Motivated Ambiguity and the 2020 Election

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar JoeSal
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    says:

    I won’t address whether the system had/has wide scale fraud, as i see no resolved truth to indicate it was or it wasn’t. As George did point out there are issues with the statistics.

    Fraud does exist in this system, as people have been convicted of it.

    It doesn’t help the 68-70% of lawyers/judges in the country are left bias which would make it difficult to trust a legal system to address this issue.

    The part i don’t find on the internet is if ballot fraud is increasing per year. Even if that study was done it would likely come out of a untrust worthy institution.

    You can study the accuracy of the voter registry of each state. If you want to make that premise of accuracy a hill to die on be my guest, and that is at least one unqualified premise I’m seeing at the start of ‘minimal fraud’.

    That said, i am ever skeptical that any social construct be given authority, as it will run into problems of the social truths of it being resolved.

    The left places the highest value on it’s social constructs, so the burden of keeping them is resolving the social truth, of which they cannot do alone and not claim to be the sole arbitor of.Report

    • Avatar CJColucci in reply to JoeSal
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      says:

      It doesn’t help the 68-70% of lawyers/judges in the country are left bias which would make it difficult to trust a legal system to address this issue.

      I’ve been practising law almost 40 years, and even in NYC the idea that 68-70% of lawyers are politically leftish is laughable. When you get out into less blue parts of America, the numbers drop even more.
      Of course, for some people, lawfulness, procedural regularity, and the like count as “left.” There’s no arguing with such people,Report

  2. Avatar Doctor Jay
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    On Election Night, we saw the sitting President state to the nation that he thought they should stop counting votes, because he was ahead. I’ve never heard a more treasonous, anti-democratic statement from a President in my lifetime. This is on top of months of bragging that he might not accept election results.

    The man lies constantly. He lied about his inauguration. He lies on a daily basis. Now, he, or his minions are bringing forth “irregularities”. Why is anyone who gives the slightest fig about America paying any attention to him? Of course he’s lying about this.

    Meanwhile, some people are “uncomfortable” with some irregularities. And somehow that’s what we’re discussing.

    I’m not arguing with you about this. This crosses a big line for me. It is not up for debate. The votes need to be counted, and counted accurately. And they determine the outcome, full stop. Not some “feeling” you have.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Doctor Jay
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      says:

      I think Will agrees with you, Doctor Jay.

      I agree with you, too. It really distresses me that the GOP politicians who should know better appear to be, for the most part, following along with the conspiracy theorists.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Doctor Jay
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      So one of the many amusing ways this is playing out is that both Republican Senators in Georgia have publicly called for the resignation of the Republican Secretary of State there because, ya know, he keeps doing his job and counting votes. They of course are couching in language about lack of trust in the election, and he’s let fraud go (absent evidence of course). His clap back to them was essentially they need to focus on why they couldn’t win the election outright.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to Doctor Jay
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      I am so damn tired of people tossing around the term “treason”…on both sides of the isle. Trump didn’t commit treason by his words. Treason takes ACTIONS, actions that are crimes.. Look up the definition of the word.Report

  3. Avatar Philip H
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    Losing political or court debates on Vote By Mail, early voting, or postmark dates does not constitute an integrity issue. Some systems are more secure than others and that’s obviously a reasonable basis for choosing among them, but it hasn’t been demonstrated that VBM poses a particular threat and it should not be assumed unless demonstrated.

    And yet up-post you say you don’t like VBM? I’m confused . . . .Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Philip H
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      It’s the difference between seeing potential problems down the line and believing it’s reasonable to believe it just happened for no other reason that VBM was used.

      I feel similarly towards high-tech voting, though I am coming at peace with at least some of that if done right (and I think things there moved in the right direction with paper trails etc) Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Will Truman
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        Several of the several states would remind you that they have voted fully by mail for many years, with a vanishingly small (statistically) rate of error and/or fraud. Now I’ll grant a good number of the several states didn’t really look at those models when they made their changes, but I don’t think there are issues with VBM that make it untenable.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        The states that have had problems all have one thing in common: at some point in the past, the state government added a no-excuse-needed provision to their absentee ballot system, but did none of the other things that would be necessary to make that work well if 30% rather than 3% of the voters tried to use it.Report

      • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Will Truman
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        I listened to an interview with the Lt Gov of Utah a few weeks back about VBM, and what he said rings true; getting VBM implemented correctly takes time. Once you do it, it works very well, but it’s not something you can really slap together at the last minute, even if you are following a good example.

        Which is pretty much what we are seeing here.

        So the criticism should not be against VBM, it should be in regard to trying to do it in 6 months, instead of over the course of a decade.

        That said, being able to take advantage of a chaotic VBM system to the degree necessary on such a short time horizon to turn a national election is still going to be a trick. That speaks to a level of organization and foresight that neither political party has ever really demonstrated a competency for.Report

  4. Avatar InMD
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    Good post Will and I think it’s the right on the merits (though I find VBM generally less concerning than you do).

    However I would suggest that it would be in all of our interest to think about how we got here. The lesson for me is that constantly roughing the ref is not a consequence free tactic. I’m about to open myself to BSDI accusations that my Biden endorsement post won’t shield me from but whatever, I’ll do it anyway.

