Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Voting by Mail Cannot Elect a President

The Phyllis Schlafly Report By John and Andy Schlafly

On the first night of the Republican convention, CNN cut away from President Trump’s speech because, as anchor Anderson Cooper arrogantly explained, Trump “started off falsely attacking mail-in voting. He’s continuing to attack mail-in voting as his postmaster general testifies that the attacks are ‘unhelpful.’”

CNN did not explain why Trump’s criticisms of mail-in voting were “false” or who gave it the right to censor the President’s remarks, when even NPR and the Washington Post report on the hazards of delivering ballots by mail. Putting aside the obvious potential for fraud when voters do not appear in person, the normal error rate of the Postal Service is just too great for a presidential election.

In the 2020 primaries, when millions voted by mail for the first time, we saw how badly the system failed in its mission to deliver ballots in time to be counted. NPR reported that at least 550,000 mail-in votes were rejected by election officials in 30 states, while the Washington Post said 534,000 were rejected in 23 states.

The number of rejected ballots was more than 60% higher than the 316,000 mail ballots rejected in all 50 states in the 2016 general election. In the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which Trump won by 80,000 votes combined in 2016, some 60,480 mail-in ballots were rejected in this year’s primary elections.

There are many valid reasons why mail-in ballots might not be counted by election authorities. Reasons include lack of a required signature on the proper line; the signature does not match the voter’s signature on file; lack of a postmark on the envelope; and the ballot arrives too late.

There is no way the voter can cure any of these defects, or even be notified that his ballot is being rejected. Vote tallies must be completed and turned in to the secretary of state by a deadline which is often 7 to 14 days after the election.

While elections for state or local offices can be disputed, litigated, and even redone amid a system failure, the election for President of the United States allows no such leeway. The Supreme Court ruled in Bush v. Gore (2000) that vote counts must be completed in time for the Electoral College to meet on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, a date which cannot be postponed.

An official U.S. postmark on the envelope containing the ballot has long been required as proof that the ballot was mailed before election day. Postmarks are supposed to be applied to first-class mail, but many envelopes are delivered without a legible postmark, thereby invalidating the ballot.

Five Western states have conducted all-mail elections, but they are not battleground states in the race for president. If the vote is not expected to be close in those states, we can tolerate more errors from the election machinery.

The post office was created by the U.S. Constitution and played an important role in American history, but its importance has greatly diminished in recent decades. Tens of millions of Americans have stopped using the Postal Service for receiving and paying bills, because the internet and smartphones are so much more reliable.

Readers may remember when lobbies of the nation’s post offices were filled with people picking up Social Security checks on the second or third day of each month. If you remember those days, you may also remember a lineup of disgruntled senior citizens waiting to see a postal clerk because their government checks did not arrive on time.

All those postal customers disappeared when the federal government switched to electronic delivery of Social Security benefits. Other agencies did likewise, distributing food stamps and other welfare benefits by prepaid debit card.

Many other Americans stopped using the post office after they were hit with unexpected late fees because their payments for utilities and credit cards were not delivered promptly. Companies regularly nag their customers to switch to paperless billing, while warning you to allow 7 to 10 days if you insist on paying your bills by mail.

If you file your income tax return electronically, as most taxpayers do, you received your $1,200 stimulus payment by direct deposit within a few days after Congress appropriated the money. If you are among the declining number of taxpayers who still file your returns by mail (with extra stamps for extra schedules), then you had to wait 60 days or more for it.

If the IRS, Social Security, welfare, unemployment, and banks have abandoned the Postal Service in favor of electronic transactions, why do Democrats insist on using the creaky old Postal Service to conduct the presidential election? A government agency hobbled by archaic procedures cannot be reinvented in time before Americans cast over 140 million ballots.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

How Trump Finds 10M New Votes

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

To win comfortably in less than three months, President Trump needs to find 10 million new votes. The prospect of millions of dubious mail-in ballots adds further pressure on Republicans to attract votes.

