The MMA of Electoral Fraud


Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Ordinary Times. Relapsed Lawyer, admitted to practice law (under his real name) in California and Oregon. On Twitter, to his frequent regret, at @burtlikko. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

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89 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The best way to rig any election is to lie to voters and get them to vote for you based on lies.

    Put a virus not in an election booth, but in a voter’s brain. This mental virus can make them see a candidate as unthinkable or another candidate as the only sane option and preclude options.

    Then they pull the lever themselves and they are active participants in the rigging.

    If you can manufacture consent, you can point to this consent that you, yourself, manufactured and use that as evidence that the rigging you’ve done was not rigging and nothing more than democracy in action.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

      Personally, I wouldn’t call lying to the voters “rigging an election.”

      I’d call it “lying to the voters.”

      YMMV, I suppose.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

        It’s not the lying. It’s the installation of the virus. The manufacturing of the consent in the first place.

        The best part is that people will actively argue that, no!, this wasn’t rigging! It was just a lie! A lie that was propagated and believed and precluded an option!Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          Hmmm…. people in partisan elections always seem to think their opponents lie about stuff, therefore every election is “rigged.” I guess the only non-rigged elections are where both parties are True and Pure and Noble, everything else is corrupt and rigged.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

          When did you become Noam Chomsky?

          One of my problems with people on political extremes or fringe groups is that they always think the people are being deluded to or lied to. This is bad with Marxists talking about “false consciousness” (which always struck me as Marxists feeling sorry for themselves that many people are capitalist and want to move up the social hierarchy and get better material wealth) or libertarians asking people to not vote for lizard people.

          What’s wrong with just thinking that people really want the party platform? Democrats vote for HRC because they are Democratic and really like what the Democratic Party offers in terms of policies. Republicans do the same for their party. Why the need to come up with elaborate stories and theories on why people are being snookered like the people in Plato’s allegory of the cave? Can libertarians, Marxists, and anarchists just not deal with the fact that most people disagree with them?Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Many people really seem to believe that others have seriously considered their arguments and come to the conclusion that they are wrong and like what the other side is offering. Its like how certain British leftists just can’t imagine that people might like what the Conservative Party has to offer more than the Labour Party even though the Conservative Party repeatedly beats Labour whenever they run on a Far Left platform in every general election since 1979.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Am I not allowed to think that Chomsky is on to something? There is a there there. Above and beyond the mere “if they really thought about it, they’d already agree with *ME*” masturbatory thoughts, I’m talking about the whole “people not acting in their long or even middle term best interests because of the huge coordination problem involved with not acting in one’s own immediate self-interest” thing.

            What’s wrong with just thinking that people really want the party platform?

            There’s the story that Douglas Adams tells about “the lizards” that hits a bit too close to home for that.

            Can libertarians, Marxists, and anarchists just not deal with the fact that most people disagree with them?

            I’m down with people not agreeing with me.

            It’s when they don’t seem to agree with themselves that my interests start really getting piqued.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:


              The libertarians posting the Lizard story is just as bad as Marxists and false concosiness. It implies politicians as an alien class. People like DeMocratic and Rep politicians believe it or not.

              Give a specific example of your last sentence.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird says:

              It’s when they don’t seem to agree with themselves that my interests start really getting piqued.

              I don’t like the term manufactured consent, because it implies that there is a manufacturer. The reality is more that consent is an emergent phenomenon.

              So no, you don’t need to believe in lizard people to understand how our political system often has people supporting the very things that they were dead set against just a minute ago. We are smack in the middle of an election in which the very people screaming about the threat of government tyranny are also screaming about how dare those football players not show the proper respect to the flag/national anthem and where earnest millennials are writing heartfelt screeds in support of HRC’s absurd claim that she be the establishment candidate because she’s a woman.

              ps to Saul – one day you should try actually talking to a libertarian or a Marxist. At the very least it would make your commenting about them more effective.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Maybe people really do want the DNC Platform.
            Doesn’t mean hillary ain’t lying to them if she doesn’t intend to give them anything on the platform.

            I can ABSOLUTELY point to reasons the Republicans got the vote BOTH from the “pro-immigration businessmen” and “anti-immigration populists” — and, dude, they was clearly lying to someone there, because those groups want two diametrically opposed things (… one of them’s slavery, fwiw).Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

          The manufacturing of the consent in the first place.

