Mail-in voting instituted during the pandemic has changed the concept of Election Day forever, a well-known conservative writer and historian says.
“We’ve lost the idea of Election Day and it no longer exists anymore as we know it,” columnist and commentator Victor Davis Hanson said Monday night during The Heritage Foundation’s 2020 President’s Club meeting.
“With early voting going on and on, there’s just no concept anymore of an Election Day. That was a hallowed American tradition,” Hanson said. “And we didn’t even get in the computer age any upside from this, because now we don’t get results until weeks, if not a month, after the election. And that’s a tragedy.”
Hanson’s column is carried by The Daily Signal, Heritage’s multimedia news organization.
The annual President’s Club meeting, held virtually Monday and Tuesday because of the pandemic, featured scholars and experts from the prominent think tank as well as leaders in the conservative movement including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; and Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., newly elected chairman of the House’s Republican Study Committee.
“Donald Trump clearly won the [second and final] debate, but 50 million people had already voted,” Hanson said, adding:
One hundred million voted without going to the polls on Election Day. The number of mail-in ballots are so huge, and they come in such droves and they don’t have valid methods to adjudicate signatures and witnesses and addresses.
Hanson, a senior fellow in classics and military history at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is also a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, Fresno, and a visiting professor at Hillsdale College in Michigan.
Hanson told his President’s Club audience that he believes Americans also have lost equal protection under the law.
“By that I mean when we had this violence in our streets all summer. People we saw that were committing crimes were not arrested because the police were told not to arrest someone,” he said. “If they did arrest them, they were often not prosecuted.”
Instead, Hanson said, a double standard has been created where those who commit crimes are treated more fairly than those who abide by the law:
If they were prosecuted, then the charges were later dropped. And so it created the system that there were two laws in this country: If you want to go protest the quarantine [or] you’re religious and you want to [go to] service, you can be arrested. Or if you want to open your restaurant, you can be arrested. If you want to attack a federal courthouse, you will not be arrested.
All hope is not lost, however, despite the left’s advantages, the veteran conservative said, pointing to conservatives’ gains in the House and in state-level races.
“They have professional sports, they have entertainment, they have Hollywood, they have the media, they have the universities,” Hanson said of the left. “What do we have? We have talk radio, we have foundations like Heritage, and we have the people with all of that. We did pretty well, and I think we’re going to do a lot better.”