Democrat Jack Arends (left), a member of Washington’s Electoral College, is comforted by fellow elector Julian Wheeler after Arends became emotional while talking about his failing health and the importance of being able to cast his vote at the state Capitol in Olympia, Monday. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Democrat Jack Arends (left), a member of Washington’s Electoral College, is comforted by fellow elector Julian Wheeler after Arends became emotional while talking about his failing health and the importance of being able to cast his vote at the state Capitol in Olympia, Monday. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

Editorial: Enough with rabble-rousing allegations of a coup

An Everett man’s simple vote in the Electoral College stands in contrast to the actions of others.

By The Herald Editorial Board

The contrast is striking enough it doesn’t require much more than simple retelling.

On Monday, Jack Arends, 64, of Everett, sat at small desk in the Senate chambers of the state Capitol in Olympia and, as an elector for Washington state’s Democratic Party, cast his votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

In years past, the act has gone by without too much notice; a procedural vote by the 538-member Electoral College that recognizes who the majority of voters in each state backed for the two highest offices in the federal government. Democratic slates of electors voted in the states where Biden and Harris won; Republican electors cast their votes in the states where President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence prevailed. The final tally was 306 for the Democratic ticket, 232 for the Republican ticket.

For reasons well-understood in our nation but more personal for Arends, this year wasn’t like any other.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman, overseeing the ceremony, stated what has been obvious for the weeks that have followed the Nov. 3 election:

“The ceremony and tradition of this meeting marked an end to one of the most contentious elections of our time. While some people continue to call into question this election, average citizens from all walks of life will step up today to exercise their responsibility to perform their constitutional duty.”

For Arends, performing that constitutional duty was bittersweet in that it likely caps a long career serving the state’s political system as a precinct committee officer. Doctors have told Arends that he suffers from an inoperable heart valve problem.

“I don’t know how much time I am going to have on this earth, but I am going to make it count while I am here and that includes being an elector,” Arends told The Herald’s Ian Davis-Leonard ahead of the proceedings. “It’s that one last box I want to check; I am determined to check it.”

Also on Monday, state Rep. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, took to Facebook to make his own political statement: “Joe Biden is not now, nor will ever be my President. … Stay tuned, big things happening soon at the Federal level.”

Further down in the thread, Sutherland, who won re-election to his legislative post — in the same election — expanded on those “big things.”

“Prepare for war. It appears inevitable at this point,” he wrote.

Thursday, still feeling the need to explain, he continued: “I believe there is an active coup attempt against the POTUS happening right now. I believe there are many bad actors involved, China included. I believe the division between left and right is at a critical point, which, given the right set of circumstances (e.g. a successful coup) might very well lead us into a second civil war,” he wrote Thursday afternoon.

Sutherland went on to say that he didn’t want a second civil war, but his words seek to gin up more than disappointment. There’s a difference between expressing dissatisfaction with the outcome of an election and instead playing up fears that the supporters of the other party are engaged in the overthrow of the government.

Sutherland, of course, is not alone in pursuing his allegations of voter fraud and “rigged” elections.

Two members of Washington state’s congressional delegation — Reps. Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers — signed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court by Texas’ attorney general that attempted to challenge other states’ election procedures and throw out legitimate votes and overturn elections that were won by Biden and Harris.

The Supreme Court, with its custom-made 6-3 conservative majority, quickly rejected the lawsuit, stating Texas lacked standing to challenge the other states. It’s one of scores of legal challenges that have been dismissed for lack of evidence, lack of standing, lack of coherence or all three.

Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp has filed suit against Secretary of State Wyman, a fellow Republican, following his loss to Gov. Jay Inslee by 13 percentage points, again alleging “intolerable voting anomalies,” including dead voters and fraudulent votes by non-Washington residents.

A Dec. 4 statement by Wyman, prior to the lawsuit’s filing, said her office has not been shown evidence that supports any of those allegations.

No one expects Sutherland, Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers, Culp — nor certainly President Trump — to be happy with the outcome of the election. But, as no evidence has been produced that has thus far convinced the courts of the allegations of mismanagement or fraud, it’s time for the rabble-rousing accusations of rigged elections and coups to end.

Jack Arends, as he fulfilled his duties, was armed with nothing more threatening than two Sharpie pens to mark his ballots and a beret that read “Play Nice.”

Good advice, that.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, Jan. 19

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

FILE - In this Feb. 26, 2009 file photo, a pressman pulls a copy of one of the final editions of the Rocky Mountain News off the press in the Washington Street Printing Plant of the Denver Newspaper Agency in Denver. A survey by Gallup and the Knight Foundation released on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, finds Democrats much more willing than Republicans to see government funding help local news sources. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Editorial: Restating our commitment to discourse and debate

To move beyond the last four years’ divisiveness, we need more discussion from varied viewpoints.

MLK
Comment: Why Martin Luther King Jr. embraced his enemies

MLK Jr. knew that to build our communities we have to help people be better than their worst selves.

FILE - In this April 12, 2018, file photo, a marijuana plant awaits transplanting at the Hollingsworth Cannabis Company near Shelton, Wash. Five years after Washington launched its pioneering legal marijuana market, officials are proposing their most ambitious overhaul yet of the way the industry is regulated, with plans for boosting minority ownership of pot businesses, spreading out oversight among a range of state agencies, and letting the smallest cannabis producers increase the size of the operations in an effort to help them become more competitive. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Editorial: Adults should be allowed to grow cannabis at home

A bill has returned to allow residents, as they are in other states, to grow their own marijuana.

Burke: To fix things, Biden has to be more than not Trump

The Biden administration has a daunting to-do list to tackle; but it is what he will be judged on.

Comment: Why we can’t have nice things, like an inauguration

If we can’t do it by mutual agreement, then we shouldn’t do it at the tip of the bayonets of 20,000 soldiers.

Saunders: As newspaper owner, Sheldon Adelson was no outlier

Yes, he was a megadonor to Trump and the GOP, but he never pushed an agenda with the paper’s writers.

Cancer patients should be higher on vaccination list

Earlier this week I was fortunate to receive a covid-19 vaccine. My… Continue reading

Trump’s Big Lie about election must be challenged

We were all shocked and dismayed by the incitement of violence and… Continue reading

Most Read