Here comes Marc Elias, the recount king, as the Daily Signal has dubbed him, although one suspects Elias has been called that for a while now. He’s the lawyer people call when a vote seems close enough for a recount. But there’s a few more interesting facts about Marc Elias:

  • He works at Perkins Coie, that Seattle-based international law firm that hired Christopher Steele to put together an opposition report on candidate Trump – the infamous Steele Dossier, in other words. And Elias was the point man in that operation apparently.
  • Perkins Coie represents all but 3 Democrat Senators, the Democrat House, Senate and gubernatorial campaign committees, and 100 House Democrats. One firm with connections to every major part of the Democratic Party it seems.
  • After secret negotiations with then-House Speaker John Boehner, he managed to get hundreds of millions of dollars of lightly regulated money be approved as legitimate spending money. In other words, a top Democratic operative who pushed for Citizens United and actually helped put in place the current PACs and Super PACs while the GOP took all the heat in the media for that SCOTUS decision. Wealthy Democrats love him for this.

Marc Elias got Al Franken elected through a 6-month endless recount that may very well have relied on convicts votes to achieve a 200-odd vote margin of victory. Democrats love him for this as well. As The Hill’s article covering his past states:

Elias is perhaps best known for his role in one of the nation’s closest Senate races ever, in Minnesota in 2008. Democrat Al Franken trailed incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) by just a few hundred votes when Elias landed in Minneapolis; Elias quickly began a drumbeat, maintained at almost daily news conferences in which he answered questions directly from the media, demanding that every vote be counted.

After half a year of legal wrangling over fewer than 1,000 absentee ballots, Coleman’s 215-vote lead became Franken’s 225-vote win.

“Not all of those votes would have been counted without Marc’s strategy,” said Eric Schultz, who worked for Franken on that race and is now a senior adviser to former President Obama.

Go ahead and say it loud and proud Eric, Elias stole that election fair and square with an avalanche of lawsuits and a chain gang of felons dragging Al Franken over the finish line.

So Elias is in Florida, dashing between courtrooms as he unleashes lawsuits or responds to lawsuits in a chaotic electoral environment. He was a fairly young legal pup – although apparently already a brilliant lawyer who people were noticing and utilizing back in 2000 – but now he’s a grinning tornado ready to demolish the electoral results in Florida by forcing and bending and pleading and cajoling his way through the legal system to get the results he’s paid to get: Democrats in charge again.

As The Hill’s Reid Wilson writes:

When then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) finished just a few hundred votes ahead of then-Rep. John Ensign (R) in a costly Senate battle in 1998, Elias worked on Reid’s behalf as the ballots were recounted, ingratiating himself to the man who would later lead Senate Democrats for a decade.

The experience, along with the 2000 Florida recount that handed the presidency to George W. Bush, taught Elias that recounts were about more than just counting ballots; they were extensions of the campaigns themselves, in which battles over media narratives could determine the ultimate winner of a contest.

No system can survive such a forceful and partisan attack on its foundations. When every ballot becomes potential target of a lawsuit, the electoral process is ripped from the hands of voters and placed in the courtroom to be decided by litigation. Yes, that’s what helped elect George W. Bush in 2000 and the person studying that election the most carefully was clearly Marc Elias.

In a close election with poor control and management of the systems – an admittedly challenging task but one that is the basis of America’s republican democracy – then people like Marc Elias start taking over, one election at a time.

It’s time to stop people like Marc Elias as well as all the lawyers who helped get George W. elected and put elections back in the hands of voters. Which means the election process itself has to be clearly and carefully organized and not a partisan circus played out against the backdrop of identity politics and its goal of votes for anyone in America regardless of their legal status.

How to do that? Good question though some sort of civics lessons for all might help. Meantime, we’ve got a few recounts to get through.

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