Appendix C – Counting of electoral votes and confirmation of the 2020 Presidential election

This appendix is a supporting page for Reaction to John Broderick’s “Make no mistake. America is broken.

On 6 January 2021, a joint session of Congress met to count the 2020 electoral votes and confirm the winner. The electoral vote for each state was presented. During this process, a riot started and the Capitol was invaded by a mob of rioters. After several hours, the Capitol was secured and the work of Congress continued.

Objections could be raised to the electoral votes of each state; these needed to be presented by both a House Representative and a Senator. Six representatives presented objections. For two states, Arizona and Pennsylvania, senators supported the objection.  Debate and a vote ensued. Neither objection was sustained. In this document, I analyzed the voting results of each objection by each party.

After the counting on the electoral votes, Vice President Pence, acting as president of the Senate,  determined the candidate Biden had  306 electoral votes. Thus, Biden was certified winner of the 2020 Presidential Election.

Let’s look at the results for Arizona first, as presented in Tables C1 to C6.

Table C1 Summary of House vote on objection to Arizona’s electors, by party,
6 January 2021 [24]

House Vote by Party (Arizona)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republican831215209
Democrat22002222
Total3031217431

Table C2  House Republican percentage vote on objection to Arizona’s electors,
6 January 2021 [24]

House Vote by Party (Arizona)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republicans only39.7%57.9%2.4%100.0%

Table C3 Summary of Senate vote on objection to Arizona’s electors, by party,
6 January 2021 [24]

Senate Vote by Party (Arizona)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republican456051
Democrat460046
Independent2002
Total936099

Table C4  Senate Republican percentage vote on objection to Arizona’s electors,
6 January 2021 [24]

Senate Vote by Party (Arizona)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republicans only88.2%11.8%0.0%100.0%

Table C5 Summary of all votes on objection to Arizona’s electors, by party,
6 January 2021 [24]

Total Vote by Party (Arizona)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republican1281275260
Democrat26602268
Independent2002
Total3961277530

Table C6  Congressional  Republican percentage vote on objection to Arizona’s electors,
6 January 2021 [24]

House Vote by Party (Arizona)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republicans only49.2%48.8%1.9%100.0%

Table C1 summarizes how all members of the House voted on the Arizona objection: 303 members voted No, that is to reject the objection. 121 members voted Yes, that is to sustain the objection. Finally, 7 members didn’t vote. Table C2 indicates that 39.7% of Republican House members voted No, while 59.7% voted Yes and 2.4% didn’t vote.

Table C3 summarizes how the Senate  voted on the Arizona objection: 93 senators voted No and 6 senators  voted Yes,  Table C4 indicates that 88.2% of Republican senators voted No, while 11.8% voted Yes. 

Table C5 summarizes how all of Congress voted on the Arizona objection: 396 voted No, that is to reject the objection. 127 members voted Yes and  7  didn’t vote. Table C6 indicates that 49.2% of Republicans voted No, while 48.8% voted Yes and 1.9% didn’t vote.

The results for Pennsylvania, as presented in Tables C7 to C12.

Table C7 Summary of House vote on objection to Pennsylvania’s electors, by party,
7 January 2021 [24]

House Vote by Party (Pennsylvania)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republican641387209
Democrat21804222
Total28213811431

Table C8  House Republican percentage vote on objection to Pennsylvania’s electors,
7 January 2021 [24]

House Vote by Party (Pennsylvania)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republicans only30.6%66.0%3.3%100.0%

Table C9  Summary of Senate vote on objection to Pennsylvania’s electors, by party,
7 January 2021 [24]

Senate Vote by Party (Pennsylvania)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republican447051
Democrat460046
Independent2002
Total927099

Table C10  Senate Republican percentage vote on objection to Pennsylvania’s electors,
6 January 2021 [24]

Senate Vote by Party (Pennsylvania)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republicans only86.3%13.7%0.0%100.0%

Table C11 Summary of all votes on objection to Pennsylvania’s electors, by party,
7 January 2021 [24]

Total Vote by Party (Pennsylvania)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republican1081457260
Democrat26404268
Independent2002
Total37414511530

Table C12  Congressional  Republican percentage vote on objection to Pennsylvania’s electors,
7 January 2021 [24]

Total Vote by Party (Pennsylvania)Vote No to sustain objectionVote Yes to sustain objectionNot VotingTotal
Republicans only41.5%55.8%2.7%100.0%

Table C7 summarizes how all members of the House voted on the Pennsylvania objection: 282 members voted No, that is to reject the objection. 138 members voted Yes, that is to sustain the objection. Finally, 11 members didn’t vote. Table C8 indicates that 30.6% of Republican House members voted No, while 66.0% voted Yes and 3.3% didn’t vote.

