Relevant evidence is anything that “has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence.” Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 401. Now, you may not like the evidence. You may think it is insufficient or unpersuasive or just wrong. So? Evidence is challenged on these grounds in every single trial there is – that’s why you have trials. But it is evidence nonetheless.

I get that the liberals, who spent four years telling us the 2016 election was hacked, and are now busy expressing shock and dismay that anyone might harbor even the slightest doubt about the 2020 outcome, are going to whine and scream in horror about Donald Trump exercising his right to seek his day in court. But why would alleged conservatives?

I also expect this nonsense from nonentities like Bill Kristol and his ridiculous online, cruise brochure, or from David French and his unread blog. In blackjack terms, these guys have a sixteen, the dealer is showing a king, and they decide to double down. You have to admire their unshakable commitment to failure.

But I was particularly disappointed in the editors of National Review, who apparently like to test the stove with their hands again and again. Guys, it’s on and it’s hot. They never liked Trump and many of them did not bother to hide their contempt for him, while others writing there called things as they saw them. Look, there’s sometimes an undercurrent among some in the professional conservative world where you get the impression that we should all just shut up and write checks and that cruise ship has sailed. I’ve read NR for decades – still do – and for my part I consider myself a friend of the magazine, but sometimes you have to take the Michelob out of your pal’s hand and conduct an intervention.

The title of the recent shark-jump is “Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame,” and besides being substantively wrong it’s sloppy and poorly-thought out. William F. Buckley would have vivisected it. It begins, “President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14. This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3.”

Oh, come now. How does one in good faith hold Trump responsible for the idiotic fantasies of the left imaging Trump as literally Hitler? He is not to blame for being lied about. Is there a serious argument that Trump was somehow teetering on the verge of calling out the troops because he pointed out irregularities in the election and took his claims to court?

NR agrees: “There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people.”

If “[t]here are legitimate issues to consider,” how does considering them somehow become “disgraceful?” Since they have conceded that there are issues with the election, how can they hold – prior to the end of the litigation that Trump, like every American, has a right to initiate and which north of 70 million Americans have a personal stake in – that the purported results represent “the verdict of the American people?”

You can’t, not coherently at least. But if your contempt for Trump and, let’s face it, his supporters, is that intense you can be blinded by it.

The rest of the editorial fulminates that Trump seems to be losing in its litigation, which is shocking only to those who do not litigate for a living. In lawsuits, generally one side wins and one side loses. And election litigation, with its cramped timeline and the necessarily high legal and practical burden for a challenger, is hard. Trump would have to get three judges to pick the winner of the election, survive three appellate challenges, and then win it all in SOCTUS. That’s always an uphill fight, even though the constellation of facts, from testimony of misconduct to statistical abnormalities, seem to support his concerns. 

I guess we’re supposed to lose like gentlemen. There are “concerns” but we are to simply walk away because…why? Is it unseemly somehow? Is it beneath the dignity of the office to demand that our precious institutions function as promised? What happens next time if we don’t challenge these wrongs?

The NR editors fail to answer, but the real answer is clear – what works gets repeated. The fraud will happen again. But they seem to think that it is better to lose like gentlemen that to make an unseemly fuss. Except gentlemen, real gentlemen, don’t walk away from a fight. I’ve been watching a lot of Downton Abbey (insert your jokes here) since I got COVID. It’s about rich English aristocrats dealing with various soapy crises and it’s quite entertaining. But the real antecedents of those gentlemen fussing over whether their dinner is black tie or white tie also went off to fight Zulus, Boers. and the Huns in the filthy trenches of the Somme. 

They did not walk away from a fight. That, and not their money or their mansions or their airs, is why they were respected. When it came down to it, they did not back down.

They fought.

Our conservative gentlemen need to embrace the hard part of being a gentleman as eagerly as they have embraced the soft part.

Finally, be sure to go check out Crisismy new conservative action novel that seems destined to be moved into the nonfiction section. You may also want to check out the other three prior novels People's Republic) Indian CountryWildfireand CollapseAnd if you want a signed paperback, use my super-secret email below and I’ll tell you where to send it and I’ll sign it.

My super-secret email address is kurt.schlichter@townhall.com


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