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No Sign of Trump’s “Millions” of Illegal Voters in Texas

All around the state, counties with large non-citizen populations see no evidence of fraud in 2016.

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Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Since Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote in November, our new commander-in-chief has consistently attacked the legitimacy of popular vote totals that showed his rival, Hillary Clinton, well ahead of him on election day. “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted in November. Although he has doubled down on the claim in several subsequent statements, offering an estimate of three to five million illegal votes and complaints about specific states, Trump has failed to provide evidence of widespread fraud.

Myrna Pérez, a Texas native and civil rights lawyer, won’t take the president at his word. As head of the Voting Rights and Elections project at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, Pérez has seen states around the country—Texas included—rushing to respond to voter fraud threats. “As someone who’s driven by data, as someone who researches elections, as someone who is in the business of making sure our elections represent the voices of actual Americans, I’m very troubled at the policies we see that seem to not have any science or data behind them,” Pérez says.

Pérez, a graduate of San Antonio’s Douglas MacArthur High School who now teaches at Columbia and NYU law schools, decided to check if Trump’s claims of massive voter fraud had any empirical backing. Her team at the Brennan Center reached out to all 44 counties in the U.S. that are home to more than 100,000 non-citizens. The team also contacted several of the largest and most diverse counties in the three states—California, New Hampshire, and Virginia—where Trump made specific claims of “serious voter fraud.” Forty-two counties responded to Perez’s queries, including Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, and El Paso counties in Texas. The counties Pérez’s team interviewed accounted for over 23.5 million votes in the 2016 election. However, the county elections administrators reported a combined total of only 30 fraudulent noncitizen votes in 2016—about .00001 percent of the votes totaled.

“Noncitizen voting in Texas, as in the rest of the country, is rare,” Pérez concludes. As for the nationwide total of fraudulent votes, she says her methodology doesn’t offer a reliable estimate, but that there is no way it’s three to five million people. “Not even close,” she says.

Pérez’s criticisms are echoed by elections administrators around Texas—the people work to assure that eligible voters can cast a ballot and ineligible voters cannot. “I have not seen the numbers to support that,” says El Paso County elections administrator Lisa Wise, referring to Trump’s three to five million claim. “The integrity of elections is a priority for this department, and I believe that it is intact until I see differently.” Bexar County elections administrator Jacquelyn Callanen also backs that sentiment. “I welcome the light being shined on this, to show that our records are well-maintained,” Callanen says. “We stand for integrity. We take such pride and we do such, I think, a magnificent job of list maintenance and voter participation.”

There’s reason to believe that Trump’s baseless accusations reflect more than a wounded ego. Earlier this month, Trump convened a presidential Election Integrity Commission, to be co-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach, a rising star of the national Republican Party, has a long history as an architect of laws that racially profile Latinos, going back to Arizona’s SB 1070 “show me your papers” law in 2010, which was ruled unconstitutional. More recently, in Kansas, Kobach has led the push for a new generation of restrictive voter registration laws that purportedly aim to crack down on non-citizen voting but, in reality, mostly just make it more difficult for eligible citizens to vote. Such laws, which require voters to submit proof of citizenship when registering to vote, are popular with Republican politicians who see political advantage in shrinking the pool of registered voters. “We have seen similar laws be introduced in Texas,” Pérez says.

Pérez illustrates the potential for voter suppression from Kobach’s new wave of “show me your papers” laws by invoking a familiar image of a voter registration drive. “Imagine someone outside the HEB saying, ‘Hey, do you want to register to vote?’” Pérez says. “The would-be voter says yes. They’d then have to hand over a copy of their birth certificate or their passport to a complete stranger, who then has to put it together and mail into the election office. That’s never going to happen. It’s going to massively diminish the number of people that register.”

Pérez would prefer to see a system of so-called automatic voter registration, where all government agencies, from the Department of Motor Vehicles to Veteran’s Affairs, Medicare, Medicaid, and others contribute to encouraging citizens to register and monitoring each individual’s address and eligibility.

Pushing back against politicians stoking fears of non-citizen voting is complicated, because non-citizen voting does happen on occasion, and reducing those instances is an obvious public good. “We see it every so often, yes. Not in great number by any stretch of the imagination, but periodically, we do see it,” says Callanen, who has served in her role in Bexar County for twelve years.

