In 1941 US Congressman Lyndon Baines Johnson ran for an open US Senate seat in Texas. LBJ was far ahead in all the polls when the popular demagogue Pappy W. Lee O’Daniels, the Texas governor, entered the race for Senate against Johnson.
LBJ had the money, the name, the votes and all he needed to win. Pappy had two things LBJ lacked. Pappy was great on the radio and had a vast audience accustomed to listen to him. Pappy also had the help of various political bosses around the state. When he needed them most they would come through for him.
LBJ campaigned diligently. He spent money lavishly. He rose in the polls. On election night Lyndon was so certain of victory he told his acolytes around the state to go ahead and vote all the boxes that night. He did not hold back anything because he wanted a wide margin of victory.
Then he went to bed.
When he was awakened the next morning he learned he was well ahead on Election Day ballots. Ominously, however, Pappy had not called to congratulate LBJ and concede the election. What did Pappy know?
Rural Texas then voted on paper ballots, unlike the big cities, where voting machines were in use by 1941. The big cities had LBJ well ahead. He seemed to have paid for enough votes.
However, LBJ had had his aides order all the counties where he had henchmen to turn in all the votes, which they almost certainly did without bothering to count them.
LBJ had nothing left.
Pappy had his hired hands hold out certain ballot boxes until he was sure HOW MANY VOTES HE NEEDED. Then, and only then, did Pappy have the rural votes (paper ballots held by the county bosses) turned in for a count. Amazingly, the percentage of votes cast for Pappy was overwhelming. He went from a wide margin of defeat to a narrow margin of victory.
In other words, the paper ballots in the hands of people who knew what to do with them made Pappy a Senator and Lyndon a loser. All this happened well after Election Day (Robert Caro: The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983, pp. 730-740).
Friends, one party in 2020 argues for mail-in paper ballots, vote harvesting and a long period of counting ballots. A failed candidate from 2016 (ok, Hillary) is on record telling Joe Biden’s handlers not to let him concede on Election Day, no matter what word seeps down into his basement.
Ominously, Secretary Clinton says, “If he will just hold on, we will win in the long run.”
LBJ never made the same old mistake again. He always held back a few boxes, just to be sure.
And, in Texas, he never lost again.
He always knew just how many votes he needed to win the election. This is what can happen when we take weeks and months to count the vote.
Watch out, America. In the name of protecting us from the Virus, one party wants to count the paper ballots when they know how many votes they need to win.