[This post also contains the Actual Review]
The On Line Book Club has published a review of my book. The review is attached to this Post. The review is very favorable with the following exception. The reviewer dropped the review rating from 4 stars to three stars based on the observation that the conclusion “Republicans allied with the Russian government to spread fake news on social media platforms was “subjective..” I demur on this observation as described here. Hereafter the topic Fake News and Russian Meddling will be referred to as “FNRM”. What follows is a description of how I treated FNRM in my book. First I begin with Webster’s definition of “subjective”- in this context as follows: ‘”existing only in the experiencer’s mind and incapable of external verification”.
MY Description of the treatment of FNRM
This week on January 6, 2021 the U. S. experienced a drama associated with the Georgia Senatorial Election and its aftermath of Trump supporters trashing the U.S. Capitol resulting from President Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election and his exhorting his followers to the actions thereafter at the Capitol Building. The details (defined by Trump and his lawyers) of the alleged voting irregularities in several battleground states that led to Biden winning both the popular vote and the electoral college has been adjudicated in over 50 individual law suits in Federal and State Courts plus one decision by the Supreme Court that the suit had no merit.
Irony of the Trump claims of 2020 election fraud contrasted with the
2016 Presidential Election Results
The “irony” of this protracted national nightmare is that Trump’s ascendency as President in 2016 was itself the result of factors that tilted the electoral college through very narrow margins (in Michigan, Wisconsin in Pennsylvania (hereafter referred to as MWP) that were nefarious (in Trump’s favor) -the details of which have been detailed in depth in my October, 2020 book titled: “Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency”. Contrary to Trump’s repeated claims of fraud and vote “rigging” leading to his 2020 election loss, my book proves that the opposite is true, namely that his 2016 election win was fraudulent and rigged. The vote rigging in 2016 was carried out by Kris Kobach’s led Crosscheck Project (the second whammy) –details which I cover in Chapter 3 of my book.
Summary of My Book’s Treatment of FNRM (the third whammy-Chapter 4))
Apendix II of the book titled “Extracts from the US Intelligence Assessments of Russian Involvement in Recent US Elections” dated January 6, 2017, published shortly after the 2016 Trump election, lists extensive intelligence findings on the depth and breadth of how the Russians used fake news, disinformation to hurt Clinton and help Trump during the election. Additionally, my book described and references extensive findings from two extensive studies dome for the US. Senate, “The Oxford University CPRP Study” Reference 84 and “The New Knowledge Study”, Reference 85. These two studies provide extensive data and analysis of the Russian involvement to aid Trump and hurt Clinton at the ballot box in the 2016 election.
The mathematics I used to quantify the effect of FNRM (Appendix I) borrowed from published work by two University Professors, Allcott and Gentzkow, References 91, 92 and 93, The essence of the end result formulas ( to quantify the vote effects of (the so called third whammy, FNRM) was dependent on two key parameters 1.) Exposure Rate and 2.) Persuasion Rate . I explained in detail the variability and impreciseness of these two parameters and accordingly devised a parametric study to quantify the range in the number of votes in the three MWP Battleground states changed by FNRM for a wide variation of these two parameters- a range of variation within reasonable expectations. As I stated in the book, this was only the third whammy tilting the election. If one doubted that this third whammy was sufficient to tilt the election as a single whammy, then there can be little doubt that it was a sizable contributor to Trump’s MWP margins in the 2016 election as a whole due to all three whammies analyzed.