Usually, Callanen says, her office learns of non-citizen voting activity when an individual goes through the citizenship process and her department is asked to furnish a record of voting activity for the applicant. Occasionally, that record will show a history of illegal voting. “Ninety-nine-point-nine percent, there’s no voting history, but occasionally we get that one, two, three people within a year,” Callanen says. Therefore, though she saw no evidence of voter fraud in 2016, it is possible that a handful of cases may come to light over the next few years.

Earlier this year, a voter fraud case was actually prosecuted in Tarrant County—a rarity in Texas and around the country. Rosa Maria Ortega, a non-citizen with a permanent resident visa, was convicted of voting illegally in 2012 and 2014. Ortega, who has a sixth grade education, claims she didn’t know she was breaking the law. Nonetheless, a judge sentenced her to eight years in prison, after which she will very likely be deported and separated from her four children.

Pérez sees a similarity between that sentence and the draconian proof-of-citizenship voter registration laws being pushed by Kobach and now, it seems, by the Trump administration. “I don’t want non-citizens voting either,” Pérez says. “Nobody does. I don’t think that’s the dispute. The question is, how big is the worry, and what’s the response? If you were afraid of an ant bite, you wouldn’t use bear spray in a room. You’d be choking and unable to breathe.”

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  • WUSRPH

    These numbers will mean nothing to the “true believers”….but even if they did they do not affect the real reason for Trump’s commission. The problem is that to the right today you should only have a right to vote, if you vote RIGHT and, if you fail to do that, every possible barrier to you voting “wrong” should be put in your way.

    I think that we can be confident that, before it is thru, this commission will have recommended a number of new measures to restrict voting……including perhaps requiring real proof of citizenship to register in the first place. In fact, I was surprised that was not in the ALEC package of bills for this year’s legislative sessions as it is a natural follow-up to their previous plans for voter IDs and restricting pre-election voting. Probably the only thing that keep them from pushing it this year is their uncertainty about the way the SCOTUS is going to lean on future voter restrictions….When Justice Thomas votes against your side you have to be concerned…..Actually, at least one bill to further restrict voting was introduced in the Texas Legislature this session but it was dropped when the lawyers for the state in the various elections cases suggested it might look bad to pass more while the courts were still dealing with the last batch.

    • SpiritofPearl

      I know someone on thhis commission, an ethical, decent person. Let’s hope that philosophy minimizes the damage.

      • WUSRPH

        window dressing is always a good idea.

        • SpiritofPearl

          That’ll be the first good idea this WH has had.

          Looking forward to Comey’s testimony . . .

      • Jed

        Are you sure? They are on a trump commission …

        • SpiritofPearl

          The person in question is a Republican, but a sensible one. Let’s look for hope where we can find it. Remember – the purpose of this “commission” is to pander to the base, not to accomplish anything.

          • Jed

            “The person in question is a Republican, but a sensible one.”

            you lost me here. given what republicans do and stand for today, how can anyone still be a republican and claim to be sensible?

            maybe it’s hard to face the truth when it’s your friend …

          • SpiritofPearl

            Don’t succumb to the tribalism manifested by the right. There ARE decent Republicans.

          • SpiritofPearl
          • Jed

            More false equivalence stuff?

            One party supported a fascist for president. Their members voted for him.

            You can apologize all you want, but I prefer to interact only with those who think democracy is more important than a tax cut for
            Billionaires.

            Call me closed minded.

            Ps – I didn’t even look at the link. Did I guess correctly?

          • SpiritofPearl

            I don’t know what you guessed.

            Don’t become the thing you hate . . .

          • Jed

            Banal platitudes are no match for … anything.

          • SpiritofPearl

            If you choose to suffer, that is your decision.

          • Jed

            Ah, suffering is a state of mind, too? Have you met Ben Carson?

  • Doubting Thomas

    “He will deceive many…” (Daniel 8:25) https://t.co/LRJCgWahmw

  • WUSRPH

    After President Obama took office a bunch of folks made cracks about his use of a teleprompter, suggesting that his alleged “eloquence” was only because he could read a script. Now with Trump as president you have people—usually his staff and the state department— begging him to use one…..and to stay on the script. Funny how things change.

    • Mariarshreve

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  • Bill Anderson

    News Flash:
    If you ask people if they’ve broken the law in a phone interview they are not likely to answer in the affirmative.
    I know TX MO is an entertainment magazine designed to be read in the lobby of dentists, chiropractors, and snake oil salesmen, so don’t pretend to be an informative source on electoral accountability. I asked a couple of dudes standing on the corner of 6th and Chicon if they were drug dealers, they said “nah brah, we are just bird watchers waiting on blue footed boobies”.

