The Morning Jolt

White House

Don’t Panic about the Voter Rolls

(Brendan McDermid/REUTERS)

Making the click-through worthwhile: Claims of a voter-roll purge in Georgia use ridiculously generous criteria; a member of the National Security Council paints an ugly picture of the president’s desired goals in Ukraine; Democrats finally agree to have a full vote on an impeachment inquiry and pledge to begin the public portion of impeachment soon; and a note on what separates garden-variety Trump critics from those with full-blown Trump Derangement Syndrome.

This Georgia Voter-Roll Purge Isn’t the Scandal Its Critics Think

When should a voter be removed from the rolls in the United States?

If you’ve moved in recent years, are you still registered to vote at your old address? If you are, isn’t that a bad thing that election authorities ought to fix? In a country where roughly 35 million people move each year, do we want lots of people registered to vote in two different places? If one election authority doesn’t check with another election authority, doesn’t that open the door to people voting twice in the same election in different jurisdictions? Put aside whether it ever happens frequently enough to swing an election — and recall that Virginia state legislative election came down to a tie back in 2017 — don’t election authorities have a duty to make sure that people aren’t registered to vote in two different locations?

The first sentence of an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article creating a stir about so-called voter suppression: “About 330,000 voter registrations in Georgia could soon be canceled because registrants haven’t participated in elections for several years.”

Down in the 26th paragraph, the last one in the story: “That means for most of the 330,000 Georgia voters who could be canceled, the last time they voted or registered to vote was at least six years ago. Voters who participated in elections more recently could also be canceled if mail from county election offices was returned as undeliverable.”

Is the state being unreasonable or unfair by expecting those who have not voted in six years to affirm that they’re still living at their address and want to stay registered?

Cases of people voting twice are not common, but they happen:

North Carolina: “A Haywood County man has been sentenced to probation and community service for voting twice in the March 2016 primary election.”

Iowa: “An Iowa woman charged with voting twice for Donald Trump last fall has pleaded guilty to election misconduct.

New York: “Spiro Colaitis, 57, of Manhasset, New York, was arrested and charged Friday with casting more than one ballot in an election.”

The Heritage Foundation tracks cases and convictions of voter fraud.

Georgia has provisional ballot laws that allow people to vote and straighten out any confusion about where they’re registered after Election Day. Georgia even gives voters who show up in the wrong precinct “partial credit” of sorts: “If you were eligible to vote but voted in the wrong precinct, only the votes for candidates for which you were entitled to vote will be counted, and you will be notified in writing that your ballot was partially counted for your correct precinct.” Let’s say you moved from one congressional district to another but didn’t update your voter registration. They would count your ballot for the statewide races, but not the congressional one.

It will probably not surprise you that Stacey Abrams’ organization objects to the move. What are we to think when one party objects, so regularly and angrily, to actions as mundane as sending a notice to those who haven’t voted in six years?

Another One of Those Left-Wing Deep State Wounded Veteran Army Trump Staffers

I know, I know, this must be another left-wing deep state bureaucrat who could only be motivated by personal animosity to the president; it couldn’t possibly be that he genuinely believes that the United States government is not supposed to communicate a request to a foreign government to announce an investigation of a potential rival candidate through the president’s personal lawyer. Or so we’re likely to be told by the usual suspects:

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a “sense of duty,” he plans to tell the inquiry, according to a draft of his opening statement obtained by The New York Times.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Colonel Vindman said in his statement. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”

The colonel, a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb and whose statement is full of references to duty and patriotism, could be a more difficult witness to dismiss than his civilian counterparts.

Vindman plans to say that he is not the whistle-blower who initially reported Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine.

For everyone who will contend that Vindman is another left-wing deep state bureaucrat, just as they contend the same label applies to acting Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor, the question will remain why the Trump White House and administration keeps getting staffed by so many left-wing deep state bureaucrats in key positions. Even if you buy into the narrative that all of these objecting officials are the villains in this story, that narrative means this president is constantly hiring and appointing the worst possible people for the job. (Then again, Omarosa, Michael Cohen, Anthony Scaramucci . . . maybe that is the most plausible defense. Of course, the argument, “it’s not the president’s fault, he keeps hiring the worst person for the job” is not really the most compelling defense of this administration.)

Pelosi: Fine, Fine, We’ll Have an on-the-record Vote and Start Public Hearings

Clearly, Thursday’s Morning Jolt was the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you’re going to hold an impeachment, you want to vote to formally start it, and you’re going to want to start the public part as quickly as possible.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi added to that sense of urgency, announcing that after weeks of private fact-finding, the full House would vote on Thursday to initiate a public phase of the inquiry. That vote would establish rules for the public presentation of evidence and outline due process rights for Mr. Trump.

It will be the first time all House lawmakers will be asked to go on record on the investigation since it began in September, something Democrats had so far resisted.

Democrats say they have the votes to formally begin the inquiry, and based upon public statements, they have the votes. But for a nervous Democrat in a swing district, there’s a little wiggle room between publicly saying you’ll support an impeachment effort and actually voting for it.

ADDENDUM: Gail Collins, inadvertently summarizing how a lot of Democrats see the world during Trump’s presidency: “Truly the bottom line rule of this administration is that no news is ever going to be really good. DJT will always find a way to make it awful.”

That’s what separates those of us deeply frustrated with Trump from those who have full-blown Trump Derangement Syndrome. When you cannot take any satisfaction, joy, or other positive feelings in a dead ISIS leader, the end of the Islamic State, low unemployment, a booming stock market, criminal justice reform, Right to Try, or any other development in any realm of social policy, economic policy, or foreign policy, then we are no longer discussing a particular presidency but what criteria you use to see the world. Your lens is permanently darkened and cannot let in light, no matter how brightly it shines. The continued presence of a president you deeply dislike ruins everything for you, and that says a great deal more about you than him.

Most Popular

Culture

‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Theater of Trolls

As a boy, I used to watch a television show with a weekly gag titled “MasterJoke Theatre.” A pompous egghead smoked a pipe in a leather-bound chair in a richly appointed library, told a joke, and got a pie in the face for his trouble. What the Democrats launched on the Hill this week is their own variant, ... Read More
U.S.

A Defining Statement of Modern Conservatism

The greatest documents in American history never lose their ability to astonish. They deserve, and repay, careful study, and inevitably have contemporary resonances no matter how long ago they were written or uttered. There’s no doubt that Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” belongs in the top ranks ... Read More
White House

The Russian Conspiracy That Won’t Die

The Mueller report accomplished nothing. Whether you thought that the two-year, $32 million investigation was warranted or not, the report promised to establish a factual record that both sides could accept, especially on the explosive charge that Donald Trump had conspired with the Russians to win the ... Read More