LeDuff: The Big Orange and the Little Three

November 11, 2020, 4:10 PM by  Charlie LeDuff

President Donald Trump (DepositPhotos)

President Donald J. Trump and the Little Three of Michigan -- Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Attorney General Dana Nessel -- have one thing in common.

All four possess an astounding degree of incompetence and self-importance. None of them seem to think the law of the land applies to their political whim and fancy.

For his part, Trump has filed suit in Michigan, citing irregularities, incompetence and unlawful vote counting, specifically in Wayne County. Specifically at the TCF Center where the Detroit absentee ballots were being counted.

I should point out again that I was working there as a ballot inspector. More importantly, I was working as a non-partisan reporter keeping tabs on your election.

I repeat. There was no appreciable fraud that would swing 150,000 votes to Trump. In fact, with the amount of votes we handled, I thought the process was impressive, and credit is deserved.

Still, there's room for improvement.

Were ballots run twice through the tabulator? Could be, though officials say it was because the machines rejected, and never counted them the first time. Did dead people vote? I wouldn't doubt it.

Can't Win

But Don won't win. And the reason is simple. There's no way to track an invalid vote once it's been tabulated. Once a ballot is accepted, its ballot number is detached from the ballot itself. The ballot is now anonymous and unable to be tracked. Something like a raffle ticket without a serial number. You couldn't possibly pull a fraudulent vote if you don't know which one it is.

As for 137,000 ballots arriving at the center at 4 a.m.? It didn't happen. Fairy tale. I was at the loading bay doors at the time. Don't believe me? Fine. But check the vote totals from Wednesday to Thursday. Was there a 137,000 vote spike? No. That's just math.

It's over in Michigan. Trump's down just short of 150,000 votes with no way of finding them. Somebody tell him.

But the questions posed by dissenters are valid and should be examined and answered fully since this is the way elections will now be conducted.

Why was the back-dating of ballots allowed at the TCF Center, as the city admits? The city says it was a clerical adjustment after the date stamped on an absentee ballot envelope wasn't entered into the system like it was supposed to. Perhaps. But how many? What time? Why are dead people still on the qualified voter list? Why were more than 500,000 absentee ballot applications sent to people who no longer lived at the address or had died?

Jocelyn Benson

This is unacceptable.

I warned Benson about her sloth, her empty and clichéd answers to the problem of the bloated qualified voters list. Instead of tough questions and explicit answers, Benson chose to make multiple TV appearances. Now, her posturing comes home to roost.

Consider the story of William Bradley Sr., the 118-year-old Detroit resident who voted by absentee ballot. Turns out, Mr. Bradley died in 1984. His vote from the grave is dismissed as a clerical error by Benson's office. That's nice, but  incorrect. It turns out his son, William Bradley Jr., mistakenly returned his dead father's absentee ballot application and ballot instead of his own.

Why did no media organization question the fact that a man who died 36 years ago was still a qualified voter? Or the fact that Bradley Jr.'s vote should be considered invalid?

But good luck finding it. It's now anonymous, in a stack of 167,000 others. See what I'm getting at?

Michigan voters passed an amendment to the state constitution in 2018 allowing absentee voting for whatever reason. There was plenty of time to prepare. Benson did not. What she did do was attempt an 11th-hour abrogation of the 2nd Amendment, banning firearms from the state's voting precincts. She, along with the attorney general, were slapped down in state court.

Safety Concern?

If Benson was really so concerned about public safety, why were there no metal detectors at Cobo Hall, protecting us, the ballot inspectors? How did the large and unruly crowd even get in?

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel 

As for Nessel, she hasn't gotten a meaningful conviction in the the Flint water poisoning. And she lost the big case against ex-MSU President Lou Anna Simon, who was charged with lying to police about her knowledge of a 2014 sexual assault complaint against former MSU sports medicine doctor Larry Nassar. 

But she sends a cease and desist letter to an obscure blogger who posted a conspiratorial video about a Detroit election workers training session replete with eerie music. There wasn't much to the video, and it didn't get much traction. But it has now, thanks to Nessel's bullying. Freedom of the press. Freedom of speech. The 1st Amendment. They teach that in the fifth grade. One wonders where she went to law school.


And Whitmer? She doubled as a national co-chair for Joe Biden and used the highest office in the state as a campaign perch. During that time, she (courts say) illegally suspended the state constitution, insisting it was necessary to protect the people from Covid. And yet the things she had actual control over -- nursing homes, schools and colleges, jails and the unemployment system -- remain an unmitigated disaster.

Once Big Orange is gone -- and he will be gone -- the attention in Michigan will turn to the Little Three.

They've got two years until their own election cycles. Fewer talk shows. More work. We're dying out here.

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