    • José

      I guess you didn’t read the study and that you just glossed over the article above and made some careless mistakes that supported your preconceptions. Tsk tsk.

      The article says that the researchers “contacted” 40+ county officials. Possibly that was by phone but the report describes the contacts as “in depth interviews”. In any case those contacts should not be confused with contacting individual voters, as you presume. The report does go a little deeper into their methodology, should you be interested. Anyone who takes the trouble to write sarcasm like this certainly should take the time to read and understand the basic facts.

      • SpiritofPearl

        Breitbart bubbas don’t bother with studies. It’s all “fake news” to them.

      • Bill Anderson

        Jose, can you point out in the study where the author went beyond asking Government Officials if the Government was reporting about Government sanctioned corruption?

        I’ll be waiting.

        • José

          Ah, I see! I misunderstood. When you mentioned people breaking the law I thought that you meant people who are voting illegally.

          But the contention, which you seem to tiptoe around, is that these lawbreakers are public servants are willfully and intentionally assisting in a criminal activity that undermines the integrity of our republican form of government, this “Government sanctioned corruption” that you cite. And this ongoing activity occurs independently in multiple jurisdictions around the nation. And your awful allegation of this amazing conspiracy is put forth absent any evidence whatsoever. Whew!

          OK, you can put back on your tin foil hat and I will take my leave. Have a good day, sir.

          • Bill Anderson

            Voter Fraud is endemic in the system. That is the truth. Studies touting the legitimacy of voting carried out by and for the continuation of the Corporate States of America have no power over me. Simple really. I don’t need to be told the “truth” by the Soviets or the Federals or any other regime in power to understand exactly how power is maintained. Idiots that still believe in the Great and Powerful OZ when they can plainly see the man behind the curtain are beyond redemption. Keep believing their bullshit friend.

          • José

            You’re absolutely right, I cannot disprove that secret conspiracy of local election officials, most of whom are middle aged white women, committing voter fraud on a massive level right under our noses and getting away with it.

            I am also unable to disprove that Elvis and Bigfoot are busy working on the next generation Time Ark at Area 51.

            We’re done here. Adios, amigo!

          • Bill Anderson

            In the words of the late great Rick Perry “Adios MOFO”…

          • pfcwms

            Merely repeating your talking points while supplying no evidence of “endemic voter fraud” in any U.S. state is unconvincing to anyone outside of your circle of True Believers.

          • Bill Anderson

            While your circle of true believers keeps on denying the obvious right in front of them.
            How’s that voting working out for you? Seen any change lately?

          • Jed

            i think anti-corporate right-wingers are the funniest.

          • Bill Anderson

            I think people who think I’m a right-winger are just putting me on.

          • Bill Anderson

            You didn’t answer my question, you don’t even want to comprehend the implications of my question. Let us pretend we live in a third world dictatorship that has a mock election every set number of years. When the media covers that election in the third world dictatorship and they ask the third world dictators political hacks whether their elections are tainted, what do you think their response will be? Do you think they will say “Dictator X didn’t legally win the election, we threw away opposition ballots, counted Dictator X’s ballots over and over again, and murdered the intern who gave away those secrets to Wikileaks”…? Is that what you think they’ll say? Oh wait, that was Florida.

          • BCinBCS

            Okay All-Knowing-Bill, so where is your proof that any of what you claim is actually occurring? Don’t try to tell me that I should know that it happening. Show me evidence, any evidence. (Surely something this rampant would be easy to document.)

          • Bill Anderson

            OK, I’ll go down and ask the local election clerk if she has violated the law. I’m sure she’ll fess right up.

          • BCinBCS

            So, in other words, you have no evidence of undocumented immigrant voter fraud. Do you understand how you and Comrade Trump/Bannon look when you make these unfounded, irrational claims?

  • José

    Here is your periodic reminder that a legal vote denied is every much as bad as an illegal vote cast. If Republicans were truly concerned about the value of votes they would make it easier to participate in this basic act of citizenship. Instead they are clearly doing what they can to suppress the votes from certain classes of individuals. That’s about as un-American as you can get.

    • Hugh Everett
      • José

        Washington Times? (Snicker) C’mon, man.

        I’m sure that if these draconian laws prevent a few votes from being cast then that’s just fine. But they were obviously designed with a different purpose in mind.

