Four weeks ago, Chuck DeVore led a task force of 35 experts across multiple disciplines, wargaming different scenarios for the 2020 US election.
One scenario they looked at was an ambiguous result with several states’ final election results being delayed and subject to intense court fights.
What did the task force find in this scenario? What does this tell us about how the 2020 election might ultimately be decided?
Today we sit down with U.S. Army intelligence officer Chuck DeVore, now in the retired reserve, who is also the vice president of national initiatives at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
This is American Thought Leaders 🇺🇸, and I’m Jan Jekielek.
Jan Jekielek: Chuck DeVore, such a pleasure to have you on American Thought Leaders.
Chuck DeVore: Great to be with you. Thank you.
Mr. Jekielek: So Chuck, about four weeks ago, you and I guess a number of experts, I think 35 in total sat down and gamed out what this election might actually look like. And one of the scenarios was a contested election. Not so different from a lot of what we’re seeing right now. And this is really fascinating. Tell me about this.
Mr. DeVore: Well, the idea for the project came together from the Claremont Institute from Ryan Williams, the president of the Claremont Institute out in California. And it was really seen as a response to an effort put together by a group of Democrats and never Trump Republicans. Of course, they call themselves bipartisan, but from a practical standpoint, they were really all against President Trump. And the effort that was done over the summer was called the Transition Integrity Project. And if you read the Transition Integrity Project, it read to me and to others, more like a kind of a propaganda hit on the President.
The two big takeaways that were discussed in the media was that the President would not leave the White House under any circumstances willingly, that he would somehow engage in some extra-constitutional efforts to stay in office beyond January 20, 2021, if he was defeated. And number two, that he would exhort his followers to violence to try to stay in office. And so we felt that there was, it was important to really put in an honest effort to try to develop our own post-election scenario or our own post-election simulation
And then two more things, of course, we wanted to kind of meet or redress some of the weaknesses that they admitted to in their own effort. Namely, they did not game out the reaction of the major media or the social media companies. And they also didn’t game out the legal efforts to challenge the election results. And we felt that those were two very serious shortcomings that should be addressed in our own effort.
Mr. Jekielek: So, this is incredibly interesting. I mean, one of you said, one of the scenarios from the Transition Integrity Project, talked about, the violence from the people supporting Trump, and we haven’t seen much of that in the past. Why do you think that was included in there?
Mr. DeVore: Well, I don’t know whether it was projection or mirror imaging, which of course, is a very common problem among analysts, where they impart the motives that are in their own side or their own mind to their opponents. Or whether it was simply kind of information warfare that they wanted to plant that suggestion. You certainly see that in the last few days, given the current post election environment. Where the same news outlets that will talk about mostly peaceful protests, when you have burning buildings and cars behind the reporters saying they’re mostly peaceful, characterize some of the gatherings from some of the pro President Trump groups as somehow dangerous mobs.
And again, just completely opposite in terms of the things that actually happened out of those gatherings of people where one group of people was consistently violent and would loot and burn, and another group of people, not so much or perhaps zero. So I think that that could have been part of that effort. In other words, they wrote that up in their own report, it got some widespread media coverage. And you see it even today, where you have this clear instance of people reporting things that just aren’t so.
Mr. Jekielek: What would be an example of that?
Mr. DeVore: Well, I think you saw that I can’t remember whether it was today or yesterday, where there was a gathering of people, I believe it was Maricopa County in Arizona, who were requesting that the vote would be tallied in an honest and open and fair way. And when the media came closer, or tried to accuse them of being somehow potentially threatening, they would start to pray and not give the media what they wanted. So it seems to be a pretty significant distinction between a group that when kind of pressed by the media to see if they could get them to be a little surly or angry or something, would instead resort to prayer. So I think that’s just one recent example, out of what we’re likely to see as many.
Mr. Jekielek: So here’s something interesting. You’ve mentioned Arizona. Now, there’s been a bit of an outcry or a lot of an outcry that Arizona was called prematurely by some media. And this is actually a scenario that you look at in your report. Tell me about this. First of all, what is the significance of calling it prematurely? What impact does that have? And secondly, how did that figure into your gaming scenario?
Mr. DeVore: So there’s a couple of impacts when the press erroneously calls or through whatever means, thinks that a state is now at the point where it should be called for one candidate or another. And then we find out that perhaps the information was incomplete. So the first thing that can happen is in the case of Arizona, right next door to Arizona, you have Nevada. And the polls were still open in Nevada for another hour after that call was made. So what could have happened is you might have had a few Nevadans that may have been discouraged by that and decided that maybe I’m not going to wait in the long line. That maybe if Arizona is a kind of a surprise, a shock that most people thought that President Trump would win Arizona that if it went the other way and went the other way early, that that might dishearten some voters, and they might just decide now to heck with it, I’m going to go home.
