Thursday, November 12, 2020

Means, motive, and opportunity

Did Joe Biden win the election fair and square?  Or was there voter fraud sufficient to tip it in his direction?  I won’t be addressing those questions here.  I want to consider the more basic epistemological issue of whether asking them is even reasonable, or instead the mere entertaining of a crackpot conspiracy theory.  At The Catholic Thing, philosopher Mike Pakaluk opines that it is reasonable, and two other philosophers, Rob Koons and Daniel Bonevac, evidently agree.  I think they are right.

Trump’s fiercest critics are hardly in any position to disagree.  For years they insisted with shrill confidence that Trump “colluded” with Russia to steal the 2016 election – even though, as honest lefties like Matt Taibbi and Glenn Greenwald vainly tried to warn them, that was a conspiracy theory for which there never was serious evidence.

As longtime readers know, I have been very critical of conspiracy theories.  But it is important to be clear about exactly what one means when using the expression “conspiracy theory” in a dismissive way.  No one denies that there are conspiracies of some kinds – they happen every time two or more criminals work together to rob a liquor store, plan a murder, embezzle from their employer, or commit a terrorist act.  What are seriously problematic – and what I have criticized – are theories that posit conspiracies so vast that they implicitly subvert the epistemic foundations of the theory itself.  They are philosophically problematic in the way that other forms of radical skepticism and the “hermeneutics of suspicion” are.

Claims about election fraud significant enough to tip an election needn’t be like that.  They needn’t assert that “everyone is in on it.”  In fact, they don’t even need to posit a conspiracy at all – at least not one involving coordination between, or even mutual knowledge of, all those who were involved.

Let’s look at it from the point of view of the classic trio of means, motive, and opportunity.  Where all three are present, they don’t establish that a crime did in fact occur, but they do suffice to show that it could have occurred, so that it is reasonable to look for evidence that it did.  And I submit that all three are present in the current situation.

Means

One of the problems with conspiracy theories of the crackpot type is that they posit crimes and collusion that are simply way too intricate to pull off.  For example, if your favorite JFK assassination conspiracy theory requires just the right people, in high places and low, spread across the CIA, the FBI, Army intelligence, the mafia, the Time-Life corporation, the anti-Castro Cuban community, Texas oilmen, nightclub owners, etc., doing just the right things at just the right times in just the right places from Dallas to New Orleans to Washington, D.C. – well, it simply strains credulity.  It simply could not have happened, given the way human nature and human society work.  The means are absent for such a vast conspiracy (unlike, say, a theory that requires just a few Mafiosi).

Now, is a voter fraud scenario that could tip a major election as implausible as that?  Not at all.  We know this, because we know that such fraud has in fact happened in the past, or at least plausibly has happened, as even sober mainstream observers agree.  For example, a strong case can be made that Al Franken’s victory over Norm Coleman in the 2008 Minnesota Senate race resulted from voter fraud. 

To be sure, the margin in that case was very small – on the order of a few hundred votes.  However, fraud also plausibly took place in an election that involved much larger margins, namely the 1960 presidential election.  Kennedy won Illinois by about 8,800 votes, mostly owing to results in Mayor Richard Daley’s Chicago.  He won his running mate Lyndon Johnson’s home state of Texas by about 46,000 votes.  Had he lost both of those states, Nixon would have won the election.  And some mainstream historians and journalists, including liberal ones, think that these states were indeed stolen from Nixon.  For example, Kennedy biographer Seymour Hersh judges that the election was stolen.  Historian Robert Dallek thinks that at least Illinois was stolen, via Daley’s political machine.  Historian William Rorabaugh thinks that Nixon may have been cheated out of as many as 100,000 to 200,000 votes in Johnson’s corrupt Texas.

Whether the 1960 election really was stolen is a matter of controversy, but the point is that mainstream historians agree that it could have happened.  The scenario does not require the kind of conspiracy theory that can be ruled out a priori as impossible.  And it should be noted that it does not necessarily require a centralized conspiracy coordinating efforts across state lines.  The Democratic political machines in Chicago and Texas could act completely independently, each having an interest in doing what they could to make the national election come out in the Kennedy/Johnson ticket’s favor.

Now, the states in dispute in the current election involve similar vote margins – around 11,000 votes in Arizona, 14,000 in Georgia, 20,000 in Wisconsin, 37,000 in Nevada, and 54,000 in Pennsylvania.  Even the 146,000 vote difference in Michigan is comparable to what might have been stolen from Nixon in Texas.  You’d just need there to be enough corrupt like-minded Democratic operatives in these different states to do the kinds of things that Democratic operatives in 1960 may well have done in Chicago and Texas.  And again, they needn’t have been coordinating their efforts.  You’d just need enough people in each state independently judging that voter fraud was a good way to get their favored candidate to win.

Do the mechanics of elections make such fraud less likely now than in 1960?  That’s far from obvious.  Some of the key cities, such as Philadelphia, are notorious today for political corruption, just like Daley’s Chicago was.  There are also new methods of voter fraud made possible by modern voting machines and software – as mainstream outlets were warning back when they feared that Russia might steal the 2016 election for Trump.

The bottom line is that fraud on a scale that could tip the election Biden’s way could plausibly have happened.  The idea cannot reasonably be dismissed out of hand as a “conspiracy theory.”  And again, left-wingers who take seriously the idea that the 2016 election was stolen for Trump are the very last people who have any business dismissing it.

Motive

This one’s easy.  Consider a super-“woke” Democratic operative who is convinced that Trump stole the 2016 election with Russian assistance, and remains a Russian asset.  Suppose he also believes that Trump and his supporters are vile fascists, racists, sexists, and homophobes, and existential threats to racial minorities, LGBT, women, and the Left.  He believes that “systemic racism” thoroughly permeates U.S. institutions in the interests of upholding “white supremacy,” and that Trump’s defeat is crucial to defeating these evil forces.  He believes that the rioting, looting, and burning perpetrated by Antifa and BLM activists is justifiable or at least excusable, despite the suffering it inflicted on innocent business owners.  (No omelets without broken eggs, and all that.)  He believes that institutions like the police are so thoroughly corrupt that they must simply be “defunded,” regardless of the harm this will do to neighborhoods no longer protected from criminals.  (Again, omelets, broken eggs.)  He thinks court-packing and other schemes that would destroy American democratic precedent and secure one-party rule are fine and dandy.  He has such an expansive conception of “violence” that he seriously believes that politically incorrect language and other “micro-aggressions” make others “unsafe.”

Might such a person draw the conclusion that voter fraud to secure a Trump defeat is justifiable – perhaps even a kind of self-defense, indeed, maybe even one’s duty as a “progressive”?  To ask the question is to answer it.

Are there enough people like this to perpetrate the amount of fraud necessary to alter the outcome of the election?  Well, there are certainly a helluva lot more of them now than there were in 1960.  Do the math. 

Opportunity

This one’s easy too.  There is no less opportunity for fraud now than in previous elections.  On the contrary, this year’s novelty of having massive numbers of voters vote by mail (as opposed to the relative few who have done so in previous elections) has greatly added to the opportunities for fraud, as many warned months ago. 

So, the means, motive, and opportunity for voter fraud significant enough to tip an election are at least as present now as in 1960, and arguably more so.  Again, that doesn’t by itself show that such fraud has actually occurred, but it does make it reasonable to investigate the matter.  Those currently insisting on doing so before declaring a winner are not only within their legal rights, they are within their epistemic rights.

340 comments:

  1. Litigation also has the added benefit of increasing confidence in the system. If 100 lawsuits are made and the vast majority of them come up empty handed, people can know with confidence that the election was not won by cheating.

    By obstructing or denouncing litigation, liberals are giving fuel to the conspiracy theorists that they claim to despise.

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    1. Ummm.... Trump's team is in fact coming up empty handed in their frivolous lawsuits. And it's perfectly OK to denounce a given lawsuit as frivolous when that is in fact the case.

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    2. @Unknown

      Pa. appellate court sides with Trump in fight over ID deadlines for voters. The same principle upon which the judge in this case issued her opinion is part of the case in the other major lawsuit.

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    3. Unknown, you of course have no idea whether these suits are frivolous or not. Just declaring them so doesn't make it fact.

      It is extremely likely that some of the incidents alleged do represent either fraud or irregularities. The question is the size involved. I'm extremely skeptical that it can be shown there was anything like enough shenanigans to actually change the results in one of these states, let alone all those Trump requires to win the election. I disagree with Feser here about the opportunity. I think that it would have taken a large scale organization to lead to the kinds of margins that we see. That's quite unlikely and very risky. It's also curious that the Dems clearly didn't decide to sway the down-ballot races.

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    4. Well if you are going to stuff ballot boxes, it actually makes more sense to just vote for one person. It takes much longer to fill in ten bubbles than one. You could fill in ten Biden ballots in the time you would otherwise fill in just one. If anything, that indicates voter fraud more than the other way around.

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    5. But what's the logistics here? The Dems sent in hundreds of people to stuff the ballot boxes a dozen times each? Or a few people to do it thousands? None of this seems that plausible to account for final margins. If it was done, it would surely have to be clever than that, and involve corruption among election officials, who magic into existence tens of thousands of ballots, or something like that. Surely then they'd rig all the race for the Dems?

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    6. The fact that they prevented poll watchers from their rightful stations is prima facie evidence of fraud. The integrity of every vote they processed is undermined because they both didn't want to be watched and prevented others from reasonable access.

      Moreover, how in the world were they able to dump well over 100k votes at one time with 100% of them going to one candidate (Biden)? And please explain how you can have 200% voter participation in 7 precincts. How can you have way more voters than what's registered? And of course, how did all the dead people vote?

      If one were looking for fraud, these are the kinds of things we'd expect to find. It is not to say that fraud actually occurred, but it certainly merits investigation. At least this kind of investigation is based on more than, "Russia, Russia, Russia," which of course turned out to be a nothingburger.

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    7. @Anon,

      The reason why down-ballot votes wouldn't be chosen in massive voter fraud is because that would open up even more potential legal challenges.

      Remember, in some counties in the rust belt Biden supposedly got more of the black vote than Obama did in 2008, despite the fact Trump had a large amount of the minority vote compared to the past.

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  2. So let me get this straight. It's not reasonable (within "epistemic rights") for anyone to suspect Trump's 2016 victory might be the result of fraud, despite means, motive, and opportunity being present, by the exact types of argument you give. But it's perfectly reasonable to suspect his 2020 defeat to be the result of fraud with no real evidence, (within one's "epistemic rights") and refuse to "declare a winner" no matter how much that might hurt the country and the polity. Hypocrisy, anyone?

    In reality, you need more than means, motive, and opportunity, you need ACTUAL EVIDENCE for a suspicion to be reasonable, as you, the Thomist, well know (cf. "rash judgment" and "rash suspicion").

    And by this logic, it's "perfectly reasonable" to suspect you of adultery. You have means, motive, and opportunity (plenty of pretty co-eds). I mean, this doesn't by itself show that adultery has actually occurred, but it does make it reasonable to investigate the matter, and for your wife to hire a private eye. I "suspect" you wouldn't take too kindly to this type of accusation, based on no evidence whatsoever.

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    1. There are sworn affidavits by people claiming to be eye-witnesses of fraud. If that's not evidence, what would you accept? Would it have to be video footage? Testimony from perpetrators, rather than witnesses? Of course it's possible that these witnesses are giving FALSE evidence, but that would have to be determined through investigation.

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    2. But no one has accused Feser of adultery, so the analogy fails.

      I'm skeptical that Trump lost because of voter fraud or irregularities myself though. He should definitely stop claiming that. On the other hand, the media and Democrats should stop saying there is no evidence of any problems and obviously that Trump not acceding to the media calling the election is itself problematic. Trump should just say there are some outstanding issues that need to be decided in court and he will abide by the legal process.

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    3. Yea, this is a good point. There does not seems to be THAT big of a diference between the 2016 election and the one that just happened. Since in both cases we don't seems to have reasons to suspect a fraud them we should not suspect.

      But i say that as someone that looks to the EUAs from outside, so i could be wrong.

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    4. He didn't comment on whether or not it was reasonable to question the legitimacy of Trump's 2016 victory- he was simply illustrating the cognitive dissonance displayed by Democrats who act like rejecting 2016 is perfectly reasonable whilst thinking there may be problems with 2020.

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    5. "It's not reasonable (within "epistemic rights") for anyone to suspect Trump's 2016 victory might be the result of fraud after 4 years of investigations that turned up bupkis

      Fixed that critical omission that make it not reasonable.

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    6. @Gone Fishing:

      "It's not reasonable (within "epistemic rights") for anyone to suspect Trump's 2016 victory might be the result of fraud, despite means, motive, and opportunity being present, by the exact types of argument you give."

      You obviously have not read the arguments with any attention. Just for one example: massive mail-in in 2016?

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    7. "It's not reasonable (within "epistemic rights") for anyone to suspect Trump's 2016 victory might be the result of fraud"

      If someone like Hillary Clinton had good reason to suspect fraud, she would have acted on them, even the most frivolous ones.

      As for 2020:
      There is evidence, just question is whether there is sufficient to think some kind of fraud happened. I'm not so sure of that.

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    8. Gone fishing, Feser makes no comment for or against the "Russia stole the election for Trump" theory. But since you ask, it fails on ALL THREE of the initial tests if means, motive and opportunity.
      Means: exactly how many Russian agents do you think there are in the USA? Even more than USSR agents in the 1950s apparently. How likely is that?
      Motive: WHY would Russia prefer Trump to be president than Clinton? Russia certainly doesn't seem to have gained anything from Trump's reign.
      Opportunity: again, how many Russian agents do you think had access to how many us state voting systems?

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    9. Putin did prefer Trump to Clinton, that much is clear. He probably thought she would be more of hawk against him than Trump. What matters is not what happened in Trump's term, where his actions were quite anti-Russia, but what Putin thought would happen.

      The fact is though there is no real evidence Russia stole the 2016 election. They certainly didn't change any vote totals. They may have had a hand in hacking the DNC emails, but that probably didn't sway many votes. And, besides, that's really just releasing information, not creating it or anything. It's a leak. They made a few crude propaganda videos and put them on Facebook. But these too likely swayed few votes. As Ben Shapiro has noted, in one month in 2016 his website alone, The Dailywire, which was smaller and newer then, had more Facebook hits than all these Russian videos combined over the whole election cycle.

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  3. Dear Professor,
    Love the blog, read it compulsively. How can your epistemic framework for evaluating allegations of conspiracy be applied to the other big allegation of 2020? This, of course, is that a small group of interested parties have pushed the present insane reaction to the real problem of COVID, for the purposes of advancing totalitarianism and a set of societal changes described publicly by these same people (see WEF website) as the "Great Reset."

    Not asking your opinion on the truth of the claim, just whether it undermines its own epistemic foundation.

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  4. Both sides had motive, means and opportunity to attempt voter fraud. I find it unlikely we will ever know which side did more. I’m not sure how to distinguish morally between voter fraud efforts which accrue to a candidate who is declared the winner and those which accrue to a candidate who is not.

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    1. I think this is a mistake. It's tempting to say "both sides are bad", but you can easily fall into the Golden Mean Fallacy that way, ignoring actually suspicious behaviour by one side because "well, the other side is probably doing it too".

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    2. Do you or I know how much voter fraud was committed by Dems? No, obviously not. By Reps? Likewise, no.
      Methodologically it is patently unsound to attempt to identify instances of fraud on one side while not doing so on the other. Questioning or legally challenging the vote count in areas the opponent won is a tactic, and is valid as such. What it is not is an epistemically sincere attempt to determine the actual honest vote.



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    3. Don,

      I don't think the GOP has the same level of opportunity given its electoral strategy and the nature of its constituent voting bloc.

      Trump and the right were opposed to large-scale mail-in voting. They wanted people to vote in person, and in general, the GOP wants people to vote in person. To some degree, that's why they support voter ID laws and stricter standards of security. Their voter bloc also tend to be people who register on time, possess ID, and are moved to find time both to vote and work in the same day.