As to additional evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with the Russians, one major piece of evidence is that Paul Manafort agreed to become Trump’s campaign director without pay. He was joined by two of his long- time cohorts, Carter Page and Rick Gates, who like Manafort, had long time experience and business dealings with and in Ukraine and Russia. On page 90 and 91, I reference the Mueller report, Reference 106, which described how Rick Gates testified that Manafort passed on to a Russian agent named Konstantin Kilimnik, polling data and 2016 campaign strategy including data on the key MWP battleground states. My book lists evidence that the MRP states were targeted thereafter (thus increasing the FNRM exposure rate ) as a result of the Russians gaining knowledge of these poll results (and election strategy) as provided by Manafort to Kilimnik. And then of course there was the famous meeting between Donald Trump Junior (and other campaign advisors) with several Russian Operatives who professed having dirt on Clinton that they wished to pass on to the Trump campaign. My book also reviews (on page 71-73) three scholarly books on the Russian involvement. Malcolm Nance, a renowned Intelligence Expert, Reference 5, commented “The hackers selected damaging excerpts from the cache of stolen data and then leaked them at pivotal moments in the presidential election” Clint Watts , a former FBI Special Agent, Reference 90, observed ‘Without the Russian effort I believe Trump would not have been within striking distance of Clinton on Election Day.” University Professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson in her book, Reference 7, addressing the question of how pivotal was Russian involvement stated “The verdict is likely to be rendered not with certainty but with a preponderance of evidence.” In a later interview, after publishing her book. she was more definitive and when asked (Reference 8, page 9 of my book) ”if she thought that Trump would be president without the aid of the Russians” she didn’t equivocate “No” she said smiling.
This, I submit indicates that my treatment of FNRM in my book was not merely “subjective” but with the same level of extensive research and analysis as used in the book as a whole.
Harold J. Breaux
January 9, 2021
The On Line Book Review is found at the following URL
Official Review: Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and…
Post by Eutoc » 19 Dec 2020, 10:59
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency” by Harold J. Breaux.]
3 out of 4 stars
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The 2016 US presidential election came with a lot of unfathomable events. Harold J. Breaux considers the triumph of Donald Trump as one of the most recent historical anomalies to be witnessed. In his book Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency, Harold analyses how some series of events before the 2016 election shifted the voters’ decisions in favor of Donald Trump and also the consequences that the US has faced during his presidency.
The Comey letter, Republican-driven voter suppression and fake news were the prevalent events a few months before the 2016 election. These events are what the author refers to as the “triple whammies” – which he believes provided the vote swings from Clinton to Trump. A mathematical model was developed for each of these three whammies to determine the degree of swing caused by them. Maximum Whammy Effect Ratio (MWER) was used as a metric to calculate the extent of the vote swings. The MWER determined how much the three whammies jointly led the Electoral College to hand Trump the presidentship. The second half of the book focuses on the actions, inactions and the poor decision-making of the president’s administration. The final chapter discussed how the outbreak of the current pandemic in the US made Trump’s failures obtrusive.
I found this book to be hilarious, especially when Trump’s lies were recounted. Harold pointed out that Trump had lied about tariff payments at least 108 times in 2019. Another study referenced in the book indicated that Donald Trump has made over 18,000 false claims from the day he assumed office till date. These numbers are staggering. For someone who blindly followed Trump, I find this book to be very informative and well-researched. I learnt things that I previously didn’t know about Trump; I got to know that his proclaimed self-made success in business isn’t so true. I highly appreciate the author’s shrewdness in applying mathematical modelling in studying the dealings of the 2016 election. The models seemed plausible, thereby making his presumptions about the election results more convincing. A reader needn’t have a strong mathematical background to understand these models.
While most of the claims made here are true, I wasn’t comfortable that conclusions were drawn from speculative events. One of the conclusions drawn was that the Republicans allied with the Russian government to spread fake news, on social media platforms, as a means to bias voters’ decisions. Because the conclusion on this issue is subjective, I feel it could be misleading to naive readers. Because of this, I would deduct a star and rate Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency 3 out of 4 stars.
Illegitimate: Trump’s Election and Failed Presidency is best suited to readers with an interest in politics. The book is professionally edited; I found only two errors while reading through the narrative. The errors were a missing word and a missing full stop. I bet another round of proofreading would clear the errors.
3 out of 4 stars
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