Seeking Election Integrity …

Dan Coats was the director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019. He resigned on July 28th 2019 when he was apprised that he was about to be fired.  The reason?  He did not play Trump’s game, did not take that oath of fealty that required him to be naught more than a yes-man.  He affirmed in no uncertain terms that Russia had indeed interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, contrary to Trump’s denials of such interference.  Today, Mr. Coats has written the following OpEd in the New York Times about the security of the upcoming election and offers one possible solution.


What’s at Stake in This Election? The American Democratic Experiment

Trump’s former director of national intelligence on how to firmly and unambiguously reassure all Americans that their votes will be counted.

dan-coatsBy Dan Coats

We hear often that the November election is the most consequential in our lifetime. But the importance of the election is not just which candidate or which party wins. Voters also face the question of whether the American democratic experiment, one of the boldest political innovations in human history, will survive.

Our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic, want us to concede in advance that our voting systems are faulty or fraudulent; that sinister conspiracies have distorted the political will of the people; that our public discourse has been perverted by the news media and social networks riddled with prejudice, lies and ill will; that judicial institutions, law enforcement and even national security have been twisted, misused and misdirected to create anxiety and conflict, not justice and social peace.

If those are the results of this tumultuous election year, we are lost, no matter which candidate wins. No American, and certainly no American leader, should want such an outcome. Total destruction and sowing salt in the earth of American democracy is a catastrophe well beyond simple defeat and a poison for generations. An electoral victory on these terms would be no victory at all. The judgment of history, reflecting on the death of enlightened democracy, would be harsh.

The most urgent task American leaders face is to ensure that the election’s results are accepted as legitimate. Electoral legitimacy is the essential linchpin of our entire political culture. We should see the challenge clearly in advance and take immediate action to respond.

The most important part of an effective response is to finally, at long last, forge a genuinely bipartisan effort to save our democracy, rejecting the vicious partisanship that has disabled and destabilized government for too long. If we cannot find common ground now, on this core issue at the very heart of our endangered system, we never will.

Our key goal should be reassurance. We must firmly, unambiguously reassure all Americans that their vote will be counted, that it will matter, that the people’s will expressed through their votes will not be questioned and will be respected and accepted. I propose that Congress creates a new mechanism to help accomplish this purpose. It should create a supremely high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election. This commission would not circumvent existing electoral reporting systems or those that tabulate, evaluate or certify the results. But it would monitor those mechanisms and confirm for the public that the laws and regulations governing them have been scrupulously and expeditiously followed — or that violations have been exposed and dealt with — without political prejudice and without regard to political interests of either party.

Also, this commission would be responsible for monitoring those forces that seek to harm our electoral system through interference, fraud, disinformation or other distortions. These would be exposed to the American people in a timely manner and referred to appropriate law enforcement agencies and national security entities.

Such a commission must be composed of national leaders personally committed — by oath — to put partisan politics aside even in the midst of an electoral contest of such importance. They would accept as a personal moral responsibility to put the integrity and fairness of the election process above everything else, making public reassurance their goal.

Commission members undertaking this high, historic responsibility should come from both parties and could include congressional leaders, current and former governors, “elder statespersons,” former national security leaders, perhaps the former Supreme Court justices David Souter and Anthony Kennedy, and business leaders from social media companies.

This commission would be created by emergency legislative action. During that process, its precise mandate, composition, powers and resources would be defined. Among other aspects, the legislation would define the relationship between the commission and the intelligence and law enforcement communities with the capability necessary for the commission’s work. And it would define how the commission would work with all the individual states.

Congressional leaders must see the need as urgent and move quickly with common purpose. Seeking broad bipartisan unity on such an initiative at such a fraught time goes against the nature of the political creatures we have become. But this is the moment and this is the issue that demands a higher patriotism. No member of Congress could have any valid reason to reject any step that could contribute to the fundamental health of our Republic. With what should be the unanimous support of Congress, the legislation must call upon the election campaigns of both parties to commit in advance to respect the findings of the commission. Both presidential candidates should be called upon to make such personal commitments of their own.