The other thing it does is it tends to dishearten your political opponents. And we know that in these sorts of times where you have conflicting information, you have lawsuits. It’s coming at the end of an exhausting and hard fought campaign, that it’s very difficult for people to keep their spirits up, to keep their head in the game and to continue to fight for a full free and fair count; a count that would be free of overt election fraud, for example. And so when you have a premature call like that, it tends to act as something that might demoralize not only the people behind a certain campaign, but potentially even the candidate themselves, if they expected to win that state, for example.
Now, I think that we have, in President Donald Trump, a candidate who perhaps isn’t like your typical candidate in that he is a little more of a fighter, perhaps a lot more of a fighter than the average candidate. So perhaps, that early call, in fact, may have had the opposite effect. But let me give you a practical example of how things like this can operate.
I spent some 24 years in the military. I’m still in the retired reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel and Intelligence Officer and there’s a discipline within the military called Psychological Operations. And typically Psychological Operations or PSYOPS as we call them, will only work on an enemy that is already beginning to feel defeated. You’ve already inflicted some losses on them, maybe they’re low on food, they haven’t gotten reliable ammunition resupply. And so that psychological operation against that enemy might further demoralize them and perhaps causing them to surrender, minimizing casualties on both sides. However, if you try to employ Psychological Operations on an enemy that’s not dispirited, sometimes they just laugh it off and mock it and think it’s kind of funny.
So when you look at something that has a potential effect on a campaign and the campaign workers like this early calling of Arizona, I think if you had a campaign that was less sure of itself or had a candidate who was less of a fighter, such a thing would probably have a larger effect than it is in fact having today. Now, in our scenario that we ran, you asked about that. What happened in our scenario was there was some foreign interference in some of the reporting chain between the counties and a state.
In most American elections, you’ll find that the administration of elections is decentralized at the county level. There are certain safeguards and advantages to this decentralization. And the reporting up to the Secretary of State’s office isn’t necessarily as protected as the internal systems within that county. And in some states, perhaps more than others, the transmission of that county information up to the Secretary of State’s office could potentially be hacked, pardon me could be hacked, and false results might be sent up to the Secretary of State’s office. And in an [AR] scenario, that’s what happened. And so you had a state that was prematurely called, and then it was reversed. And the reversal of that call then caused a certain escalation of tensions among the partisans on both sides in the campaign, and added fuel to the fire when it came to violence in many of these urban core areas. So that was what happened in our simulation that we ran about four weeks before the election.
Mr. Jekielek: So that’s really fascinating. You know, we don’t ultimately know what will happen in Arizona. But it seems like the President is sort of clawing back at the moment some of the lead that Vice President Biden has currently in the state. that will be interesting and fascinating that you were looking at such a potentially analogous scenario. Now, so let’s talk a little bit about these sorts of irregularities in terms of counting. Before we go deeper into the report and so forth. There’s been all sorts of allegations, at least, that there have been significant irregularities and how the votes being counted. I’m wondering if you could actually speak to that from your expert perspective.
Mr. DeVore: Sure. So some of the irregularities are simple, what we would call fat finger errors, right? You have people who don’t do this very often, they’re exhausted. They’re inputting data, and they make a simple mistake. And that mistake gets reported—it gets promulgated up the food chain to the Secretary of State’s office. And then at some point, somebody notices it, and thinks, gee, this doesn’t seem right, let’s go back and check. And then what ends up happening is they fix it. And then because everything’s kind of out in the open in the internet era, people report on that. And they say, “Hey, you know, this doesn’t seem right. I mean, I did that myself.”
There was a result that came out of either Wisconsin or Michigan, I can’t remember where they added some 130,000 votes for Vice President Joe Biden, and none for President Trump in that update. And as it ended up, … it was an entry error. Now, I said that originally, that, you know, “Hey, this seems suspicious. Is it voter fraud? Or is it an entry error”; so I did caveat it. But, obviously when that happens, it undermines faith in the efficacy, the honesty of the election.
Now, there’s other things that are happening, that are a little less easily explained. So as an example, there was a specific township, I believe this was in Michigan, where the votes between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton four years ago, if I remember correctly, was about two to one in favor of Trump. And that somehow this medium sized county was reporting two to one in the other direction, and as it has ended up at least from what we understand so far.