          Revealed preferences…Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

            “Revealed preferences” explains a good chunk of behaviors for any number of “hypocritical” behaviors (insert examples here) but not all of them.

            Games like “let’s you and him fight” are an example of behaviors (specifically, those of “you” and “him”) that aren’t best explained by “revealed preference”. “Well, I guess we revealed that they didn’t like each other!” seems to steal a base (if not two).

            Have you ever read about The Robbers Cave Experiment?

            Imagine someone who knew how to hack this.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

              Revealed preferences, as you alluded to with a little help from me, accounts for the subjectively determined actions people take without any consideration given to the mechanisms by which those people arrive at the, presumably rational!, decision to so act.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                The problem with “presumably rational!” is that there are multiple rationalities, multiple valuations of “the good”, and multiple valuations of risk.

                One great way to hack into people’s behaviors is to get them to severely overestimate risk probability and make them averse to something much less dangerous than it is in the favor of something much more harmful (but superficially less risky).

                See, for example, “refugees”.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I can’t quite tell if you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me, but I agree with you. The term “presumably rational” does an awful (awful..) amount of work cashing out preference theory. Especially given stuff like Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent. Among other things equally apparent if you keep an eye out for em.

                Rationality requires a greater burden of justification than a mere preference, especially once a person is cognizant of the degree to which individual preferences are manipulated, and often constructed, to serve other ends.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                And now I run back to my point:

                Imagine someone who knew how to hack this.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yes, agreed.

                But they already have! It’s called The Advertising Industry.

                Add: there’s a bunch of interesting stuff documenting the rise and efficacy of the modern PR industry, most of which, back in cleaner, purer times, was called exactly what it is: propaganda. Interesting stuff, actually. If you’re interested, look for a book by Alex Carey: Taking the Risk out of Democracy.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Among others.

                “Religion” is the first big example and it’s so good that the others that come to mind pale in comparison.

                Note: This shouldn’t necessarily be read as a criticism.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                I don’t think religion is as good an example as you think.
                If I am reading your comments correctly, you’re making the same criticism as others traditonally have, that religious leaders manipulate the followers, sort of like Stalinist Russia, i.e., “We are at war with abortion- we have always been at war with abortion
                And its easy to come to that conclusion, especially seeing how eagerly some evangelicals have embraced a man who practices everything they have spent decades railing against.

                But who is leading who?
                Look at the tension between Pope Francis and American Catholics. He repeatedly calls for an end to capital punishment, war and bigotry against immigrants.
                Yet the sheeple refuse to jump when he calls.
                Whats going on?
                Why have the magical powers of persuasion failed such a venerable institution?

                I think a lot of times the followers ecert influence over the leaders, or rather, the leaders spring from the same soil at the followers, and tailor their message to fit the dogma already pre-existent within the culture.
                Southern religious leaders didn’t magically discover the theology that supported slavery by revelation any more than medieval Church leaders stumbled across the concept of anti-Antisemitism somewhere in the Gospels.

                In short, I don’t think people are as easily manipulable as we like to imagine. Its more they are able to be nudged in a direction they already were predisposed to go.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                People’s beliefs tend to have a great deal of inertia. To be very sticky.

                Changing them either requires a very long, long assault or a very nasty shock to the worldview.

                It doesn’t always look that way — sometimes things seem to change with surprising speed, but that’s usually when a long process has hit a tipping point. \Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                My comment:

                Note: This shouldn’t necessarily be read as a criticism.

                The first response:

                If I am reading your comments correctly, you’re making the same criticism as others traditonally have


                Let’s assume the existence of an interesting morality.

                If it’s possible to hack people to make them make decisions that they wouldn’t have otherwise made, it certainly seems possible to hack them in the direction of Good just as it is possible to hack them in the direction of Evil.

                You’d think that hacking them in the direction of Good is something that we’d have wanted more of through the centuries.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Ah, I should have said critique, as in gentle and thoughtful analysis.

                I really do wish people were hackable.

                If so, religious leaders from Moses to Jesus to Ghandi and Buddha would have had more followers and fewer worshippers.

                But the lesson I draw from Scripture is that people are maddeningly complex.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                There are others that could be mentioned: Mohammed, for example.

                Getting from “just this crazy guy walking around in a desert” to “a billion people use this guy’s name, daily, as they think about how they ought to do stuff” is some serious virulence.