If we fail to take every conceivable effort to ensure the integrity of our election, the winners will not be Donald Trump or Joe Biden, Republicans or Democrats. The only winners will be Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Ali Khamenei. No one who supports a healthy democracy could election 2020want that.

14 thoughts on “Seeking Election Integrity …

  1. Dan Coats has presented an interesting method to ensure election integrity. Sadly, it seems that given the political partisanship of this country at present, I suspect this has about as much chance of seeing the light of day as a “snowball’s chance in hell”. It may interest you to know that the last phrase has its origin in reference to politics! Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

        • I know … I was broken-hearted when I heard the news last night. Yes, there is a war coming and we will have no say in the outcome EXCEPT to get the vote out for Biden and get the maniacal monster out of the White House by a landslide that cannot even be contested. That’s our only hope for remaining a free, secular nation. 😥

          Liked by 1 person

              • My dearest more than friend … I have never hoped and prayed this much!! All with so much caution!! I’m so emotional about this … I can’t believe their openness, their hypocrisy, their ‘in-your-face’!! Do they think we don’t know, they don’t care we know!! There’s video, there are quotes , etc. still ram it!! I don’t have words to define my emotional state. I guess tRump has been able to numb and deject me!! All of it …. tight hugs!! ❤ ❤ …

                Liked by 1 person

                • I know what you mean … as a non-believer, I gave up praying when I was about 5 years old, but lately I’ve even tried that! They don’t care, my friend. Yes, they know we’re smart enough to see the hypocrisy, the corruption, the lies and abuses of power (not to mention our tax dollars), but they think they are protected from us, that their hero will take care of them. I was encouraged today to read that Lisa Murkowski has said she will not vote to confirm a nominee prior to the next president being sworn in, and Susan Collins has said the same, but Sue is as apt to change her mind as not. Sigh. TIGHT HUGS back to you, my friend. I cherish your friendship more than you can know. ❤

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Hi!! Still shook up … saw that Collins and Lisa M are supposedly against. Some were counting on Lamar Alexander but he’s gone out in favor … 😡
                    About praying, I am like you … stopped long ago. Now … I don’t even know what to think.

                    I have a ‘theory’ … why now? Why did she passed now, why was she ‘called’, completed her journey & purpose? I see it want to see a bigger purpose … I think, I hope, somehow she’ll bring groups together. Think about all that’s pending in SCOTUS: ACA, Roe v Wade, voting rights, BLM, BLACKS, gun control, DACA, immigration marriage equality/LGBTQ … all affecting minorities, oppressed – I think that has to galvanize people to vote – has to be an unequivocal landslide. Ah, results of contested ejection would go to SCOTUS – Bush/Gore … add to that COVID, deaths … your thoughts?
                    Hopping, so hoping … 💞🤞🏽💞

                    Love you! Together …

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  2. Jill, your title is apt. At the core of all of this is a corrupt and deceitful president who benefiitted from Russian interference. With such a slim margin of victory, to say it did not have any impact on the election is not an assertion that can be made.

    In July, 2016, Trump’s RNC convention platform softened on a position toward Russia at Paul Manafort’s suggestion. And, Trump starting making claims that the election was unfair against him. I postulate he did this to avoid Obama investigating what his intelligence folks were telling him.

    Fast forward four years and the corrupt and deceitful Trump is at it again. Having denied and downplayed the Russian involvement for three years, he has done next to nothing to secure the elections. Now, he does not miss an opportunity to say the election will be fraudulent, again because he is predicted to lose. The GOP leaders are at odds with him over mail-in voting. Trump again shows how very little he understands the job and is more concerned with his ego. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Add another layer … with RBG’s death today (yesterday), Trump now has the opportunity to appoint another Supreme Court Justice, which he will no doubt jump on. McConnell, who denied Merrick Garland a hearing in 2016, has already stated that the Senate will confirm Trump’s nominee. So … what happens if the election is litigated in November, as it was in 2000, and it goes to the Supreme Court to decide? Sigh.

      Like

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