There appears to be some problems with the flash drives, the little thumb drives that are used to keep the recording of the vote that is coming in, in person from the precincts and that somehow some things got mixed up. And this is the sort of thing that if an election isn’t close, may not matter. Although it certainly may matter to local races like for the upper or lower house of the state legislature, for Judges, [or] for Sheriff raises, depending on what’s on the ballot right. Each state is a little different, as far as when these sorts of offices are on the ballot. But that’s a pretty significant shift to go from two to one in one direction, four years ago to two to one in the other direction now, and then to find out that perhaps something really wasn’t as it as it should have been.
The question then becomes was this somehow an operator error? Was this an error of the machinery that was used? Was this operator error due to training or just a, you know, an honest screw up? Or was there something more sinister going on? And that’s one of the reasons why you do these lawsuits that try to open the hood of the vehicle and poke around inside and see if everything is as it should be. That’s what happens, for example, when you do a recount frequently you have an opportunity to do a little more forensic research into these irregularities and see whether or not they’re for real. Because they’re very difficult to detect on election night. And even the days after, especially in the post or the current kind of pandemic environment, where you had, in many states, a gigantic increase in by-mail ballots.
And because of that, then you have this unusual bifurcation of the vote between a much heavier vote in person of voters who tend to vote for President Trump versus a heavier vote than normal by mail for people who preferred Vice President Joe Biden. And so then that made it very difficult to detect at the county and the precinct level. Unusual changes in the vote patterns, because COVID completely up-ended many of these patterns and then made it more difficult for people who would look into the veracity of the vote, to try to detect fraud. It made it very difficult to make that first step until you see the votes kind of brought together. And you start to see the total vote both, in person and by mail. And we’re beginning to see that now.
Mr. Jekielek: So in Philadelphia, the President has a legal team there that’s basically saying that they have a court order to be able to observe the counting in this one specific area. They’re being prevented from doing that, and the sheriff isn’t enforcing the court order. Are you aware of this situation? And what do you make of it?
Mr. DeVore: Well, I’m kind of surprised that this would happen, right? So first of all, let’s set the ground about Philadelphia. Philadelphia, as with many major urban areas in the country, has a long and shall we say, ironically proud tradition of election fraud. It was only a few months ago, for example, that the US Department of Justice indicted a Philadelphia elections official on charges of bribery, and election tampering. So this is not like it’s some alien activity in Philadelphia. This is something that Philadelphia is quite used to seeing, unfortunately, over its history.
And frankly, you can say that about other areas as well like Detroit or Baltimore. So, already you have an area that’s kind of known for these problems. And if elections officials like the Secretary of State of Philadelphia, who by the way, has a long history of very public statements against President Trump going back to when he first declared for office in 2015. And this public official, she’s responsible for administering the integrity of the elections in the state of Philadelphia. So you would think if the Governor of Philadelphia, if the Secretary of State in Philadelphia if the local elections officials in the city of Philadelphia, are so confident that they have enough valid votes to beat President Donald Trump, and assign the 20 electoral college votes of Pennsylvania to Vice President Joe Biden. If they were that confident, why are they resisting an authorized court order to allow for people to observe the ballot as they’re supposed to legally be able to do?
By the way, this is a common thing throughout the entire country that you’re supposed to have people from both sides observing the physical process of counting the votes to make sure that it’s done honestly and legally. And so the question then becomes if they’re so confident that they have enough votes, why would they do such a thing? And the thing that really puzzles me even further, is why would you do such a thing and then potentially anger the judicial system and potentially prejudice further rulings from the judicial system regarding your actions? I mean, it really potentially puts into doubt the results that came out of Philadelphia.
Now perhaps at the end of the day, all that will happen is some officials will be sanctioned, maybe they’ll have to pay fines, maybe they’ll get a slap on the wrist, and nothing more than that will happen, because that’s traditionally all that ever happens. But you would think that if they have more than enough votes to be comfortable, that they’d say, sure, come on in, we’d be delighted to have you watch Philadelphia deliver the valid votes to overturn or to overcome President Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania and deliver the 20 electoral college votes to Joe Biden, right? You’d think that they’d want that. And so I remain rather shocked and stunned that they’re preventing such a thing from happening. I just don’t understand what they would gain by it.
Mr. Jekielek: Are there other examples of situations, I guess that are questionable that you’re aware of that you want to comment on now?
Mr. DeVore: Well, there’s some interesting things out of Nevada, where as an example, you had a family of five voters. I know that the father of the family is a paramedic in the state. They contacted former Fox News reporter Adam Housley, about this. And they were trying to go vote early. And they were told they were not registered. And somehow that their vote didn’t count. And so they got a screen capture of it on their computer, about they’re supposedly not being registered when they believe they were and they appeared to have evidence that they were. And they tried to vote and … I understand that they were forced to vote a provisional ballot.