Table C9 summarizes how the Senate  voted on the Pennsylvania objection: 92 senators voted No and 7 senators  voted Yes,  Table C10 indicates that 86.3% of Republican senators voted No, while 13.7% voted Yes. 

Table C11 summarizes how all of Congress voted on the Pennsylvania objection: 374 voted No, that is to reject the objection. 145 members voted Yes and 11  didn’t vote. Table C12 indicates that 41.5% of Republicans voted No, while 55.8% voted Yes and 2.7% didn’t vote.

Notes

[24] All the summary tables were prepared by myself using data from: Counting of electoral votes (January 6-7, 2021). Ballotpedia, accessed 8 January 2022. https://ballotpedia.org/Counting_of_electoral_votes_(January_6-7,_2021)

Notes for Reaction to John Broderick’s “Make no mistake. America is broken.”

These notes and sources for my reaction to John Broderick’s “Make no mistake. America is broken.” along with supporting pages :

Addendum with supporting analysis

Appendix A: Word Count Analysis

Appendix B – Factionalism and  Federalist Papers No. 10

Appendix C – Counting of electoral votes and confirmation of the 2020 Presidential election

I started with one long document and then broke it down into more digestible sections. Thus, the notes used in each section, indicated by brackets [ .. ] are going to seem disjoint in areas.

[1]  My friend sent me this: Broderick, John.  (2021).  Broderick: Make no mistake. America is broken.Yahoo News, Mon, December 27, 2021, 2:02 AM, accessed 29 December 2021 https://www.yahoo.com/news/broderick-no-mistake-america-broken-100233104.html

This article originally appeared as Broderick: Make no mistake. America is broken. Seacoastonline, Portsmouth Herald  December 27, 2021, https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/opinion/columns/2021/12/27/john-broderick-make-no-mistake-america-broken-big-lie-zero-proof/9006695002/ 

[2] Kahneman, Daniel. (2011).Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.(Kindle edition)

[3] Lindsay, James M. The 2020 Election by the Numbers. Council on Foreign Relations blog, 15 December 2020. https://www.cfr.org/blog/2020-election-numbers 

[4] U.S. House. 108th Congress, 1st Session. H. DOC.108–94,  OUR AMERICAN GOVERNMENT. Washington: Government Printing Office, 2003.

[5] Feynman, Richard. What is Science? Presented at the 15th annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, 1966 in New York City, and reprinted from The Physics Teacher Vol. 7, issue 6, 1969, pp. 313-320 by permission of the editor and the author.
http://www.feynman.com/science/what-is-science/ 

For myself, I’m in my sixties, have an auto-immune disease and hypertension. I am grateful that I can obtain a COVID vaccine and booster.  I have done a fair amount of my own research. For me, the benefits outweigh  the risk of a COVID vaccine. I do think it wise for older Americans with comorbidities to get a COVID vaccine. 

[6] 17 veterans are in the Senate and 74  in the House. 28 are Democrats, 63 are Republicans.
Veterans in the 117th Congress, by the numbers – Military Times. 28 December 2020, accessed 31 December 2021. https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2020/12/28/veterans-in-the-117th-congress-by-the-numbers/ 

[7] There are some differences in the fully wording for enlisted and officer ranks but the common thread includes protecting rights as described in the Constitution. 