                As for the distinction between followers and worshippers, there are a lot of different virulent traits that get passed. If we want to figure out how the ones we like most can best be transmitted across generations, we’ll need some decent geneticists. Or whatever the word is.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird says:

                “Good” now being defined as homosexual.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                You could always read Snow Crash, which is kind of about that.

                I mean it’s Stephenson, so he clearly wrote the ending about 30 minutes before the draft was due, having forgotten books end, but solid otherwise.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Morat20 says:

                I had no idea what that book was about when I read it in my 20’s. I just turned pages until I had to/got to stop.

                Now it’s so freaking obvious that I look back and think “who was that person who couldn’t grasp this simple concept?”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                Having a 20 year old son myself, following his thought processes can be quite painful.

                There are clear areas where is brain is not yet willing to go, mostly due to missing underlying neural architecture. The upshot of this is, until about 25, they tend to highly devalue risk, doubly so for future risk, and have real issues modelling future events based on current information.

                That’s not even getting into the hormone stew.

                We were all dumb and 20 once. 🙂 Although at this point I’d kill for my 20 year old body and health, but I prefer my 40 year old mind. And income. 🙂

                As for Stephenson, about the only other book I’d recommend is Crytonomicon (especially if you like WWII, encryption, and geekery) and if you really like the Enlightenment and economics, that trilogy that starts with Quicksilver.

                Everything else, you should only read if you already really like Stephenson.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

      Lying for a Presidential candidate is really hard.

      Now of course “lie” here is a matter of prospective and ideology like when we had the debate with Dark Matter a few months ago on public spending and the welfare state as being the endtimes of democracy based on an old and false quote. Same with “entitlement reform.” In some circles, we really need to raise the retirement age and cut the benefits. But this is not my truth.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I’m not talking about the promises like “if you want your plan, you can keep your plan” or “when I leave the White House, we won’t be bombing seven countries!” but the narratives constructed around the other opponent and the other opponent’s supporters and the other opponent’s supporters’ secret preferences.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:


      The best way to rig any election is to lie to voters and get them to vote for you based on lies.
      Put a virus not in an election booth, but in a voter’s brain. This mental virus can make them see a candidate as unthinkable or another candidate as the only sane option and preclude options.

      Then they pull the lever themselves and they are active participants in the rigging.

      If this is the standard of “rigging” an election, here are some other ways you can rig one:

      1. Pay for ads on television or radio that sway the voters to pull the levers and become active participants in the rigging.

      2. See if you can get well-known people to say that you would do a good job, and publish those endorsements so that voters can see them, nudging them towards pulling the levers and becoming active participants in the rigging.

      3. Give speeches and participate in town hall meetings, where you use carefully crafted words to get people to pull the levers and become active participants in the rigging.

      4. Develop a series of policy positions that you think will make people more willing to vote for you, ensuring that the voters pull the levers and become active participants in the rigging.

      5. Point out deficiencies of your opponent making voters decide they wold rather voter for you, hence pushing the to pull the levers and become active participants in the rigging.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        You seem to be assuming truth values in #2 and #5 and I’d rephrase those to remove the truth values, but yes.

        I’d also probably try to make them care very deeply about something they’d never given thought previously to them hearing about it in your speech (e.g., 54-40 or fight!).Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird says:

          In that case, there’s nothing to worry about, because if anything and everything is defined as “rigging an election” an election, then nothing is.

          Problem solved, I guess.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly says:

            Who’s worried?

            The best way to rig an election is to plant a seed in a voter’s head that is independent of reality (see, again, the Robbers Cave experiment).

            There is a difference between “I’m going to put a chicken in every pot” and “I want to see him *DENY* it!”

            The latter is what I’m talking about. If you think I’m also talking about the former, I’d ask you to consider that you’re hearing something that I’m not saying.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Great post.

    I think fears and talk about “voter-fraud” are really discussions about legitimacy. What we are seeing here is an increasing number of right-leaning (to various degrees) Americans who after decades of propaganda from various sources, no longer see the Democratic Party or liberalism or cities as being legitimate Americans. Or “real Americans” as they view it.