So the question when you see things like that, again, no system is perfect. Right? So then the question is when that begins to get out on social media, and assuming that the good “Old Jack” over [at] Twitter doesn’t try to squelch it. What ends up happening, of course, is if other people have experienced the same thing, what will happen is honest reporters like Mr. Housley will start to get an inbox right. And his email inbox will start to be filled with people who say, “Hey, you know, I had this problem, too.” And then the next question is, was there any sort of a partisan bias? Right? Did this happen to enough people that it might make the difference in a close election?
Because one of the standard issues of election challenge jurisprudence is that, let’s say one candidate, won by 100,000 votes. And let’s say there’s really good evidence that 50,000 votes were cast fraudulently. Well, if it wouldn’t make the difference in the election, the courts aren’t going to overturn the election, because there’s just not enough fraud to have made the difference. If on the other hand, a candidate won by only 1000 votes and you can prove that 3000 votes were fraudulent. Well, now the courts might be more interested in intervening and potentially overturning the results of that election.
And so the question then in Nevada is, are we seeing something that is more widespread? Was there a partisan bias to it or not? These are questions we don’t know yet. Unfortunately, because of active social media intervention, where Facebook and Twitter and other internet entities as well as the major media, are actively squelching these questions, we may never know, because there’s just not an honest discussion going on right now about these issues.
Another thing that appears to have happened in neighboring Arizona is that voters were provided with Sharpies to fill in their ballots. Now, normally, this isn’t a problem. You know, as long as you fill in the bubble appropriately, you’re good to go. But evidently, in some locations, the nature of the Sharpie and the nature of the ballot paper was such that the use of the Sharpie caused the ink to bleed through to the other side. And then this caused some problems with the optical scanning machines to read those ballots. And so far, at least according to what we’ve seen online, and again, that’s the problem with these things, right is [that] you don’t know if these are isolated incidences, and that they occurred to both sides evenly, or whether there was something more nefarious going on.
But so far, we’ve seen a number of people from the Donald Trump side of the aisle who tried to vote who claimed that their votes were invalidated and furthermore, that their ballots were spoiled. And then the elections workers refused to let them cast another ballot to correct the spoilage. And again, the question is did this happen more or less equally to both sides? In which case we just have a case of, of elections’ workers at this particular precinct not being aware of their obligations to facilitate a legal vote, or—and we don’t know this—was it more targeted and partisan? Again, that’s why you have lawsuits. That’s why you have recounts to go and examine these questions in a more methodical fashion then can be done over the internet with competing claims on Twitter.
Mr. Jekielek: Chuck, thank you for that. And then just a quick note to our viewers, anybody that is watching that feels like they have some concerns about irregularities that they may have seen in their own voting process, we are collecting those here at American Thought Leaders at Epoch Times. That’s at ATL@EpochTimes.nyc; that’s A-T-L, those three letters at EpochTimes.nyc, for anyone that has some concerns and wants to share that with us we’re collecting that information. Okay, Chuck, let’s jump to the gaming, the simulation that you ran, in this, of course scenario where it looks like it’s a close election where it’s sort of unclear who’s going to come out on top. What actually happened, and especially in the scenarios that were somewhat analogous to what we’re seeing now?
Mr. DeVore: Right. So one of the things, one of our objectives in this simulation was to essentially go down a path that would allow us to test or to simulate how the Constitution works in the most difficult circumstance possible. So we wanted the participants to be able to weigh in on for example, what would happen if a state refused to certify the results of the election? … What would be the case, for example, if the electors were never impaneled, because the dispute was still active by the time that deadline was reached, for the electors to meet and to cast their ballots?
And so we went through that scenario. And in the case of our simulation, one particular state, the President was ahead. … In the count by about 1600 votes. There was a large number of mail-in ballots that were still yet to be counted. And violence, urban violence was getting out of control. And you saw anarchists, ending up attacking the facility that stored the larger number of these mail-in ballots, and actually ended up damaging the ballots.
And so, in this particular state, the Secretary of State who was a Democrat, and the Governor did not like the fact that probably there were enough ballots that were in favor of Vice President Biden that might have tipped the state over to him. And they certainly weren’t going to let it stand that the President was going to win that state by 1600 votes. And so they refuse to certify the election results. And normally, in that sort of a circumstance according to the Constitution, the state legislature has the ultimate authority to determine how the electors are chosen in their state. And it would be the newly impaneled state legislature.