A good explanation https://history.army.mil/html/faq/oaths.html accessed 31 December 2021

[8] Vespa, Jonathan E., “Those Who Served: America’s Veterans From World War II to the War
on Terror,” ACS-43, American Community Survey Reports,U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2020. accessed 31 December 2021. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2020/demo/acs-43.pdf 

[9] Wheeler, Russell. Trump’s judicial campaign to upend the 2020 election: A failure, but not a wipe-out. Brookings, 30 November 2021. Accessed 1 January 2022.
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/11/30/trumps-judicial-campaign-to-upend-the-2020-election-a-failure-but-not-a-wipe-out/ 

[10] Karl, Jonathan D. Inside William Barr’s Breakup With Trump. The Atlantic (online) 27 June 2021. Accessed 1 January 2022 https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2021/06/william-barrs-trump-administration-attorney-general/619298/ 

[11] Nteta, Tatishe et al.. One Year Later, New UMASS Amherst Poll Finds Continued National Political Division Over the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.   University of Massachusetts Amherst Office of News & Media Relations. 28 December 2021. Accessed 1 January 2022.

The 58% figure comes from the poll question: “Do you believe that Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election was legitimate or not legitimate?” 46% of all respondents answered “definitely legitimate” and 12% answered “probably legitimate” for a total of 58%. All the data for this question are shown in Table 1. https://www.umass.edu/news/article/one-year-later-new-umass-amherst-poll-finds-continued-national-political-division-over

[12] Nteta, Tatishe et al. Toplines and Crosstabs December 2021 National Poll: Presidential Election & Jan 6th Insurrection at the US Capitol.  University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Political Science and Program in Legal Studies, 28 December 2021.
Accessed 1 January 2022.
https://polsci.umass.edu/toplines-and-crosstabs-december-2021-national-poll-presidential-election-jan-6th-insurrection-us 

[13] Table 1 and 2 are based on the lead graphic in [12]. I removed the colors used in the graphic, transcribed the data, and added notes from the graph. I added “Margin of error 3.1%” as stated in [12] The graph alone is available at: https://polsci.umass.edu/toplines-and-crosstabs-december-2021-national-poll-presidential-election-jan-6th-insurrection-us under BidenLegitGraph.pdf https://polsci.umass.edu/sites/default/files/Biden%20Legit%20Graph.pdf

The methodology used seemed fair and reasonable.

[14] “This University of Massachusetts Amherst Poll of 1,000 respondents nationwide was conducted by YouGov Dec. 14-20. YouGov interviewed 1036 total respondents who were then matched down to a sample of 1,000 to produce the final dataset.” [12] 

[15] I didn’t know about YouGov until I saw it was used in the University of Massachusetts Amherst Poll . Here’s a bit more information from about You Gov, found on their website, accessed 2 January 2021 https://today.yougov.com/about/ 

“YouGov is an international research data and analytics group headquartered in London.

Our data-led offering supports and improves a wide spectrum of marketing activities of a customer-base including media owners, brands and media agencies. We work with some of the world’s most recognised brands. ….

With a proprietary panel of over 9+ million people globally and operations in the UK, North America, Mainland Europe, the Nordics, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, YouGov has one of the world’s largest research networks. ….

As the pioneer of online market research, we have a strong record for data accuracy and innovation. A study by the Pew Research Center concluded YouGov “consistently outperforms competitors on accuracy” as a vendor of choice. We are the market research pioneer of Multilevel Regression with Post-stratification (MRP) for accurate predictions at a granular level.”

[16] Nteta, Tatishe et al. Toplines University of Massachusetts Amherst/WCVB

National Poll of President Biden’s First 100 Days. University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Political Science and Program in Legal Studies, 26 April 2021. 

 Only the data for all respondents was available; not the breakdown by party.
Accessed 2 January 2022.
https://polsci.umass.edu/sites/default/files/Biden100DaysToplines%20%281%29.pdf 

[17] Given the margin of error of 3.4% in the April, 2021 survey and 3.1% in the December, 2021 survey; there’s a possibility that the number of Americans who believe that Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election was not legitimate may be the same over the two polls. The possibility that an increasing number of Americans believe this is less likely.

[18] Oops, in the last sentence my System 1 brain kicked in. I could not resist the rhythm of “ rhetorical resonance of a reverse” 

[19] Dapcevich, Madison. Did Portland Protesters Burn Bibles and American Flags? Snopes.com, Published 5 August 2020, Updated 11 August 2020, accessed 5 Jan 2021.

