Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020

Opinion | Democracy in America: Counting the Votes

To the Editor:

Instead of applauding the courage of the millions of voters who stood in long lines during a horrible pandemic, and the supreme dedication of poll workers who have put in many, long hours, President Trump is spreading ridiculous falsehoods about the voting process.

In many states, Republicans demanded that mail-in votes could not be counted until Election Day. That is one of the main reasons it is taking so long to count all of the votes, not because anyone is doing anything illegal.

If President Trump wants to challenge the results with recounts, that’s fine; it’s his right to do so. But he should not try to cast doubt on the integrity of the poll workers or the millions of determined people on both sides who went to great lengths to vote.

Robert H. Moulton
Commerce City, Colo.

To the Editor:

President Trump’s early claim of victory on the night of the election and his news conference Thursday night remind me of playing Candy Land with my 5-year-old nephew. It only counts if he wins, and forget about rules. If disappointment ensues, the whole board will be flipped upside down.

Is this what the United States of America has come to? When is the intervention?

Jane Ellis
South Orange, N.J.

To the Editor:

I was a member of the team of lawyers who worked on the 2000 recount team for Al Gore. My law partner, Warren Christopher, supervised the effort and served as the counterpart to James A. Baker III, who headed the George W. Bush cohort.

Though the battle was hard fought, Mr. Christopher and Mr. Baker shared an unspoken understanding that the manner in which the parties engaged could have a profound impact on how Americans viewed the institutions that are fundamental to our democracy.

Though the fight can hardly be said to have been waged under Marquess of Queensberry rules or that the contest was free of political manipulation, there were lines that were not crossed.

Ignoring the laws that govern our elections was not on the table in 2000, nor should it be in 2020.

Mark Steinberg
Los Angeles
The writer was an associate deputy attorney general and counselor on international law under President Bill Clinton.

To the Editor:

As the United States painstakingly counted its election ballots state by bloody state and agonized over the razor-thin margins between two presidential candidates, the rest of the world was bewildered and asking: Couldn’t all this nonsense be avoided if there were no Electoral College and all we had to do was tally the national popular vote?

Ron A. Virmani
Charlotte, N.C.

To the Editor:

Many people have been asking how President Trump received so many votes, even after all of his gross incompetence during the past four years. People have also been lamenting that they don’t know what America we are living in.

For answers, I suggest reading “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent,” by Isabel Wilkerson. I have been doing so during the past two weeks and believe her thesis — that America’s social structure is fundamentally a caste system — to be quite compelling.

Elizabeth Zuch
White Plains, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Re “Exit Polls Point to the Power of White Patriarchy” (column,, Nov. 4):

Charles M. Blow wonders why so many gay people, Black men and white women voted for President Trump, concluding that aspiration “to power by proximity” must be the reason.

An alternative explanation might be that many Americans, regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender, voted for Mr. Trump because they believed that he was better for “the economy” — code for “I fear losing my livelihood, my life savings and my ability to pay for health care more than I fear the virus.”

Democrats need to do a better job of hearing those fears — and crafting messages that speak to them. If Democrats had been able to persuade Americans that to rebuild our economy, we must control the virus first, there might have been more than a razor-thin margin between Joe Biden and the most corrupt, incompetent president in modern history.

Jane Praeger
New York
The writer is president of Ovid, a strategic communications firm.

To the Editor:

It is public knowledge that President Trump’s hotels and golf courses are losing substantial amounts of money. Without the presidency to help support the occupancy and use of these facilities by those who would like to curry favor with the president, these facilities would be a financial disaster.

An election loss isn’t just about pride for the president; he is also desperate to avoid the financial consequences of that loss. This is about money, and there is nothing more important to him.

Ken Martin
Forest Hills, Queens

To the Editor:

Re “The President’s Hall of Mirrors” (Op-Ed, Nov. 3):

Peter Wehner argues that the contemporary breadth of conspiracy-mongering is dangerous, distorting not only the way we debate politics and issues but also our very beliefs in the ethics of our government institutions and the patriotism and legitimacy of those who hold views different from our own.

Ten years from today, I pray that the legacy of the last four years will have receded and that parents and children, family members, neighbors and friends will find it possible, once again, to disagree about political issues while keeping a sense of humor and without demonizing one another, severing relationships or raising the thought of property damage, armed confrontations or violence.

Jerry Sheinbach

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