To the Editors: Response to the Guardian on its reporting on The America Project’s Election Transparency Initiative. Since I am mentioned in the Guardian’s article on the America Project’s election integrity program and am the Director of that program; but was never actually contacted by anyone at the Guardian before this article was published, I want to take this opportunity to respond in print.
Rather than honestly reporting on our election integrity program, the Guardian leads off with the headline “It’s a sham”, drawing its conclusion in the first three words of the article; then going on in the sub-heading to claim our advisor, General Michael Flynn, promotes falsehoods about Biden’s 2020 election win.
This article is littered with “scare quotes”; a rhetorical device and cliché whose overuse reflects poorly on the professionalism of the author, and competence of his editor. Although this article is listed under “US news”, it is immediately clear that it is an opinion piece; and also, clear that the Guardian, once a respected newspaper of the left and the working class, has sadly become nothing more than a corporate shill, promoting the messaging and programs of the globalist 1%.
Early in the article Peter Stone (no relation to Roger, I think) plays the “Hitler” card, suggesting our leadership is pushing a “big lie”; a pejorative the left uses to refer to the opinion shared by many (according to recent polls, more than half of all Americans, including 30% of Democrats) that the 2020 election may have been affected by fraud.
I’m not sure of Peter’s particular experience, but as someone who spent almost thirty years working in democratic development overseas before returning to lead the Center for Democracy, Human Rights and Governance during the Trump Administration, I can assure there is ample reason someone might doubt the integrity of that election.
As election and democracy professionals know, you cannot judge the legitimacy of an election by looking solely at what happens on election day, as many events can occur well before election day that affect the integrity of the election process. In the case of the 2020 election, we can go all the way back to 2016, when Donald Trump’s political rival launched a disinformation campaign against him in collaboration with a British mercenary, Russian intelligence operatives, and corrupt officials in the FBI and Department of Justice.
Although the operation was not enough to prevent Donald Trump’s election, it surely reduced his total vote, and continued to be used throughout his presidency to hamper his administration and damage his future political prospects. The fact that no one was ever prosecuted or punished for this illegal and undemocratic operation contributes to many peoples’ doubt about the integrity of our institutions; including the judicial branch, federal agencies, and the press.
Other undisputed examples of incidents or programs that might give one cause to doubt the democratic legitimacy of the election include:
– Coordinated suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election
– Introduction of many new election procedures as a response to COVID 19 that universally weakened the security of the election process
– Widespread use of insecure mail-in ballots and drop boxes, paid for in many cases by donations from a partisan billionaire.
– The use of state officials and resources to turn out voters in predominately Democratic areas, again paid for by a partisan billionaire.
– Ballot mules geo-tracked and videoed collecting ballots from partisan organizations and then stuffing said ballots in drop boxes
– Observers being prevented (on video) from observing counting processes
– Poll workers (on video) sending observers home and stuffing ballot boxes in the middle of the night
– The suspiciously coordinated suspension of counting in battleground states, followed by markedly different results when counting is resumed
These and other incidents may not be enough to sway Peter, but they are certainly enough to create reasonable doubt for many people. For me, as an election professional, the prevention of effective observation alone is enough to declare that the integrity of the election cannot be verified; and if we were overseas monitoring an election in a developing country and saw that, we would condemn the process and call for new elections.
The denigration of our volunteers through the use of scare quotes around “election reform advocates” is insulting and uncalled for. Every single one of them is committed to facilitating a free and fair election for every American citizen, regardless of political party (as am I), because at the core of our being we believe in democracy, self-government, rule of law, and traditional morality.
Your article states that “voting rights advocates have voiced sharp criticism of Operation Eagles Wings, calling it a “sham”, and “voting rights watchdogs say the new election integrity operation has an Orwellian quality”. Both “advocates” and “watchdogs” are plural, but none of these individuals or organizations are named, unless you are referring to Sean Morales-Doyle, who is a lobbyist and lawyer for the far-left Brennan Center. So, if you count Sean as an advocate, and Brennan Center as a watchdog, who are the others?
I assure you that our election integrity program is not a “sham”. In fact, we are using methodological approaches and practices developed by democracy promoters like the United Nations for use in authoritarian one-party states, to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election processes in America; helping to ensure that all Americans, of whatever party, can have confidence their elections are free and fair.
To correct the record about me, I did not leave USAID under a cloud in mid-January; I left at the end of President Trump’s term on January 20. I don’t recall calling the Capital “attack” peaceful, but if I had, that would have been funny and ironic, given our recent experience of the press describing riots and arson as “mostly peaceful”.
As I recall, I said something like “On January 6, at the President’s speech, I saw two million people peacefully protesting for free and fair elections.” The relentless focus by the left on what was happening a mile and a half away diminishes the true significance of January 6, which will ultimately be remembered as the largest pro-democracy demonstration in the history of the United States.
The open bias and slander throughout the article would easily be identified by any of the media monitors we used to train in places like Cambodia and South Africa; and for that, the author should be ashamed, and the Guardian embarrassed.