[20] Data used in Tables 5-7 from Crosstabs University of Massachusetts Amherst December 2021 National Poll [12] accessed 6 January 2022 

The data is from the crosstab Party ID – January 6TH Responsibility (% Selecting Individual(s) or Group). The Independent Party data was not used to provide a clearer visualization of the differences between Republicans and Democrats.The Independent Party data should comprise only 2% of the sample (20 of 1000 respondents) https://polsci.umass.edu/sites/default/files/Jan6thAnniversaryCrosstabs.pdf  

[21]  Recent facts regarding Capitol Riot prosecutions:

“Around 700 people who stormed the building while Congress met to certify President Biden’s win have been arrested this year, including more than 200 who face charges of assaulting officers or engaging in other violent conduct. About 150 of the rioters have pleaded guilty, many to misdemeanor crimes including entering a restricted federal building.”

The attack left more than 100 police officers injured and caused millions of dollars in damage as hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump, some clad in military battle gear, mobbed the seat of the Legislative Branch in a bid to stop the certification, forcing Congress and Vice President Mike Pence to evacuate as chaos engulfed the building.

In the riot’s wake, prosecutors searched for tools to elevate some of the cases beyond the misdemeanor charges often applied for unruly but far less momentous Capitol protests. They turned to a provision in the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, enacted after the accounting-fraud scandal and collapse of Enron, which imposes a potential 20-year sentence on those convicted of obstructing an “official proceeding.” The measure expanded what counts as obstruction and closed loopholes used by people involved in the Enron fraud.

Around 270 of the rioters face that felony charge, and some of them have coalesced around an effort to poke holes in that central element of the government’s strategy—with limited success to date.”

Viswanatha, Aruna. To Prosecute Jan. 6 Capitol Rioters, Government Tests Novel Legal Strategy. Wall Street Journal online, 29 December 2021. Accessed 5 January 2022.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/to-prosecute-jan-6-capitol-rioters-government-tests-novel-legal-strategy-11640786405

[22] Flesch Reading Ease Score description: 

“Most times, a readability score helps you know how easy it is to read content or passage. It helps you know the educational level that one has to be in to read a text without a hassle.

The Flesch reading ease score indicates the understandability of a passage with a number that ranges from 0 to 100. It shows how difficult it is to understand the content. The higher scores mean that the content is easy to read and understand.”

The formula for Flesch reading ease score is:

206.835 – 1.015 × (total words ÷ total sentences) – 84.6 × (total syllables ÷ total words)

Interpreted Flesch reading ease scores:

ScoreGradeSummary
90 – 1005th gradeVery easy to read
80 – 906th gradeEasy to read
70 – 807th gradeFairly easy to read
60 – 708th & 9th gradePlain English
50 – 6010th to 12th gradeFairly difficult to read.
30 – 50CollegeDifficult to read.
10 – 30College graduateVery difficult to read
0 – 10ProfessionalExtremely difficult to read

Source: Flesch Reading Ease Score – Reading and Grade Level Calculator, 

https://charactercalculator.com/flesch-reading-ease/ accessed 7 January 2022

.

[23] Madison, James. The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection, The Federalist Papers : No. 10. New York Packet. Friday, November 23, 1787.
Text from The Avalon Project, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale University.
https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/fed10.asp accessed 8 January 2022

[24] All the summary tables were prepared by myself using data from: Counting of electoral votes (January 6-7, 2021). Ballotpedia, accessed 8 January 2022. 

https://ballotpedia.org/Counting_of_electoral_votes_(January_6-7,_2021)

[25] Extract of Nancy Pelosi Press Release

“…. Monday evening, the Minority Leader recommended 5 Members to serve on the Select Committee.  I have spoken with him this morning about the objections raised about Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan and the impact their appointments may have on the integrity of the investigation.  I also informed him that I was prepared to appoint Representatives Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls, and requested that he recommend two other Members.

With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee.

“The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision.”

Pelosi, Nancy. Pelosi Statement on Republican Recommendations to Serve on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Press Release, 21 July 2021. Accessed 9 January 2021  https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/72121-2 

[26]  Extract of Kevin McCarthy Press Release

Speaker Pelosi’s rejection of the Republican nominees to serve on the committee and self-appointment of members who share her pre-conceived narrative will not yield a serious investigation.