So in this case, the way the simulation ran is that the upper chamber of the state legislature was controlled by one party. But the lower chamber, the opposition party made a number of games and it was deadlocked. And as a result, the legislature was unable to come to any sort of an agreement about paneling a slate of electors to represent that state in the electoral college. And so as a result, the state just had no representation at all. And what that did is it affected then the total number of electors needed to elect the president.
Everyone thinks you need 270, what you really need is you need 50% plus one of the impaneled electors. So if a state ends up being in contention, and doesn’t impanel any electors, then that reduces the number of electoral college votes needed to win the presidency. So we went through all of that. And, of course, all the lawsuits around that, leading up to it. We had people simulating both sides, we had people simulating the role of the President and the Republican National Committee. And we had people simulating the role of Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee, as well as jurists at the state and federal level. And so lawsuits were flying left and right. These by the way, were written up in our ’79 Days Report,’ it’s an appendix, a legal appendix, where you can kind of see some of the legal rulings and theories that were filed and counter filed.
Mr. Jekielek: That’s you know, absolutely fascinating. I can almost [imagine a] scenario that’s hard to imagine, typically, but easier to imagine today, after seeing everything that we’re seeing. Let me just ask this before we continue. I mean, I see a lot of not just international people, which we watch, but also in the US just sitting here scratching their heads thinking you can’t count your ballots. What’s your problem, America? And what’s up with all this, you know, kind of diversity and how the ballots are counted, … when they can be counted, or can they be counted after the date? Is the postmark important? I mean, there’s a lot of people confused and frankly, stunned by this. Your thoughts?
Mr. DeVore: Yeah. So a lot of what you’re seeing right now is what I believe is kind of using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to do something that they wanted to do all along anyway. So as an example, you have groups who have always called for a significant expansion of mail-in ballots, who then redoubled those efforts using COVID-19, as the excuse to do so. And there’s reasons for this, and I’ll explain what they are.
So in the case of Pennsylvania as an example, four years ago, approximately 300,000 mail-in ballots were requested. And I don’t know how many were turned in, but it was about 300,000. This time around, the number that was requested was close to 3 million. And my understanding is about 2.5 million were turned in—so close to an eight fold increase, nine fold increase over four years ago. Now, when you do a mail-in ballot one of the reasons why many people who are concerned with election integrity are not big fans of mail-in balloting is that generally when people request the mail-in ballot, that is a public, that is something the public can know. In other words, you go and you look at the election rolls and you say, “Oh, these people in this neighborhood requested a mail-in ballot.”
And what that then allows elections workers to do is to go to those homes and to persuade or pressure people, in some instances in some places in America even provide small gifts, like maybe a six pack of beer or some drugs or maybe a $50 bill in exchange for that person handing over their ballot to what is known as a ballot harvester.
This is rather similar to a union election practice, called a Card Check election where when a union wants to unionize a particular factory, they’re given the names, the addresses and the phone numbers of all the workers in the factory. And then they go and basically pressure every worker individually until that worker gives them the card indicating whether they agree to unionize or not for that particular plant. And it’s a very effective way of using a lot of labor and a lot of money to ensure a very high percentage of people will eventually come around to your way of thinking.
Now in some cases, the person may not really even want to vote or perhaps they vote the wrong way. And the person who takes custody of the ballot might even go so far as to change the vote. They remove the ballot, and then they replace the ballot with the proper signature, after having steamed open the ballot and double checking that it’s the right vote. And if it’s the wrong vote, they can simply replace the right vote in quotes with the wrong vote, or actually, in this case, the wrong vote with the right vote being the vote for the candidate this person is working for.
And this is often done in local elections around the country. You’ll see, for example, district attorneys in certain rural areas be elected through this corrupt practice or school board majorities or sheriffs. And the reason why it’s done is a local government can be very profitable, if it’s corrupt. It’s sometimes done as well on a national level. Because again, it’s a way of ensuring that your person, your candidate can win the election. And so one of the questions then is when you have a race or a state like Pennsylvania, where you have this unprecedentedly large number of mail-in ballots that have been requested, then the question becomes what sort of safeguards are we using to ensure that the votes are valid and have been legally cast?
Well, one of the safeguards that was demolished in Pennsylvania was the requirement to have a matching signature on the outside of the envelope—a signature that matches a signature that might be on file with the Registrar of Voters or any other government agency. And in Pennsylvania, that requirement was obliterated. [It] was obliterated, because of COVID, right? The thought was, well, you know, we’re trying to keep people safe, we’re trying not to infect them. You have a lot of people who aren’t used to using mail-in ballots. Let’s relax the safeguards just for this one election. After all, we have very important things to do, like, try to defeat President Trump. And so we’re going to relax the safeguards just for COVID, mind you, and that’s what was done.
