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The Trump Effect – politics, media, and elections

The Trump Effect made itself apparent over the weekend, in politics, media, elections – and the Republican Party.

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Donald Trump won a resounding victory in South Carolina – apparently with twice as many votes as any Presidential candidate has ever received in a South Carolina primary. Today Ronna McDaniel, current head of the Republican National Committee, made official what insiders had hinted at: her resignation. In addition, election officials – from registrars to the lowliest Officers of Election in precincts – have almost completely changed out. The Trump Effect, which many have hinted at without understanding, is manifesting itself in each of these changes.

Trump Effect 1: political currents

Donald Trump won in South Carolina with 451,905 votes. Minutes after polls closed, Trump, in his victory speech, announced that he had received twice as many as had any Presidential primary candidate in that State – from either Party.

At 8:05 p.m. EST, CNN held a panel discussion, with some of the usual suspects.

Christina Laila, yesterday at 12:40 p.m., gave a partial roster: pundit Jonah Goldberg, former Obama White House official David Axelrod, and Alyssa Farrah Griffin, former Trump White House Communications Director.

Ms. Laila made much of some panelist, whose name she must not have caught, shouting, “It doesn’t make sense!” That happened after Ms. Griffin noted that Trump had mounted “the greates political comeback in history.” With all due respect, that misses the point. The point was that the panel, after nearly fifteen minutes of discussion, seemed to conclude three things.

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Changing demographics favoring Trump more than ever

First, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) is auditioning for the Vice-Presidential running mate spot, and seems to have sound political reasons. Those reasons are the simplest: South Carolina voters demand, in no uncertain terms, bringing Trump back. David Axelrod did speak of Scott “subjugating” himself by sharing the stage with Trump. But others pointed out that everyone on that stage, wanted to be there. (Though Sen. Lindsay Graham, the senior Senator from South Carolina, might regret that choice. Trump’s audience cried “Boo” on Graham – but no on Scott.)

Second, South Carolina might or might not be the same State that elected Amb. Nikki Haley as its governor – twice. It has benefited from “explosive growth” of domestic migrants from both “red” and “blue” States – but has drawn Republicans from “blue” States. That panel did not mention that perhaps those Republicans from “blue” States have grown weary of their urban neighbors:

  • Consistently outvoting them (perhaps by using manual vote-count adjustments) for State-wide offices,
  • Taxing them to near-bankruptcy to support those who produce nothing but Democrat votes, and
  • Forcing “urban sophisticate” values, including Alphabet Soup-friendly policies, upon them.

What is Nikki Haley doing, and why?

Finally: Ambassador Haley is not in this race to win the nomination. She is in it to build the Never-Trump faction within the Republican Party and take its lead. When, as she and those panelists suppose, Trump loses the general election, she will triumphantly say, “I told you so!” Still, about half the panel could not ignore the humiliation of her becoming “Not the Favorite Daughter” of South Carolina. At the time, they doubted she would even win in “moderate” District One, which includes Charleston and Beaufort Counties. (They needn’t have worried about that. Amb. Haley carried both those counties, and picked up the three delegates from District One.)

The Trump Effect accounts for all those votes Trump got – for though he lost Charleston, Beaufort and Richland Counties, he carried all the rest. (Richland County includes the city of Columbia – Jim Clyburn’s home. That county might have had some crossovers, but not many.) But the Trump Effect also explains the migration. South Carolina instituted Trump-like policies, and attracted conservative migrants. The panel also noted that South Carolina is a “military State,” by reason of all the bases in it. Yet Amb. Haley still lost in it, though the panel regarded Trump’s policies as not military-friendly.

Of course, they, too, missed the point. Trump is not anti-military – he is anti-war. That might offend a few general and flag officers who itch to go to war to prove their mettle. But to everyone lower down, and their families, that’s a relief.

Trump Effect 2: Ronna McDaniel finally leaves

Ronna McDaniel, rumored to be on her way out at the beginning of this month, made it official this morning. She made a full statement to The New York Times:

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Some of my proudest accomplishments include firing Nancy Pelosi, winning the popular vote in 2022, creating an Election Integrity Department, building the committee’s first small-dollar grassroots donor program, strengthening our state parties through our Growing Republican Organizations to Win program, expanding the Party through minority outreach at our community centers, and launching Bank Your Vote to get Republicans to commit to voting early.

I have decided to step aside at our spring training on March 8 in Houston to allow our nominee to select a chair of their choosing. The R.N.C. has historically undergone change once we have a nominee, and it has always been my intention to honor that tradition. I remain committed to winning back the White House and electing Republicans up and down the ballot in November.

The process for electing a new chair and co-chair now begins. It will come to a head at the next plenary session of the Committee – the March 8 “spring training” session. Trump has backed Michael Whatley, former North Carolina Republican chair, as RNC Chair, and his daughter Lara as Co-Chair. Assuming Mr. Whatley is a good choice (some have disputed this), this represents another Trump Effect. Trump is taking over the Republican Party and making it his own. His “faction,” therefore, will dominate, no matter what Amb. Haley does. (Furthermore, Byron York and others have pointed out that the rank-and-file won’t stand for her replacing Trump in the event of some “trumped-up” disqualification. That’s another Trump Effect – convictions in courts of law are meaningless, because people have lost respect for the courts.)