“The Speaker has structured this select committee to satisfy her political objectives. She had months to work with Republicans on a reasonable and fair approach to get answers on the events and security failures surrounding January 6. ….

McCarthy, Kevin. McCarthy Statement on  Select Committee on January 6. Press Release, 21 July 2021. Accessed 9 January 2021 https://www.republicanleader.gov/mccarthy-statement-on-select-committee-on-january-6/ 

[27] Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. Ballotpedia. Accessed 9 January 2021 

https://ballotpedia.org/Infrastructure_Investment_and_Jobs_Act_of_2021

[28] “Appeal to the passion” https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/argumentum_ad_passiones 

Reaction to John Broderick’s “Make no mistake. America is broken.”

A good friend sent me an opinion piece “Make no mistake. America is broken.” written by John Broderick. [1]  The article provoked several layers of reaction for me.

Gut Reaction

Broderick opens with:
“Make no mistake. America is broken. The entire idea behind democratic rule is subverted every day by a minority of our population who distrust any government they don’t control, ignore science they don’t understand yet don’t like while callously putting others at risk, disparage and restrict voters of a color different than their own and despise immigrants striving to be free.”[1] 

Broderick writes to provoke a gut reaction from the reader. My quick reaction to the first section: the author is dead wrong! I read the rest of the piece rather quickly and my initial reaction was confirmed. Next, my mind flashed to the two systems of mind: System 1 and System 2. Here’s a brief description by by psychologist Daniel Kahneman:
“I describe System 1 as effortlessly originating impressions and feelings that are the main sources of the explicit beliefs and deliberate choices of System 2. The automatic operations of System 1 generate surprisingly complex patterns of ideas, but only the slower System 2 can construct thoughts in an orderly series of steps.”[2]

 Broderick invoked my fast System 1 thinking.  The article struck me as an emotional appeal; an “argumentum ad passiones. I spent about a week doing a System 2 analysis for the first two paragraphs of the opinion piece. Readers be warned: this was a detailed dissection by an engineer. Let me proceed with some observations and facts.

Analysis of First  Paragraph

Why did I analyze the first two paragraphs in detail? Broderick starts with his main point: “America is broken.”  He doesn’t define his subject in the first two paragraphs yet this is more than 60% of the piece  (see Appendix A for details).  Instead, he alludes to  “a minority of our population.” The subject in most of the sentences in the first two paragraphs are mainly “They.”  Why not define the subject early? In the third paragraph and beyond, it’s clear that Republicans are the subject of the piece. For me, clarity speaks louder than allusion.

The first two paragraphs are complex. After a punchy start, the third sentence contains six accusations against an unstated minority who : 

  1. Subvert democracy.
  2. Don’t trust the government.
  3. Ignore science.
  4. Put others at risk.
  5. Restrict voters due to race..
  6. Despise immigrants..
    The accusations keep flowing…:
  7. Constitutional views are incorrect.
  8. They live in a different world with the wrong social values.
  9. They don’t honor the sacrifice of other Americans.
  10. They believe the “Big Lie” – Joe Biden’s victory wasn’t legitimate.

I found elements of truth and falsehood in most of the accusations. I started with a detailed, bottom up analysis. I started with a detailed, bottom up analysis; see the addendum. Here’s a summary of my detailed analysis of the first paragraph: 