        • Hugh Everett
          • José

            1. PILF is hardly a respectable source of information and certainly. From what I can tell there is quite a bit of sloppiness concerning voting registration errors (undoubtably true) and votes actually cast by ineligible voters (way overblown). Let me know if you don’t understand the difference and I’ll explain. Last fall a WaPo reporter did a spot check on their data and, guess what, found errors! He contacted people who were listed as illegal voters and found otherwise.
            2. “Polls show that Democrats want illegal aliens voting.” I’m not even going to bother looking at this because even if true it’s hardly meaningful. A poll? Want? BTW did you know that in the past it was typical for non citizens to vote, and that there’s a good reason for allowing that practice, specifically at the local level, considering that they pay taxes and use public facilities and otherwise are as much a part of their communities as anyone else? I’m not advocating, just explaining the situation more fully.

            All of this still misses the point I make, that these laws purport to solve a problem by creating a bigger one. And the ugly truth is that these laws are designed exactly with that in mind. In order to stamp out illegal voting they are very clearly working to suppress the votes from certain classes of eligible citizens. It is possible to improve the voting system in both directions, by making illegal voting more difficult and making it easier for eligible voters to participate.

            Disenfranchising someone is just another form of voter fraud. Any true American ought to affirm that principle.

          • WUSRPH

            The article you cite says about 7000 illegal votes over a period of YEARS. It also does not answer the old question “%age of what?” When you consider the hundreds of thousands of votes cast in Virginia over that period, to suggest that 7,000 votes have corrupted the election process in Virginia is more than questionable. It has to be in 0.000%.

          • José

            Whereas the number of suppressed votes is substantially larger.
            When the cure is worse than the ailment then it’s not much of a cure.

          • WUSRPH

            I assume you noticed that HB 25, which abolishes the straight ticket ballot, is not effective until 2020. This means that Abbott, Patrick and their ilk can enjoy its use when they run next year when the turnout is smaller, but that it will be banned for the next presidential year with its greater turnout. Coincidence? Yeah!

          • BCinBCS

            ” Coincidence?

            And politicians wonder why the public is cynical about them.

      • …and American citizens.

    • Fantasy Maker

      You mean like giving amnesty to people who broke the law? If you want to live in this country then you follow the laws and the process for as long as it takes to come here legally like tens of millions have done before you.

      If you cannot enter the country legally then you really are not what this country is about and you do not deserve to be here if you cannot obey the laws that WE the people do.

      • BCinBCS

        And you have never broken a law of your city, county, state or nation?
        Hypocrite, much?

        • Fantasy Maker

          If I break a law, I pay the fine or the consequences. Just last week I got pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt and got a ticket which I will pay. Unlike illegal aliens who enter the country, ignore the laws and then whine, protest and picket when they get caught and have to be deported.

          • BCinBCS

            Fantasy: “If I break a law, I pay the fine or the consequences.

            And here is the relative difference between your consequences and those of an undocumented immigrant who has violated the law by living in the U.S. for decades:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cec9be91ca9ba10b93e58e18efc0b1bf1f7a8882204c61d2408ed4c1cd69fbd9.jpg

          • Fantasy Maker

            You stupid idiot- do you know what the punishment is for illegally entering Mexico- 1 year MANDATORY jail time. GFY.

          • BCinBCS

            And do you know that the penalty for stealing in some Arab countries is to have your hand cut off? Do you know that the penalty for blasphemy in some countries is death?

            The sentiment of the relative difference between your consequences and those of an undocumented immigrant in the cartoon stands.

          • Fantasy Maker

            So the MORAL of the story is to OBEY the laws of the country you enter!

          • BCinBCS

            The MORAL of the story is to NOT have stupid-ass, draconian laws!
            (And if you do have them to change them.)

          • …because of course what Mexico does is the standard by which U.S. laws are judged.

          • Your doing a fair amount of whining here. In any event, this is a distinction without a difference. Just another bigot pretending to be a man of principle.

      • José

        I look at what I wrote, and then what you wrote, and do not see the connection. Seriously. Did you post something in the wrong spot?

        There are lots of people who are American citizens and Constitutionally eligible to vote in our elections but who are denied that right by laws that intentionally purposefully make it difficult for them. The problem is not new, just the methods used by those who seek to disenfranchise others.

      • WUSRPH

        But there was no “process” before 1924…Those millions—probably including your ancestors—just showed up and came ashore….No visas or paper required. Late in the period they put into effect health checks at places like Ellis Island….but those only applied to poor folks, those who came in steerage or third class. First and Second class travelers were not even questioned…They just walked ashore. The only exceptions were for Blacks and Chinese who we barred. Learn your history sometime……

        • Fantasy Maker

          Laws, just like the world changes. Just because someone walked in here a 100 years ago does NOT mean you have the same opportunity.