      On the contrary, the Democrats and the left argued for a massive increase in mail-in voting. Indeed, they filed lawsuits to further enable mail-in voting, e.g., the infamous change to accept mail-in ballots, even those up to 3-days after election day and with no identifying postmark, as valid votes in Pennsylvania. The reason: They rely on high turn-out from urban minorities, a significant number of whom tend not to register in time, apparently lack IDs, or aren't the sort of people who are moved to physically take the time to vote in person. Thus, the democrats favor making voting as easy as possible, relaxing standards of security.

      The apparent decisive votes for Biden are a windfall of mail-in ballots, no? Thus, it's probable that GOP is less likely to commit fraud here than the Democrats -- and in generally speaking -- because their targeted electoral base doesn't present the opportunity for it like the Democrat's base does. The parties' electoral strategies and partisan jostling for position, so to speak, are the evidence.

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    4. There are several rather obvious signs of fraud, but perhaps the most obvious is this: Throughout the country, wherever Democrats normally win, and wherever Republicans normally win easily, Biden was less popular with Democrat voters than Hillary, and far less than Obama.

      But in the precincts where fraud is suspected, Biden was more popular with Democrats than Obama was. Biden was more popular with nearly-all-minority districts than Obama was. Higher turnout, higher vote ratios: More black excitement about Biden than about Obama.

      More black excitement about Biden than about Obama. Seriously?

      Meanwhile, across the country, Trump made inroads with both black and Hispanic voters: Between 10% and 40% higher than previous GOP candidates.

      So, how's that math work out, I ask you? Both Trump AND Biden took higher shares of the black vote?

      And, setting aside the precincts where the vote-counts exceed the registered voters (oops), let's point out the precincts where turnout was 85%, 87% ...and keep in mind that in Australia, where it's illegal not to vote, they usually can't get turnout higher than 90%.

      Yes, of course there was fraud. Yes, of course it was systemic. No, it didn't need to be centrally coordinated. It just needed for gullible Democrats to be constantly told, for four years, that Trump was "just like Hitler."

      What wouldn't you do, to defeat someone who was "just like Hitler?"

      Of course lots of them did it. They would have thought themselves immoral if they didn't.

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  5. Trump in 2016: "Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!"

    "Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.

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  6. If we're going to pull out the tinfoil hats, I'm disappointed there's no mention of Trump canning Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Esper’s chief of staff Jen Stewart, acting Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Anderson, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Joseph Kernan, Bryan Ware (a top official in DHS's cyber arm), and DHS assistant secretary for international affairs Valerie Boyd in recent days.

    Or how he fired Steve Linick in the spring, who was investigating Mike Pompeo's actions around the $8 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia. You know, the same country about which he had previously said "Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.” The one he declared a national emergency over to get around congress to get the aforementioned arms deal done. And now, they're pushing through a $23 billion arms deal to UAE. Nothing to see there, I'm sure.

    I know I'm in no position to make demands on your own blog, but I desperately want one, just *one* post about Trump's mountain of shady shit from you, Ed. Maybe even a passing mention would do. You have so many things to choose from! Deutsche Bank. Violations of the emoluments clause. Everything I described above. Dealers choice. Then I can rest in peace and enjoy your posts again.

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    1. This isn't parallel. Who says that it isn't reasonable even to ask questions in those cases?

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    2. @Anonymous...my point was simply to highlight (as I've done a few times now) that Ed continues to focus solely on one side of the proverbial aisle, despite the deluge of material worth commenting on from one of the most brazenly corrupt and contemptible politicians of the modern era (and his many compromised enablers). The longer he does this, the more absurd it seems.

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    3. Unknown, everyone does that to a degree. But more importantly, this topic is surely the single most discussed one right at this moment, just as court packing was arguably the most constitutionally important one in this latest election cycle. So there is/was actually pretty good reason to post about these. Trump's accounts with Germany's largest bank don't seem quite as pressing.

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    4. (That previous comment was me, forgot to log in).

      Sure, everyone does this to a certain extent. But we've lived for 4 years under the absurdity of Trump's presidency with nary a word from Ed about any of it. That seems...somewhat remarkable. He's had every opportunity to say...literally anything about it at any time, but has always found something more heinous to comment about on 'the left'. As a centrist, I find this particularly annoying. Seth Abramson was able to write 1,500+ pages over three books about Trump's corruption, Ed can't spare a blog post, or even a paragraph?

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    5. Ed's posts on specific incidents or policies are relatively rare. I don't recall him, for example, routinely weighing in on the Russia hysteria one way or the other. He hasn't posted on much of the leftist absurdity these four or five years either. The two recent posts have been on the most pressing and consequential issues of the time. Yes, Ed might turn a little more scrutiny on the Democrats than on the GOP, but not to the degree you imply.

      Who does Seth Abramson think the "big man' is? Forgive me for finding it hard to accept that you are a centrist. I think Trump has many flaws and won't be sad to see him go, except that it means Biden-Harris are now in charge. But this stuff about Trump corruption seems as conspiratorial as the claims of "Russia!". You are pushing a guy even The New Republic and Deadpsin (although I suppose Ted Cruz does own Deadspin) consider a conspiracy theorist.

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  7. Feser raises some good points, but I think that he doesn't allow for the improbability of voter fraud that swings the results. This would require organization and a scale that makes it just improbable without good evidence.

    On the other hand, I think the motive is definitely there. If you spend four years declaring Trump to be Orange Hitler, then we can conclude you have plenty of motive. After all, who wouldn't rig an election to be defeat a literal Nazi?

    It also should go without saying, but the Democrats, media and the left are massive hypocrites here. They spent four years caterwauling about how Trump was illegitimately elected in 2016 and trying to suggest Putin installed him, etc., without any real evidence. Hillary Clinton said in an interview a week before this election that Trump was basically illegitimate and stole the 2016 election. The Democrats have spent a lot of time in the last few years pushing conspiracies about voter suppression and Trump stealing this election through shutting down the post or some other such nonsense. Some still carry on as if Stacey Abrams is the governor of Georgia. If Trump had won reelection, then it is very likely that many Dems would be suggesting he stole it, and the MSM would be egging them on. Trump is wrong to say Biden stole the election, but the Dems can spare us the sanctimony about it.

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    1. @anonymous, I agree that there is a lot of unwarranted hysteria and sanctimony from the left, and annoying hypocrisy (although there's plenty of that to go around...looking at you Lindsey 'use my words against me' Graham). I also tend to agree with Glenn Greenwald that Bush was much worse than Trump, at least internationally. However, I disagree that voter suppression has simply been in the realm of conspiracy. For but one example, read about the late Thomas Hofeller to see exactly what kind of machinations go on in the realm of gerrymandering.

      https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-secret-files-of-the-master-of-modern-republican-gerrymandering

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    2. Gerrymandering is an issue on both sides. It is an unfortunate outcome of partisanship redistricting. It is one reason Democrats are annoyed they didn't do well on a state level this election.

      In a partial defense of Graham. He did say, even before the recent kerfuffle, that the despicable Democrat behavior on Kavanaugh changed his approach to judicial nominations, as well it might. I don't know if it is that hypocritical if you actually signpost you are changing your mind in advance.

      Obama was worse than either, constitutionally. Mr. "Phone and a Pen" had little regard for the constitutional limits of executive power. He signed orders letting millions of illegal immigrants stay in the country when he had acknowledged a dozen times he didn't have the authority. You may think these actions had worthy result, but expanding prosecutorial privilege to cover massive classes of people is constitutionally reckless in the extreme.

      It is also interesting that you call yourself a centrist but constantly cite leftists as your authorities and push leftist claims.

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    3. I enjoy reading everyone from Greenwald and Taibbi to David French and Ross Douthat, and those to the left and right of all of them. I like reading Ed, too. I find much to learn from them. But no doubt I'm more on the left than most commenters here.

      To comment on your other post, Ed has indeed posted on plenty of other topics, but he's certainly had occasion to make, again, *a* comment about the absolute obliteration of conservatism under Trump. If you go back and read his posts over the last year, I think you'd be hard pressed to disagree. Also, you act as though life under this administration isn't particularly notable, much of it easily chalked up to hearsay and conspiracy, leftist hysteria, and the effect of some unfortunate character flaws. You seem much too smart to actually believe that.

      I cited direct evidence of a conservative operative who went to great lengths (although not great enough) to cover up what he was doing. Have you actually read about Hofeller?

      I am also not excited about a Biden presidency, nor was I an Obama fan, as I agree with Mike Gravel's charge at the 2008 Dem debates that they're warmongers. Does that disqualify me from being a centrist?

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    4. Perhaps that's because Trump didn't obliterate conservatism. Your critique of Feser relies on this questionable, exaggerated perspective on Trump. Yes, I do think that almost all the issues with Trump are his character flaws and incompetence. Nearly all the leftist claims about corruption, illegality, or him being some kind of Hitler figure are, as far as any evidence I have seen, largely unsupported or exaggerated nonsense. Trump is an idiot and a boor and supremely childish. He is not Hitler nor any more corrupt than Biden or the average politician. Trump will actually leave office with less money than when he entered, which is rare. I wouldn't say Obama is corrupt exactly, but even he is exponentially richer now than when he entered office.

      What makes me suspicious of your centrism is you seem to quote mostly leftist sources/authors and push quite strongly leftist narratives.

      I see no evidence that Hofeller was anything but the usual partisan gerrymander. This is how the game is played, unfortunately. Why do you think Dems are so annoyed they did so poorly in the states in this census year?

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    5. If he didn't obliterate it, he laid bare what was already obliterated. Plenty of conservatives think this (e.g. Bill Kristol and Stuart Stevens, who wrote an entire book, It Was All A Lie, with that as the premise). Also, I grew up in the conservative evangelical world, and have seen up close and personal how evangelical devotion to him has further hollowed out the movement. Even very conservative Cantus' comment that "A lot of those Congressmen and Senators have already gotten behind Trump. I do expect betrayals from the Romneyite types in the GOP, but Trump's base is not something the GOP can afford to alienate if they ever want to be relevant again" would seem to affirm that something has fundamentally shifted (Before Trump / After Trump). I also think you can look back to 2008 when Palin was involved to see a shift that hastened the cratering of standards, furthered the reality showification of politics, and generally helped prepare the path to the Trumpian idiocracy we find ourselves in.

      I don't think he's Hitler, either, but you woefully undersell his malice and corruption. I may need to better understand what you count as evidence, because if you just hand wave away everything as "largely unsupported or exaggerated nonsense", this part of the conversation won't go far. There is plenty of evidence. 

      I stated facts about Trump (e.g. he has fired more people than any other recent president, often with suspect motives). I am not interested in fitting into narratives. I do not walk in lockstep with any given political party or ideology. For instance, I am pro-life, which to some degree puts me at odds with just about everyone on the left. I think of being a centrist as someone who at least stands a chance at honest evaluation, unlike those who have blind loyalties to this or that side. That's why I resonate with conservative never-Trumpers, especially in contrast to people like the aforementioned Graham, who went from saying "He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot. He doesn’t represent my party. He doesn’t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for" to a complete sycophant when his political career was on the line.

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    6. To Paranoid Android:

      A lot of conservatives are just fed up to death with the Losing With Dignity GOP, and would very much prefer a candidate that can actually win and offer real resistance to the Left, even if he's a lying philandering sleaze. And given the accelerating madness of the Cultural Left, the idea of them getting power over America is terrifying to many. How many more Little Sisters of the Poor would they have to suffer through? How many more attempts to ram transgenderism and approval of homosexuality down their throats? Many also fear that Biden will "plugs the holes" that allowed Trump to rise in the first place, leaving them with an essentially permanent hegemony of either the Democrats or their do-nothing Republican stooges. What, for instance, are the odds of Biden doing anything to stop Big Tech? Probably nil or almost nil, given how much of his backside they're covering. Meanwhile, if Trump prevails, he will almost certainly obliterate the monopolistic power of Facebook, Twitter, etc, which would be a good thing for people in general and conservatives in particular.

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    7. Paranoid Android, but what do you mean by obliterating conservatism? Most of the most diehard Never Trumpers are establishment types whose conservatism, beyond conserving the tradition of banking, was never that strong or neocons, who are annoyed he hasn't declared six new wars before breakfast, or both. The more committed and thoughtful conservatives tend to be Trump skeptical, but wouldn't go so far as to say he had obliterated conservatism. His character is an issue and conservatives should be worried about character. But it isn't the only issue or something that should have us embrace the Dems or not care if they win.

      I'm looking for evidence that Trump has actually done much in office that was corrupt. I'm sure as a NYC real estate magnate he did his fair share of shady dealings, but I mean in office. The one thing I can think of are his attempts to occasionally hold government events at his resorts. But even there it could genuinely be argued that he just wanted to go somewhere he was comfortable and even save the government money. As I said, Trump is quite rare in a major or even minor politician in leaving office with less money than when he entered it.

      I certainly don't trust as an authority someone even leftist outlets have called a conspiracy theorist.

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    8. I don’t think we have seen evidence to support the allegations that Trump is a liar, or a sleaze, and the evidence that he is a philanderer seems rather to support the contention that he has been less than perfectly faithful to his wife, which if he were anybody other than the guy who can defeat both left wing and neocon candidates, would never be noticed, and certainly never mentioned.

      The constant refrain, by liars, that Trump is a liar, has been as entertaining as it has been instructive. I find him refreshingly honest.

      Delete
    9. Trump's obviously a liar. He lies all the time, even when it's obvious. I voted for him, but let's not whitewash his flaws.

      Delete
    10. Trump is so obviously a liar, that nobody ever needs to present an example, except for cases in which actually, he told the truth and they disagree with him, or he made a joke, and liberals never get a joke unless it’s against someone that they disagree with.

      How about you take your best shot of convicting him of three clear lies? Should be easy since he does it all the time, right?

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    11. Sorry @anonymous, I have to pause our conversation to respond to this.

      @aquinian, is this some sort of performance art? Are you trying to show the absurdity of a cliche Trump supporter? If so, bravo, well done. If not, God help us all.

      No evidence of lying? This is an astonishing, ludicrous claim. There are examples of him lying three times in the same week about one subject. Example? Sure: Hurricane Dorian. I'm sure you can google it for yourself. And not only did he get it wrong, he doubled down on the lie when corrected by the National Weather Service. This is why people have diagnosed him with Narcissistic Personality Disorder...he can never admit he's wrong, even in the face of obvious evidence. And sure, there are all the lies that can't exactly be "proven" in the way you set it up, e.g. when he said about 9/11 “I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down” when there is zero, let me say that again *zero* evidence of this ever happening...if you can't connect the dots, I'm not sure what you're doing on a philosophy blog. And for another flavor of lying, there's Trump University and the Trump Foundation. Come on, man, don't be a troll.

      Oh, also, he's a fan of empty boasting. He criticized Obama on Twitter 27 times for golfing too much during his presidency, and said "I won't have time to play golf if I'm elected president," and yet it's a verifiable fact that he's spent far more time golfing and at golf resorts than Obama, and has *also* directly enriched himself in the process (by visiting and spending our tax $ at his own resort properties). Go see for yourself: https://trumpgolfcount.com/

      Not a sleaze? I'd hate to see your definition of what qualifies someone as one. This is a man who said: "I moved on her like a bitch. I couldn't get there and she was married. Then all-of-a-sudden I see her, she's now got the big phony tits and everything. She's totally changed her look." "You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful... I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything." He said these things when he was SIXTY YEARS OLD. Not some meathead college freshman in a frat house.  About his own daughter he said "You know who's one of the great beauties of the world, according to everybody? And I helped create her? Ivanka. My daughter, Ivanka. She's six feet tall. She's got the best body." He called her a “piece of ass”, and said "‘I’ve said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her." Yeah, not creepy at all. He has also had at least 25 women accuse him of sexual misconduct since the 1970s. That's not even going into the porn stars, beauty pageants, or public infidelity.