    In some ways, this is nothing new under the sun. There has been a culture war since the founding of the country between urban and rural areas. Jefferson spoke about cities as being decadent and morally debasing while the country was warm and all that was good. In many ways, Prohibition was small town, white, and Protestant America attempting to fight off the changes of no longer being the dominant population and seeing a United States that was more urban and “foreign” (which meant white ethnic at the time.*) As Lee points out, many states refused to change how their Congressional seats were divided up after the 1920 census in order to prolong rural dominance. In some states, this lasted until Baker v. Carr in 1965.)

    You can be liberal and still fall into the “real America” trap. When I took the CA bar, I met a woman from rural Texas who went to another law school in SF. She was as liberal as could be and wanted to be a public defender but she still said she missed “country people” who were “real” people. So people who grow up in the country just don’t get city ways of being. They see us as affected.

    FWIW, I find claims of rural superiority to be highly smug and avoiding the issue that rural communities often might accept a kind of eccentric, they don’t always accept different. But I know way too many LBGT and other oddballs who fled their rural hometowns and found they could be themselves in the big city.

    But if you look at a map, the country looks largely red with islands of blue. What the map does not reveal though is that those blue islands contain most of the population.

    So this might be an age old divide but I think it is getting worse because rural communities and small towns keep on getting hit by economic, technological, and even social change. Many rural communities have been destroyed because their ways of life and earning a living do not match up with the modern economy. The factories are gone and coal mining is a dinosaur. But there are not a lot of people to keep rural communities alive but many residents would probably feel lost and out of it in a big city. A lawyer I know from another blog once mentioned that many of is rural clients (older Vets) feel out of place and disoriented in medium sized cities like Eugene or Bend, Oregon.

    So what is to be done? I admit that I have no serious fondness for rural America.Report

    • Avatar Wardsmith in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Did any one read the Cracked article About all this?Report

      • I read that one. Just like I don’t understand how a guy who’s had three wives and a million affairs is the candidate of evangelicals, I don’t see how the most New Yorky guy in the world is the candidate of rural America.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Trump wasn’t the candidate of evangelicals. Ted Cruz was. But Trump won the nomination, and evangelicals are Republicans, so Trump becomes their candidate by default.Report

          • Avatar J_A in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            He became more than their candidate by default. Evangelicals (not all, but most) have become some of Trump’s staunchest defenders.

            I have never heard so many “we are all sinners” and “I’m voting for a president, not a pastor”. Definitely I never heard any of those in the Clinton and Monica days.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

              Definitely I never heard any of those in the Clinton and Monica days.

              You’re looking for the wrong pieties.

              Compare to the speeches made during the Clarence Thomas hearings about the appropriate treatment of bosses to underlings evolving into the “one free grope” rule and you’ll see something that will get you to “staunchest defender” territory.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

                That is true, but, at least to me, there’s a difference between those that claim they follow eternal divine commandments, and those that recognize they follow consequentialist ethics.Report

            • Avatar Morat20 in reply to J_A says:

              SCOTUS. They were so close, and then Scalia died and if Clinton wins…it all goes away. No chance of repealing Roe v. Wade. The continued march of rights for LBQT folks, and of course the glimmer of hope in those ‘religious freedom’ cases (wherein you had the religious freedom to impose your religion on customers and employees)….all gone.

              So they rationalize that God will use the imperfect tool of Trump to get Pence into office, where Pence will guide Trump into choosing the right justices.

              The idea that God could be working through a Democrat is, of course a non-starter. God’s a Republican, has been since 1964.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Morat20 says:

                They will never repeal Roe. Not because they couldn’t (*) but because they don’t want to.

                The hypothetical minute Roe is gone it’s the exact moment in which troves of “single issue voters” become untethered and able to vote Democratic, since many so-cons (the non race realist ones) are more attracted to the economic policies of Democrats than those the Repiblican party business leg.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J_A says:


                I agree with you with regards to GOP leadership.

                But… they aren’t the only ones involved. In fact, they are largely uninvolved when it comes to SCOTUS. A state — maybe even a local — law that gets challenged up to the high court could overturn Roe if the justice balance is tilted that way. And all that would happen without any GOP leadership involved.

                Hell, if the bench looks favorable, you could possibly even get some right-to-life group suing on behalf of an aborted fetus or something. You wouldn’t even need ANY legislation at that point.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Kazzy says:

                It’s not impossible, and given how out of control the party is, it’s even likely.