          • WUSRPH

            The Congress has granted amnesty to what you call “illegal aliens” on many occasions in the past. There is no reason why it cannot do the same now….However, no one but you and a few fanatics seem to be suggesting it now…..All the serious proposals have called for granting a work permit and then requiring a number of years BEFORE the applicant can APPLY FOR citizenship. There is no automatic grant, as there were with the real amnesties of the past. As you note, “laws, just like the world changes”. This is a case where that could happen.

            P.S. I don’t need an “opportunity”….My first ancestors got here in 1634…..Looking at the behavior of such late comers as the Trumps, I sometimes joke that we would all have been better off if they had slammed he door shut behind them. But then America would not have had the benefit of the hard work and energy of those “aliens” that followed that have made it the greatest country in the world. (Trump first American ancestor would not have been allowed in under the current laws….as he was a DRAFT DODGER…..an illegal act.)

    • I am continually amazed at the number of ‘patriots” who are comfortable with seeing other Americans denied the right to vote.

  • oblate spheroid

    Trump doesn’t truly believe his outrageous illegal vote claim, or several of the others he spouts. He knows the republican base is so dumb they’ll believe most of it, and it acts as a loyalty test for his administration. If his aides defend and repeat the lies, he will trust them; if they stumble or hedge, he gets rid of them or undermines them. He acknowledges this aspect of his personality in his books.

    Doesn’t change the fact that many such claims are damaging to the country, though.

  • WUSRPH

    We have all heard about “sleep walkers”, but apparently we now have a “Sleep Tweeter” in Trump. Actually that would explain many of his night-time follies.

    • José

      At a time like this what can anyone do but covfefe?

      • SpiritofPearl

        I see a trend sweeping the nation . . .

  • Marvel

    Voter I.D. laws are unnecessary. Voter I.Q. laws should be mandatory in light of the orange dumpster fire we currently have in the oval office.

  • WUSRPH

    ALL anyone can say about Trump’s announcement on the Paris Accord is:
    What if he is wrong? His great-grandchildren will curse his name.

    • Jed

      What if he is wrong?

      You aren’t sure yet?

      • WUSRPH

        Now he know what Trump meant:
        Make America as great as Syria and Nicaragua!
        I’m so proud.

        • WUSRPH

          During World War II the “Big Three” meant either Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin or The US, Britain and the Soviet Union……Today it apparently means:
          Trump, Assad and Noriega or the US, Syria and Nicaragua.

          • WUSRPH

            BETRYAED!!!!
            You can’t trust anybody these days……Trump has been betrayed by our new Tri-World Leader, Nicaragua…….which now indicates that it will desert the US and Syria and sign the Paris Accord.

          • Jed

            that is awesome.

          • WUSRPH

            I hear that Nicaragua did not think the Accord was tough enough.

  • pfcwms

    Trump has not yet provided one shred of evidence to back up his grossly hyperbolic claims about “massive voter fraud” to the tune of 3 to 5 million votes in the 2016 election. Another sign of the shady and slippery nature of Trump’s claim about this is that he went on to aver that every single one of these hypothetical 3 to 5 million illegal votes went to Hillary Clinton, and not a single vote among them went to him. You would think that even a tycoon who has driven some of his casinos into bankruptcy would know a little something about the law of averages. Trump is lying like a fox with the ulterior motive of using the bogus “expert” advice from the Al Capone of voter suppression, Kris Kobach, to demand Congressional legislation for federal citizenship ID requirements for all voters, just as Kobach did in Kansas to attempt to defranchise most university students in Kansas (who trend Democratic).

    • WUSRPH

      The Hispanic woman in Dallas they sent to prison for illegal voting…..voted REPUBLICAN. You just don’t understand…..You only have a right to vote if you vote RIGHT!.

  • James Thompson

    The Republicans are keenly aware that their voter base is literally dying off. The Republicans are well aware that in order to maintain their current stranglehold on power, it is imperative that they restrict the access to the ballot as much as possible. Their voter base, generally older, predominately white and generally either wealthy or fundamentalist Christian is shrinking, Republicans also know that if they make it more difficult to vote, that their generally more fanatical base will continue to turn out, while voters who have due cause to fear they will be harassed at the polls may not. And if the Republicans can suppress the voter pool of the poor by making it prohibitively difficult for the poor to to obtain a valid voter registration, that helps the Republicans. That gives them a clear motive to gin up false claims of voter fraud, so they can clamp down on the access to the ballot box, the same way that poll taxes and literacy tests where used for decades in the South to prevent African Americans from voting. And before some one uses as a false equivalency, yes, all those decades ago it was the Democrats who were doing it. Now it is the Republicans. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Should non-citizens vote? Of course not. Should we make it as easy as possible for all citizens to vote? Only if we truly believe in representative democracy. Any one who is trying to restrict access to the voting booth is literally acting un-American. Kris Kobach should never have been appointed to head this so-called “Election Integrity Commission”. The fact that he was proves that the commission’s true purpose is to make it harder for the poor, old and disabled to vote, and help the Republicans desprate grip on power from slipping inevitably away