      But yeah, a real standup guy. Christlike, even. Really speaks his mind.

      Delete
    12. I hadn’t heard of Hurricane Dorian, but wow, you decided to prove me right?

      Let’s see. Trump’s original comment was not even arguably a lie. I hope we agree on that, although you seem to be claiming above that it was. It’s hard to tell, when you give it as an example of a “lie” and then say, “not only did he _get it wrong_, he doubled down on the lie when corrected by the National Weather Service.”

      So did he get it wrong, or did he speak against his mind? I think you know, and your choice of wording exposed your own knowledge. In which case, you sound like you’re judging Trump by your own standards.

      Here’s how the Wikipedia article presents Trump’s characterisation of the famous chart:

      “On September 4 in the Oval Office, Trump displayed the National Hurricane Center's August 29 diagram of Dorian's projected track. The diagram had a line apparently made with a black marker which extended the cone of uncertainty of the hurricane's possible path into southern Alabama.”

      Go read it in context. The clear implication is that he was presenting it as current, and that he was doing so to prove that the hurricane would hit Alabama. Neither contention is supported by fact. The video is linked from the article and it shows Trump saying that this was the original chart they received, and that they dodged a bullet because the hurricane turned right, and only grazed Florida.

      The obvious purpose of presenting the chart was to refute the allegation by the never-Trumpers that he had made up the idea that the Hurricane endangered Alabama. Watch the video.

      Of course, the same liars who think anything they disagree with is a lie, failed to allege that the predictions of millions of Covid deaths in Britain and the USA were “lies.” No, those warnings were prudent. Trump is not prudent, as all know, since he doesn’t agree with the left or with the neoconservatives. So when he issues a warning that proves to be unverified by an ensuing disaster, he must have been lying.

      I won’t bother with the rest of your garbage until and unless you successfully prove your first contention. Let’s see how serious you are. Maybe try and be more precise with your charge, and tell us what the actual evidence is.

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    13. During the last debate Trump mentioned that his efforts on Covid avoided the predicted 2 million deaths, so by your own logic he was lying.

      Remember when Trump suggested Ted Cruz's father was involved in JFK's assassination? Apparently not.

      I think a lot of the Covid attacks on Trump are hysterical or dishonest, but it is just bizarre to claim Trump isn't a liar. It's one of his most obvious and glaring flaws. He's a pathological liar. He will lie when asked point blank about things he is on camera saying. Many politicians lie. Hillary Clinton is very dishonest. But there is usually a rhyme or reason to it. With Trump this is often lacking. He will lie for no reason or with little hope of getting away with it.

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    14. Good grief, now you're just embarrassing yourself. I suggest you find a new username if you're going to make it a passion project to defend one of the most obvious liars and sleazebags in American public life.

      I'm sorry my first choice of a lie, off the top of my head, wasn't straightforward enough for you. So here you go - three simple, verifiably false things he's said:

      1. That his father was born in Germany / the European Union. He has made this claim on multiple occasions even though it's a fact his dad was born in NYC. As a pathological liar, he lies about stupid things that are easy to fact check and have no real benefit to him.

      2. In speaking about a newly approved military budget, he said "And, by the way – I know you don’t care about this – but that also includes raises for our military. First time in 10 years.” It wasn't the first time in 10 years. In fact, service members have gotten a pay raise every year for decades. He was just joking, though, right?

      3. In 2016, he complained about the debate schedule saying “I’ll tell you what I don’t like...it’s against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, “This is ridiculous.” The NFL immediately refuted this saying they never sent a letter. As an aside, the debate had been scheduled almost a year prior.

      Bonus round:

      4. He also has his lackeys lie for him, like Sean Spicer saying he had “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period.” A real howler, easily proven false.

      5. He also likes telling half truths, like his claim "We have the biggest tax cut in history, bigger than the Reagan tax cut. Bigger than any tax cut." This is true if you're only looking at the corporate side, but you and I both know that when he made this claim to crowds, he was saying it as though average citizens were getting the biggest cut ever, which is false.

      I look forward to reading your response to the rest of my "garbage", which is straight facts and direct quotes from the man himself. Good luck.

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    15. 1.

      Because it isn't reasonable to tell us that he lies all the time, then when asked for an example, you present one which fails spectacularly to prove the point, and instead of admitting this you proceed to throw more onto the table.

      I get that you're so convinced of your position that one blunder won't shake your confidence, but it won't wash with someone like me, who is not American (no dog in the fight), is totally cynical about the media and the establishment, and has been observing the performance of both with amusement and disgust for the last five years as this outsider, Trump, has come along and disturbed their cosy game.

      The Dorian case, it turns out, was classic. Absolutely every element of the usual process unfolded in that example. First you had a situation in which the media had form - they had already crucified a President over his response to a hurricane, and Trump, a man of phenomenal shrewdness, saw them coming. So what did he do? He showed that he was on top of this new hurricane, that he was personally tracking it, watching and responding, on the front foot, not able to be presented as late and useless like poor old "W" had been. But of course the media just smoothly switched to a different kind of attack, and instead of the "W" angle, they decided to lampoon the President as amateur-hurricane-predicter etc. Note that there's absolutely no sense of responsibility on the part of the media, that they have no thought that the office of President is a noble office, absolutely essential to the common good, and that its credibility and prestige ought to be protected. Quite the opposite - if a man who happens to occupy the office is not to their taste, the office itself is no protection. The office can go down with the object of their hatred. Nor do they have any respect for their own public role, they are trashing all respect for their own trade and their own place in public life, and they don't care.

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    16. 2.



      So, Trump said something that could be criticised as inaccurate (and which, in turn, demonstated their thesis that he was a bungling fool sticking his nose in where it was not needed or wanted), and away they went. Apparently the phones had gone bananas at the weather office in Alabama after Trump included that state in the list of potentially affected areas, so the weather guys put out a rushed, and therefore uncrafted and loose, tweet (Alabama will see zero impact). The national weather guys then had a political problem - the Alabama tweet was wrong, but they didn't want to throw their own people under the bus, and the media was hunting for Trump blood, and they knew it. The resulting national communication was, in fact, a perfect response. But the media weren't happy, and decided that there must have been improper political interference, so that was their new line of attack. An objective assessment of the different actions of the various actors involved reveals nothing clearly incompetent, or dishonest, except of course for the lying media and their supporters in the never-Trump camp. "Sharpiegate" was a nothingburger, as vacuous as "Russiagate" actually. And before you tell us that Truimp got a sharpie and "altered" a weather map, actually we don't know who drew on the map, when, or why, and it may well have been an entirely innocent act, performed in a meeting discusssing the potential impacts of the hurricane, prior to any controversy at all. And to reinforce that possibility, keep in mind that the political threat in view at that point was that if the President failed to issue enough warnings or throw enough respurces at the potential threat, he would be subject to the "W" treatment. So extending the potential threat of the hurricane in the known direction of its travel would have been the logical, cautious, prudent, way to think at that stage. It's what I'd be thinking was smart, in those circumstances.

      Trump is a guy who can't win with the media, because he's against the left AND the so-called right. He won't adopt Socialism, and he won't start or extend whatever wars the deo-cons demand.

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    17. So Ted Cruz's father helped kill JFK?

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    18. That's a whole lot of bluster, but it won't obscure the fact that you continue to ignore the numerous examples presented to you (by me and Anonymous). You said "How about you take your best shot of convicting him of three clear lies?" Now you're fixating on Dorian (not my best shot) rather than dealing with the fact that I've met your challenge and then some. Even if Dorian fails, the rest don't: He lied about where his dad was born, about raises to the military, about the NFL contacting him, about Ted Cruz's father, about the inauguration crowd, about the size of his tax cuts, about seeing thousands of people in NJ cheering 9-11, and about not having time to golf if he were elected. None of those have any media spin or were generated by "the left" or neocons. And yes, I could put together another list of just as many examples, and another, and another...

      He can't win with the media because he is, as David Bentley Hart so brilliantly described him in 2011, "cold, grasping, bleak, graceless, and dull; unctuous, sleek, pitiless, and crass; a pallid vulgarian floating through life on clouds of acrid cologne and trailed by a vanguard of fawning divorce lawyers, the devil is probably eerily similar to Donald Trump—though perhaps just a little nicer." Because, as "The Fifth Risk" by Michael Lewis so clearly shows, he is stunningly, terrifyingly incompetent as a leader.

      Can't wait to hear that defense of why he's not a sleaze.

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  8. Nice work, Ed.

    I don't know why the following is not being talked about, but as a foreigner looking in, the most interesting data for me was the percentage of early ballots returned in various states, by party registration. I saw reports in the week prior to the election giving those stats, and I recall some of them. They weren't partisan numbers, just statements of how many early ballots had been sent by registered Republicans vs registered Democrats. The media had been asserting that most of the early votes were by Democrats. This was only true in Pennsylvania (it was running 70% to 20% Dem to GOP - in itself, not surprising, if the Penn Dems are as corrupt as everybody thinks they are...). In the other swing states the greatest difference was around 60/40. In some, it was well over 50% Republican. So, the late swing in votes counted to Biden in Pennsylvania was expected, but not in other states. Why is nobody talking about this?

    As an aside, to those putting forward the silly objection that if the Dems engaged in voting fraud in the Presidential election, why didn't they rig the Senate and Congressional races?, the obvious answer is, rigging only the Presidential vote was the smart course. Only an idiot would have created hundreds of angry Republican ex-Congressmen and Senators, all with local knowledge and resources, and motivated to get to the bottom of their unexpected losses, when instead one could wedge the GOP by having happy House and Senate members and an isolated President. This wasn't even Machiavellian, it was obvious. As I said, only a certifiable idiot would have done it any other way.

    Watch the GOP Congressmen and Senators drop away from Trump. They won't stand with him. If their own elections had been rigged, they'd be lockstep with him all the way.

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    1. A lot of those Congressmen and Senators have already gotten behind Trump. I do expect betrayals from the Romneyite types in the GOP, but Trump's base is not something the GOP can afford to alienate if they ever want to be relevant again.

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  9. Here are some of the stats published prior to the election (about a week out):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cO1CApPKKU&feature=youtu.be

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  10. Personally, I'm surprised so many people here are doubtful about the possibility of there being "enough fraud to change the result". As Feser said, there's already reason to think as many as 200,000 votes were stolen in Texas in 1960, and the idea that that's the upper limit on what the Dems would be willing to pull is baseless. If anything, the increased opportunity for fraud created by massive mail-in voting, plus the inexperience and arrogance of the fraudsters (they've not had to rig something on this scale since 1960, plus voter fraud is almost never punished, AND they have the entirety of the Legacy Media covering for them) make it easily plausible for fraud on a colossal scale to take place.

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    1. This isn't even mentioning all the issues with the Dominion Voting Systems, which is a whole other mess by itself.

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    2. But surely it would be quite hard and quite risky to pull that off. It would be organization and planning and would likely leave a lot of evidence. Is it possible? Sure. Is it at all likely? That's hard to see. What would the logistics be here? I agree with the motive. If you spend four years going on about the Orange Hitler than I can believe you might stoop to rigging an election to get rid of him. But I'm skeptical that the opportunity to really pull off a massive vote rigging operation.

      Also if the Dems did rig the election, they apparently only bothered with the presidential one and not the down ballot races.

      That said, I think Shapiro is right that the Dems rigged the election in the sense that the legacy media's total abdication of any last vestiges of objectivity and their status as Biden campaign surrogates (or is Biden the media surrogate? It's hard to tell at this point) gave Biden-Harris five or ten more points and won them the election.

      There are two candidates for Republicans to blame for this loss. One is Trump himself, for his sheer lack of self-control. If he had pulled himself together even a little bit over his term in office, he probably wouldn't have pulled off a win. But he couldn't do it. Imagine what might have happened if his team had managed to get him to relinquish Twitter a few years ago! The other is the media, who weren't content simply to report on Trump's very real flaws, but needed to exaggerate them, make up fake scandals beyond anything Trump actually did wrong, and acted as defense and offense for the Dems throughout.

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    3. Hard? Risky? Not so. Democratic political machines have been doing stuff like this for decades in places like Chicago and Philadelphia, at least on the local level. And as for risk - when was the last time anyone was actually prosecuted for election fraud? And again, they have CNN, NBC, and their ilk covering for them, denying the very possibility that election fraud could take place.

      "Also if the Dems did rig the election, they apparently only bothered with the presidential one and not the down ballot races."

      -I find that makes it *more* likely that fraud was committed, not less. That smacks of masses of ballots being filled in fraudulently in great haste, since if you're marking in Senate races and such it'll take much longer. After all, consider that the media was constantly predicting a devastating Trump defeat - the fraudsters probably thought they either wouldn't need to engage in fraud, or that the amount of ballots needed would be miniscule. Then the polls turned out to be BS; and Trump was leading by large margins, necessitating large amounts of sudden ballot-stuffing.

      I'm also not convinced this was the result of legitimate voters simply deciding not to vote for anything other than the Presidency - that occurs about 3% of the time in most election years, and would require the rate to jump to about 13%, only this year, only among Biden supporters (only a miniscule number of Trump voters failed to vote for the other races), and only in certain specific, important districts. That seems highly improbable.

      Delete
    4. Plus, as another commenter has pointed out, rigging Senate and House races would have increased the number of angry Republicans knocking on their door, making it more likely the whole thing would get investigated.

      Delete
    5. I'm not an American citizen nor resident, and I have to say I was shocked when I found out about the way elections (especially this one) are conducted in many of the states. But whatever.

      More importantly, one thing I learned these past few days is that voter fraud has been known to exist in the US for at least several decades. It is in fact so widely acknowledged that at this point anyone who denies it simply deserves to be laughed at.

      The thing that astonishes me the most, though, is the sheer amount of actually available evidence that gets swiftly and shamelessly dismissed by the mainstream media (domestic and international), by the Democratic Party, and even by a portion of the Republican Party.

      I have to admit the changes in vote counts and in outstanding votes in key states, between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, did look very strange to me. And I was starting to come to terms with the apparent outcome, but all further developments that quickly started spreading in social media were each more egregious than the other.

      So here's Trump's case, explained by Rudy Giuliani:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzHnlLxKhSc

      Wow. This is a coup d'état.

      Completely unthinkable for a first world country. Sorry, but anyone who claims that there's nothing worth investigating is either wilfully ignorant or just acting in bad faith.

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    6. Cantus, but what is the logistics here? As someone pointed out, there are poll watchers. These may have not had full access occasionally, but they generally had reasonable oversight. I don't see how the election could be rigged without a huge amount of evidence or something very planned and sophisticated. I have a hard time seeing how the margins could have been made up by people literally stuffing ballots. What we have now is at worst a few thousand voters across the country and seems small scale, sporadic stuff.

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    7. Not being a mastermind myself or having access to all of the data, I do not have a full answer for that, though some possibilities come to my mind (notably either A/the 4AM ballot dumps or B/regular old corruption and/or bribery). It's also worth noting that the fraud being proposed here needn't necessarily be *widespread*, just targeted - namely by being focussed in the relevant swing states. There need not be a massive, elaborate machine with a chain of command here - all that's required is a general desire from the top that Biden win, by fraud if necessary, and the local branches can follow through on that desire without top down oversight.

      But we're missing the forest for the trees here. The weight of evidence that shady stuff is going on is very large, and this much evidence cannot be dismissed simply because we do not yet know the precise details of how everything could be done logistically. If there's evidence to suggest that something happened, it can't simply be waved away by saying "well, we have to first establish how the logistics of this would work."

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    8. It also occurred to me that anonymous' argument proves too much: if observers alone caught everything, voter fraud would never occur, yet we know that it has been occurring at smaller scales regularly.

      https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud

      In addition, there's no reason to think that Observers would catch every kind of fraud. Just to take an example that comes to mind, while an observer would (hopefully) catch a poll worker altering or shredding a ballot, they probably wouldn't catch a seemingly-valid ballot that had in fact been "cast" by a dead person. In fact, if the fraud took place in any way or form *before* the ballot was actually opened and counted, then there would be no way for an observer to know that anything was wrong.

