Minnesota’s new junior senator
Aided by a dishonest and partisan media, which scrupulously avoided investigating the facts and which faithfully reported the democrat party line, clown comedian and ultra-liberal Al Franken finally successfully stole last year’s close race for the senate seat from Minnesota when the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to interfere with an accomplished crime and instead declared him the winner.
The honorable exception in the major media was, as usual, the Wall Street Journal editorial page:
Mr. Franken trailed Mr. Coleman by 725 votes after the initial count on election night, and 215 after the first canvass. The Democrat’s strategy from the start was to manipulate the recount in a way that would discover votes that could add to his total. The Franken legal team swarmed the recount, aggressively demanding that votes that had been disqualified be added to his count, while others be denied for Mr. Coleman.
But the team’s real goldmine were absentee ballots, thousands of which the Franken team claimed had been mistakenly rejected. While Mr. Coleman’s lawyers demanded a uniform standard for how counties should re-evaluate these rejected ballots, the Franken team ginned up an additional 1,350 absentees from Franken-leaning counties. By the time this treasure hunt ended, Mr. Franken was 312 votes up, and Mr. Coleman was left to file legal briefs.
What Mr. Franken understood was that courts would later be loathe to overrule decisions made by the canvassing board, however arbitrary those decisions were. He was right. The three-judge panel overseeing the Coleman legal challenge, and the Supreme Court that reviewed the panel’s findings, in essence found that Mr. Coleman hadn’t demonstrated a willful or malicious attempt on behalf of officials to deny him the election. And so they refused to reopen what had become a forbidding tangle of irregularities. Mr. Coleman didn’t lose the election. He lost the fight to stop the state canvassing board from changing the vote-counting rules after the fact.
This is now the second time Republicans have been beaten in this kind of legal street fight. In 2004, Dino Rossi was ahead in the election-night count for Washington Governor against Democrat Christine Gregoire. Ms. Gregoire’s team demanded the right to rifle through a list of provisional votes that hadn’t been counted, setting off a hunt for “new” Gregoire votes. By the third recount, she’d discovered enough to win. This was the model for the Franken team.
Mr. Franken now goes to the Senate having effectively stolen an election.
As Chris Cillizza explains, the key to Franken’s successful election theft was: (1) being the first to bring in highly-paid talented legal big guns to manipulate a post-election ballot review process in his favor, and (2) media allies representing an artificially contrived and completely partisan recount as decisive and meaningful. Franken keeping his repulsive and excruciatingly vulgar personality under wraps for the duration helped a lot, too.
How did Franken manage to wind up on top? …
Marc Elias, a Democratic election attorney with Perkins Coie, was on the ground in Minnesota within days of the near-tie on election day. Elias spearheaded a series of legal victories in the early days of the recount that effectively defined the universe of votes that were counted and led to Franken going from behind on election night to ahead when they recount ended. By the time Ben Ginsberg, the Republicans’ election lawyer par excellence, got deeply involved, it was already too late. …
When the statewide recount ended, Franken led by 225 votes. … it’s hard to overstate how important the fact that Franken was (seemingly– JDZ) ahead was to setting public perception regarding the legal fight that ensued. Coleman was forced to be the aggressor legally, claiming that all sorts of ballots had been illegally counted (and not counted) while, through it all, the fact that Franken led by 225 votes hung over the proceedings. Voters tend to lose interest in politics quickly — particularly after an election as nasty and long as this race was — and that sort of fatigue played right into Franken’s hands. …
Franken’s problem throughout the race was, well, himself. … When the race ended in a tie, Franken did something very smart; he stayed out of the spotlight. He was rarely seen or heard and when he did pop into public view it was during an occasional visit to Washington when he was huddling with potential colleagues and getting briefed on issues by potential staffers.
When, oh, when will the Republican Party learn to play politics professionally against thugs, thieves, and liars? Watching Norm Coleman get rolled was like watching the team from St. Fauntleroy’s Academy for Young Gentlemen take on the Bowery Boys Reformatory team on the football gridiron. No contest at all.