  •  “The entire idea behind democratic rule is subverted every day…”[1]  
    A majority of one political party is in power for a period of time doesn’t imply that the actions of the minority constitute daily subversion.
  • …by a minority of our population ,…”[1]  
    Assume that Broderick’s undefined use of  “ minority of our population”  and” They” represents Republicans who have voted for members of their party to represent them in Congress and President in 2020. 
  • distrust any government they don’t control,...”[1]
    This is  true for most of the history of our Republic. 
  • ignore science they don’t understand yet don’t like while callously putting others at risk…” [1]
    To echo Richard Feynman: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.​” and “there is a considerable amount of intellectual tyranny in the name of science.”
  • disparage and restrict voters of a color different than their own…”[1] 
    States can pass voting laws, courts must ensure that requirements of the Constitution and/or Federal law are met. Unsaid is that white Republicans are the disparagers.
  • … and despise immigrants striving to be free.” [1]
    Most  Americans don’t Americans despise immigrants. They do want us to follow our immigration laws and processes.
  • Their view of our Constitution is most often fanciful, contradictory and uninformed and their idea of freedom is twisted and self-absorbed.”[1]
    Ad Hominem argument to attack the views of a group of Americans regarding the Constitution.
  • They live in a self-interested, imaginary world with no social compact and no reciprocal responsibilities.”[1]
     There are both Republicans (‘They”) and Democrats who might fit this description. 
  • They support the Big Lie with zero proof; a Lie that any rational American would reject.”[1]
    “Big Lie” is an emotionally charged term that refers to at least three separate efforts by President Trump and supporters to dispute the 2020 election results. Two efforts were unpopular but legal: election litigation  and objections in Congress to some state returns. Finally, there was illegal rioting at  the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.
  •  “Every federal judge found no evidence because there was none.”[1]
    No evidence isn’t measurable; it’s true Federal judges (69% Republican) voted against election litigation. Also, ignores state election litigation.
  • It is the same Big Lie that even President Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General William Barr disowned.”[1]
    True that Barr didn’t support the election litigation 
  • Incredibly, according to some recent polls, sixty percent of Republicans still believe that the election was stolen, too. They have zero proof as well. Do facts matter anymore? Is truth too inconvenient to be honored? [1]
    The assertion is partially correct.  December, 2021 polling  indicates 46% of Republicans believe that Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election was definitely not legitimate.   
  • For an increasing number of Americans, facts don’t exist or at least facts that don’t serve their ends.”[1]
    Comparing polls between April. 2021 l and December, 2021 – a decreasing not increasing) number of Americans believed that Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election was not legitimate.

The terms used are emotionally charged; for example: callously, fanciful, twisted, self-absorbed, self-interested. He  also uses  absolute claims: “entire idea behind democratic rule”, “no reciprocal responsibilities”, and “zero proof” are examples. Such language won’t help a reader understand the author’s logic and wisdom. Instead, you are either with Broderick or against him.

The author uses long sentences to make claims. Why do long sentences matter?  They reduce readability. I calculated the Flesch Reading Ease Score [22] for or the six longest sentences. (Details Appendix A: Word Count Analysis)  These sentences range from “Difficult to read” to ‘Extremely difficult to read”  The entire piece also graded out as “Difficult to read”.

Broderick uses charged, hard to read, partly true claims for a purpose.  He wants to convince readers that Republicans are deplorable.  As he states: “Too many Americans live in a conspiracy-laden echo chamber of their own creation”. Echo chambers exist for both Republican and Democratic Americans. He’s fueling  an echo chamber of the opposite polarity.

Analysis of Second  Paragraph

The second paragraph discusses the events of the Jan. 6  U. S. Capitol riots.  Broderick finishes with: “Actions speak louder than words.”  I have to agree. More than 700 rioters have been arrested and 150 have pleaded guilty. 270 rioters face felony charges. [21]  Rioters are being prosecuted, convicted and sentenced. These actions tell me that our judicial system is working. It’s worth noting that 700 criminals out of more than 74 million Republican voters is about 1 in 100,000. Are the crimes of a few to tarnish the millions?

A few salient  points from the second paragraph: 

  • “… and embrace the American flag …. support the police 100 percent. [1]
    Agree with Broderick’s sentiment. It’s terrible to see the US flag misused in riots at the capitol (or the federal courthouse in Portland)
  •  Many of those people presented with clear and graphic proof that misguided Trump supporters attacked our government on January 6th have concocted the bizarre notion that the FBI or Antifa were behind the insurrection.”[1]
    In a poll of Republicans assessing  responsibility for the Jan. 6  Capitol riots, ranked responses by Republicans were 30% Democratic party, 24% U.S. Capitol police, 20% Antifa.
    (Details in Addendum)   

Mr. Broderick asks three important questions in the second paragraph: “How far have we fallen? How dangerous is our descent?  How much destructive nonsense, ill-will and subversive conduct can we tolerate and still sustain democratic rule in America?    I struggle with how to answer. When I look at the degree of polarization, I see that we need to do a lot of work to understand the driving forces between such disconnects.

