The Appearance of Impropriety Dogs This Election

November 16, 2020 Updated: November 17, 2020


In my last column, I noted the many “red flags” that have popped up regarding the 2020 presidential election.

I won’t repeat that litany, except to say the appearance of impropriety is at least suggestive and, if you are the worrying sort, potentially damning.

It’s partly a matter of what I think of as the “Goldfinger principle,” after the avid gold smelter and nuclear weapons amateur Auric Goldfinger.

Goldfinger was a sensitive man. He didn’t like it when people began looking into his business ventures with too much curiosity—largely, no doubt, because many were ostentatiously illegal and, in some cases, evidence of grandiose homicidal insanity.

Nevertheless, his response to the repeated unscheduled appearance of James Bond in his life prompted him to make the eminently rational observation that “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time, it’s enemy action.”

Coincidences and Oddities

It might have been mere coincidence that Joe Biden ran behind Hillary Clinton everywhere except a handful of critical cities in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia.

That is odd, to be sure, especially when one notes that around midnight on Nov. 3, Donald Trump was running substantially ahead in those states. Then, the voting stopped. Everyone yawned and dozed off. When they woke up, what do you know, Biden had the lead everywhere!

Odd. Possible, certainly, but also odd.

It was also odd that the turnout was so large: pushing 90 percent in Milwaukee, for instance, much higher than it was for Hillary, and substantially higher than it was even for Barack Obama.

It was odd, too, that all of what have been described as computer “glitches” benefitted Democrats. They seem to have come to light by accident and, once uncovered, in some cases shifted county elections from the blue column to the red column.

Makes you think, as does the ratio of votes for Biden in those late-arriving ballot dumps.

There are so many occasions for thought in this election. There was the apparent violation of Benford’s Law, for example, a statistical tool widely used to uncover fraud, as well as the tranches of votes that were filled out, every one of them, for Biden, not to mention the tens of thousands of ballots that were filled out for Biden-Harris but for no one down-ballot, as if someone were hurrying to stuff—I mean cast—his ballot.

None of this is dispositive, of course.

Nevertheless, I feel sure that it would have made old Auric Goldfinger ornery.

Changing the Subject

It certainly has made the Democratic media complex eager to change the subject.

“Joe Biden won. He’s president-elect. Time to leave the election behind us and celebrate.” That’s the mantra, isn’t it?

Biden himself has been banging on with calls for “unity.” Doubtless, the poor fellow doesn’t remember the four years we’ve just been through. Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Do you remember all the “unity” that greeted him?

What a disgusting display it was, and many Republicans have treated the appeal with some portion of the contempt it deserves. As Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, put it, “For Democrats calling for unity, you may want to actually stop counting illegal votes in NV first.”

The reliably repulsive Adam Gopnik just took to the pages of The New Yorker to lecture anyone who actually reads his writing that “democracy depends on good losers.” (He actually wrote that.)

I doubt I am the only one to notice a sinister note behind the saccharine appeals to our better angels. Consider, for example, Kamala Harris’s tweet from Nov. 12:


“These are the ideals that will guide a [Biden–Harris] administration.”

Sure they are.

As some alert commentator noted, Harris seems to have been consulting the left’s new how-to manual, George Orwell’s “1984”:

“Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely …


Again, makes one think. As does the behavior of Biden’s supporters. On Nov. 14, when thousands upon thousands of  Trump’s supporters rallied in Washington to show their support, the rally was peaceful.

But come nighttime, when the crowd began to disperse, Antifa and BLM moved in to attack various elderly Trump supporters, or single mothers with their children. Turning Point’s Charlie Kirk got to the nub of the issue when he asked, “How can Joe Biden keep preaching ‘unity’ and ‘healing’ while his supporters viciously beat Americans in the streets of our capital?”

How indeed?

Appearance of Impropriety

There are many people, and I confess I am of their number, who believe with Newt Gingrich that this election was essentially “a left-wing power grab, financed by people like George Soros, deeply laid in at the local level, and, frankly … a corrupt, stolen election.”

Well, where, you ask, is the evidence? That is a good question. A dramatic answer to that might be forthcoming, and I will come to that momentarily.

But in the meantime, consider the optics, the “appearance of impropriety” that is so ostentatiously abundant in the case of this election.

Everyone knows that “it is common practice in the business and legal communities to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”

More than that, rules mandating its avoidance are inscribed in the code of conduct for judges and other officials. In many cases, violations of those rules are punishable, because they cast doubt upon the legitimacy of an important public trust. (Just ask Julius Caesar’s second wife, Pompeia.)

How about with so important a public trust as an American presidential election?

We’ll see whether the accumulation of suspicions is enough to stymie the rush to declare Biden the winner and rid the republic, at long last, of “the bad orange man.”

But it’s just possible that we won’t have to wage this battle with appearances only. Harder evidence of wrongdoing may be around the corner.

The attorney Sidney Powell is not only the lawyer for retired Gen. Mike Flynn, one of the most conspicuous casualties of the fake Russia Collusion Delusion witch hunt, but she is a key player in Trump’s investigation of (warning: euphemism alert!) voting “irregularities.”

And what she alleges is breathtaking.

Powell has been everywhere these past few days, but a good précis of her argument emerged from her interview with Maria Bartiromo on Nov. 15. If you do nothing else today, watch this interview.

In brief, Powell alleges that she has evidence that the voting machines that featured in key battleground states, machines from the Canadian company Dominion Voting Systems, were programmed to alter votes in favor of Biden. The company denies it, and Wikipedia puts the controversy down to a “conspiracy theory.” (Speaking of Caesar, was the soothsayer who warned Caesar to “beware the Ides of March” a “conspiracy theorist”?)

According to Powell, however, contrary evidence is coming through like water through “a fire hose.”

The clock is ticking. Certification of the electors is coming up in early December. Does Powell have the goods? We shall see.

Another bit of optics for your file. Peter Neffenger, chairman of Smartmatic, the company that provides the software for Dominion voting machines, was just placed on Biden’s transition team.

Another intriguing morsel. Goldfinger would raise an eyebrow.

Roger Kimball is the editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books. His most recent book is “Who Rules? Sovereignty, Nationalism, and the Fate of Freedom in the 21st Century.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.