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    9. But the point isn't that fraud hasn't occurred, but that it is something quite different to say it occurred on the scale required to change the margins here. If we assume most of the current vaguely plausible cases are actually genuine voter fraud, we seem still to be looking at a few thousand votes at the most. It would have to tens of thousands to change the results. Could it have occurred? Sure. But without evidence, and more than just sporadic cases, evidence for a large scale operation, I don't see why we should go beyond allowing for the mere possibility here. This does seem to be close to conspiratorial now.

      Delete
    10. Well, anonymous, consider the suspiciously large number of Biden-only ballots, to the tune of over a hundred thousand, apparently without a single Trump vote between them, that showed up in the middle of the night, after counting was mysteriously stopped? That seems suspicious, and it's certainly large enough to move the needle. And if it's possible they could do that in one place, why not more?

      Either way, surely at the least these matters ought to be inspected extremely closely, for the sake of upholding faith in the American electoral process, no?

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    11. Hard and risky to pull off on this scale indeed - that is why it was caught. Duh.

      It was certainly not "widespread" either... only in certain spots with large numbers of the "wrong" kind of ballots coming in in the critical states. That does not take much coordination at all, just a bit of readiness and keeping those pesky observers away for a little while. And they know they'll be covered by the "official sources" that "call the election." So...

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    12. But it hasn't been caught yet, has it.

      Widespread is relative, I suppose. But tens of thousands across a state is quite widespread. Usually voter fraud is a lot more low level than that and is perhaps a few hundred votes in one operation or just one person voting twice or a few times.

      Delete
  11. Back in 1960, there were not party observers present at the ballot counting in Illinois and Texas, giving a broad scope for fraud. Today, all the ballots are being counted either in the presence of state officials or in front of observers from both parties. So, how is this fraud supposedly occurring?

    Not to mention the incongruity of the down-ballot races, and the lack of fraud accusations in 2016. It's almost like you have a couple of biased mass-media yelling fraud, and a bunch of sheep picking up the call because it was said by someone they trust.

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    1. What mass media? Nearly all the mainstream media is frantically covering for Biden, claiming that fraud not only didn't happen but is impossible. Secondly, as I explained above, the lack of down-ballot races being marked in is *stronger* evidence that something fishy is up.

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    2. Plus, that conveniently ignores all the other stuff going on. What about all the people who signed affidavits that they either witnessed fraud happening or were instructed to commit fraud? If it's so impossible for fraud to take place, why are hundreds of people swearing under oath that it did? Granted, it isn't impossible that they're all mistaken or lying, but it would be ridiculous to suggest that hundreds of testimonies can be safely dismissed because "there are safeguards against things like that".

      Delete
    3. "Back in 1960, there were not party observers present at the ballot counting in Illinois and Texas, giving a broad scope for fraud. Today, all the ballots are being counted either in the presence of state officials or in front of observers from both parties. So, how is this fraud supposedly occurring?"

      OK, read carefully. The contention, backed by affidavits and actual law suits, is that independent observers were prevented from observing, in numerous counting places. You can't argue against that by saying that observers are meant to be present, can you? Or maybe you can - but if you can, then you don't do philosophy. Maybe social science?

      One kind of evidence is absolutely going to come out with certitude, and that is, the numbers of votes for each candidate which did not include votes for the Senate or House. Once this is published state by state, if, as everybody now suspects (including all liberals with better than a third-grade education), there are major anomalies in the key swing states, we will no longer debating whether there is a prima facie case for major fraud.

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    4. Cantus,

      You think Fox News is covering for Biden?

      I have not seen "impossible" used to describe fraud, just terms like "rare". Who is saying voter fraud is impossible?

      I referred to the Republicans significantly out-performing Trump in the down-ballot races. However, this should be fun. I have always know the lack of voting in down-ballot races was common, but if you really think it is a sign of fraud, tell this: why would you go to the trouble and risk to fraudulently cast a ballot, and not cast a down-ballot race?

      What about the people that have recanted their fraud testimony upon further investigation?

      Do you have "hundreds" of witnesses to fraud? I'd like to see that list.

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    5. Aquinian,
      OK, read carefully.

      So the falseness of what you are saying will be burned in my brain?

      The contention, backed by affidavits and actual law suits, is that independent observers were prevented from observing, in numerous counting places.

      The only law suit I have seen on that is one where the party observers were not able to observe, but an independent official of the (Republican) state government was. Are these affidavits on-line?

      You can't argue against that by saying that observers are meant to be present, can you? Or maybe you can - but if you can, then you don't do philosophy. Maybe social science?

      One kind of evidence is absolutely going to come out with certitude, and that is, the numbers of votes for each candidate which did not include votes for the Senate or House. Once this is published state by state, if, as everybody now suspects (including all liberals with better than a third-grade education), there are major anomalies in the key swing states, we will no longer debating whether there is a prima facie case for major fraud.

      Right, the sort of fraud where a person risks prison for casting a vote for President, but doesn't want to fill in any extra circles on the ballot? Seriously?

      Delete
  12. Every candidate has motive, and both of the two major parties each have means, motive, and opportunity. There's nothing unusual or different about this election compared to any other democratic one. There is no substantiated or believable evidence of irregularities or fraud. Normal protocol for monitoring elections were followed. There's no basis other than partisanship for defending the fraud narrative. I agree, of course, that fraud always needs to be monitored for and protected against and any reasonable claims reviewed, but continuing to defend what remain baseless accusations... It's just not a good look. Republicans (who I voted for) significantly over-performed pre-election polling in the House and Senate and even in the presidential race in some states. Should that be taken as evidence of vote tampering in their favor? There's just no substance here.

    Edit: Sorry for the multiple deletions.

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    1. No evidence of anything weird happening at all? Why do you say that? The idea that nothing suspicious at all happened is completely false. It *might* turn out that it didn't happen or didn't happen at the level necessary result (though I personally doubt that). But to say that there is no smoke at all is ludicrous. For just one collection of such issues, see here:

      https://monsterhunternation.com/2020/11/09/election-2020-the-more-fuckery-update/

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    2. *Level necessary to change the result*, sorry for the typo. Blogspot really needs the ability to edit comments.

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    3. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/11/13/us/joe-biden-trump?type=styln-live-updates&label=politics&index=0&action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage#election-officials-flatly-declare-that-the-election-was-the-most-secure-in-american-history

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    4. Oh no, the New York Times reporting that some election officials assure me that nothing is wrong! That completely assuages any concerns I might possibly have had, and makes all the suspicious stuff completely go away!

      But I'll turn off the sarcasm for a moment. Allow me to offer a counterpoint, then: the Chairman of the Federal Election Commission saying the exact opposite:

      https://www.newsmax.com/newsmax-tv/trey-trainor-fec-trump-2020-election/2020/11/06/id/995772/

      Plus, given the extreme partisan bias that mainstream media networks have demonstrated in the last couple of years especially (witness the constant criticism of Trump, the complete and utter shutout of any attempt to even mention the Hunter Biden Laptop story (while having no problem whatsoever printing baseless rumours about Trump), and the ongoing censorship by Big Tech trying to outright manipulate political discussion, I hope you'll forgive me for not believing the media when they tell me not to trust my lying eyes.

      Delete
    5. How could I not forgive someone who trusts (ahem) monsterhunternation.com more than the New York Times? Such a person is to be pitied. Perhaps Q will yet save us!

      Delete
    6. Anon at 9:33 am:

      You mean the New York Times that gave us the lie that was the 1619 project....or that 'Anonymous' was a high ranking official when they knew he was not. Thanks, but no thanks. Monster Hunter Nation is indeed a more trustworthy source than that.

      Delete
    7. Anyone who can look at the progression of the mainstream media over the last decade and not come to the conclusion that they are now irreparably biased is either deluding himself or so deeply partisan that the news' naked partisanship just looks like normal objective behaviour to him. We aren't living in the Walter Cronkite era anymore. What of the Covington Catholic boys scandal? What of that time CNN literally blackmailed someone for making a meme that hurt their feelings? What of the blatant hypocrisy of trying to make the anti-lockdown protestors look as bad as possible, while trying as hard as possible to ignore or downplay the effects of BLM protests and/or Antifa activity across America? Asking me to trust the authority of someone who has repeatedly demonstrated their desire to spin a narrative and bend the truth around that narrative is ludicrous.

      Delete
    8. Antifa and BLM are the best things to happen to this country in decades. Finally people are standing up to the thugs who kill Black people with impunity. Obviously they won't be to yr liking if you support police murder. Y'all sure this is a Christian site?

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    9. Anon,

      Tell me: What have BLM actually achieved, besides making themselves rich?

      Police unjustly killing people is a bigger problem for whites than blacks, and even then its still not a widespread problem.

      BLM openly call to disrupt the nuclear family, dismantle heteronormative thinking, and bring about everyone living in communes. What does any of that have to do with cops killing black people?

      Remember when BLM and Antifa created a cop free zone in one of the most crime free areas of Seattle and within a couple of weeks, 10 people had been murdered?

      Remember the riots that killed over 30 people and caused $2bill+ of damage which much of it was not able to be covered by insurers?

      Remember when BLM lead the burning down of Ferguson after the cop who shot Michael Brown was acquitted, then they had one of their own become the prosecutor, who came out agreeing there was no justification to charge the officer either?

      So tell me: what has BLM achieved, besides just making themselves rich? Getting everyone to say a phrase that was already believe by pretty much everyone?

      Delete
    10. That Anon is AKG. You won't get sense at him, only rants.

      Wes, there is evidence of voter fraud and irregularities and these almost certainly happened. The question is The scale. I'm skeptical they can be shown anywhere near the scale requires to change the results.

      Delete
    11. And that skepticism is fine; let's hear the evidence and see where it leads. But the fact that major cultural institutions are telling people to shut up and do what you're told, is a much bigger problem than who won the election. And then you have all the toadies (such as the one's on this forum) who get their orders and fall in line. Are they wilfully blind? Do they think they will escape the winds that will blow once they knock down all our legal safeguards that took centuries to build? I don't know, and they certainly don't either.

      Delete
    12. As someone who graduated from the world's oldest journalism school, I'll say that the mainstream journalists of the New York Times and such show a derelict professional skepticism if they're satisfied with election officials denying there was any voting improprieties in the election -- as if these officials ever would admit to such! By respectable and established industry standards, good journalists don't just report the facts; they dig for and report the truth behind the facts while showing their work.

      I don't see much of that from the Times or other journalistic media. For example, I read today an Associated Press story declaring there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud, but they appeal to only anonymous election officials and outside, international observers. I skimmed it, but I didn't see one of these neutral experts go on record by name or explain why that is the case or how they know that to be the case. In other words: "As respectable experts, we asked other 'respectable experts' who are just like us and thus have independently verified that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud." And we're supposed to be believe they're "objective" reporters of fact who did their professional due diligence here? In reality, journalism is technocracy, and like good technocrats, its practitioners justify themselves and their work, no matter how suspect, with tautological appeals to their own or others' ballyhooed expertise.

      Delete
    13. * Fifth line of first paragraph should read, "...there were any voting..." instead of "...there was any voting..." And to be clear: the Times and other journalists are denying evidence of potential prolific fraud and malfeasance despite the mounting number of affidavits alleging unlawful conduct and statistical oddities and absurdities found in election data.

      Delete
  13. As an outsider looking in, it seems there are obvious questions that need to be answered. If they are not answered, the cloud of illegitimacy will hang over the election -- maybe it does not make much difference to one side of the country, especially given how many of them have screamed for 4 years that Trump was not a legitimate president (Mrs. Clinton even unto 2019, if I am not mistaken), but it seems to me that the other half of the country will not stay silent and will not be gaslighted by a venal and corrupt news media, pollsters, etc. This of course is a huge problem for civil society and trust in the institutions.

    In Bush vs. Gore, more than a month was given to litigate the situation; now, Trump supporters should shut up, roll over, and after 4 years of being demonized join the healing and unity Kumbaya. Yeah, right.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Feser, y'know systemic racism is an actual thing. Why are quoting it like it isn't?

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    Replies
    1. Those who say systemic racism is an actual thing can't even agree as to what it is in the first place. They all make different claims, but it all gets bundled under this one term that then gets used and misused.

      It's a propaganda term. Nothing more.

      Not only that, it just takes culpability away from actual racists.

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    2. My name is Amar-Kareem Guimba. I am a first year law student (international) at the University of Toronto. This year the law school has required that students engage in reading circles with Indigenous elders to understand the struggles that Indigenous people have faced and continue to face. In light of this, the ongoing issues that the Mi'kmaq people are facing represents the topics covered in our reading circles, and thus is something that us law students should be aware of.

      In light of this it should be brought up how cases such as the Marshall case and documents such as the Peace and Friendship treaties recognize the right of the Mi'kmaq to fish. They have the legal right to do so granted to them by the Supreme Court and Treaties and should be able to do so safely without any danger. It is unacceptable that the Mi'kmaq people are subjected to actions such as having their boats damaged and burned, vehicles stolen, fishing gear stolen,and other threats of violence and harassment which prevent them from fishing in peace. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) have unjustly seized Mi'Kmaq lobster traps and are preventing them from exercising their lawful fishing rights. It is also shameful how the RCMP have taken little action to help the Mi'kmaq people and are letting these acts of violence go unopposed. Mi'kmaq have talked about how they feel the RCMP have failed them and their people. They fear that people may die if these attacks continue. There was a case where an angry mob attacked and threatened two Indigenous fishers and did actions such as burn their vehicles and steal their lobsters yet the RCMP did nothing to impede the mob. This cannot be allowed to stand.

      More needs to be done to protect Mi'kmaq people and their rights. Canada has already done so much damage to Indigenous people through things such as the Indian Act, the Residential school programs, failing to uphold treaties among other things. The continued effect of colonialism are seen in how Indigenous people face higher rates of imprisonment, low socio-economic status compared to white Canadians, lack of representation in the legal system and so on. The Mi'kmaq people's plight should not be added to this list.

      The RCMP should actively protect and guard the Mi'kmaq people as they fish and impede those who threaten the Mi'kmaq people. Nova Scotia should acknowledge the rights of the Mi'kmaq people and the treatise and actively enforce them. The DFO officials should cease to criminalize the Mi'kmaq lobster harvesters for simply exercising their rights. The attacks on the Mi'kmaq people should be condemned and public official support should be shown for them and their rights. This should come not only from the officials in Nova Scotia, but from the whole of Canada, especially the federal government. Showing support for the Mi'kmaq people indicates Canada is really committed to reconciliation with Indingenous communities. I hope appropriate action is taken to help the Mi'kmaq people

      Yours,

      Amar-Kareem Guimba

      Delete
    3. @Fred and Billy.

      Yeah, Malcolm X, MLK, Michelle Alexander, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Coretta Scott King, Vincent Harding, Frantz Fanon, etc y'know people who spent their whole lives fighting, and studying racism would disagree. Tell me who do you listen to or whose works have you read to feel confident enough to say systemic racism isn't real.

      Let me tell you something. Don't you think it's weird a black man faces a harsher sentence than a white man, for committing the same crime and in similar circumstances as well? What do you call that if not systemic racism?

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    4. Malcolm X spent a good deal of his adult life presumably believing white people were made by a mad scientist named Yakub. Yeah, it's great he saw sense near the end, and was killed for it, but since when is he an authority?

      Delete
    5. This can't be a serious question. I mean all you've shown is that you've never studied the Civil Rights movement (probably don't care about of course) and fully understood it. I mean wow.

      Delete
    6. So Malcolm X wasn't a member of a racist, anti-semitic outfit for most of his civil rights career? You seem to have trouble understanding that the rest of us do not necessarily accept all your heroes as our heroes or your views as self-evidently true.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    8. AKG,

      "Tell me who do you listen to or whose works have you read to feel confident enough to say systemic racism isn't real."

