Donald Trump is, as the old phrase goes, “a riddle wrapped in an enigma”, but a very boisterous, pompous and unpleasant riddle. However, he is not the criminal his enemies portray, whether in politics or the press. And he was far from administratively inept, in fact, his instincts for demilitarization (except on behalf Israel, admittedly) and for avoiding international military conflict and for redirecting “defense” related expenditures towards social programs and infrastructure were down right progressive. Much more progressive than the performance of those who purported progressives managed to ensconce in his place. As in the case of Richard Millhouse Nixon, history is unlikely to be kind to Donald Trump, which says much more concerning the lack of veracity and ethics among historians and journalist than it will say about Mr. Trump.
The ruthlessness and perversion of the Deep State’s minions in the Democratic Party and the corporate media have converted the populist threat posed by Mr. Trump into a useful electoral tool, as the article published in Fox News (admittedly a non-objective right wing organization) on November 10, 2022 (this morning as I write) entitled “CLEAN SWEEP: Democratic meddling in GOP primaries paid off in a big way on Election Day” makes clear. Truth and accuracy being irrelevant and engaging in that of which one accuses others as a preemptive defense against criticism is a powerful offensive weapon, and, well, … sort of fun. Dishonesty has become standard policy in politics, especially from the Deep State, erroneously self-identified as the left, or as liberal or as progressive. No tactic is unacceptable as long as it works and fooling the electorate has become an art form, and again, sort of fun as well.
Frustrated victims smell the broad spectrum of electoral fraud to which they’ve been subjected but, given the Deep State’s control of the judicial system and the administrative bureaucracy, complaints are as futile as is resistance to the fictional Borg. In fact, it will only result in being labeled an “election denier”, a new pejorative catch phrase that denoted stupidity coupled with malevolence and fascist proclivities. In many cases it is possible that some of those so labeled fit that description, or are very wrong in their beliefs, but being wrong is not the same as lying, and the saying “the lady doth protest too much” would seem to apply, not to them, but to those in politics and in the media who label them as such, making it see, at least likely, that there is indeed something to hide, something sinister and inappropriate, something unethical and immoral.
As an academic and political analyst I recently participated in an international forum on the nature of corruption, sponsored by the Facultad Interamericana de Litigación A.C., Barra Interamericana de Abogados A.C., which included speakers from Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, México, Guatemala, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Spain, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, Panamá and Costa Rica. I was one of five speakers representing Colombia. Thus I have some knowledge concerning the nature of corruption and the tactics used to implement and obfuscate corrupt practices. Practices one can frequently almost smell, but which are difficult to “prove”, especially when those responsible for preventing them are either inept or actively collisional. And unfortunately, the latter is the usual case in all aspects of corruption. But never more so than when corruption involves politics. As another saying goes, “something smells rotten in Denmark”, and it’s not the cheese, but then again, it’s not emanating from Denmark.
In my experience when it comes to corruption, apparent ineptitude, disorganization and confusion are actually the signs of very clever dishonesty, usually successful. Then again, sometimes it really is ineptitude, disorganization and confusion, which is what makes them so useful as camouflage. As I write this I imagine the fictional Vinnie Barbarino from the old program, “Welcome Back Kotter”, uttering his catch phrase, … “I’m so confused”! Many good United States citizens are confused today but also angry at the ineptitude of those charged with safeguarding the integrity of elections, and the appearance of possible improprieties they generate, especially, today, in the State of Arizona where results of elections held on November 8 are not yet available. Especially given the ethical improprieties disclosed in the above cited Fox News article. That such activities are unethical, immoral but not illegal says a great deal about the United States political system.
In the Republic of Colombia, where I currently reside (although I am a United States citizen), I have worked alongside several organizations dedicated to rooting out and minimizing electoral corruption. Minimizing rather than eliminating it because we are aware that corruption, including political and electoral corruption, is ubiquitous. The one certainty is that those who claim there was absolutely no electoral fraud in any large scale election in the United States are either incredibly naïve or collusive in obscuring it. Because we want to minimize corruption in Colombia, we take fairly simple safeguards akin to protecting chains of evidence in penal proceedings. Ballots are only available at polling places at the time set for voting and are provided only to the voters themselves, subject to their providing officially issued picture identification, which also includes fingerprints and signatures, and requires that the voter acknowledge receipt of the ballot by signing for it, and that he or she promptly return the executed ballot prior to departing from the polling station. All of the foregoing is deemed essential in order to avoid a market in votes through the purchase and sale of ballots, and the use of counterfeit ballots. Since 2016, the United States has taken a very different path, purportedly in the name of “democracy”. Ballots are now often mailed out in mass and collected anonymously in “drop boxes. To us in much of the world, that seems either amazingly naïve or cleverly facilitative of corruption. Thus we can understand how electoral results may seem suspect to normally intelligent decent citizens in the United States. Those lambasted and publicly shamed there by the corporate media as “election deniers”.
In Colombia and in almost the entire world, outside of the United States, electoral results are tabulated, posted and certified a few hours after elections. And delays are viewed with a great deal of suspicion. Such suspicion is deemed not only healthy but essential to protect the integrity of electoral processes. In the United States, criticism of electoral delays and irregularity is deemed almost akin to treason. Very, very strange. But then again, the financing of campaigns to sabotage the candidate selection process is not deemed here (and elsewhere) as merely, “boys and girls will be boys and girls and they’re just having fun”, though fun it may seem. Such activities here would be deemed criminal.
Something on which to reflect as the United States awaits electoral results, several days late, from Maricopa County, Arizona.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.