Some data exists to quantify: How far we have fallen? But first, we might ask: From what have we fallen?  Our republic is never united for long. There are certain events where we come together: World War 2 and 9/11 come to mind. Now, I think our country has fallen into a canyon of polarization and  factionalism. What is a faction? James Madison defines: 

 “By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.” [23] and Appendix B – Factionalism and  Federalist Papers No. 10

We have been in a deep abyss of factionalism before. Look back from 1967 to 1973: race riots, assassinations, the Vietnam War, Watergate, lack of jobs, inflation all spring to mind. Less factionalism would be better. So, what  can we do? Follow the Constitution and our laws. As James Madison states:

“The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. …. In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government.” [23] and Appendix B – Factionalism and  Federalist Papers No. 10

Analysis of Third Paragraph

My analysis of the remainder of Broderick’s piece is less detailed. I used more System 1 thinking and less System 2 for the remainder of this reaction.

In his third paragraph, Broderick finds a target:

It seems “They” equals Republicans, a point of clarity. Broderick told us before that: “They support the Big Lie with zero proof; a Lie that any rational American would reject.”[1] So, I looked at the electoral  vote counting on 6-7 January, 2021. Objections could be raised; these needed to be presented by both a House Representative and a Senator. Representatives raised objections to electoral votes in six states.  Two senators supported objections for two states: Arizona and Pennsylvania, A simple majority of the joint House and Senate would allow the objection to be sustained.[24]

How did it go?   Congress voted on the Arizona objection: 396 voted No, that is to reject the objection. 127 members voted Yes and 7 didn’t vote. It’s interesting to see that 49.2% of Republicans voted No, while 48.8% voted Yes and 1.9% didn’t vote. [Appendix C]

For the Pennsylvania objection: 374 voted No, that is to reject the objection. 145 members voted Yes and 11 didn’t vote.   For the  Republicans: 41.5% voted No, while 55.8% voted Yes and 2.7% didn’t vote. [Appendix C]

Thus, based on the votes during the troubling times of 6th January Capitol riots, most Republicans senators and many representatives didn’t remain silent. The Republican Vice-President Pence certified the election results on 7 January 2021. There was no autocratic rule. Our republic stands.

Analysis of Fourth Paragraph

Broderick asks us: 

“Where have all the statesmen gone? When did truth die? When was finding out who organized and funded the January 6th assault on our free elections a petty partisan exercise to be disparaged by virtually every elected Congressional Republican?”  

To me, leaders are people that speak truth to power. Most Republicans follow the party line. Most Democrats follow the party line too. The House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack started with a fight over who could serve. It started as a political duel between Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy. [25][26] Two Republicans took a risk: Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. When did truth die? Probably when we ended with a lopsided committee of 2 Republicans and 8 Democrats.

I do see some other leaders on Capitol Hill. The bipartisan group that came up with alternative infrastructure proposal spring to mind. Five Republicans and five Democrats. Here they are: Senators Cassidy, Collins, Manchin, Murkowski, Portman, Romney, Shaheen, Sinema, Tester and Warner. In August, 2021 Democrats and Republicans voted 69-30)  to pass the bill.  After a series of stalling tactics in the House, it was passed in November, 2021 and signed into law by President Biden. So, there’s some proof that there’s leadership on Capitol Hill.[27]

Closing

Broderick states: “Putin must be smiling in Moscow.” I must agree and would add that Xi Jinping is probably dancing a jig in Peking. Our country is in turmoil. Broderick is correct that we need leadership. My biggest disagreement is that we need bipartisan leadership that can break through the current silo mentality.

Let me close by saying thanks to John Broderick, He made me think deeply about our country as we enter 2022. I don’t agree when Broderick states: “Make no mistake. America is broken.” I do think our country is faltering. Here’s my opinion: 

America has run for a long time through some epic challenges. We have almost always had a two party system; think of one party as the left leg and the other as the right leg. You won;t get very far hopping on one leg. To be effective, both legs have to work in harmony.

 Our country has won many  races against strong competitors.  Today, we have stress fracture injuries in both legs. We are hobbling. The race is painful.  We have some hard choices. We can recover from our injuries or press on.  