      I've actually read a little of and studied what critical theory is, specifically the Frankfurt School, whose members pioneered this cynical "hermeneutics of suspicion" posture as an academic discipline, of which Critical Race Theory (CRT) is a bastard child. It's the intellectual weaknesses in critical theory generally that make me skeptical of CRT and its specific conclusions.

      "Don't you think it's weird a black man faces a harsher sentence than a white man, for committing the same crime and in similar circumstances as well? What do you call that if not systemic racism?"

      I call that a discrepancy, but one that can be potentially explained in ways that don't require positing some grand, impersonal, metaphysical force called "systemic racism." Are you sure you're considering the prior criminal histories of the perpetrators or difference in prescribed penalties between differing states/municipalities when it comes to sentencing? Are you sure that whatever your alluding to as a source is really comparing apples to apples here?

      I will also note that critical theory, as a methodology, has always had a complicated history with empiricism. Like almost everything else, it's suspicious of it. But critical theorists also aren't above shoddily utilizing it to scrounge up evidence for beliefs held a priori and are likewise immune to counter-evidence. A classic example is The Authoritarian Personality. As a matter of empirical social science, its conclusion that fascism and racism lurks in normal, everyday feelings and attitudes, such as deference to authority figures or patriotism, were rebutted and criticized by subsequent studies. Nevertheless, in light of Antifa and BLM accosting and assaulting the elderly, families with children, and other peaceful citizens who participated in pro-Trump demonstrations in DC yesterday, its influence is clearly alive and well.

      Delete
    9. AKG is mentally unbalanced. You won't get a coherent response from him.

      But seriously, Anti-fa are one of the best things to happen to this country in decades? We can have a sensible discussion about the pros and cons of BLM, but Anti-fa are anarcho-communism thugs and fellow travelers whose MO is to mob attack anyone who dissents from their far-left nonsense. They're as bad as the real fascists, let alone those they falsely label as fascists.

      Delete
    10. The reason you don't is because you haven't studied the Civil Rights movement or his life really.

      Also kinda hypocritical you criticize me taking Malcolm X as a hero yet I'm 99 percent sure have no problem with you or conservatives in general taking Colombus, the Founding Fathers, Most US Presidents, many philosophers like Aristotle, and other people who were racist, and actually committed serious harms among minorities such as slavery, and mass slaughter.

      @MP

      So basically you haven't seriously studied it. As predicted.

      Also it's clear you didn't read my comment as I said it was referring to white and black offenders in the similar circumstances. In case you want more evidence:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/11/16/black-men-sentenced-to-more-time-for-committing-the-exact-same-crime-as-a-white-person-study-finds/

      https://www.businessinsider.com/us-systemic-racism-in-charts-graphs-data-2020-6

      https://www.raceforward.org/videos/systemic-racism

      What do we call all of this if not systemic racism?

      Delete
    11. AKG,

      "Yeah, Malcolm X, MLK, Michelle Alexander, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Coretta Scott King, Vincent Harding, Frantz Fanon, etc y'know people who spent their whole lives fighting, and studying racism would disagree."

      My claim is that the phrase "systemic racism" is now applied to everything, that it has lost all its meaning and has simply become a propaganda term. It use to refer to any system that instituted explicitly racist policies, procedures or processes, such as race-based laws like in apartheid, or race based employment and access to services, like for MLK. The key point being that it is explicit.

      Today, as your example proves, any vague appeal to some racial fact or statistic that can be applied to literally anything is deemed systemic racism. No need to point to any specific policy, law, or procedure, or anything explicit is needed.

      Again, explain what systemic racism actually is, and I guarantee whatever you think it is will be different to what MLK thought it was, and different to what Ibram X. Kendi thinks. Kendi thinks that a business that doesn't explicitly hire people based on race is systemically racist.

      "Don't you think it's weird a black man faces a harsher sentence than a white man, for committing the same crime and in similar circumstances as well? What do you call that if not systemic racism?"

      One particularly significant factor here is differences in criminal histories, and the severity of prior convictions, as well as those prior convictions relation to the current conviction. It is simply silly to just take any old institutional statistic and divide it up by race and call any disparity found systemic racism.

      Delete
    12. AKG, but it is you who presumably thinks that racism is ipso facto a reason to condemn someone, whenever and wherever they lived and whatever redeeming qualities or achievements they might have. This is the case with Aristotle or the Founding Fathers. I don't see Malcolm X has having a lot of redeeming qualities prior to his late conversion to sanity. If he did, I would weigh that against his membership of the Nation of Islam. As he did come to his senses, I'm prepared to overlook that membership. Unlike many on the left, conservatives believe in redemption and forgiveness. I don't condemn him. I just question that he is much of an authority. Not condemning is not the same as treating like a hero.

      I also notice that you dodged the issue his membership of the Nation of Islam. Do you condemn the Nation of Islam? Do you believe the Jews are termites and white people were created by a diabolical scientist (who just happens to be called Yakub, or Jacob, i.e., Israel)? Do you believe that black people are the real Hebrews?

      Delete
    13. If the mere fact of racial discrepancies of sentencing is enough to show America is beset by systemic racism, wouldn't the even bigger discrepancies in sentencing between the sexes suggest America has an even worse problem of systemic misandry? Although I suppose that feminists are always ready to turn even pro-women discrimination into further oppression of the patriarchy.

      Delete
    14. @Anonymous.

      So let me get this straight. You don't think Malcolm X has redeeming qualities when he was part of the NOI even though he never killed anyone despite the fact he was a vocal opponent of racism during his time there and said and did many things that still inspire African-Americans today and fought it, yet people like the Founding Fathers, Colombus, Aristotle do even though they did enslave people, commit genocide, advocate and justified slavery and never changed their views, had redeemable qualities. Isn't fighting racism (something the FF, Colombus, Arisotle, never did) a redeemable quality? You know Malcolm X even during his dark times was never as bad as the FF, Colombus, etc. So why are they redeemable but he isn't. I guess only white men can be redeemed for conservatives (not surprised) And why do consider him not sane during this period but them as sane even though they advocated for and did much worse than him (I can't believe this is even worth discussing) Have you even read about him or his works? Could you even tell him apart from MLK in a photo (I doubt it)

      Of course I condemn the NOI and don't support them at all. Now then do you condemn slavery, genocide, mass rape, etc which the FF, Aristotle, Colombus all engaged in or advocated? (Probably not as it happened to non-whites so you don't care like the average conservative).

      @Billy.

      Yeah if you only think MLK was talking about explicit systemic racism when he condemned it that shows you know NOTHING about him aside from the whitewashed version people are told in elementary school (par the course for a conservative). His daughter recently said things which pretty much confirm that he didn't hold systemic racism to be explicit for it to be systemic.

      Here is the definition of systemic racism:

      https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/institutionalracism.pdf

      Tell me. Who have you studied and read about to be such an 'expert' on racism and be able to discuss systemic racism.

      If you bothered to read my point, I already addressed and the links I sent later do as well, how the discrepancy still exist even when these factors are taken into consideration, so explain that. If you really think that all people do to discuss systemic racism is "take any old institutional statistic and divide it up by race and call any disparity found systemic racism", then it shows you know nothing about contemporary studies of race and racism and should just keep your mouth shut (again like the average conservative)

      Delete
    15. Obviously I was talking about his achievements, not that he had literally no redeeming qualities. Almost everyone has some of those. We don't celebrate serial killers for being courteous to serving staff. The FFs made important achievements. Malcolm X did not. And it seems strange to say that he was unambiguously an opponent of racism if he was a member of the Nation of Islam. Anti-Semites are racists.

      Just a tip, try not to put too many words in the mouths of your opponents. You seem to take well poisoning as basic to rational discussion, it isn't. The constant attempts to paint your opponents as the most outlandish caricature possible make you seem mentally unbalanced, as someone said above.

      Yes, obviously I reject genocide and the rest. I don't recall Aristotle advocating mass rape, but I might have missed it I guess. And Aristotle is a philosopher. His ideas rise and fall on their intellectual merits. His ideas about potency and act aren't disproved by his views on slavery. I don't even see the point is bringing up Aristotle. A sensible person doesn't treat everything any philosopher said as beyond criticism.

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    16. Only someone who has NEVER read about Malcolm X would say he didn't accomplish anything important. I'd say fighting racism, helping end Jim Crow, and inspiring African-Americans and black people over the world to fight racism and take back their dignity is a massive accomplishment. More so than founding a nation on the basis of slavery, genocide, and rape which is what the FF did. But I guess since Malcolm X's accomplishments were against white supremacy and the idea that white people are the best and dominant, you as a conservative obviously would have problem with it.

      You're criticism of Malcolm X being racist rings hollow and is useless as you give the free pass to Aristotle and the FF who not only never repented on this matter but did worse things in their manifestations of racism such as genocide, rape and slavery in the case of FF or advocating for slavery in the case of Aristotle. Why do they get the free pass but Malcolm X is treated so harshly? I guess the only reason you care in the case of Malcolm X is that Jewish people qualify as 'white enough' right.

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    17. You seem to be incapable of rational discussion. I didn't give Aristotle or the FFs a free pass you. Like most people who respect Aristotle's philosophy, I don't see his personal qualities as that relevant to it, nor do I slavishly accept all his claims. Are you implying Aristotle's philosophy is to be discarded wholesale because of his views on slavery?

      If you don't understand the wisdom and insight of the FFs in founding the freest and most prosperous nation that ever existed, despite all its flaws, and endowing it with a remarkable constitutional and institutional edifice, I'm not going to try to enlighten you. You are clearly a walking, talking caricature of the hysterical SJW. I wouldn't waste my time.

      Actually I 'm Jewish myself. You are dodging the issue. How can you be fighting racism if you are racist against Jews and white people? At best that's just fighting one form of racism, the one you suffer under. Inspiring people is not a good thing in itself. Trump inspires plenty of people, does that make him a hero?

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    18. Y'know most people wouldn't simply pass of slavery, mass rape, and genocide simply as "flaws". I bet if someone said Hitler helped restore Germany and united it or whatever and described the Holocaust as simply a 'flaw' you'd be okay with it right?

      The FF made America Free for who? White men? Slaves certainly were not free. Prospererous? Y'know that came at the cost of slaves building the country and getting nothing in return but destruction. How callous are you as you're comments are downplaying and erasing the experiences of slaves who were tortured, abused, and systemically dehumanized to make America 'free and prosperous'. You're despicable.

      Y'know I can you ask you this question in response. Concerning the FF, how can you advocate create 'the freest' nation when a good chunk of your people are literally enslaved? Tell me why are you giving the FF the free pass but not Malcolm X.

      Also white people can't experience racism in the same way that black people can:

      https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/09/can-white-people-experience-racism-12340542/

      Malcolm X's views on white people cannot be compared to the racism of say a KKK member, or Jim Crow as they arose in response to a specific context and to CENTURIES of oppression and dehumanization. Does that justify it. Nope. But it differentiates it from the people above.

      His anti-semitism was wrong but he evolved and changed his views unlike the FF and other people. If you can excuse them having slaves and advocating for it while creating the 'freest nation' then Malcolm X can be excused for his views while fighting racism, correct?

      Here's the thing Malcolm X's inspiration was WAY more impactful and tangible and concrete and was for a GOOD cause unlike Trump. Again if you bothered to listen to him or study him you'd know this, but I guess the idea that black people have something to contribute to the world intellectually is an idea that is foreign to conservatism.

      Delete
    19. You're (which means you are. You seem to struggle with the difference between you 're and your) a fruitloop. You take everything in the most uncharitable way possible, rant and rave instead of discuss rationally, and trade on nothing but absurd caricatures. If I was as unhinged as you I might go off on some delusional tirade connecting what you say about Jews being white and white people not experiencing racism as black do and say this seems like a mighty callous way to describe those who have historically probably suffered the most out of everyone from racism.

      I'm done bothering with you.

      Delete
    20. You're lack of response shows where you stand.

      It's true white people have never experienced racism like black people or Jewish people have and they never will based on the conditions we have now.

      I'm distinguishing between white people and Jewish people. I never said Jewish people can't experience racism like black people. When I was talking about Jewish people white enough, I was referring to how you consider them white enough, not me.

      Looks the one who needs to read what people say and not put words in mouths is really you.

      Also you haven't answered my questions. Also isn't fighting and helping end racism an important achievement. Or does it only count when it impacts you specifically. If that's the case then you can't call out Malcolm X as you are doing what you accuse him of doing.

      Later Ben Shapiro 2.0

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    21. I said if I was as unhinged as you I might argue like that, dingus. I was parodying, though not by much, your 'argument style. Reading comprehension failure on your part #325.

      If Malcolm X was a racist and anti-semite, then it seems that for him in this period it was about himself. Fighting racism implies you are generally against racism. If you are only against racism directed at your race, whilst being racist, you aren't fighting racism. You're just fighting for yourself.

      Rant on, Macduff. Means nothing to me. You have less authority for me than Malcolm X.

      Delete
    22. Anonymous (Nov. 15 @ 3:12 p.m.),

      Reading the thread, I agree. I confess I had no idea. He's clearly a true believer in "1619 Project" propaganda and spits more venom and racist generalizations than arguments offered in good faith. I think for the sake of the blog we should withdraw with our dignity. Let him rot in his hatred.

      Delete
    23. I think that's generous. His posts are a textbook in how not to argue. Why does he bother? He is literally arguing with phantasms of his own devising. He's clearly unbalanced and shouldn't be fed for his own sake as much as anything else.

      Delete
    24. AGK I enjoyed the above exchange and found it to be very instructive and informative. Some of your conservative opponents are clearly odious individuals who would like to live in an echo chamber, and so react to people like yourself with insults and abuse, even making an issue out of your punctuation ( as if that was at all relevant ) and calling into question your mental health for daring to disagree. You seem to have been demonised by some of these scumbags, but to my mind, your tone and conduct in the above exchange shamed them.

      Please remember that large numbers of people read these threads who never contribute, including many no doubt who simply arrive for the first time out of curiosity, to see what is being said. You should therefore never be deterred from posting and expressing your views because a bunch of obnoxious individuals who can be guaranteed to personally attack you.

      Delete
    25. Should he be deterred by the fact that Feser has to constantly delete his posts because he is, in Feser's words, an unhinged lunatic?

      Delete
    26. By the way, he has a history of literally cyber-stalking those who get on the wrong side of him. Sounds perfectly balanced to me.

      Delete
    27. The Anonymous defending AKG is Unknown/the Troll Feeding Anon. He has a history of defending leftist and atheist trolls because he agrees with them. He even defends Stardusty as some insightful contributor. He has made his motives basically explicit in the past. His judgment of the worth of AKG's posts is worthless. He would defend him whatever he said as long as AKG were pushing leftist claims. It's also ludicrous to talk about echochambers when most leftists and skeptics here aren't treated like AKG or Stardusty.
      There's robust discussion but they're not run off. Unknown never actually gives specifics of the trolls he adores. He never gives substantive contributions of his own at all.

      Delete
    28. Let it be known that Constable has an obsession about trolls, and has appointed himself as guardian and would-be censor of communications on this site, popping up repeatedly to derail threads into an interminable discussion of such. He recently recanted and claimed that he would not engage in such an unproductive activity in future, but clearly he as little control over his compulsions, which are pathalogical. He has innumerable handles, such as Anonymous, Constable Anonymous, Don't Feed the Trolls and Taliban.

      I have not made my motives explicit in the past, but Taliban has simply invented them. As to the contents of my posts, so many people go by the monica 'Anonymous' that he clearly has no idea which is which as he has responded positively to some in the past , while deriding others which he incorrectly thought were mine. What a loon.

      Get ready for another long ( indeed potentially interminable ) ramble about trolls courtsey of Taliban,aka Constable Anonymous.

