Home / News / Columns / How history guides us in a contentious presidential election

How history guides us in a contentious presidential election

How can American history be our guide in a modern contested election?

We are in the thick of what could become the greatest Constitutional crisis in American history.

The mainstream media and its big tech allies are actively censoring this fact, choosing rather to perpetuate the charade that everything is perfectly normal as we prepare for a new administration they have self-certified. They believe it is in their strong interest to get this over with as soon as possible.

Yet, their interests are in stark contrast to the best interest of our citizens and our nation.

Far From Over

A pre-election survey by Pew found that the media is one of the least-trusted institutions in society, and after the polling and misreporting fiascos of 2020, it’s likely they have slipped even lower. So, while they may hope to simply sweep 2020 under the rug, the truth is that this election is far from over, and we are several weeks, perhaps even months, away from a final outcome.

This is due to a contract between the American people and our government that works for us. It is designed to protect our Republic from fraud, wrongdoing, and coercion while guaranteeing that legal votes are counted and the rightfully elected President assumes office, once the prescribed process is complete.

IBD/TIPP, prophets

Our Constitution only works if our elections are free, fair and accurate. To ensure this, there are three key essentials. First, transparency is a must. Second, it’s essential to verify the ballots and the counts are accurate. Finally, we must carefully follow the proper rule of law in case of violations or other irregularities.

None of this is new to presidential elections.

It’s Happened Before

We’ve faced incredibly close and highly contentious elections before, as well as accusations of widespread fraud, recounts, Supreme Court involvement, and inconclusive electoral college outcomes. While this may parallel 2000 in the minds of many, the elections of 1824, 1876 and 1888 made Bush v. Gore look like a walk in the park.

In 1824, Andrew Jackson had more than a 10% lead in the popular vote and 13 more electoral votes than John Quincy Adams, but no one had a majority. This threw the election to the state congressional delegations in the House of Representatives. Despite Jackson’s significant lead, Adams was actually chosen as President in the end. Jackson and others cried foul and fraud and everything in between, fueling a bitter rematch in 1828, which was handily won by Jackson.

But it is the 1876 election that most closely parallels what we are seeing now.

Samuel Tilden was only one electoral vote shy of a majority, while twenty electoral votes were thrown into question. Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana all sent 2 separate slates of electoral votes and one elector from Oregon was also challenged. The Constitution does not address such a conundrum, so Congress passed a law to create a commission made up of five House Members, five Senators, and five Supreme Court Justices. The commission ultimately awarded the disputed electors to Rutherford B. Hayes.

The 1888 election matchup between incumbent President Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison was filled with corruption, buying votes, and to use a popular media phrase, “wide-spread fraud.” This was the election that led to secret ballots, rather than the century old custom of announcing your vote in front of others. Harrison won, leading to another bitter rematch which Cleveland won by a large margin.

So, what does all this history mean for the 2020 election?

Election History and Precedent Matters

It should remind us that we’re not in uncharted territory, that there are constitutional and legal processes for seeing this through, and that even final election results do not mean a candidate or a movement is finished. There are quite literally hundreds of accusations of significant fraud backed up by witnesses, sworn affidavits, and testimony.

Even if every accusation of fraud is ignored, it is a matter of public record that some election officials willfully broke the law in many of the battleground states. Governors, Secretaries of State, and local officials changed the election rules to favor their team, despite not having authority to do so and others blatantly broke the law by refusing to allow both sides to observe the counting.

Article 1, Section 4 grants only the state legislatures the power to make election laws, and legislatures in these states are fighting mad that their statutes were ignored in the name of COVID-19. There is no pandemic exemption to Constitutional authority, and these lawless actions must be held to account.

The Supreme Court will likely do just that, and it could mean tossing the results of several battleground states if the illegal ballots have been mixed with the legal ones, or if the court determines that the illegal schemes disenfranchised large numbers of people.

If the rule of law and the Constitution are to be upheld, the Supreme Court and/or the legislatures in several battleground states will be left with only three options.

Three Options for the Election

First, a Do-over. This is not unheard-of or impossible. It just happened in a federal election for Congress in North Carolina just one year ago, over mail-in ballots no less. In any state where the shenanigans have made the legal outcome impossible to determine, it is plausible to hold a new election for President. Not easy, not without significant effort and cost, but plausible and perhaps necessary for the American people to regain trust in the election process.

Second, state legislators directly choose electors. Many states did this for decades, and The Supreme Court stated in Bush v. Gore and in McPherson v. Blacker that this plenary power granted in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution could be taken back “at any time.” Yes, this would be highly controversial, but perfectly Constitutional; and in this case, perhaps even necessary.

Third, and most incredibly, no electoral votes sent. It would not be the first time a state had no electoral votes counted in the total (TN & LA in 1864; AR & LA in 1872) or at least some of their electors not counted (KY in 1809, OH in 1813, NV in 1864).

Any one of these options could end up throwing the election to the state delegations in the U.S. House for the 4th time in our history. If that happens, each state will have one vote and it will be the new Congress on January 6th that decides. That body will have a minimum of 26 republican majority state delegations, and possibly as many as 29, all but guaranteeing a re-election victory for President Donald Trump.

It Didn’t Have to be This Way

It did not have to be this way. None of these seemingly chaotic outcomes would be on the table if election officials would have followed the three simple steps to a fair election. Had there been transparency and verification, there would be no need to seek remedies to violations in the law.

As Americans and as Christian citizens, we have a moral obligation to keep a close eye on all of this, to hold our public officials accountable, and to demand that this election process, no matter what the outcome, is followed to the letter of the law.

The future of our Republic, and our freedom, depends on it.

–By Richard Green, a former Texas State Representative, serves as President of TX-based Patriot Academy.

Reprinted from The Stream with permission.