[NWPT48]It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Well… actually, it was pretty boring most of the time… but then that’s what one should expect from a typical trial of the non-TV variety.
But I do have one major observation from today’s proceedings, and that is that there are actually two different trials going on in Wenatchee: one is in a court of law, and the other is in the court of public opinion. And while the Republicans may have scored some points in the latter with their dramatic accusations of “sinister”, “fraudulent” efforts by Democratic officials to “steal the election”, I don’t think these charges will carry much weight in the former.
As Judge Bridges stated, fraud has never been a “causation element” in this case; the Republicans may be permitted to present evidence, and call it “fraud” if they want, but they will not likely be allowed to argue fraud as a basis for setting aside this election. I’m pretty sure the Republican attorneys understood this when they wrote their opening statement and proposed this dramatic new theory. But they pursued this strategy anyway, because, well… it plays well in the media, and quite frankly, what other choice did they have?
Unable to win their case on the strength of illegal felon votes, the Republicans chose to open the trial with spectacle, flinging unfounded allegations of fraud and corruption, in the hopes of grabbing the day’s headlines. This may have worked with the media, but it won’t get them very far with the Judge.
Republicans can use all the dramatic adjectives they want to describe the absentee ballot report, but it simply is not evidence of stuffed ballots on its own. What Rossi lacks is direct evidence of actual illegal ballots, and a plausible theory for how they might have been stuffed. These reconciliation discrepancies occurred across hundreds of different precincts, mostly one or two at a time, and each of these precincts had its own distinct ballot. To stuff ballots in this fashion would have required one or more individuals to covertly acquire hundreds of ballots, from hundreds of different precincts, hand mark them, and then deposit them back in their appropriate batches. The physical nature of this chore is enormous, and for this to occur undetected amidst the unprecedented scrutiny of this election, would have required a conspiracy at the highest level of King County Elections.
To accuse KC of stuffing ballots under these circumstances is akin to accusing somebody of murder, based on possible motive and lack of alibi… when there is no body, no murder weapon, and no evidence connecting the person to a crime. Given the very real problems KC had in reconciling their absentee ballots, could ballots have been stuffed? Absolutely. But “could’ve” is not going to win this lawsuit. To prevail in court, a petitioner can’t merely raise questions… they have to answer them.
The Democrats, for their part, had no such dramatic “revelations” to make… but then legally, they didn’t need them. The burden of proof rests firmly on the Republicans, and it’s proving to be a very heavy burden indeed. Thus both sides are playing to their strengths; while the Republicans pursue the easy PR victories, the Democrats continue to tediously and methodically deconstruct the Republicans’ case in court. It might not make for scintillating courtroom drama, but it does make for a winning case… at least, in a court of law.
And so I expect that as this trial unfolds — and Rossi’s case unravels — the Republicans will increasingly play to the cameras, while the Democrats ploddingly play to Court. In this fashion, both sides might eventually come out winners. And losers.