    • C U A R T I T O

      Damn well said.

    • Fantasy Maker

      You need to show proper ID to buy ammunition, rent a car, open a bank account, donate, blood, rent an apartment, test drive a car, open a Post Office box, get married, apply for social security benefits,board a commercial airplane,adopt a pet, apply for a fishing license and/or pick up a prescription but NOT to vote?
      Even the State of Texas accepts over a dozen forms of acceptable ID- who in this state does not have a driver’s license, passport, state issued ID, military ID card, utility bill, bank statement, cell phone bill, apartment lease,copy of original paycheck, handgun carry permit, US citizenship papers or Texas election ID card. Even if you are infirmed, DPS will come to your house and take your photo and get you an ID FREE of charge if you give them enough time.

      Your pathetic attempt at doing everything possible to further voter fraud is quite apparent.

      • BCinBCS

        Great attempt there Fantasy. It’s not having to show an I.D. that is the problem, it’s the type of I.D. that causes the problem. The state of Texas does not accept utility bills, bank statements, cell phone bills, apartment leases or copies of original paychecks. That’s the problem.

        • Fantasy Maker

          Those are all SUPPORTING documents

          • WUSRPH

            But not recognized as ID.

      • WUSRPH

        As pointed out below, your “over a dozen forms of acceptable ID” for voting is, to be polite, a major exaggeration based, I would hope, on your lack of knowledge about what you are talking about and not on a deliberate attempt to deceive.

      • What your post does NOT do is show that such fraud is happening, which was the subject at hand. What’s pathetic is your own effort to advance voter suppression with a blatant red herring.

  • WUSRPH

    The Economist’s reaction to Trump’s misfeasance of yesterday.

    http://tinyurl.com/y7hru9mf

  • WUSRPH

    An updated thought:

    In 1424 (western calendar) the Ming Emperor of China—then the most economically, culturally and scientifically advanced land in the world—concerned about the influence of foreigners on his country, ruled that travel to foreign lands—and particularly the great sea expeditions that had seen Chinese fleets reach as far away as Eastern Africa, India and the Middle East and opened a whole new world for trade and knowledge—would be banned, ordered the great ships destroyed and “closed” the door to China..

    Interestingly, this was just about the same time that far, far away in lands whose material wealth and culture could not come close to China, adventurous people began pushing out into the seas, leading them eventually to the very doors of that closed China and producing an explosion of wealth and knowledge that made what we call The West the dominate power in the world.

    Today in a land far from that China a new emperor-want-to-be of what is now the most economically, culturally and scientific advanced land in the word—concerned about the influence of foreigners and the competition they produce for jobs and wealth—is moving to cut off immigration from those foreign lands, destroy trade pacts with them and turn inward to protect his land from those evil influences.

    After yesterday’s event of president Trump stepping back AGAIN from this nation’s leadership position in the world to join with Syria and Nicaragua in opposing the Paris Accords, I must wonder if in 100 years historians will call 2017 American ‘s 1424 .

    • BCinBCS

      W, I too have been thinking about this but in different terms. I see the United States on the same path as Great Britain after WWI. At that time, the sun never set on the British Empire but due to mismanagement and exploitation, independence movements forced Britain back into the island country that it is today. Will mismanagement and exploitation result in the same for America?

      • José

        Empires rise and fall. I too have wondered how and when the USA would decline in importance. My imagination never conjured up this scenario. It’s more rapid than I thought and for such a stupid reason.

        • WUSRPH

          The idea that history had “cycles” in which civilizations developed, grew and flourished and then died, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, was very big among historians in the early to mid-20th Century….Perhaps it was because they were so close to the years just after World War I with the demise of so many ancient and once-powerful empires and states such as Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary—and the rise or renewal of so many new ones made even more ominous by the world-wide economic collapse we call the “Great Depression” but, whatever the cause, it dominated their discussions and their works. The great British historian, Arnold Toynbee, in fact, produced a multi-volume history of the world that in thousands of pages charted the rise AND fall of civilization after civilization.

