After the last election, many of us hoped for a champion to undo voter fraud, that certain thing that drove President Donald Trump from office. A "Kraken." A powerful force of nature, a metaphor of strength, rising from the depths, restorative of truth and proper process. And unlike the Kraken of legend and Hollywood, a purported force of good.
Failure to understand the complex architecture and confusing events of the 2020 election makes it more likely that something like it will happen again. Indeed, the destabilizing forces at work in 2020 are emboldened by their success. The philanthropic streams of money that fueled the 2020 outcome still exist.
They are looking toward 2022 midterm elections to do it all over again.
That is why it is important to understand the complex mechanics that steered the outcome in 2020, so they do not happen again, so they do not further destabilize our political process.
Two ingredients drove the outcome in 2020: First, private philanthropy injected into government election offices and, second, a banana-republic style suspension of agreed-upon election rules. You didn't need much outright voter fraud when these two ingredients combined to poison the 2020 election.
First, ponder the private philanthropy. The most lethal poison injected in the 2020 election was essentially legal. It worked like this.
In the months before the 2020 elections, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL). Prior to Zuckerberg's largess, CTCL had an annual budget around $600,000 per year. 2020 would be a very good year for them.
The CTCL took "ZuckBucks" and with extreme, strategic precision, re-granted it to thousands of government election officials to "help" them conduct the 2020 election. It converted election offices in key jurisdictions with deep reservoirs of Biden votes into Formula One turnout-machines.
It is true that some small red counties got some CTCL money, but that was a fig leaf. Red counties took their grants and bought printers or paper. The real action was in the big cities, where hundreds of millions of dollars running through election offices fueled a ground game that, before 2020, the Democratic Party could only dream about.
Consider Philadelphia. Philadelphia's annual election office budget was about $9.5 million. The CTCL gave Philadelphia $10 million in one burst in the summer of 2020 to spend by election day. And boy did Philadelphia spend the money. They hired new city employees -- fresh from local activist groups -- to go door to do and deliver ballots. Since they worked for the election office, everything was "legal." They bought radio advertising on Spanish and urban radio stations; "get out the vote, vote by mail, no need for any witnesses anymore!"
The government election office in Philadelphia used that $10 million grant to implement a dream of some partisans: turn a government election office into a massive turnout machine.
But wait, isn't this illegal?