      Delete
    29. Constable AnonymousNovember 16, 2020 at 1:20 AM

      Yes, you made your motives entirely clear when you went on a tirade against Feser, you liar. You're also the same guy down below in exchanges with Cervantes saying you finally found something to admire in Trump if he's in favor of gay marriage and allowing abortion in some circumstances. You even included swipes at conservatives in your very defense of AKG's rantings.

      Constantly defending trolls because you hate Feser and are ideologically committed to the positions of the trolls hardly screams someone without obsessions.

      Delete
    30. Oh dear, despite your admission that exchanges such as this are 'undignified' and 'counter productive', and your recent recanting of your behaviour, here you are again as predicted, completely unable to control yourself. The very fact that you present yourself under the handle 'Constable' speaks volumes. It is ridiculous. Who do you think you are?

      I am afraid that you frequently misidentify my posts. You must spend much of your time scrutinising the contributions to ferret out which of the plethora of the Anonymous is me. Sometimes you are correct, sometimes not. Huge revelation - not every 'Anonymous' that posts comments with a leftist sentiment or hostility to conservatism is me. You need to address your obsessiom PC Anonymous and find something more productive to do with your time. Hounding me will be replied to in spades.

      Dear me, the fact thst I have big reservations about Feser hardly means that I hate the fellow, and being broadly sympathetic to the political positions of SOME alleged trolls SOMETIMES hardly means that is my motive for defending their right to be listened to and treated with a degree of respect, instead of utterly demonised and abused. You obviousky lack a basic facility with logic Mr Taliban. Look up and master the terms 'non-sequitor' and 'over generalisation'.

      Delete
    31. Constable AnonymousNovember 16, 2020 at 2:18 AM

      Compulsive Troll-Feeder-in-Chief, you are fundamentally dishonest. For a start, you came up with the moniker Constable Anonymous, and you damn well know I'm using it in derision of you. I'm also obviously not just basing my conclusions about your motives on your views. They are premised also on the fact you never give any specifics to your defenses of the trolls' brilliance. Also you for a long time said nothing of your views, which strongly suggested you were hiding them. Finally and most importantly, only an imbecile or someone with strong ulterior motives would gushingly praise the insights and contributions of an AKG or Stardusty. All together these are nearly cast-iron reasons for suggesting you aren't honest in your reasons for Troll-feeding.

      The obsession stuff is ridiculous and ironic, given your twisted need to defend trolls.

      Delete
    32. Constable AnonymousNovember 16, 2020 at 2:52 AM

      I also noticed you never explained, as you never do, why all leftists and skeptics aren't treated as AKG or Stardusty, if it all about creating an echo chamber.

      Delete
    33. Oh dear, where do I extoll the 'brilliance' of the alleged trolls or 'gushingly praise their insights and contributions', or indeed interact with them and so feed them as you hypocritically did with Papiltron recently? You are delusional, and are once again engaging in a thread derailment that you very recently conceeded was an 'undignified' and 'unproductive' thing to do. That entails of course that you are undignified and unproductive.

      You have a particular and very worrying visceral hatred of StarDusty. Tell me, do you still desire to direct the full fury of your the historical inquisition against him? Talk about a pathological over reaction.

      Delete
    34. Constable AnonymousNovember 16, 2020 at 3:35 AM

      The lies keep on coming. We can all read your absurd praise of AKG's ravings just up the page.

      That wasn't me who said that about Stardusty, as I have already informed you. I'm hardly the only one who objects strongly to his trolling. Of course you never answer why he gets this reaction and many other skeptics here don't.

      Delete
    35. @Anonmyous

      If you actually bothered to read Malcolm X you would know that is not true at all. There's a reason why plenty of Civil Rights Activist admired and looked up to him like Rosa Parks and MLK even if they didn't agree with everything he said. Near the end of his MLK came to become more like Malcolm X in his fight against racism. You would know this if you actually bothered to read about him but like I said conservatives don't seem to think black people can't contribute intellectually when they things that go against the conservative worldview.

      Also again your criticism of him rings hollow and is hypocritical as you laud and praise the FFA for creating a 'free nation' even though they clearly didn't include slaves in that declaration. You can't claim to establish a 'free nation' while enslaving a good chunk of people in it. So again why do they get the free pass (we know why because they are white and you don't care about the plight of dark-skinned people.)

      Also for the record I don't believe in the 1619 project. I just don't think the history of America is as great as conservatives love to pretend it is.

      Also claims about being called racist from conservatives are laughable as you guys literally back Trump. This is like being called racist by a KKK member or an anti-semite by a Nazi.

      Delete
    36. I have just re-read my post and would not call it 'praise', and nor does it contain any indication at all of extent to which I agree with what AGK said. You clearly have limited powers of memory and comprehension too, given that you have completely failed to understand the point of what I wrote.

      I simply do not believe that you did not post the vile and threatening piece about Stardusty. It is completely in keeping with your clear obsession and pathological hatred of him for a start, but if not you,where has this individual - who would have to be EVEN WORSE than you - gone? They would pretty obviously not have disappeared into the ether, but would have plenty to say right now. So, without being able to conclusively prove it, I believe you to be a liar, probably out of shame. Must be hard struggling with a bad conscience , especially as it goes along with your self proclaimed indignity.

      Delete
    37. Would you guys knock it off.

      Constable Anonymous this wrangling is indeed counterproductive if you're worried about the disruption of trolls. Just relax. No one takes this guy seriously. He's pretty transparent. We can all read AKG's posts and some of us remember him. Just because you don't respond doesn't mean you concede.

      Delete
    38. Anon,
      "Of course you never answer why he gets this reaction and many other skeptics here don't."
      It's because people like you, and so many others here, have no displayed capacity to counter my arguments on the merits.

      My arguments are so clear and strong that you and most others are utterly incapable of any rational response, very apparently.

      So, you clog up this thread, like so many threads, with your off topic posts.

      You are violating the rules of this site with your continual off topic posts, as above.

      Just search my handle here for several on-topic posts you may rebut if you choose to.

      The topic of this thread is election fraud. In a nutshell, there wasn't any of any significant degree in 2020, even according to Trump's own Department of Homeland Security, as well as numerous Republican secretaries of state who are generally pretty disgusted with Trump and his sycophants spreading lies about elections in their states.

      Trump is getting laughed out of court.

      Trump's lawyers are backing off claims of fraud when confronted in court.

      Trump's lawyers are quitting, his claims are that specious.

      Trump is being defeated in case after case, and in other cases Trump's lawyers are withdrawing their claims to avoid inevitable defeat in court.

      Anybody who believes Trump's bellowing nonsense is a fool.

      Trump is just following the age old technique, with the accusation being on the front page and leaving a lasting impression with his gullible base, while the retraction is buried on page 23.

      Delete
    39. AKG,

      "Yeah if you only think MLK was talking about explicit systemic racism"

      I didn't. I'm saying that systemic racism is explicit. Other forms of racism surely exist though, which MLK Jr also fought. My point is that you are using the term in such a broad sense as to apply to almost anything, and as I pointed out, it is applied to everything, and thus loses all meaning but becomes perfect for propaganda.

      Regarding the definition you provide, well firstly, it excludes an entire race from being victims of systemic racism outright, so that's the first red flag right there. Apparently, if we literally had an apartheid that explicitly blocks whites from equally accessing public services, or explicitly gave harsher sentences to whites and only whites, this definition would say that there is no systemic racism there.

      Second, they basically say that any disparity in racial outcomes in any institution is automatically institutional racism. So, if say, through affirmative action, some blacks are admitted in to university even if they didn't even come close to meeting the admission standards, but then fail miserably and drop out at dramatic rates because they are going in to educational courses they are explicitly not shown to be prepared to take on, then that would mean it is systemic or institutional racism against blacks to implement this. But if you don't implement this, then its also systemic racism because blacks are disadvantaged from reaching higher education due to poor lower education in Black school zones. The only way for the university to not be systemically racist is to either disadvantage white students and fail them at the same rates, or guarantee blacks pass at equal rates to whites, no matter how well they perform, but then when they get employed based on their education, and fail miserably because they were not prepared for the work, or are simply not employed because employers know that this university are being given free passes on qualifications, then now employment is systemically racist. According to this definition, its all about the effect or outcome, so no matter how hard you try, no institution can ever avoid systemic outcome unless all outcomes are equal in absolutely every way. But then, the race hustlers of today will simply move the goalpost.

      Tell me, many of the disparities by race are even more obvious by parenting. Sentencing is harsher for those raise by single-parents. Would you say that there is systemic bigotry against those raised by single-parents?


      As for who I read, I read a variety. The definition you give explicitly excludes an entire race from being subject to it.

      I'm not reading everything you write. I'm reading your responses to me. I never said that prior convictions explain the entire disparity. I said its a particular aspect that does account for a good amount of it, which I assume you would agree. Another is behaviour in court and during arrest. Those who hand themselves in, and express remorse get lighter sentences than those who violently resist arrest and then show no remorse in court.

      The main problem is that even if I were to provide every variable that accounts for the disparity, but there is still .01% left, you will say "I don't know how to explain this, therefore systemic racism!". It's the "systemic racism of the gaps" argument. You're default is systemic racism. Mine isn't.

      Anyway, you can have the last word. This is too far off-topic.

      Delete
    40. Yeah, no Billy. Just no. It's really sad how you have to use unproven and in the first case practically hypotheticals to prove your point.

      In the first case the reason white people can't suffer systemic racism is because as of now they literally cannot based on the power dynamics of the world. They are in no danger of ever facing systemic racism and never have. If they were and did they would be included but since they haven't that's why they are not included. White people have never been oppressed based on race like other minorities have.

      And in your second case you're just using an unproven hypothetical with no actual evidence and based on a strawman version of affirmative action (which reeks of the typical "oppression against white" false claim against it which is not true https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/08/myth-of-reverse-racism/535689/ and it also reeks of a racist stereotype of those lazy dropout under qualified black people who can't do it no matter what, so nice to see where you are coming from. Hell the whole "under-qualifed" thing isn't even true for AA https://www.upstate.edu/diversityinclusion/policies-and-procedures/aa/myth_reality.php which further confirms you are attacking a strawman and haven't studied AA at all and are basing it off racist stereotypes and a desire to paint white people as victims. Do you have ANY evidence of the scenario you are describing being true? I doubt it)

      You do realize in the links I sent that all the factors that could lead to the discrepancy were taken into account and accounted for which is why the term similarly situated was used. As usual you haven't provided empirical evidence and are using unproven hypotheticals to refute it. Give an empirical study or source to back up your claim.

      Here's the thing. I'm providing all evidence which indicates systemic racism and accounts for the factors, but you are just grasping at straws and trying to use everything to avoid looking at the obvious. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, for you it's actually a baby dinosaur that rolled into a bunch of feathers from a pillow factory.

      There is no systemic racism of gap but that's clearly what it is. Occam's Razor.

      Seriously tell me who you have studied on this topic to be so confident(about your ignorance of racism) in this discussion. Give me names or sources. From the looks of it, I bet they are unqualified pundits who just tell you what you want to here about how America isn't racist and white people are the real victims and other conservative garbage.

      Delete
    41. , your tone and conduct in the above exchange shamed them.

      are we reading the same exchange here? can't imagine a less productive tone for debate.

      Delete
  15. > So, the means, motive, and opportunity for voter fraud significant enough to tip an election are at least as present now as in 1960, and arguably more so.

    I am curious: did you do any research on how election security practices have evolved in the past 60 years with respect to ballot observers, ballot accounting, targeted sample audits, etc.?

    There's a vast scholarly literature out there. I'd hate to think we're simply relying on imagination or op-ed columns for such a striking claim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You said 60 years, but you must have meant in the last four years, right? These full-proof, and inerrant systems were put in place since the 2016 election? You know, when a Russian asset was elected president? Wow! Good to know!

      Delete
    2. Unfortunately, much of those changes have been vitiated by the fact that COVID-19 has encouraged the use of a new and unproven system. In addition, we *know* that election fraud happens on a smaller scale in the new system, from cases such as this one:

      https://nypost.com/2020/05/21/ex-philly-election-official-pleads-guilty-to-voter-fraud/

      The idea that the system is too secure to be gamed is a bit silly. Every system is only as secure as the human element. People can be bribed, coerced, replaced with toadies, etc.

      Delete
    3. OK, to qualify, obviously the system in place because of COVID is not completely new, but the point is that the numerous changes to the system implemented to deal with COVID are new and unproven (such as the use of mail-in voting in such large quantities). This is not to get into the stuff about last-minute rule changes in places like Pennsylvania.

      Delete
  16. Prominent liberals and their institutions are right now urging people to move to Georgia temporarily to vote in the runoff election. Yet, the thought that there might have been some funny business is absurd? Oh, ok.

    Merely one example on CNN by NYT columnist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WABvzzAXhPU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only problem is that it's illegal unless you plan to permanently live in Georgia and you haven't already voted for a senator in another state. There's a lot of nutty people posing as analysts out there.

      Delete
  17. Just when I thought I should believe all women, I mistakenly thought I should believe Tara Reade. Just when I thought I was supposed to think Trump is “literally Hitler”, I was surprised to find out that I was supposed to bemoan the fact that he didn’t override the governors on lockdowns—and just imagine my surprise that he was negotiating Middle-East peace treaties and pulling out of wars. Just when I thought our elections were hopelessly compromised by Russians, and Fascists, and racists, and whatever, I'm now told that elections are unquestionable provided the correct person wins. Just when I thought it was a crime to call the Ukraine, I now understand that full-on ‘pay-to-play’ schemes are cool if you have the right last name.

    The only thing Orwell got wrong was the date.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. T N,
      Just when I thought I should believe all women, I mistakenly thought I should believe Tara Reade.

      I was also disappointed in the dismissal of Reade's allegations. I have no doubt she was traumatized by Biden's behavior (although digital rape i an office setting seems a little too far, something happened). That left us with the choice of a a serial boundary-pusher who had victimized one person in particular, vs. a serial rapist with a long string of victims. America!

      Delete
  18. Of course the election was unfair in the sense that one side had the media, election manipulation where possible, blatent changes in election law mainly in the mass ballot mail out programs and, of course, a studied silence by religious leaders of most faiths on the platforms of the two main political parties. The forces of radicalism have already targeted the runoff election in Georgia for control of the US senate. It will not be pretty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget the months and months of suppression polls, whose incredible wrongness can only be explained either by grotesque incompetence or deliberate malfeasance.

      Delete
    2. Especially given that this is the second time in a row that they were grotesquely off. Do they think we're stupid? Oh, yeah, of course.

      Delete
  19. I understand this is not related to the theme of this conversation, but does anyone know if any thomist provided a decent response to Joe Schmid's paper on Existential Inertia?

    ReplyDelete
  20. If those insisting on investigating before accepting a winner are within their legal and epistemic rights, then many elections since 1960 would be have been manipulated by the loser the way this one is. That is to say, if means, motive and opportunity are the only elements needed, then the sky is the limit.

    The post wisely did not include the matter of evidence, because the "evidence" being touted, from Trump downwards, fails any Thomistic test of credibility. Certainly Trump is within his rights to put his case to the courts, but not to use them to wreck the political system or start a civil war. However, we all know this is a show designed to keep him in circulation in the Republican Party for some time.

    Trump's case against having lost the election is a fraud. To commit this, he has not only had means, motive and opportunity; he has provided us with buckets of evidence into the bargain.

    One of the sad aspects of this election has been the attempt to mobilise Catholics as a stable voting force for the Republican Party. The loony extremes to which Archbishop Vigano and his allies have gone to are evidence of another fraud, also with means, motive and opportunity. It's failed. Hopefully conservative American Catholics will turn the page on this sordid episode and start to bring their rich treasure of political and social principles to bear on the scene.