          An important element in Toynbee’s works was the concept that what gave rise to a civilization was a group of people reacting to the challenges that surrounded them….first to the daily challenges just to exist which led to agriculture and the development of the small city states that eventually grew into great empires. Just as it was the cause of
          civilizations rising, Toynbee argued that civilizations began their decline (which, in all cases in the past, eventually led to their demise or replacement) when a civilization declined to respond to a challenge or did not recognize that either a challenge existed
          or what it represented.

          Talk of the “decline” tended to die down somewhat in the years of optimism that followed World War II because of the world-wide economic revival–produced by the rebuilding of much of Europe and LED by the United State in its new role as leader of the Western World….which some saw as evidence that the Western World could withstand the challenge being presented by the rising “Red Stars” to the East….

          But, later in the Century–especially after the failure in Vietnam and the stagnating of
          our economy—people began to talk about the “decline” of America once more….In fact, one of the major attacks by the right wing on Henry Kissinger as national security advisor and secretary of state, was a claim that he believed in (and was trying to prepare America) for its eventual decline and the rise of new (or revived in the case of China) civilizations.

          This led to a backlash—first expressed in Ronald Reagan’s “a new morning in America”…..and eventually in Trump’s “Make America Great Again!”. The line from Reagan to Trump was, of course, not a straight one as there was a period after the end of the Cold War in which the talk of American decline was replaced by the concept of America as the only Superpower and World Leader. But that revised optimism began to fade as the events of 9-11 and all that followed—including two apparently unending conflicts—began to once again erode some American’s faith in their country’s future.

          Some might argue that the Reagan-Trump backlash to the idea of a declining America
          reflects a recognition of a Toynbeeian challenge…but I suspect that they are wrong…..A desire to flee back to the “good ole days” of myth is not, in my view, a response to a challenge, but more an attempt to avoid facing reality. This effort will probably be as successful as the calls for restoring the Roman Republic were in the days of the Caesars.

          • WUSRPH

            Of course, I know that Toynbee was not the first to do a “decline and fall” work……The best known before him (at least to English only readers) was Edward Gibbon’s 6-volume work on the Roman Empire from the late 18th Century……His thesis for the fall is less encompassing than Toynbee’s, but then he was explaining on the fall of one (or two if you count the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire as a second) empires and Toynbee was trying to develop a universal principle. It took 12 volumes to do that, compared to the six it took Gibbon for one civilization. Gibbon’s is openly critical of the role of Christianity in the fall of Rome….He says, to simplify it, that Christianity took the vigor and drive out of the Romans with “love they neighbor” and look forward to the heaven of tomorrow type themes.

          • BCinBCS

            W, you have an incredible breadth of history knowledge.

          • WUSRPH

            Actually, my knowledge is superficial at best. What is they say about “a mile wide and an inch deep”. I may know a lot about a little, but it is breadth, not depth.

          • BCinBCS

            Nonetheless, I’m impressed.

          • José

            Perhaps the American resurgence in the late 20th century was more by default than anything else. The collapse of the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact coalition removed the only real competition. Other potential powers–Japan, Europe, China–didn’t rise to the same level. I don’t see that the US did anything new to claim its role as the remaining superpower.
            We as a nation certainly seem incapable of handling the major challenges of the day–federal budget, climate change, competent governance with fair elections–though they are solvable. My fear is that our beloved Constitution, which was written about 230 years ago, is no longer adequate. Too many people have learned how to undermine it. Gerrymandering, political funding, and messaging have all become incredibly sophisticated and effective. If the US can’t muster up the will to reassert itself I’m afraid that it’s all going to come crashing down. Once the revolution begins there’s no telling how it will turn out. Sad.

          • WUSRPH

            I think we might have done more to expand our role as the World Leader had George HW Bush been re-elected. He had a much better feeling and sense of the world than most of his successors and his immediate predecessors. His handling of the Kuwait affair—and his building of an international coalition—was superb….We will never know what he could have done to equal or top that had he been reelected.