The other thing that was interesting in Pennsylvania was these court decisions that allowed the ballots to come in … as late as Friday after the election, so long as there was a postmark that was visible by close of business [or] by the close of the polls on Election Day. Now, of course, there are legal battles over whether or not the postmark will even be paid attention to. There’s also considerable concern that people are gaming the postmarks. That you have a compliant US Postal Service with a lot of union leadership that backed Vice President Joe Biden, that may, in fact, be hand post-marking ballots, such that they can get them in and make sure that they have enough of these ballots, to overcome whatever Election Day vote lead that President Trump had in Pennsylvania.
And so these are things by the way that are common throughout US history—US Electoral history. And because elections are run and managed at the county level with rules put in place by the state legislature, you have, in essence, 50 and if you include Washington, DC, 51 different elections systems around the nation. And again, that’s part of how America is built, right? We’re a Federal Republic, … we’re not a unitary national government. We have a federal system with a national government, and 50 state governments that constituted that federal government a little over 200 years ago when they agreed to form a union. So it’s both a feature and a bug when it comes to elections. Right? It kind of comes with the territory.
Unfortunately, you may have the specter maybe, right? I’m not saying that I have evidence for this. But if the election is close, in both Michigan and in Pennsylvania, you may have the specter of two cities, Detroit and Philadelphia with long histories of local election corruption, that may in fact, end up pushing the election one direction or the other. So in essence, you may have a city, essentially determining the victor of the 2020 election. Now, this is not without precedent in American history. You saw this in 1960 when the corrupt Chicago machine of Mayor Daley provided just enough votes to make sure that Illinois electoral college votes went to John F. Kennedy instead of Richard Nixon. And at the time, Richard Nixon, like many typical Republicans, decided that the nation would be harmed if he decided to fight this, which he had every right to do. But he decided that the better thing for the nation would be to gracefully concede and to not question what was known to be election fraud in Chicago. And so he, he bowed out only to of course, eventually become president eight years later.
This also happened in Texas history, in 1948 with the infamous Box 13 incident. This was a US Senate primary between the challenger Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the incumbent Democrat, US senator. And it appears that the incumbent Democrat won the primary by about 112 votes or so. And then you’ve had this ballot box that was discovered in a South Texas county with about 200 votes in it. And interestingly enough, the roster of voters who signed in and voted just happened to be in alphabetical order, and happened to have been written in the same handwriting by the same pen. And so it ends up, LBJ had just enough votes that he needed to win the primary back when Texas was a sure thing for the Democrats.
So winning the primary was tantamount to winning the general election back then. And you have an individual elected to the US Senate, who later in a couple of decades became Vice President and then President of the United States. He never would have been Vice President or President, were it not for the fraudulent votes cast in that county, that rural county down on the border with Mexico, in the infamous Box 13. So these things happen. They happen in US history. They thankfully are the exception, not the rule. But in some close races and some historic races, as we saw in 1960, it happens, and it does change the course of history.
Mr. Jekielek: Absolutely fascinating historical perspective here. Thank you for that. Chuck, I was reading the article that you put together, just kind of roughly looking at the scenarios that came out of your gaming work four weeks ago. And you list a whole bunch of different players, I guess, in actually contributing to the outcome. And I find that really interesting, because I certainly didn’t consider all of these. I’m just going to read them out here. You’ve got local election officials, sure, state officials [and] corrupt urban political machines. We’ve talked about that. Targeted mass violence. We’ve touched on that lawyers [and] judges. I’m very curious about how the judges play in, and of course Congress. Right? We’ve touched on how Congress might play an act. But actually, I think maybe that’s something you can talk about a little more. And then finally, media, social media and hostile foreign powers. … That’s quite, quite the group of people for something that should be just about people casting ballots.
Mr. DeVore: Well, right. Because when the people are done casting, the ballots of course, their civic duty is done, and then the machinery takes over. So for example, … one of the interesting things that happened in our scenario, our simulation, was there was a call by the President to investigate what he thought was irregularities in the election count in Pennsylvania and Michigan. And so he tweets it out and says, “Hey, you know, I’m concerned about what’s going on here.” And then what ended up happening was, Twitter censored his tweet. They didn’t let it go out.
And interestingly enough, not four or five days after we gamed that in our simulation, the New York Post did an article about Vice President Biden’s son Hunter, and a whole series of allegations of unethical and potentially corrupt and compromising behavior with Russia and with the People’s Republic of China. And that article from America’s oldest continuously published newspaper, The New York Post, was then banned on social media. Twitter took it down, in fact, they wouldn’t let them post anything for about a week. They were in Twitter jail. And eventually they relented.