                But when the GOP controlled all of the White House, the two Congress chambers and -sort of- the Supreme Court, there was zero movement at the state of federal level to actively move against abortion.

                But, of course, the party was totally disciplined at that time. Those were the days….Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to J_A says:

                I think Trump revealed that Roe v Wade isn’t a big deal for most of the conservative base. Only a niche constituency holds that the ruling needs to be overturned (since most conservatives avail themselves of the right to choose…). On the other hand, the “promiscuous baby killing liberals” meme serves tremendous political value for the rest of em. I agree that a judicial challenge to Roe is as close to a political non-starter as you can get in this day and age.

                On the other other hand, in my view Roe actually was decided incorrectly so on purely constitutional grounds the argument to overturn has legs.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Morat20 says:

                wherein you had the religious freedom to impose your religion on customers and employees

                Not that you care, as long as you can score some rhetorical points, but this is, of course, a gross misuse of the word “impose.”Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                No, I think it’s pretty much exactly correct,.

                After all, what would you call a pharmacist that won’t fill a valid prescription because HE has a religious objection to ME using it?

                My religion gives no craps, so why is his preventing me from getting my meds?Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Liberals believe in Freedom of belief, Freedom of worship and Freedom of behavior.

                No religious conservative will ever be forced to engage n premarital or homosexual sex, pray to a different God, attend a different church, or use contraception. In exchange, liberals request the freedom of doing the exact opposite for themselves

                Small o orthodoxs of the Dreher variety do not find this arrangement enough. In addition to themselves acting according to their own beliefs, they claim that they need to be free from collaborating with the sin of others. That’s what they call Religious Freedom

                Insofar as they have to rent a room to a non properly married couple, process the insurance papers of a gay employee’s spouse, vote for a politician that does not oppose abortion, or include contraception in the insurance plan of their company, they are being forced to colaborate in other people’s sin.

                Or so they claim

                That’s their Religious Freedom argument.

                The problem is when they refuse to collaborate in what other people don’t call sin, but instead call normal life.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    The Colorado descriptions would seem to pre-date adoption of vote-by-mail. In this Presidential election, every registered voter will receive a ballot in the mail. Completed ballots may be returned by mail or by drop-off at a large number of locations (some manned, some not). Or if the voter prefers, they can go to one of the local vote centers and vote in person. On election day two years ago, the first federal elections with mandatory mail delivery of ballots, I walked past the vote center in the public library near where I live. It was literally deserted: I stopped and asked, and the only people present were the election workers.Report

    • Critically for the question of who would have the ability to manipulate those mailed ballots, where do they get mailed to? Where do they get counted? What happens to them after they’re counted?

      What I’m interested to know here is whether they go to the (currently Republican) Secretary of State, or to the various County Clerks (of various parties)? If someone says the reported vote count looks fishy, who has the ability to go back and compare the vote count to the gathered paper ballots?Report

      • The SoS is responsible for some amount of aggregation and maintaining the statewide voter registration system. Also certifying state-wide initiative petitions. Ballots are mailed out by county clerks and returned to the clerks for tabulation. All of the vote-by-mail ballots are paper and retained for recounts. An enormous amount of information, including access to the ballots, is available to the media and public in general.

        I live in one of the “big ten” counties — ten of the 64 Colorado counties account for greater than 80% of the population, tax revenues, etc. The county will almost certainly go for Clinton (D) for President and Bennett (D) for Senate. The county clerk is an (R). As best I can recall, there hasn’t been even a hint locally that the (R) clerk might be doing anything except registering voters properly and counting ballots accurately.

        OTOH, I’ve read lots of stuff by conservative East Coast pundits who fervently believe that massive vote-by-mail fraud must be happening in Colorado, we’re just too dumb to find it.Report

  4. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    In these days and age of corrupt and venal politicians, only in it for the money, sex, and power and not necessarily in that order, it is important for the public to have somebody who is truly great at these things. Vote Boss Tweed for President 2016. Corruption you can believe in.Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Great and thorough post.

    As was also pointed out on LGM, most states are won by the hundreds of thousands of votes, and in order to actually cheat, one would need to manufacture false votes by the tens of thousands at the very least, if not by the hundreds of thousands.

    And not just tens of thousands; You would need to know long in advance exactly which precinct in which states are going to become swing, and how to precisely apply your tens of thousands of false voters.