The new voters the GOP needs are those who may be unsure or too afraid to vote at all, or who are disillusioned by the coronavirus pandemic and the responses to it. This includes people who lined up to attend Trump rallies in the past, but failed to show up for his rallies this summer in Oklahoma and South Dakota, primarily due to fear of contracting COVID-19.

Ten million new voters are not easy to find and persuade in the little over two months that remain from now until November 3. Team Biden is confident that Trump cannot pull this out, and that the election is already over.

But in fact the ten million new votes for Trump are there for the asking, and we even know where to look. They are among the roughly 20 million Americans who watched and supported the July 27 news conference by a group of white-coated physicians who endorse early treatment of COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

That massive audience, younger and many times the size of the viewership of cable news shows, contains the votes that Republicans can have for the asking. The Big Tech monopolies certainly knew how seriously that audience threatened the candidacy of Joe Biden, so they took down the video almost as quickly as it was posted.

Trump can quench the thirst of those 20 million viewers of the HCQ press conference. Neither addictive nor expensive, HCQ is reportedly consumed like water in Africa, where it is routinely used by residents and visitors alike to protect against malaria. Trump will win if he makes it available.

According to Trump’s liberal opponents, attending a Trump rally could be as dangerous as visiting a malaria-infected region of Africa. Just as HCQ is prescribed for travelers to Africa, it should be prescribed as a prophylaxis for attendees at Trump rallies where liberals say that participants risk deadly exposure to COVID-19 merely by attending.

Better yet, Trump could arrange for open-minded pharmacists to be there to fill the prescriptions for HCQ on the spot. After taking this preventive medication, attendees would then rock the rally with new confidence and enthusiasm.

Imagine the twin benefits that would yield for the 20 million Americans seeking access to HCQ: they would obtain the protective medicine they want, and also have the opportunity to help reelect Trump. This would be a “win win” for everyone except Joe Biden, who would ramble incoherently against it.

Instead of seeking new votes as Republicans can be doing, Democrats push for universal mail-in voting that would have no more integrity than the junk mail that clogs our mailboxes. Republicans are right to reject mail-in voting for reasons that include delay, lack of security, and expense.

Recent primary elections in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York were a real-life test of whether mail-in ballots can be delivered in time. The results should refute the idea that an election can be reliably conducted by diverting ballots through the Postal Service.

All three states received 10 to 20 times as many mail-in ballots as they had ever received before, mostly arriving at the last minute or even after election day. New York’s Democrat primary was held on June 24, but the selection of nominees in its 16th and 12th congressional districts was not determined until July 17 and August 5, respectively.

Nancy Pelosi has recalled the House of Representatives for a rare August session to deal with this self-inflicted crisis. But her solution would shovel money into a federal agency that was never designed to conduct a national election and cannot, even with unlimited resources, provide the security and reliability that Americans rightly demand for this presidential race.

First-class mail volume peaked in 2000 and has fallen steadily in the 20 years since then, with no end in sight. The Postal Service has struggled to fill the gap by delivering more advertising mail and packages, but those competitive services cannot support the massive postal infrastructure if first-class letter mail is replaced by electronic communications.

The Constitution authorized Congress to establish post offices, but it has no responsibility to insure that ballots are delivered on time. First-class postage (currently 55 cents) does not include tracking or delivery confirmation, which can be purchased for an additional $.80 to $2.85, and the cost of guaranteed delivery ranges from $7.50 for 2- to 3-day service to $26.35 for next-day service.

Victory in November requires saying no to unreliable mail-in voting, but yes to inexpensive, preventative treatment of COVID-19. Let the Trump rallies return with confidence, and carry him to victory.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Football’s Goal-Line Stand Against COVID

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

The suspension of college football this fall, along with the disruption of other school sports, has awakened many Americans to the failed liberal approach to COVID-19. Masks and social distancing are incompatible with the sport of football, which 100 million Americans enjoy.