 We know how to heal, recover and emerge strong. We have done this before. We came back strong after the Civil War, World Wars, the Great Depression, and Vietnam. We went on to win some races.

Another choice is to ignore our injuries.  We can hobble into the future. We will soon stop running. We will stumble and fall. We will  lose  races to our strong competitors.

It’s our choice to make.

John Brew 10 January 2022

Supporting Pages

Addendum with supporting analysis

Appendix A: Word Count Analysis

Appendix B – Factionalism and  Federalist Papers No. 10

Appendix C – Counting of electoral votes and confirmation of the 2020 Presidential election

Notes and Sources

Transcript of Charlie Munger Interview 3 Nov 2021

This is my version of a transcript of Charlie Munger discussing current economic events with Matt Egan of CNN on 3 November 2021. The full talk can be found at CNN “Billionaire Charlie Munger praises China for being smarter than America at handling economic booms” which I listened to on 7 November 2021.

Here’s the transcript, any errors are likely due to my poor hearing and typing.

Matt Egan > What do you think of the framework for Build Back Better?  This 1.75 trillion-dollar spending bill that the Democrats have put out calls for taxing share buybacks, putting a 1% surcharge on share buybacks. Is that a good idea?

Charlie Munger > I think it’s insane. Literally insane. 

Matt Egan > Why? 

Charlie Munger > I think it’s so irrational and I think it sort of destroys the whole system once you start tinkering from Washington. I don’t think the dividend policies of American corporations should be determined from Washington. 

Matt Egan > Do you think that the criticism that buy backs have some cases  got out of hand;  is that criticism fair?

 Charlie Munger > No.

Matt Egan > I’ve got to ask you about some of the comments you made recently to CNBC about China praising the regulators there in China, their financial regulators.I’m just wondering whether or not you regret any  of those comments regarding China?

Charlie Munger > Regret it? I would regret not making them. China, recognizing the horrible troubles that come with letting booms get too big;  steps on a boom in the middle of it instead of waiting until the very end and the big bust. Of course, I admire that.  In that one respect, they are wiser than we are. 

It amuses me that communist China is being smarter about handling booms than capitalist America. But I know a lot of people that are smarter than I am. Should we not have a nation sometimes that’s smarter than ours in some respects?

Matt Egan > Aren’t there also problems when it comes to China with respect to human rights and just the undemocratic system that they have there?

Charlie Munger > Well, it’s true that I prefer my own system. But considering the problem that China had I would argue that their system has worked out better for them than our system has for us.

They had a horrible overpopulation problem and they had dire poverty. They had a problem we didn’t have. They have needed tougher methods than we could use in our own Constitution and I would argue that they were lucky the government system they had at the time they had their overpopulation problem. I don’t think we should assume that every other nation in the world no matter what the problems are, should have our type of government. I think that is sort of pompous and self-centered.

Ours is right for us but maybe there’s is right for them you know it’s one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of the human race what the Chinese have accomplished in the last 30 years.

Opinion:

I was primarily interested in Munger’s remarks regarding China. I have to agree with Charlie Munger, the transformation of China into the second largest economy in the world is quite remarkable. I have included a table of all the countries in the world with a 2021 GP that’s estimated to be greater than one trillion US dollars along with a map. It makes me wonder, why the List of Nobel Memorial Prize laureates in Economics has no Chinese economists?

English: World map of countries by nominal GDP in 2019. 
RankCountryGDP (USD)
1United States22.7
2China16.6
3Japan5.4
4Germany4.3
5United Kingdom3.1
6India3.0
7France2.9
8Italy2.1
9Canada1.9
10South1.8
11Russia1.7
12Australia1.6
13Brazil1.5
14Spain1.5
15Mexico1.2
16Indonesia1.2
17Netherlands1.0
2021 GDP (Trillions of US Dollars) based on IMF data

Additional Sources

GDP Image Getsnoopy, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

GDP table was based on data from Wikipedia List of countries by GDP (nominal) accessed 7 November 2021 My expertise using tables and images in Word Press is poor. In particular, I was unable to include the color coded captions from the Wikipedia image of GDP by country and so I included an additional table.