    For example, in 2000, everyone knew that Florida and Ohio were both swing states and going to be close; but who could have predicted which of the precincts in Florida would be settled by the infamous 537 votes?
    A cheater might easily have poured ten thousand false votes into Ohio, to no avail and missed the opportunity in Florida. Or put them into a precinct in Florida that could have been won anyway and wasted the shot.

    So yeah, as with most conspiracy tales, the logistics just don’t make any sense.Report

  6. Avatar J_A says:

    Y’all are getting it all wrong.

    You are looking at reality, and physics, and math. And Logic. For goodness sake, Logic. What’s next, are we now supposed to think?

    The people that believe in the fraud that’s coming do not believe it because they have analyzed the MMA and concluded that there’s an argument.

    They believe it On Faith.

    Yesterday and today Rod Dreher has been posting (critically) on Trumps claims of a rigged election, and of not recognizing the results. Do go take a look at the comments. Most commenters are pushing back, defending Trump’s claim, and attacking RD because Rod DOES NOT BELIEVE.

    It’s a matter of belief, now. The True Americans are surrounded, they believe, under attack, but God would always make True Americans prevail. So the only way to defeat True Americans is through trickery, treason, and backstabbing.

    So say They allReport

  7. Avatar Damon says:

    Don’t forget about shenanigans with the Electoral College.

    But really, even if Trump looses and claims he was robbed, what exactly is going to happen? Rioting in the streets? Mobs storming poling places and shooting election officials? Mass protests? Work stoppage? (silly me, the unions all are for HRC) A bunch of white folk from Long Island blocking the bridges to Manhattan?

    If any of this happens I’ll be more surprised than when Trump announced his candidacy.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Damon says:

      What is your concern regarding the Electoral College, @damon ? Faithless electors? McMullin winning Utah and throwing the election into the House?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:


        I never understood how McMullin winning Utah would throw the election to the House with HRC being pretty safe in most swing states now.Report

        • Avatar J_A in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Fivethirtyeight has a post on the mechanics, and likelihood, of that

          It was probably a slow day in their officesReport

        • Avatar Guy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Johnson winning Utah could have thrown the election to the House when Clinton’s lead was less secure (though it was unlikely because Johnson was unlikely to win even in Utah), and it was thought that #neverTrump might head to him. McMullin still could do the same, presumably, if her lead is less secure than is generally believed. That’s less likely than it was before, but if “Utah throws the election to the House” and “Clinton’s lead is secure” aren’t well-connected ideas it’s possible people just haven’t thought it through.

          McMullin winning Utah and this somehow causing the election to go to the House is also one of the relatively few things that could happen with the Electoral College that would qualify as “shenanigans”. I mean, can you think of “EC shenanigans” other than faithless electors that are more likely?Report

        • It relies on the election being close, and you need to be pretty willfully blind to believe that’s a possibility.

          Oddly, “willfully blind” describes much of the right-wing noise machine.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          The key part of Mcmuffin winning Utah is not that it causes the election to get thrown to the House. It’s getting his name in the top 3 of electoral votes when it gets thrown to the House (however it does) because those are the only people eligible.

          (Yes it’s sufficiently improbable in any case to drive the Heart of Gold)Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I’m a bit curious too. It’s not like this election is going to be close.

        Even RCP has her at 262 EC pretty much locked in, and they’re being might generous with their “toss-up” category (Florida and Nevada to mention two. Steady or growing +4 Clinton leads, stable numbers).

        Her national polling averages are so high that if she just holds where she is, it’ll be one of the largest wins of the polarized era.

        And last I checked, she’s got more of a chance of winning Texas than Trump does at winning Pennsylvania. And he has no path to victory without PA.

        Given the latest debate, Trump deciding to double-down on his mistakes, the latest sexual assault accuser, and the fact that Trump seems to be absolutely terrifying everyone who isn’t a supporter, and the bandwagon effect, the GOP will probably consider it a miracle if the numbers just stay flat.

        I honestly think he saw the debate as his last chance to see if he can get exactly zero female votes. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Burt Likko says:

        “Faithless electors? ”

        Yep, although it’s not “my” concern. I was reading a piece about “how HRC could rig the election” or some such and that was one. IIRC the electors could be “convinced” to change their votes for various reasons.Report

    • Avatar rmass in reply to Damon says:

      Save police unions of course.Report

  8. “And in this corner, Donald ‘The Cheeto Benito’ Trump. Get read to bumble!”Report

  9. Avatar North says:

    A fine post, I have little to add.