Well, we predicted that exact scenario, less than a week prior to it actually happening. And of course, we’re seeing that right now unfold in real time, where many of the President’s tweets or many of his allies, allegations on social media are either slapped with a warning tag, or they’re throttled so that they don’t reach the full potential audience. And so what’s happening is a version of information warfare where you have arbitrators who are not neutral. … They have their candidate and their candidate is Vice President, Joe Biden. And what they’re doing is they’re controlling the news and information that the American public can see.
Now, in some cases, that news and information may in fact, not be true or be made up. But in many other cases, it’s absolutely true. And you ask yourself, you know, “Who are they to be the arbiter of this sort of thing.” You have individuals who are overwhelmingly situated in the San Francisco Bay Area, in California. There’s been some interesting news that, potentially, American discourse about the election might be somewhat moderated or have judgments passed on it by people who aren’t even American nationals.
Now, I understand, look, the internet’s a huge place, right? There are millions and millions of people. And some of those people are paid by foreign actors. Some of those people are working for different campaigns. Some of those people are frankly, probably crazy, conspiracy theorists, right? And you have these large internet companies doing what they say is the right thing. But then, how is it that it seems like they only appear to throttle back or censor people on one side of the ideological divide, and not the other?
It would seem, at least to an impartial observer, that their thumb is on the scale. And that is something that we gamed out extensively. In our effort, we had individuals who participated, who came out of Silicon Valley, and were part of the people who helped fund some of these internet companies that later became quite profitable. And so they knew very well, who they were dealing with. And I think did a terrifyingly accurate job of simulating what we’re seeing now. We had someone play Facebook, we had someone play Twitter, and we had someone play Google during our simulation. So the things that they anticipated are things that we’re seeing right now, in real time.
You mentioned foreign actors. We had players representing Russia and the People’s Republic of China. And what you saw with both of those actors, is that they did everything they could to increase the anger, and the paranoia in America, through their internet actions, through the spreading of rumors, by amplifying, for example, calls for violence or action within urban areas. And then of course, they also took advantage of the chaos in America, which hasn’t quite reached the level that we simulated, at least not yet, thank goodness.
But they also use the opportunity to try to strike out at their neighbors in an adventurous sort of way, thinking erroneously, that the American executive would somehow be too preoccupied with the election chaos to mount an effective US response. Now, in our simulation, the US was quite prepared and quite able to defend its interests abroad. Because we do have a unitary executive—there’s only one President at a time. And they do have advisors and a cabinet structure that such that the exercise of power is somewhat easily delegated. And so the US was not, in fact, powerless to stop these efforts. But that didn’t stop these four nations from trying, thinking that perhaps they would have an easier time of it.
So that’s two examples of the internet companies and the foreign actors. We also simulated the major media companies. And it was interesting, we had two basic groups, we had kind of the major media in general. And then we had a group that more or less approximated the non ultra left wing component of major media. And what was interesting is other than a few personalities that are clearly understood to be conservative media personalities, you saw both the major left wing media as well as the purported kind of middle of the road media, neither of them treating the President or his claims with a lot of credibility, right?
They were clearly all rooting for the other side, and kind of spinning their coverage in a way that made it more difficult to get information out to the masses, to really help the people understand what was going on and again, very similar to kind of an information warfare, sort of effort. The ultimate goal being to cause one side to become demoralized to desist from their legal challenges, to essentially just conceding and giving up.
Mr. Jekielek: Chuck, we’re going to finish up in a moment. But I wanted to speak to one more thing. You at the end of this piece that I read, you mentioned, the republic will endure. You end on a very kind of positive note. At the same time, we’re hearing people saying things like Civil War, you know. there are these kinds of things they’re being brandished about. But you’re on the other side. Basically, you’re arguing that the Constitution is resilient to dealing with these challenges. And that America can go on without an extreme scenario like that. I just wanted you to speak to that as we finish up here.
Mr. DeVore: Right. So, the US Constitution is resilient, and the people who put it together and subsequently amended it, really did a wonderful job in anticipating some of these more extreme scenarios. So for example, if nobody has the required 50% plus one of the electoral college vote, there are ways of dealing with that. The US Senate ends up conferring and selecting a Vice President, from a list of the top three vote getters. And the US House of Representatives does the same from the top three vote getters of the electoral college. And they do so based on state caucuses. So in other words, each state gets one vote, you need 26 states to win. And that’s how it’s sorted out.