College football was saved by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905, and Donald Trump could earn a spot beside him on Mount Rushmore by saving it again in 2020. Trump would thereby avoid the mistake made by the armchair President Jimmy Carter in blocking Americans, many of whom had trained their entire lives, from attending the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

When some Americans called for banning college football, Teddy Roosevelt acted decisively to save the sport for his own four sons, the oldest of whom was then an 18-year-old freshman at Harvard. Roosevelt’s poor eyesight prevented him from playing college football, but our youngest-ever president saw the value of contact sports to his four boys growing up in the White House.

Many parents dream of their son scoring a touchdown, making a tackle, or intercepting a pass in a high-school or college football game. Students must work exceptionally hard to make their team and earn college scholarships.

It is unfair to shut down school sports while casinos, liquor stores, and street protests are allowed to continue. At a recent congressional hearing our national nanny, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was unable to justify this disparity in response to good questions posed by Rep. Jim Jordan, himself a championship college athlete.

Football is still a dangerous sport whose risks, for a young person, are greater than contracting COVID. Shutting down school sports based on the virus is as silly as telling race car drivers not to drive too fast.

During the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, which was far deadlier to young people than the Wuhan virus is today, college football continued to be played. At least one photograph from that time shows a crowded stadium of football fans wearing masks.

Fans in the stands are essential to football and other sports, whether in high school, college or professional leagues. As President Trump said this morning on the Clay Travis show, a popular sports talk channel, “You can’t have empty seats” for spectator sports.

Major League Baseball risks becoming a fringe sport by playing exhibition games with cardboard cutouts in the seats and fake crowd noise over the loudspeakers. Without real fans expressing their spontaneous reaction to what they see on the field, sports will become unhealthy objects of gambling rather than athletic achievement.

Things never had to be this way, and still don’t. If the bureaucrats had emphasized preventive and early treatment for all those exposed to the virus, rather than trying to hospitalize, intubate, and ventilate the very sick, America could already be up and running.

According to one report nearly 90% of COVID patients who were placed on a ventilator did not come off of it alive. The rush to acquire ventilators has proven to be a great mistake that may have actually caused many more deaths than it saved.

But medicine-by-the-numbers, also known as “cookbook medicine,” has caused COVID patients breathing adequately on their own to be placed on ventilators based on low blood oxygen levels. Bureaucrats and hospital administrators who do not practice medicine themselves pushed the use of ventilators, rather than early medication to keep patients out of hospitals.

Way back in early April, New York City emergency medicine physician Cameron Kyle-Sidell sounded the alarm bells against ventilators by saying that “we are operating under a medical paradigm that is untrue. I believe we are treating the wrong disease, and I fear that this misguided treatment will lead to a tremendous amount of harm to a great number of people in a very short time.”

Instead of listening to frontline doctors who actually treat COVID patients, the response to COVID has been controlled by bureaucrats and academics, who may have a political motive to extend the shutdown or a financial conflict-of-interest in expensive treatments.

In March Dr. Fauci insisted that the Democrat New York Governor Andrew Cuomo be given immediately the 30,000 ventilators which he demanded. How many COVID patients have ventilators harmed, and why haven’t Democrat governors allowed public access to early treatment for COVID?

Even Dr. Fauci has recently backed away from the false hope that vaccination alone would halt COVID and enable Americans to get back to normal in the foreseeable future. Inexpensive preventive medication would confer that much-needed benefit.

Many football fans would be happy to take hydroxychloroquine on their way to a stadium to root for their favorite team. If this inexpensive medication having a 65-year track record of safety were made widely available, we would be talking about touchdowns instead of unemployment.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Wuhan Virus Takes Life of Herman Cain

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Herman Cain, as co-chair of Black Voices for Trump, was helping on reelection and yet his life has been taken from him prematurely by the Wuhan virus. Cain was hospitalized with the virus on July 1 and languished there for four weeks until passing away on July 30.