Trump Effect 3: election personnel turnover

Sharika Soal, also at The Gateway Pundit, noted the third part of the Trump Effect, though she did not call it that. City and county election officials – from Registrars of Voters to the lowliest Officer of Election who greets voters at the precinct door – have been resigning since at least 2022. Deanna Spikula, Washoe County (Georgia) Registrar, resigned in that year. Her intended replacement, Jamie Rodriguez, quit within weeks after receiving envelopes impregnated with fentanyl. And according to USA Today, every one of 18 employees in the Washow County Registrar’s Office, who were working in that office for the Election of 2020, has quit.

Another USA Today report alleges some of the reasons so many election officials are quitting:

A similar pattern is playing out nationally, with tens of thousands of longtime elections workers harassed out of their jobs by a small cadre of self-appointed voting experts and critics who have hounded clerks to switch to paper ballots, demanded hand-counted results, and insisted they be allowed to participate in ways that are normally barred specifically because they can introduce errors.

“It’s not that turnover is something new,” said Tammy Patrick, CEO for programs at the National Association of Election Officials. “What’s new is the scope of it, the depth of it, the scale of it. Those who have left the field, it’s understandable. A person can only take so much.”

The unprecedented turnover means elections today are being run by less-experienced workers at every level. One nonpartisan group concluded departing elections officials took with them a collective 1,800 years of experience from a system that until 2020 was widely considered the international gold standard.

Considered by whom? USA Today didn’t say. And “harassment” could mean merely taking part as a Party challenger, or “poll watcher.”

(Washington State is working on a bill to make harassment of poll workers, meaning sworn election officials, a felony. But the solons did not see fit to extend any such protection to poll watchers or to petition signature gatherers.)

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Elections haven’t been secure since they moved away from paper

CNAV does not and can never condone sending literal poison mailpieces, or making malicious, threatening, or abusive telephone calls or social-media posts. But to address the snidery from USA Today: one does not have to be an expert to know that elections haven’t been secure in these United States since the first Print-O-Matic voting machines came on-line. From the beginning these violated Constitutional provisions, in Virginia and elsewhere, that vote counting must take place in the open. The intricate gears of the Print-O-Matic machine constituted a secret count, because no one observed how the gears turned. Their replacement with electronic voting machines – first by the discredited Diebold company (a maker of Automatic Teller Machines) and then by vendors like Election Systems Software and the notorious Dominion Voting Services has made the matter worse. (The French know this! That’s why they got rid of the machines in 1975.)

These vendors are the number-one and number-two vendors of electronic voting machines nationwide. Both have had problems. An ES&S ExpressVote Ballot Marking Device (BMD) switched votes between judicial candidates in a November off-year election in Pennsylvania. And in a famous Georgia elections case, J. Alex Halderman, Professor of Computer Science, demonstrated in open court how ridiculously easily one could “hack” a Dominion BMD.

Demand return to paper ballots!

Even before those two cases, Trump voters started demanding a return to paper ballots. This, of course, is an obvious Trump Effect. Spalding County (Georgia) has already taken the first step in that direction.

Activists in South Central Virginia have been agitating for paper ballots ever since the Election of 2020. To them, a machine is a machine is a machine, no matter who makes or programs it. Virginia has paper ballots, but those go through a scanner, which actually produces the official results. One activist urged voters to do the following:

  • Check in and request a ballot as usual,
  • Mark it – and then elaborately fold it and mutilate it so that it would never scan, and then
  • Hand it to the Chief OOE and demand that this ballot go for hand counting and not through any scanner.

Thus far no mass movement of voters has emerged to follow that advice. But that activist has also filed in pro se lawsuits, alleging that a scanner count is an unconstitutional secret count. He points out that no law currently mandates any kind of machine count.

Big Trump Effect – the people are starting to care

Everyone who cares to know has know about the inherent weaknesses of machine counts ever since the first Print-O-Matics deployed. The Trump Effect manifests itself this way: for the first time, people are questioning the motives of those deploying voting machines. They watched elections of Presidential Electors in at least seven key States violate the Law of Averages in their outcomes. Then they watched as the Chief Justice of the United States harangued his colleagues, virtually to forbid them to take the one case (Texas v. Pennsylvania) that could have set that right.

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Then in 2021 – the first off-year election after 2020 – the Glenn Youngkin team implemented a Precinct Strategy. They recruited poll watchers and poll workers for that election. Glenn Youngkin won it – largely because his opponent brazenly told parents their parenting rights stopped at the school perimeter. Thereafter, as old OOEs retired – for whatever reason – new Trump Effect OOEs took their places.

They awakened a sleeping giant

That USA Today actually laments this replacement, stands as further evidence of the perfidy of the legacy media. At this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Steve Bannon, of “War Room” fame, took note.

“You know Trump won!” he said. As evidence, Bannon cited that The New York Times and The Washington Post are not standing by Joe Biden. They would stand by him, he implied, if they considered him legitimately elected, in their hearts-of-hearts.(The Washington Post is facing bankruptcy.)

Thus the Trump Effect makes itself plain, not only in elections but also in the Party and the workings of election offices – and the legacy media. Some might not see the changes immediately – but the legacy media certainly does. Then again, perhaps Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto could have told them.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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