And if for whatever reason that process doesn’t work, we have the Succession Act that then allows for a temporary president. So no matter what happens, right, no matter how crazy everything gets, we will have a president one way or the other on Inauguration Day, January 20 2021. That’s the way the system works. It’s been designed to produce results to allow the country to be governed, even when everything goes crazy. And the processes start to break down. That’s the nature of a constitutional republic like we have. Right?
And so I think the only challenge that makes me somewhat concerned, is the fact that America in recent times has been becoming increasingly at odds with each other, with canceled culture, with people self censoring themselves, because they’re concerned that if they speak freely, they might get fired, or might get harassed in their neighborhood, or maybe their tires will get slashed. And unfortunately, I think social media has made this more practical. In other words, it’s kind of weaponized, these sorts of problems.
And further, I think that perhaps the decline of faith has also played a role in that. It wasn’t too many decades ago, you would go to church or synagogue or to the mosque and there would be people from a variety of philosophical persuasions that would be with you as you practice your faith. And what we’ve been seeing in recent decades is an increasing secularization of America, and an increasing polarization between the two parties where you’re beginning to have one party that’s more like a secular party, without a lot of faith and another party, that by comparison, is significantly more so. And as a result, the ability for us to communicate with each other in the public square has become more difficult.
Especially in these times where you have such fervor on one side about the role of government. One of the things that I think people should stop and think about is, if the Supreme Court, or if the Federal Government is the most important thing in your life, maybe you should take stock and rethink your priorities. Because it ought not to be the most important thing in your life. That’s not only a personal problem, it’s also signaling how powerful we’ve allowed our Federal Government to become. It shouldn’t be that powerful. It should exist to secure our liberties—I believe our God given liberties.
And when the government goes beyond that, and starts to grow in power, that’s when you start to get people who are willing to shed some blood on the streets, because for them, the acquisition of power is the paramount thing. And that’s something that concerns me. Fortunately, our Constitution was designed to kind of thwart the aims of men and women who seek to gather power under themselves, right? That’s why we have a system with three branches, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial and further, a national government and a state government, a federal system. So you have two checks on power in preventing too much power from being accumulated by any one group of people. And that’s the genius of the Constitution. And I think that even in the current environment, that Constitution of ours should be up to the challenge. So I remain optimistic for America’s long term prospects.
Mr. Jekielek: And Chuck just to clarify, you were saying that one party has become very secularized and the other one more religious. Is that the diagnosis?
Mr. DeVore: Relatively speaking, right? So if you go back decades, in America, if you go back to like the 1960s, or 70s, there was very little difference between the two major parties, as far as for example, church attendance. They were virtually the same. Now, if you were to go and query that, you’d see a very sharp distinction between one party and the other. And I think that that is one of the contributing factors to the breakdown in our civil discourse. The other was the continuing increase in the power of the Federal Government. So as the stakes have gone up, the ability for Americans to speak with each other in reasoned, compassionate tones, I think has decreased. That said, I still think the Constitution is resilient and up to even the state of how American discourse has become today.
Mr. Jekielek: So do you think it’s possible that who is actually going to become the next President of the United States will be up in the air—up until Inauguration Day? Is that an actual possibility?
Mr. DeVore: It certainly is a possibility, because of how the Congress would determine, for example, if it is thrown to Congress, because there is no person with an Electoral College majority. You need to get 26 states, 26 state delegations to agree. And if you don’t, there’s no president selected out of that process. There would however, likely be a Vice President selected in the Senate. And then per the Succession Act, you may very well see the Speaker of the House temporarily become president, just to make sure we have one until the Vice President that was selected in the Senate could assume office.
So the system has accounted for all of these crazy scenarios, right? The system has anticipated all of them. So one way or the other, there will be a President on January 20 2021. And I think that’s the beauty of our Constitution and our system of government. It is resilient. It doesn’t often happen this way, you’d have to go back to, I think, the election of 1824, before you found an election where the Congress determined the President and Vice President because there was no Electoral College majority for either in that election.
Mr. Jekielek: Any final thoughts, Chuck?
Mr. DeVore: Well, just be thankful for those of you who are watching this broadcast, who live in America. Be thankful that you’re living in the world’s greatest nation, with the best Constitution. And that in spite of our challenges, in spite of our flaws understanding that the people are flawed, and so are the governments they create. it’s still a pretty darn good system, and in my opinion, the best in the world. So, have faith. You know, don’t lose heart, and fight for what you believe should be the proper outcome of this election, a free and fair and honest election. And then, you know, respect whoever comes out of this as is the President for the next period of time.
Mr. Jekielek: Chuck DeVore. It’s such a pleasure to have you on.
Mr. DeVore: Thank you.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.