He was essential both as a conservative and a courageous human being. He spoke out against the political interference with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an effective preventive and early medication for COVID-19, and despite tweets from the hospital there is no indication that he timely received that beneficial treatment.

Instead, his millions of supporters were told that he would make it through with a course of treatment that included receiving oxygen. The liberal approach of hospitalizing first, and then treating without early use of HCQ, has been unsuccessful for many COVID-19 patients, and hospitalization nearly resulted in death for the vigorous prime minister Boris Johnson in England.

Cain was fit and traveling frequently before he was hospitalized with trouble breathing. He was not obese and he had conquered cancer nearly 15 years ago, which he recounted in riveting talks to many audiences.

Throughout his political career Cain was viciously targeted by the Left as other black conservatives are. He ran for president in 2012 and the liberal media went after him harder than any other candidate. At age only 74, he was younger than the Democratic nominee Joe Biden who undoubtedly would receive essential early treatment to overcome COVID-19 if Biden ever does contract it. Biden would not languish in a hospital for weeks as Boris Johnson and Herman Cain did, with Cain tragically not surviving.

Georgia continues to interfere with the use of HCQ to treat victims of the Wuhan virus, by enforcing unprecedented regulations written especially to block access to this medication. Liberal bureaucrats in Georgia imposed an emergency regulation to prohibit access to HCQ by Herman Cain and others unless the prescription has a diagnosis “consistent with the evidence for its use.”

According to the opponents of Donald Trump (and Herman Cain), that regulation prevents a prescription for HCQ from ever being filled to treat COVID in Georgia. Yet had Cain been exposed to COVID in any of dozens of foreign countries which allow access to HCQ, then he could have received it early in the course of the disease and still be with us today.

Merely 1,600 miles south of Atlanta where Cain died in a hospital is Costa Rica, which has held its mortality rate from COVID to only one-fifteenth the rate per million in the United States. In Costa Rica, free of the anti-Trump interference with access to safe medication, HCQ is widely available for preventive and early care for the disease.

The hospitals in the United States are far better funded than the hospitals in Costa Rica, but it is medication that costs less than a dollar a pill which seems more effective than ventilators and ICUs. Impoverished countries which do not even have running water in their hospitals are overcoming the Wuhan virus better than the politicized health care in the United States is.

Last Wednesday liberal regulators in Ohio took the unprecedented step of completely banning the use of HCQ to treat COVID-19 except in very narrow cases of clinical trials, many of which have also been shut down or delayed. Perhaps a Never-Trumper in Ohio thought this was a clever step forward to perpetuate this crisis and defeat Donald Trump, but even its timid Republican Governor Mike DeWine found that over-the-top.

The following day Gov. DeWine “asked” the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to reverse its ban on HCQ, a ban that was contrary to all customary rules allowing physicians to prescribe approved medication for off-label uses. Embarrassed, the Ohio regulators did withdraw their ban, but uncertainty remains there because they plan to study the issue further.

Meanwhile, Yale School of Public Health epidemiology Professor Harvey Risch stated on national television that “75,000 to 100,000 lives will be saved” if HCQ were made available. Though Yale is far from a conservative institution, Yale Professor Risch candidly observed that “we’re basically fighting a propaganda war against the medical facts.”

There was a time not long ago when hospitals were built and run on moral principles, often with religious affiliation. Much of that is gone now, with profits, politics, and utilitarian ethics dominant at most hospitals, which focus as much on the bottom line amid political bias than on saving lives at any cost.

Hospitals which received HCQ from the Strategic National Stockpile have not even used the medication early for patients immediately upon admission for COVID-19. Most hospitals and state governments have returned the medication unused to the Stockpile, where more than 50 million doses deteriorate to eventually be thrown out while thousands of Americans die without access to it.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work. These columns are also posted on pseagles.com.