    These Catholics need to ask themselves whether it is morally permissible to help this showman foment civil anarchy, even war, to placate his ego. Are the principles at stake really those of good and evil, as the mad Archbishop declared? No. Of course not. If we are to talk economics and society, both Republicans and Democrats have their better and worse aspects. The same goes for foreign policy. As for morality, everyone's happy about Trump's latest appointment to the Supreme Court. But he remains someone who wholeheartedly supports homosexual "marriage", and abortion in a range of circumstances. Good riddance I say, because much good will come, not only from his disappearance from the presidency, but his continuation as the raucous symbol of dying WASP society.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What precisely are you talking about? How familiar are you with the accusations and the evidence of shady dealing? Perhaps it's the case that we in the public don't have the kind of rock-solid evidence needed in court, but can you honestly look at all the things going on and say there is no evidence of anything untoward? No smoke whatsoever? Secondly, I have no clue what you are talking about Trump "committing fraud". Finally, what are Catholics supposed to do, vote for the Abortion Party? The Democrats have nailed their flag to the mast of abortion, and not only that, but the entire Leftist movement that seeks to destroy the Church and everything She has ever built. It isn't the Republicans pushing Gender Theory, Gay Marriage, Socialism, and the increasing hostility to religion and even religious liberty. It seems to me that your argument relies on a moral equivalence between the parties that simply doesn't exist.

      Delete
    2. I did not realise that Trump wholeheartedly supported gay marroage, and abortion in some circumstances. He has his redeeming qualities then.

      Delete
    3. Cantus, unfortunately the Republican Party does push the marriage of homosexuals, and abortion in several circumstances. The sort of church that renegade Catholic Mike Pence belongs to, lives for the destruction of the Church and all She has ever built by trying to take away its children in the Catholic countries of America. You see, you don't have to be antifa to hate the Church...

      The Democrats are not a Socialist Party as such, as has been seen by their numerous stints in office.

      Finally, Catholics are not obliged to choose a "lesser evil". The greatest evil of all for United States Catholics is their continued acquiescence in a political system where the principles which are specific to the Faith are absent. Over time, they end up thinking as they act.

      Delete
  21. Very good post Cervantes, articulating much of my own position, except for your moral evaluations in the final paragraph which are unfortunately diametrically opposite to my own.

    In addition to being a showman who is fomenting civil anarchy or worse in an attempt to placate his ego, do you not think that Trump's rhetoric and actions are a conscious attempt by him and his sons to cement his reputation with his hardcore base in preparation for buisness opportunities ( Trump attire, Trump motels etc ) when he is eventually turfed out? Having to be escorted out of the White House by law enforcement would be a wonderful way of cementing his image as principled victim in the eyes of his millions of unthinking hardcore fans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What? You mean you don't think he will go down shooting, Scarface style? That's what CNN told me.

      Delete
    2. Of course I don't. But I think it obvious that Trump will milk the situation for all that it is worth, and a dramatic exit from the White House, televised around the world, with him still insisting that he really won the election, would cement his hero status in the minds of his adoring millions. The financial pay back later on will be immense. Does anyone seriously think that such calculations are not being actively thought through by Donald and Sons?

      Delete
    3. So is Trump a bumbling boorish egotistical idiot whose business prowess and negotiating ability are all merely an image, or is he some calculating mastermind businessman who has successfully duped the media, the Dems, the GOP, and millions of Americans in a big scam to continue financial gains in to the future?

      You can't have it both ways.

      Delete
    4. I am not suggesting that he desired this outcome of course, but given the turn of events , he and his sons will obviously exploit it to the full, including commercially.

      Delete
    5. It's possible his sons and son-in-law have long careers in Republican politics ahead. They probably have a bit more self-control than Trump himself. Imagine what a Trump-figure who had a modicum of self-control could have done. I'm not sure about Kushner's conservatism though. I definitely don't trust Ivanka.

      Delete
    6. It doesnt matter what he desired, what you are saying Trump is successfully doing right now requires thinking of him as some kind of mastermind. You know the movie, Now You See Me? You have to believe that Trump is like Mark Ruffalo's character. He appears to be some bumbling idiot all throughout the film, but you find out at the end that he actually is the masterminded behind the whole thing.

      It's far-fetched. If you really think Trump is some egotistical bumbling idiot with no self-control, then why hasnt he accidentally blurted out his darstardly plans that, btw, you think involve strategic use of propaganda, lawsuits, even being escorted out of the White House, etc?

      Remember, you think this cunning plan is working. You're telling me that Trump filed a lawsuit over a measly 52 votes in Arizona as part of some grand scheme so cunning, that it has duped millions, the GOP, the Dems, and the media?

      You cant simultaneously think he is both an idiot and a mastermind. Pick one.

      The more reasonable position is that there is no grand scheme. Trump just thinks there is widespread fraud, that the election was stolen from him, and he is pursuing any viable legal avenue to overturn the result, some which are frivolous, some which are less so.

      Delete
    7. Billy,
      "Remember, you think this cunning plan is working. You're telling me that Trump filed a lawsuit over a measly 52 votes in Arizona as part of some grand scheme so cunning, that it has duped millions, the GOP, the Dems, and the media?"
      His scheme has duped millions, not Dems, not the media, and not even the GOP, rather, his base.

      Trump is getting laughed out of court.

      Trump's lawyers are so embarrassed to be putting forward all his baseless lies that even the lawyers are quitting, and that takes a lot for a lawyer to quit just because the client is a criminal.

      Trump lawyers are getting pummeled by judges who remind them of their duties as officers of the court and have to back off the baseless claims lest they risk being disbarred. Then the case gets thrown out.

      But it all serves Trump's "grand scheme".
      1.Throw out a barrage of lies that his gullible base will believe and send in money that he can then re-direct for other uses.
      2.In a long shot maybe get some states that actually voted for Biden to instead send in an alternate slate of Republican electors on the idiotic charge of widespread voter fraud, and thus game the system to an electoral victory after all.
      3.Apply his stated view that any publicity is good publicity, so keep whipping up the Trumpian lies with these nonsense suits that keep getting laughed out of court but are effective fodder for the ignorant mass that is his base.

      Long term, he will always cry about how unfair it all was and how he actually won and how rigged it all was, which will be rightly dismissed as criminal con man nonsense by most people, but not his base, who will pay big money to listen to him in his next media venture.

      Trump is going to make Alex Jones look like small potatoes with the tin foil hat crowd, and he is setting up for that right now using the money his gullible base is sending him to file a barrage of the flimsiest lawsuits in election history.

      Delete
  22. LOL!

    One thing these people seem to have in common: no judgement.

    Maybe next Ed could do an article on what constitutes judgement?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I agree. It's hilarious isn't it.

      Delete
  23. Miguel, tell us how you think about this: https://thenationalpulse.com/news/case-against-biden-win/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure. Have had a look and this is what comes to mind in answer to the site's four points:
      1) According to this site https://www.statista.com/statistics/1184621/presidential-election-voter-turnout-rate-state/
      Wisconsin had a turnout of 76% of eligible voters, which was 10% more than the national turnout, but much less than the more than 90% alleged by The National Pulse article.

      2) It's true that Biden would not normally be a motivating politician, but most agree that Trump was a very polarising figure who mobilised a big vote against himself - 51% to 47%, a figure which nobody disputes.

      3) I've never had anything to do with voting in the United States and cannot comment on whether 450,000 Biden-only votes ignoring down-ballot candidates, out of over seventy million, is significant.

      4) The article states that there wasn't much vetting of the mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania and that very few of them were rejected, 0.03%, whereas 3% of first-time mail-in votes are rejected, historically. However, this doesn't amount to voter fraud, just people trying to cast a ballot who make mistakes. The article admits that the circumstances of 2020 meant that polling centres were swamped with postal votes. If subtracting 3% of first-time mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania would have changed the outcome there, it would not have changed the outcome nationally.
      The Democrats encouraged mail-in voting because they knew, firstly, that it would favour them. They were piling up votes over weeks, minimising the risk of a low turnout on polling day. Secondly, they obviously took their Covid-19 panicking seriously, to the detriment of proper campaigning. Late in the day, they understood they had to start door-to-door canvassing if they were going to pull it off. It almost cost them the election.

      I don't thing the article establishes any likelihood the election was stolen. Of course, it might have been. But it's hard to see any real evidence for that.

      Delete
    2. “ I've never had anything to do with voting in the United States and cannot comment on whether 450,000 Biden-only votes ignoring down-ballot candidates, out of over seventy million, is significant. ”

      You’re mischaracterising it. The huge number of Biden-only votes occurred in only a few districts. Secondly, it was historically unusual. But it’s very odd that you should have chosen to make such a blatantly false point, when the article says:

      << In the Peach State, President Trump’s vote total almost exactly tracked the vote totals for the Republican senate candidates, separated by merely 818 votes out of 2.43 million votes Trump earned there. But, Joe Biden saw an astounding surplus of 95,801 votes over the Democratic Senate candidates.
      By comparison, in Wyoming Biden only registered a surplus “Biden-only” take of just 725 votes over the Democratic Senate candidate there, or about 1/4th his take in in Georgia, on a percentage basis.>>

      Maybe try again?

      Delete
    3. I don't know if it's significant. The article only compares Georgia and Wyoming. Perhaps it should have provided a more representative sample of non-battleground states. There might have been some which had comparable Biden-only votes. Do you have a complete set of statistics for this?
      The other three points seemed stronger on the face of it, but were easy enough to discount. What do you think about them now?

      Delete
  24. I am not a Democrat but an Independent.

    However, there is arguably more conspiracies that undermine our democracy committed by those supporting Republicans than Democrats.


    What about the massive voter suppression Trump was doing through various means?

    There are too many such means to mention but just one area of example is the US Postal Service?

    ...Such as the destruction of mail sorting machines in mostly Democratic voting areas and other shenanigans through his Post Office appointee?

    Some of the voter suppression techniques are illegal and all are of course immoral.

    Without such illegal, criminal, undemocratic, and immoral suppression efforts, the Democratic vote would be higher in all the battle ground states.

    Aren't voter suppression policies conspiracies that should be strongly condemned?

    What about the Republican gerry mandered districts all across the nation that make districts look like not just mosquitos on the map but exotic mosquitos?

    Isn't that an obvious conspiracy?

    What about Citizens United which subverts our democracy every day?

    That ruling was done purported to help with free speech.

    What irony? It doesn't advance free speech, it distorts the opportunity for free speech. We are a society of over 300 million people. When rich casino owners like Sheldon Adelson give hundreds of millions of dollars of bribes to our elected officials like Trump and Republicans to buy advertisements, that sucks out the oxygen of what can be said by ordinary people who don't have that access.

    And it corrupts the policies of those who should represent us and represent just policies. Because of Adelson, Trump supported the unjust and racist policies of Netanyahu.

    Of course, there is bribery on Democratic side also such as Bloomberg.

    But donations in Democratic side is more small private donations compared to the bribery of multimillionaires controlling the Republican party.

    Multiple advanced western countries do not allow this corrupted form of campaigning but campaigns are publicly financed.

    Our whole electoral vote system is a conspiracy...Why did Bush win when more people voted for Gore or Trump win when more people voted for Clinton.

    Again, I am not supportive of all policies of Democrats, especially corporate Democrats, but there is more conspiracy helping Republicans than Democrats.

    Shouldn't we lower the temperature that is increasing polarity in our nation?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Of course, there is bribery on Democratic side also such as Bloomberg."

      Ahh... Bloomberg... isn't he the one who, with all his millions, got the people of American Samoa to vote for him in the primaries??? :S

      There's tons of money everywhere, and buying ads is fair. Not reporting inconvenient facts might also be fair, but pitching yourself as objective journalists isn't (like CNN or the NYT).

      As for the electoral college, well, that is a deeper issue. I think it is helpful to consider the roots of the idea of America to understand why the EC exists... like the 10th Amendment.

      Delete
    2. Sorry - it isn't fair to pitch yourself as objective journalists when you refuse to cover ALL the news, including what you dislike.*

      Delete
    3. I would like to point out that it was Joe Biden who got most of the big Wall Street funding and the backing of the megacorps, not Donald Trump.

      Delete
    4. What about the massive voter suppression Trump was doing through various means?

      Heh, that's pretty funny. "Voter suppression" is a term that unsuspecting political children think means "people shot so they cannot vote" but what it mainly is used to attack in reality is POLICY and REGULATORY work to make sure only eligible voters are allowed to cast ballots, such as ID requirements.

      In principle, policy, making laws and regulations out in the open, is not classed under "conspiracy" because it fails two of the required criteria: (a) that it be done clandestinely, and (b) that it be done contrary to law.

      Aren't voter suppression policies conspiracies

      Nope. That's just what they are not.

      What about the Republican gerry mandered districts all across the nation that make districts look like not just mosquitos on the map but exotic mosquitos?

      The Dems do that just as much as the Republicans. And again, it isn't "conspiracy", it's gritty (and sometimes dirty) local politics, played by both sides.

      Such as the destruction of mail sorting machines in mostly Democratic voting areas and other shenanigans through his Post Office appointee?

      The mail sorters were slated for removal long before the states decided to push mail-in voting. And despite the Dems being very vocal about delivery, there is no evidence that large numbers of voted ballots mailed Before Monday the 3rd were not returned to voter boards in time. I simply cannot believe that voters who stupidly thought they could mail in a ballot ON TUESDAY and that it should be expected to arrive timely and be counted should be credited with having had their ballot "blocked" by USPS - what kind of moron thinks that? Hey, getting your wishes counted means you have to take responsibility for making the effort to vote in a way that is rational, and mailing a ballot on Tuesday in a jurisdiction that requires the ballots to be delivered Tuesday is NOT rational.

      What about Citizens United which subverts our democracy every day?

      The Citizens United ruling was clearly upholding the constitution: people who aggregate into organizations to speak loudly have just as much right to express themselves as they do separately. The law was over-broad. Congress can make a narrower law that works if they want. And in any case, the law allows Dem organizations just as much room to express themselves as it does Republicans, and there is just as much Dem-directed corporate money in advertising as otherwise.

      But donations in Democratic side is more small private donations compared to the bribery of multimillionaires controlling the Republican party.

      What poppycock: George Soros.

      Delete
    5. I like that you accuse Republicans of being conspiratorial and then move right on to conspiracies about Trump and the postal service.

      Delete
    6. << "But donations in Democratic side is more small private donations compared to the bribery of multimillionaires controlling the Republican party."

      What poppycock: George Soros.>>

      Actually, Biden's campaign raised enormous sums from Wall Street, and Trump's campaign raised much smaller sums from mums and dads.

      Delete
  25. Let’s be real here: the only reason, THE ONLY REASON, this is a conversation we are having right now is because of Trump. It’s not because voting officials, our intelligence agencies, the courts, or any other security measures were raising red flags. Nay, they have been contradicting Trump with vigor. It’s not because evidence for a voting fraud operation or plans for one prior to the election exists. It’s because the President has been poisoning the well for months now. It’s because he is insecure and a sore loser who, as totally expected, cannot accept defeat. And it’s because he cultivated a fan base that will uncritically take him at his word and have been primed to see conspiracy in otherwise meaningless examples and data. Even some ostensibly intelligent and educated people like Dr. Feser indulge this ridiculous and dangerous farce, stoking the flames emanating from the dumpster fire that is the Trump administration. People, this is nuts.

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  26. “There’s zero, zero basis” for overturning the election, said Richard, the ex-Bush attorney. “They’re not going to win this. All these cases, I think, will be dismissed by the end of next week.”

    https://www.politico.com/news/2020/11/14/giuliani-trump-legal-plans-436475


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  27. I disagree with the analysis that there was opportunity for election fraud. To quote a recent article from David French (no leftist lackey he):
    "No one credibly argues that there is zero fraud or zero misconduct in a national election, but that’s not the question. The question is whether there is sufficient fraud or sufficient misconduct to alter the outcome of the vote. We have seen no evidence on that scale. Not even close."
    https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/the-post-election-contest-a-condensed

    We have a case of multiple states with solid Biden leads, many of which have Republican election commissioners, as in Georgia and Philadelphia. Many of these states are not controlled by a single party and some of them even are controlled by Republicans.

    Frankly, the Democrats could not cheat in enough of those states if they tried.

