Let me share a few more thoughts on the topic of election crimes, and the fact that we are seeing numerous instances of things that are presented as farfetched strategies but are in fact crimes. As noted last week, if a public official pressures an election official to change the results of an election that is a crime. We’ve seen numerous instances of it, most recently from the President himself.
We enforce laws and punish crimes in a number of different ways and with a number of theories underlying the punishment. One reason is to publicly demarcate acceptable and unacceptable behavior. But a key goal is always deterrence. And election crimes are a domain of law in which deterrence is most salient.
These are not crimes of passion. The important ones are not committed by people whose lives are so disordered or tenuous that they’re not thinking of what happens in a week or a decade. These are crimes of strategy and advantage.