Weekend Bits and Pieces

August 4th, 2023 by Tom Lynch

The Johnny Appleseed of Election Deniers

Douglas Frank was born and raised in Sonoma County, California, studied chemistry at Westmont College in Santa Barbara and earned a doctorate in surface analytical chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. He was Chair of the math and science department at a Cincinnati private school. Then, after the 2020 election, he quit his teaching job and, depending on whom you believe,  either went completely crazy, or became the Lord’s anointed, the Apostle bringing truth to the masses, the Johnny Appleseed of Election Deniers spreading the gospel of Donald Trump.

In contrast with other members of the congregation of election deniers who testify online and on conservative cable shows, Frank has proselytized at churches, bars, libraries and civic organizations throughout California over the last two and a half years. By going small, Douglas Frank got big.

He says he wants to eliminate electronic voting machines (the name Dominion comes to mind) and prohibit mail in voting¹, because these are the two liberal moves that allowed the 2020 election to be rigged for Joe Biden and stolen from Donald Trump.

And he’s having some success. Due in large part to his constant efforts, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors ended its contract with Dominion in January, and went a step further in March when it voted to stop using electronic machines at all to tabulate ballots. Only a small number of the roughly 10,000 election jurisdictions in the U.S. have stopped using electronic voting machines since 2020, but Frank says Shasta is a good start.

Frank speaks of Shasta County in biblical terms, holding it up to audiences as an inspiration and template.

“Once David slew Goliath, then the Hebrew children, the Israelites, chased the Philistines out of the land. They suddenly all got brave, right? Shasta just slew Goliath. Now you all need to get brave,” he said in Hemet, California.

Frank chuckled when told of his Johnny Appleseed epithet. “Instead of planting apple seeds, I think I’m going around starting little fires everywhere,” Frank said. “And then I come back and I throw gasoline on those fires.”

Frank has energized the faithful as he wanders around preaching to California choirs, who are fully on-board with his wacko theories.

Every charge Frank makes has been debunked. None of it’s true. But he’s a top-notch presenter making solid contact with his audiences.

A friend of My Pillow nutcase Mike Lindell, Frank has appeared in Lindell’s election conspiracy films, is a frequent guest on Lindell’s streaming show and has emceed Lindell’s election denial conferences. In June 2021, Frank spoke at a televised rally for Trump in Ohio.

This man is beginning to reach a wider swath of the population, and that is scary. His mission is to disrupt how elections are run, and that happens at the local level where Frank is at his best firing his rhetorical missiles.

Staying in California at the local level

The Republican Party learned long ago that former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neil was right: “All politics is local.” Taking Tip’s mantra to heart, it has perfected it into a winning strategy, which is why it has done so well winning state legislatures.

Now, California Republicans have used the tactic to, in their minds, insure that Donald Trump is the Party’s nominee for the 2020 presidential election. Let me explain.

Until now, when voters cast their ballots in a presidential state primary a candidate is awarded delegates based on the percentage of the vote they win. If they win 20% of the vote, they’ll win 20% of the state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention.

That is, until now. In early June, Michigan changed its rules for awarding delegates. Under a new rather byzantine process, one-fifth of the state’s 52 national convention delegates will be given to the presidential candidate who wins the state’s 27 February 2024 primary election. However, three-quarters of the delegates, 39, will be divvied up by 13 congressional district caucus meetings occurring on the following 2nd of March. Seems a bit bizarrely unfair to me in that a candidate could win more than 50% of the vote, yet end up with only 20% of the delegates. But who am I to question the motivation of the leading lights of the Grand Old Party?

Last Saturday, California went in the other direction. Under that state’s new Republican Party rule, adopted by its executive committee, if a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the Party will award that candidate 100% of the delegates.

In recent polling, Donald Trump is polling above 50% for the Republican primary in California, and, as can be expected, his campaign supports this change; in fact, the campaign pushed for it.

California awards more delegates than any other state—169 of them. Whoever, comes out of the primary with that bucket of delegates is well on his or her way to the Republican nomination, which will require securing 1,234 votes at the national convention.

However, if no candidate wins 50% of the primary votes, the delegates will be awarded proportionately based on each candidate’s share of the statewide vote.

California’s primary has historically come at the end of the primary campaign season, in June, but for the 2024 primary, Party leaders have moved it to 5 March, the same day as 14 other states.

The night of the 5th of March will be a long one.

How goes the listing ship of DeSantis?

Simple answer: not well.

This week’s release of a new New York Times/Sienna College poll throws more of the stinky fecal matter on the anti-woke candidate.

By a wide margin—34%—Donald trump leads the combative all-his-eggs-in-one-basket DeSantis.

Trump’s lead, nationwide, is so large that the New York Times’s Nate Cohn, who compiles The Tilt, this morning wondered if Iowa could be becoming a problem for the one-time president and three-time indicted Mr. Trump. Why? Because the poll margin in Iowa was only 24% in favor of the yellow-haired, teflon-baked DT.

DeSantis has a lot of hair. He must be tearing gobs of it out right now.

Finally, staying on DeSantis

The man can’t help himself. In trying to be the toughest creampuff on the block he keeps spilling the goo all over himself.

I know in presidential elections it is de rigueur for candidates to attack federal workers for being lazy, wasteful, and incompetent. The federal workers are used to it, not that they like it, of course. But in New Hampshire this week, Ron DeSantis decided to take the attacking to a new level, as only he can.

As reported by Eric Katz of Government Executive, DeSantis attended a campaign-stop barbecue, and said, “We’re going to have all these deep state people. We’re going to start slitting throats on day one.”

Now friends, that is not the way to win the votes of the 800,000 federal workers, to say you’re going to kill them on your first day in office. Can we agree the silver tongued governor was hyperbolizing a bit? Probably. But I’m beginning to wonder if winning the presidency were dependent on a few slit throats, would Mr. DeSantis be inquiring for the location of the nearest knife.

Hope you all have a nice weekend.


¹ According to noted art historian and scholar Robert Hughes, the credit for creating mail in voting goes to Caesar Augustus who allowed it for Roman elections around the beginning of the common era (CE).