Editorials, The Electoral Tribunal; and MAGA won’t just go away

gushy stuff
A flood of gushy Electoral Tribunal ads, just as PRD appointees make a comeback? It LOOKS LIKE one last spending binge on ad agencies and actors whose time in favor is fading away. Maybe not. But advertising is no substitute for doing the job right. Photo taken from a Tribunal Electoral Twitter video.

The electoral magistrates should
do a better, more transparent job

The Electoral Tribunal, less than two-thirds the way through an audit of its online petition signature application, have assigned blame. For starters, they limited the investigation. With approaching 30,000 signatures invalidated, more are to come. However, certain inquiries have been put off limits:

    • Those voters whose signatures were invalidated — what can be done to restore THEIR right to participate in the system, whether to protect or compensate them in cases of the theft of their data, or to validate their signatures voided through no wrongdoing of their own?
    • This app was a custom-designed computer program commissioned by the Electoral Tribunal. So WHO designed it — which company, which person or persons — and how the process of them getting that job worked are things that the public ought to know but which the magistrates have excluded from the inquiry.
    • Which people, with which computer equipment, are systemically excluded from the petitioning process? Do weak Internet signals in remote areas exclude people in those places? Are those who use computers without cameras excluded? Are those of modest means without the time and money to travel to the tribunal’s offices in Panama City excluded?
    • What, exactly, is the technical nature of the error in the petition signatures application?
    • Are there specific candidates’ campaigns that were abusing the system and ought to be penalized for this?
    • Were campaigns using Electoral Tribunal data that was supposedly confidential? How did they get these? How can confidential voter data be kept confidential?

If we were to seriously inquire about these things, the fallout would likely be embarrassing, perhaps destructive, for the Electoral Tribunal. Failure to inquire about these things is, and would be going into the future, far worse.

Did the Tribunal hire somebody’s minimally-qualified relative to create a computer application? Are the people who wrote the app comfortable city dwellers who presumed that everybody has the same Internet access that they do? Are there people within the Electoral Tribunal giving preferential access to certain data to certain campaigns? Those are the logical follow-up questions.

The generic blame that the electoral authorities have now assigned — unspecified “activists” — is a terrible insult in and of itself. It is, however, but a symptom with apparent roots among corrupted public officials for whom any holistic search for the truth would pose a personal threat.


These two? Limited shelf life. However, violent white supremacist politics and conspiratorial ways of portraying the world will live on. From Kari Lake’s Twitter feed.

THEM — on their way out, but leaving annoying hazards in their wake

Fading voices of con artists and fanatics, in whom many fewer people believe, leaving faint a faint echo as the once pompous wader off into the political wilderness. Might a white noise machine help to drown out the annoyance?

It will take more than that to drown out the legacies of white supremacy and kindred hates.

On the positive side, Minnesota voters retained an attorney general who insisted that choking a black man to death for all to see, when they had the man under control and they were in no danger, is a crime punishable by law.

On the negative side there is Ron DeSantis, handily re-elected but who should be facing kidnap conspiracy charges for tricking Venezuelan asylum seekers to get onto a plane to a place where nobody expected them and the things they were promised were not there. (Tell the little girl you’ll give her a bag of candy, or tell strangers to America of a land of milk and honey, and if you transport them anywhere in furtherance of that it’s without their informed consent and amounts to kidnapping.)

Primitive fears and hatred of “the other” will always be there, and hard times will tend to bring these to the surface. Material gain at someone else’s expense is as old as the criminal mind and will be the motive for all sorts of crimes — including political crimes — for the foreseeable future. The conspiratorial way of thinking is as old as human sacrifice and as recent as what Fox News broadcasts tonight, and its effects will wax or wane with the teaching of real history and analytical thinking to the young.

Democrats could follow Republicans on somewhat similar paths of error. Some of the places where the GOP scored red ripples — New York and parts of California come right to mind — owe it to some serious shortcomings among Democrats that need to be calmly examined and rationally debated en route to some sensible fixes. There are no grand conspiracies behind some of the scandals there, but the legacies of unquestioning acolytes, political bullying and secretive decision-making amplified those sad episodes to the point that they echoed in elections after the bad actors had to leave.

The damage the MAGAs wrought to public education is a particularly grave problem. In the name of banning “CRT,” they prohibited the teaching of a full version of US history so as to make it seem that the idea of another Civil War over race relations wouldn’t be a disaster. The MAGA education reforms teach that the student who is different should be bullied and driven out. They teach authoritarianism rather than freedom. The United States needs to pay some special attention to these things, even as divided federal government makes it difficult to do so.

There is reason for optimism, though, when one realizes that the only government isn’t the federal one; that religion and popular culture are things apart that do matter; that “the media” are plural and not a singularly guided central conspiracy.

The USA will get by, but it would help if people looked around, took recent history into account and set a course of action for some positive changes.


Philosopher and psychologist William James, professor of the first US university psychology course, at Harvard. Notman Studios photo now possessed by Harvard University, in the US public domain.

Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.

William James

Bear in mind…

Only one mountain can know the core of another mountain.

Frida Kahlo

There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

A.A. Milne

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Anaïs Nin


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