    In addition, means, motive, and opportunity are simply not enough. We must also have evidence! Evidence which has not been forthcoming. True, some are throwing out small cases of fraud here and there that might have validity, but widespread tampering has not been proven or even indicated by the evidence.

    Some of my fellow Republicans (even those above) are throwing out long lists of alleged incidents of fraud, without any in-depth discussion and investigation. This is intellectually the equivalent of those atheists who throw out long lists of "errors" in the Bible or "objections" to God. It is far easier to raise objections and doubts than it is to refute them. Objecting takes a moment. Actually thinking through and refuting the objection may take considerably longer.

    Fortunately, there are reporters I trust on the right who have investigated many of these complaints and addressed them. To list just a few:

    https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/do-viral-videos-show-poll-workers

    https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/did-michigans-election-website-show

    https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/does-a-video-show-someone-burning

    https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/did-michigan-magically-find-138339

    https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/fact-check-debunking-the-hammer-and

    https://factcheck.thedispatch.com/p/fact-check-explaining-the-false-allegations

    It is much more probable that what seems to have happened did in fact happen. Republicans and moderates who disagreed with Trump voted downticket, but did not vote for Trump. Even among career Republicans, Romney voted to impeach Trump, a member of the house switched to independent because of him, and the one Republican governor (I believe of Maine, but I have to double check that) said that he voted for Biden. If there were this many defections among elected party members, how many more must there have been among the electorate? Difficult as it was, I took the route of voting for third party this year and I am sure others did the same. It is this defection, not "cheating" that is responsible for Trump's loss.

    The continued claims about "fraud", especially the "what-about-ism" on display among Republicans, are a serious threat to our Democracy's continued survival. We may well break apart. If the Democrat's lose the next election, they may well take the same route of claiming "fraud" or "voter suppression" (a much more difficult thing to disprove) and then we may shatter. Please be calm and try to lower the temperature instead of raising it. A President Biden with a conservative Supreme Court and a (likely) Republican Senate is not the end of the world. It may in fact be an opportunity to learn to work as a nation again instead of continuing to shatter into factions.

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    1. This encapsulates my view well. It's important for the life of a democracy to be able to air concerns about the voting process. It's also important for the life of a democracy that one allows those claims to be vetted before declaring the election stolen. I would not be astonished if someone produced proof of large-scale voter fraud in America, but the evidence just doesn't seem to be bearing that out. What we have are lots of doubts which tend to fizzle out upon investigation.

      Delete
    2. I agree that there is (as yet) no clear evidence of fraud on a LARGE ENOUGH scale to have changed the outcome - of the pres. election.

      I added "clear" to "evidence" for a reason. I have some reason to believe (see my comment below) that there has been, in the past, pervasive, systemic cheating, particularly by Dems. If it was common not only in my home town, but elsewhere, and if (as voting methods modernized) it morphed into newer techniques for doing the same old cheating, we would not expect to SEE "clear" evidence that is different from OTHER elections - because it would NOT BE different from other elections: the same old cheating that happens every time, and goes unmentioned every time. How many years did Chicago's mayoral machinery for cheating go on? Did it ever actually stop?

      I believe that we CAN develop safer, nearly fraud-proof systems, using such things as two-factor identification, and perhaps applying block-chain technology. But I doubt it will happen, because (at least) one party doesn't want cheat-proof elections.

      Delete
  28. My father was a Conservative Party leader in our town, and also personally observed (and acted against) voter fraud in nearby precincts, back in the 1960's and 1970's. And what he saw indicated not just off-the-cuff actions, but persistent, systemic behavior, activity that occurred repeatedly in election cycles: the operatives simply knew how they were expected to "help out" their side.

    It was also done by Dems. I have no reason to be confident that Republicans have not done similarly elsewhere - I just don't have the information.

    While I strongly believe that SOME ballot processing standards have taken place, which may possibly make voter fraud harder, I do not believe that the changes have eliminated the possibility of similar persistent, systemic fraud. The main reason being that all of the systems still require people to confirm results, and people can undo what other people design.

    I wish I could say that Republican machinery would never, on a state-wide scale, engage in vote fraud, but I cannot say that. I can say, however, that I strongly believe that the Democrat party, as an institution, has become bent in such a way that voting fraud is within their perspectus as an allowable activity (policy-wise) in a way that is simply not true of Republicans. That is to say: if Republicans do it, they are engaging in behavior contrary to Republican ideals and principles in a really fundamental way. Republicans are patriots, which means they believe in the American system. Democrats, on the other hand, are not patriots to nearly the same degree, and thus they do NOT have the same belief in the American system. (Remember Obama's pastor's "hate America" speeches, remember BLM's hate on America?)

    That said, I disagree with one aspect of Ed's posting: "means, motive, and opportunity" is an investigator's shorthand approach for narrowing down a large list of suspects of a known act that has taken place to a more manageable small list, to focus investigative resources. It is NOT MEANT to be used to DEcIDE WHETHER a criminal act "probably" occurred, to open an investigation. The premise behind "means, motive and opportunity" is that one is more likely to find the criminal responsible for the crime among those who identifiably meet all three criteria than those who only fit one or two of the criteria. (But it also implies using the approach on those who only fit 2 criteria if nobody can be found to fit all three.) We don't use quite the same model on investigating whether a wrong act was committed.

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    1. There is no political party in the United States named "the Democrat party."

      Delete
    2. Oh, wow, what a revelation. In fact, there is no party in the US that is formally named "the Republican party" either, since "party" needs to be capitalized as "Party" because it's a proper noun, not a common noun. So, since I was not using a proper noun in referring to "party", it makes sense that I not use the capital. Even if the proper name of the party is the "Democratic Party", a member of it is rightly called a "Democrat", not a "Democratic".

      So, get stuffed. Nobody who read my comment was confused by the usage.

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    3. Tony, you seem to have anger issues.

      Delete
    4. xchheahsdgohehehehehe that's pretty funny.

      You seem to have pedantry issues.

      Delete
  29. You know what's super-weird? That this, of all topics, has (apart from one or two obnoxious remarks) actually generated a pretty reasonable back-and-forth here in the combox.

    Probably because the main trolls haven't shown up yet. Please don't feed them if they do.

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    1. A troll-free post about modern U.S. politics, on Feser's blog nonetheless? Miracles do exist.

      Delete
    2. I thought that Cervantees was a troll, and a banned one at that. Isn't he one of your big three?

      Delete
    3. Nah. The top three have to be, in descending order, Santi, Stardustypsycho, and probably CounterRebel, although AKG might just nudge out CR when the rant takes him.

      Delete
    4. I can't say thatI have encountered Santi before, yet you list him above StarDustyPsyche, who many demonise and seek to present as the devil incarnate. And no Papilintron, but an AGK and a CounterRebel. This is qiite an assortment.

      Delete
    5. Those are all trolls. Cervantes has mostly dialed down the nuttiness lately so I tolerate him. AKG and CounterRebel are unhinged lunatics who almost never say anything non-deletable. Stardusty, Papalinton, and Santi are cranks but mostly harmless so long as no one feeds them. The trouble is that people have been feeding a couple of them generously lately and they've started to crap up a thread or two pretty badly.

      There are some others who are even worse, but have been gone for a long while -- longtime readers will recall their own favorites from years past. It would be fun to do a "Troll All-Stars" retrospective.

      Delete
    6. On a blog often dealing with socio-political issues from an Anglo-Conservative perspective, I write here as a Catholic. When the conflict that exists between conservatism and the Faith is explained, I don't expect to be popular. My views get tested if readers respond (which is their choice entirely), and their worldview is widened by seeing it questioned from the point of the Faith. For this a response is not necessary at all.
      I'm not the only one who has "dialed down" on certain issues... That said, this blog does valuable work on several fronts, otherwise I would not bother writing here.

      Delete
  30. Feser, I understand you are busy, but isn't it time you gave StardustyPsyche the boot (again). That guy has turned into a cancer in these comboxes.

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  31. Once upon a time - a mere 16 years ago in New York State - we depended on mechanical devices to record votes. These were nearly impossible to subvert (they certainly were not internet accessible). Why not return to those days?

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  32. Statement by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of Department of Homeland Security, Nov. 12:

    "The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history."

    https://www.cisa.gov/news/2020/11/12/joint-statement-elections-infrastructure-government-coordinating-council-election

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  33. On the other hand. Looking at the attacks on families and the elderly by so-called antifascists in Washington today, there is no room for doubts or equivocations. Here, we are dealing simply with useful idiots, sick in mind and body, cowards who profess evil agendas without qualms. In my experience, the only logical and spiritually stimulating way to deal with such people (and a syllogism which works without fail) is: Ad primum, ad secundum, ad tertium - smack, smack, SMACK!

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    1. Not turn the other cheek then?

      Delete
    2. They are not my enemies. They have proclaimed themselves (and who can deny they're correct?) enemies of God and everything decent. So, Wham!

      Delete
    3. Do you advocate a Holy War against them then? Are you tooling yourself up in preparation?

      Delete
  34. A Holy War? Against a bunch of pathetic losers who beat up on old ladies and kids? What a joke. Not much tooling-up required I can assure you. They fall over each other running away screaming the moment they realise what's up. It's well-known all over the world.

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    1. So are you getting organised on the streets then? A defence core maybe?

      Delete
  35. Peaceful protesters strike again:

    https://www.dailywire.com/news/leftists-violently-attack-trump-supporters-in-nations-capital-following-maga-march?utm_campaign=dw_newsletter&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=99904837&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_wReRAogHk747yjBWwywoKuqLhwIgbf4xnESKo31T9FOtuTQMixeg-dzbnt90CaiygAQckRPKoFW6g4jbdNZG_5Mb3WA&utm_content=non_insiders&utm_source=housefile

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    1. “I’d like to punch him in the face”

      “I love the old days, you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They’d be carried out in a stretcher, folks. Oh, it’s true.”

      “They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind”

      “What goes around comes around”

      Delete
    2. "If we were in high school, I'd take him[Trump] behind the gym and beat the hell out of him" - Joe Biden.

      “He[Trump] can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City...Forget bodyguards, he better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the streets in New York." - Andrew 'Granny-Killer' Cuomo.

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  36. Let me pose a hypothetical question: suppose we can design voting system (1) that is 99.99% fraud-proof, or another system (2)that is 90% fraud-proof - no more than 10% of the vote will be erroneous. The methods needed for (1) are such that while every eligible voter can use the system successfully to vote, in fact some 10% of them will find it modestly burdensome and will choose not to vote. The methods needed for (2) are less burdensome and the 10% who will not put forth the effort for (1) will not be put off by the methods for (2) and will (often) plan on voting.

    Ought we to prefer one of the above methods over the other IN PRINCIPLE? And if so, which one? And, what if the error percentage is 5% instead?

    Roughly speaking, it appears to me that the Dems are claiming that (2) is better in principle and should be chosen over anything like (1). Others are suggesting that either there is no principle about the matter and we are free to choose one over the other for pragmatic reasons, or that there are principled reasons for choosing (1) over (2).

    Given that we are utterly confident that many elections are decided by a difference of less than 10%, it is impossible in principle to argue that a 10% differential between the announced results and the actual ballots cast is not significant to "the system". You might as well stop trying to claim the system is democratic if you are not concerned about a 10% differential.

    Given that voting is both a right AND a privilege, those who are willing to forego the privilege due to a modest burden should be granted the natural effect of their preferences, and not get counted. (Arguably, those who are not willing to suffer the modest burden are, also, unlikely to put forth the modest effort to actually understand the issues and execute the implied responsibilities of the right to vote.) Reducing the burden to 0 to ensure everyone votes, at the cost of a significant level of error, is a bad trade-off.

    I happen to think that there is likely a way to reduce the risk of error to virtually 0, (for example by using block-chain software), but it would still require appearing in person for most persons.

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  37. Hi Ed,

    Congratulations on a well-argued and thoughtful post.

    Speaking as an outsider who was born in Australia and lives in Japan, but who has closely watched every U.S. presidential election since 1976, I have to say that the vote count for the 2020 election stinks.

    "A lawsuit filed Nov. 8 in Michigan alleges that Detroit, Mich. elections officials oversaw and openly encouraged election fraud totaling many 'tens of thousands' of fraudulent ballots, plus other illegal election-tampering."

    - Joy Pullman, "The Federalist," Nov. 12, 2020.
    https://thefederalist.com/2020/11/12/lawsuit-claims-40000-plus-fraudulent-ballots-pumped-through-detroit-for-joe-biden/


    "The Georgia recount may be as corrupt as the election itself... The process of vetting voters was wholly corrupt, and there is no way to disentangle the illegitimate from the legitimate ballots during the recount... What happens, though, when the people in charge of the recount, in place of transparency, once again refuse to allow representatives of the parties to audit their work? What happens is this..." [Check out the video by David Shafer. It's farcical.]

    - Andrea Wilburg, "American Thinker," Nov. 14, 2020.
    https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/11/the_georgia_recount_may_be_as_corrupt_as_the_election_itself.html

    And finally:

    "Why Do Most Countries Ban Mail-In Ballots?: They Have Seen Massive Vote Fraud Problems"
    - John R. Lott, US Department of Justice, SSRN, Aug. 3, 2020.
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3666259

    From the abstract:

    "Thirty-seven states have so far changed their mail-in voting procedures this year in response to the Coronavirus. Despite frequent claims that President Trump’s warning about vote fraud/voting buying with mail-in ballots is “baselessly” or “without evidence” about mail-in vote fraud, there are numerous examples of vote fraud and vote buying with mail-in ballots in the United States and across the world. Indeed, concerns over vote fraud and vote buying with mail-in ballots causes the vast majority of countries to ban mail-in voting unless the citizen is living abroad.

    "There are fraud problems with mail-in absentee ballots but the problems with universal mail-in ballots are much more significant. Still most countries ban even absentee ballots for people living in their countries.

    "Most developed countries ban absentee ballots unless the citizen is living abroad or require Photo-IDs to obtain those ballots."

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  38. Another US election has passed. And in the time honoured 240+ year tradition the people have chosen, decisively. Joe Biden is the President-Elect and Kamala Harris, Vice President-Elect. It is truly a wonderful moment to celebrate that very democratic of processes, electing the Leadership of a country.

    Each and every Republican, Independent and Democrat should be proud of that achievement despite the petty internecine squabbles featured in the comment section here.

    As I understand it, 2020 was a landslide, identically matching the landslide of 2016: 306 to 232 Electoral College votes.



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    1. Papalinton
      "As I understand it, 2020 was a landslide, identically matching the landslide of 2016: 306 to 232 Electoral College votes."
      Well, it is good for a chuckle to turn the "landslide" term around on Trump, who got, coincidentally, 306 assigned electoral votes (neglecting those so horrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency that they voted against Trump even though they were assigned to vote for him).

      Trump lost the vote by about 3 million votes.
      Biden won by at least 5 million votes.

      So, the vote spread is at least 8 million votes in Biden's favor, comparing the two.

      If the Trump electoral win was the "landslide" he claimed it was, then the Biden combination of winning both the vote and the electoral count would be an even more impressive landslide.

      But, actually, they were both fairly close elections, not the closest in history, but still fairly close.

      Biden flipped 5 states from Trump, WI, MI, PA, AZ, and GA.

      Biden flipped 2 Southern states from long standing Republican safe states, AZ and GA.

      But it was a mixed bag for the Dems, picking up a net seat in the senate, but losing a number of net seats in the house. Two runoff senate seats in GA will decide senate control, but the Dems would have to defeat 2 incumbent Republicans in what is still a mostly Republican state, so it seems unlikely the Dems will win both seats.

      Republicans also picked up a net gain in statehouses, which impacts the national level by control of redistricting, allowing the Republicans to gerrymander to hold house seats.

      So, it was a mixed bag overall and a solid win for Biden, but avoiding the hyperbole of the liar in chief, I don't think the term "landslide" really applies to 2016 or 2020.

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