            But “it was the economy stupid” and the reaction of fear about “A New World Order” on the right that began to turn us more inward in the years that followed. You can see a little of HW’s ideas of the US as a world leader in George W’s naïve, ill-conceived, ill-implemented effort to remake the Middle East as a reaction to 9-11 but neither he (certainly) nor his neo-conservative advisers had the breadth of vision of his Daddy or of a Kissinger. What we see now, of course, is a retreat from the world……

            As to our beloved constitution……You may be right in that it was deliberately drafted to require that, except in times of extreme crisis like a major war or depression, major changes took time and a widespread public acceptance as a protection for our individual liberty. (Just think how long it took to go from TR’s call for it to the adoption of anything near universal health care—and how flawed that was when it finally occurred)….It, contrary to the claims of some, was written to be a flexible document that could accommodate a changing world….but the question is whether we, as a people, and a society

            We live in the age of the “immediate” where people start screaming when they are not able to get their instant gratification….Plus, the ability to exploit people and their desires and fears has grown into a detailed science that can undermine logic, reason and facts with “alternative facts” and downright lies. Adding the ability to gerrymand to a level that many of us could not even begin to imagine when we did it in the 70s, 80s and even into the 90s, as well as the impact of big money makes the situation even worse. I still have a little hope that things can be improved. A favorable SCOTUS decision on the Wisconsin “political gerrymandering” case could go a long way in that direction….BUT?

            We, as a nation, have come close to our end on several occasions in our history, but each time, our leader—whether it be Jackson in 1932, Lincoln in 1861, FDR in 1933 or even LBJ after JFK’s murder—was able to pull us through. I guess in many ways whatever happens may depend on whether we have LEADERSHIP that can inspire us….unlike the current man in the WH who would rather frighten us…..As such, I, like you, have concerns about the future and whether we are already going down the path that Toynbee outlined for those who fail to meet the challenges with which they are presented.

  • perks

    guess you folks missed this in dallas morning news….Whistleblower alleges voter fraud extends into Dallas County elections office. http://www.wfaa.com/mb/news/politics/whistleblower-alleges-voter-fraud-extends-into-dallas-county-elections-office/440359433 When votes or lots of money is involved there will always be cheating period.

  • Dontoe

    Check what the state of Virginia just found…………..how many 5-6000, Oh that is piddle pooh.

    • WUSRPH

      Compared to the total number of ballots cast in the period—hundreds of thousands—it is not that significant…..It certainly changed no election outcome…….and just proves once more that no system is or can be perfect…..

  • Its such a amazing

    Dne News

  • WUSRPH

    Trump is having enough troubles TRYING to be president of the US (not succeeding very well) but now he wants to tell the mayor of London how to do his job……I suspect the British can handle their problems on their own…..They have certainly proven during their history that they can remain calm in the midst of war and worse….They also, as the mayor showed, know how to put someone “in his place”…..The last time they had an American from abroad using media to tell them how to run their business he was called “Lord Haw-haw”. They laughed at him. They are likely to do the same to Trump.

  • WUSRPH

    “The buck stops at the Oval Office. He can’t blame his attorneys for implementing a policy he signed.”
    But not if you believe the King can do no wrong….It is always the “Staff” who screw-up’ never the great one.

  • WUSRPH

    JJ used to always claim that you could not trust any figures produced by the government….that they were all lies…..well the Trump Administration (SIC) is making me think he might have something there:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/scott-pruitt-is-as-wrong-about-coal-jobs-as-climate-change.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20Intelligencer%20-%20June%205%2C%202017&utm_term=Subscription%20List%20-%20Daily%20Intelligencer%20%281%20Year%29

    http://tinyurl.com/y9nf9a6n

    • BCinBCS

      I did a little research on the figures that Jonathan Chait (one of my “go to” authors) and you pointed out as incorrect.

      It turns out that the numbers are correct but the way they were used was a lie. Chait quoted EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as saying about coal mining: “We’ve had over 50,000 jobs since last quarter — coal jobs, mining jobs —
      created in this country. We had almost 7,000 mining and coal jobs
      created in the month of May alone. Pruitt was talking about coal mining but he was giving government employment figures for all of mining which includes oil, gas and metals mining. Only

      The figures were correct but implying that Comrade Trump/Bannon added 50,000 coal mining jobs since assuming the presidency is highly deceitful. Only 1,700 coal mining jobs have been added, the rest are from other types of mining, especially oil and gas.

  • WUSRPH

    Here is an interesting article on a NAS analysis of what the Russians did to try to hack the election machinery, not just the voters.

    http://tinyurl.com/y6u283qk

    Being more than a page in length, it is certain that Trump will not read it……of course, there is always the possibility that he or his campaign aides did not need to be told what the Russians did.

  • vjmassey

    Just as you may see no illegals? I see no Russians.

  • This is simply a pretext for voter suppression.