    The last debate eased most of my faint nibbling fears. Trump struck out three times. Now it’s more a question of if we can get the Senate or not. I confess in between endless waves of work I’ve looked up over the past months and occasionally wondered “When I confidently predicted that Trump would be a massive gift to my party was I setting myself up for some might reckoning?” Now, with great relief, I can sigh and say “no. No I was completely wrong about the GOP not being deranged enough to nominate him but I was not wrong about the country not being deranged enough to elect him.”

    And man, the tears on Nov. 9th are going to be honey sweet.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 in reply to North says:

      538’s Senate analysis is getting a lot rosier for the Democrats. They’ve up in the sixties or seventies (as a change to win a majority), I think now.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Morat20 says:

        In fact, if rigging elections were feasible (which as Burt explains, it is not), Senate races would be the place to do it. It’s straightforward to target the close ones, and since the Senate is still in doubt, it would pay much higher dividends.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Morat20 says:

        Yes, it is chicken soup for my soul. I would love a blowout. God(ess?)! The conservative shrieks if a Clinton led the liberals to a complete conservative route in Congress and the Senate. *siiiigh* not likely obviously but a lad can dream.Report

  10. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    As a historical note, I have heard it widely cited that the Chicago Machine of the 50’s and 60’s had dead people voting. I don’t know how many. I even read once that there was some smell of irregularities in the Presidential election of 1960. It was quite close, and Kennedy won Illinois by a squeaker. Nixon decided not to challenge since his win in Texas was close, and had a profile of similar irregularities.

    That said, electronic voting machines with no paper trail truly frighten me. I don’t have that much trust. I think it’s even plausible that a third party could alter the votes on a machine while in the voting booth, with a cleverly designed USB flash drive.

    I have even darker scenarios in mind, but I don’t want to give people ideas.Report

    • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      As a historical note, I have heard it widely cited that the Chicago Machine of the 50’s and 60’s had dead people voting.

      According to my wife, her Chicago-born parents (who started voting, within city limits, in the early Forties) typically voted three times per election. They were told which voting locations to go to and what names to use; whether those names belonged to dead people they did not know (and presumably did not ask).

      It was quite close, and Kennedy won Illinois by a squeaker. Nixon decided not to challenge since his win in Texas was close, and had a profile of similar irregularities.

      I assume you mean California (which Nixon won by about 0.5%, by far his closest). The short version of the story is that Kennedy won based on election day counts, but absentee ballots put Nixon over. Is it credibly alleged that the absentee ballots were fraudulent? If so, pointer to sources requested.Report

  11. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    The theory ignores the most obvious and easy way to swing a contemporary election — by hacking into and altering electronic voting records. Available evidence suggests that, if anything, Republicans are at least as likely as Democrats to resort to that sort of thing, if it is possible at all.

    This is a real potential problem that I see on the horizon, maybe as soon as 2020.

    In this election we’ve already had a foreign power use hacking in an attempt to subvert our democratic system to its own advantage. And over the past decade and a half, it’s been all the rage to switch to electronic voting.

    I see three things potential happening, perhaps simultaneously, that put us at very real risk:

    1. Someone hacks the system and makes changes to actual vote tallies.

    2. The above doesn’t happen, but people believe that it has/might have happened, and confidence in the the democratic system begins to evaporate.

    3. The Black Panther-esque voter fraud controversies make the very idea of real voter fraud a litmus test issue, with one side refusing to acknowledge real dangers because of how they believed the other side behaved in the voter-ID dust ups.

    This really does worry me.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      I see it on the opposite horizon.
      (You won’t believe me, of course. It’s better that way).
      Every election gives people time to get better equipment, better systems, better procedures.

      “Oh, I just HAPPENED to find these votes in the back seat of my car…”
      (Quick! Name the State!)Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      The right way to do it, (and it’s not just because it’s the way we do it but it helps), is scanned paper ballots where the data goes to physical media ( thumb drive per scanner), with end of day results phoned in for immediate updates on state election results websites.

      You have then a distributed system difficult to hack with an auditable paper trail to go back an look at if things look squirrelly.Report