OPINION: The Washington Post: Garbage In, Garbage Out?

Raoul Lowery-Contreras | Author, Murder in the Mountains

Remember the quintessential “snowflake”? The pajama-clad Obama-boy in Obamacare advertisements a few light years ago?

Despite being rejected by real men in our society, the mindset that produced that image has now taken over the most important media in Washington, D.C. — the “Washington Post.”

Specifically, it has poisoned the paper’s opinion section under the byline of veteran columnist Dana Milbank.

His whiny attack on GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the probable new U.S. Senator from Florida, Gov. Rick Scott, reads like written by an angry bully sixth-grader; it is sheer nonsense.

His attack is based on four facts: firstly, the semi-official vote count in the Senate race has Scott “a mere 13,000” votes ahead of incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson. Secondly, the “8 million [votes] cast” are being machine-recounted as per Florida law.

Facts three and four: Scott claims the seat because he received more votes than Nelson. Despite being by a “mere 13,000 votes” his votes outnumber those of Nelson. All he needs is one more vote than Nelson.

As he has more votes than Nelson, he has gone to Washington and joined other newly-elected Republican senators in meeting with Senate leadership. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell welcomed Scott with five other GOP Senate winners.

On the current recount, the machine recount of the 8 million votes is required by Florida law for the simple reason that the semi-official count before certification by the state showed less than .5-percent margin between the winner and loser. If after the machine count, the margin is less than a quarter-of-one-percent, a manual recount is required by the same Florida law.

While claiming that McConnell and Scott are undermining American democracy by Scott’s premature claims of “fraud” by Nelson and his partisans and McConnell’s declaration that Scott is the new senator from Florida, Milbank does not mention that so far the machine recount has added a mere three dozen votes to Nelson’s total — three dozen out of millions of votes counted.

Nor does Milbank use statistics produced by other observers that of the 20 or so major vote recounts in recent years, only three overturned semi-official vote counts and apparent victories. Most importantly, in the three cases, less than 300–350 vote margins were involved and overturned.

By ignoring these facts, Milbank suggests that there is a possibility that Scott’s 13,000-vote margin can be wiped out by a recount when no recount has ever set aside a victory with more than a few hundred ballots involved. If he wasn’t a partisan hack, he would point out the negligible possibility that the 13,000 Scott votes will evaporate in a recount.

He does negatively mention the possibility that the Republican Senate could refuse to seat Bill Nelson if a recount does reverse Scott’s semi-official win. That is possible, and it is a constitutional trick that is rarely used. But it has been.

In 1876, California Gov. Romauldo Pacheco ran for the House of Representatives against incumbent Peter D. Wigginton; Pacheco won by one vote. He presented himself to Congress on March 4, 1877, and was rejected by the House a year later after Peter Wigginton challenged Pacheco’s one vote victory. Pacheco was the first elected statewide Hispanic in U.S. history, the first Hispanic state governor and the first Hispanic elected to Congress.

Pacheco came back in the 1878 election and swamped Wigginton and took his seat in March 1879. He was the first former Mexican citizen elected to the U.S. Congress.

The same constitutional provision that denied Pacheco his congressional seat can be used by the Senate in the case of Scott v. Nelson. Each “house” of Congress has, according to the Constitution’s Article 1, Section 5, the specific power to “be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members.”

Milbank doesn’t have the courage to suggest this scenario on his own; he passes the buck by quoting Jeremy Peters of the New York Times. Nor does he offer the Constitution’s provision as proof this might happen.

So, while recounts are underway, and there is no discernible shift of the recounted votes that might erase Scott’s win, snowflake Dana Milbank launches one more disparaging anti-Republican screed in the Washington Post that embarrasses him even as he tries to embarrass Senator-to-be Rick Scott and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — both Republicans — with: “McConnell on Wednesday morning declared Scott a new Republican senator — before bothering to learn the outcome of the election.”

One lobbyist described Nelson as trying to “pull a rabbit out of a hat, but there isn’t enough rabbit.” Milbank doesn’t even refer to that probability. Nelson, after all, is a Democrat.

Contreras is the author of “The Armenian Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy” and “The Mexican Border: Immigration, War and a Trillion Dollars in Trade.” he formerly wrote for the New America News Service of the New York Times and was a member of the International Seafarers Union in the 1960s


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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