    I don’t agree with Aaron’s post but all of this would have a lot less traction in the wider world but for the constant questioning of the legitimacy of the 2016 election. Russian interference. Illegitimate forces influencing Comey. Months of breathless media reports that the thing that is definitely going to bring Trump down is just around the corner. Of course none of that was ever convincingly substantiated in any empirical way any more than any of this is likely to be. It all culminated in an investigation that brought down some Trump associates for (dare I say, routine) sliminess. The best the resistance could do with impeachment was some grey-area executive power issues which our constitution is troublingly opaque about and ill-suited for bad-faith actors like Trump in a hyper partisan era. A number of wild factors and circumstances led to it, from the zeitgeist, to an awful choice in HRC, but he won that election legitimately.

    And anyone who remembers Glenn Beck and his chalkboard, the Obama is a Muslim Kenyan national, ought to have known better about playing this game. But too many of them, especially in the media didn’t, and now we live with another escalation that’s good for no one.

    And before someone jumps in with some nonsense about relieving conservatives of responsibility I am affirmatively saying that is BS. Conservative ™ media has been running on the motivated unreasonableness since at least the 90s, helping to lay the dirt and fertilizer for the ecosystem in which we now live.

    The question to me is what is the answer? Because I don’t think telling the defectors they need to just trust in the system is going to work anymore. It requires putting down certain weapons and resisting the urge to pick them back up again when circumstances change. It’s understandable that no one wants to do that but we need to find a way if we want this to stop. That does not mean abandon reason, but it must mean consistency living with and following reason, even when it goes places we don’t like.

    I don’t know what the solution is but I hope we can find our way passed yet another self-inflicted wound. There’s too much good about our system and too much opportunity in it to squander on the fleeting righteousness of smacking down our neighbors.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to InMD
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      I don’t know if it would have had less traction or not – I could make an argument either way – but I agree they should have known better on a lot of it.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to InMD
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      I mean, ” It’s tough for people who spent the last four years saying “Hahaha we won!” to deal with a loss and it’s not everybody else’s job to meet a standard of proof that will force them to do so” could absolutely have been said in 2016.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DensityDuck
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        The media and pollsters are supposed to be neutral, and have been claiming for months that Trump was going to be crushingly defeated in a Blue Wave.

        There was no Blue Wave. At a minimum, the media and pollsters have beclowned themselves. So… were they acting in bad faith? Maybe trying to suppress GOP turnout?

        Given that “shear incompetence” is an option, it’s what I’m going with. However it’s easy to think this was deliberate. It’s only a small step from thinking it was deliberate to wondering what else they’re lying about… and who else is part of this grand effort to unseat Trump.

        Did we have judges making rulings at the last moment to put their fingers on the scales? Did election officials have their fingers on the scales?

        In 2016 Trump won by something like 50k votes. Here he lost by something like 30k. If you’re inclined to think the system’s machinery is protecting itself against Trump, then it’s real easy to think that absent that, he won.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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          You know the answer to “fingers on the scales”, right? Construct your laws such that fingers can’t be put on the scales.

          But no one wants to do that, because everyone wants to be able to put their finger on the scale should the opportunity arise.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon
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            I’d accept “no one wants to [make good laws]” except we’ve seen a ton of really bad laws even when it’s clear Politicians aren’t trying to fight with the other team.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter
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              says:

              I know Michael tells me there are really smart people inside the machine trying their damnedest to fashion good laws, but at the end, the people in charge did not get there by passing a rigorous exam of logic and ethics, they got there by winning a popularity contest.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Dark Matter
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          Our side has all of the hackers. If we were cheating, there would have been one hell of a Blue Wave.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling
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            If we were cheating, there would have been one hell of a Blue Wave.

            You mean, like we were constantly promised?Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Dark Matter
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              The problem is that the huge red wave was stemmed and rolled back in the wee AM, after everybody had gone to sleep and unmarked vans showed up, filled with ballots. It took so much voter fraud to get Biden ahead (because we were having a red wave, with Trump up hugely over 2016), that the required level of fraud pushed the voter turnout numbers to statistically absurd levels, often exceeding 90% and 100%, and in some places exceeding 200%.

              The result is an election that, based on all available evidence so far, looks fraudulent by former SSR standards, by African standards, and by Central American standards.

              There was a computer algorithm switching votes from Trump to Biden based on how Republican a precinct leaned, and the result was truly massive. They know it was done by an algorithm because the number of Trump “defectors” is a tight linear function of the % of Republican down-ballot voters in each precinct. In precincts that leaned Democrat, the algorithm wasn’t used and no Trump voters defected.

              Fraud is the only explanation, because people don’t “defect” based on the percentage of like-minded voters in their precinct. This resulted in a blindingly obvious statistical fingerprint of election fraud, and one that’s been studied for several years by professors at MIT (who put out a great one hour video detailing their findings).

              That type of fraud cannot survive a recount process because the reported totals won’t remotely match the actual ballots. The only way to get away with it was to avoid any recounts by making the victory look so overwhelming that Trump would simply concede. But he didn’t, and massive investigations are being launched into election fraud, at both the state and the federal level.

              It’s a bit like shoplifting. If the perp can make it out the door without being suspected, he gets away with it. But now we’re at the point where he’s been detained by store employees on suspicion of shoplifting, and the police are on their way.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
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    Yeah, I agree with all of this.

    One maddening thing is how haphazard and clumsy the election counting was. I agree absolutely with Mark’s explanation that the election can’t be stolen because do you know how many people would need to be in on it in order to steal the election? And three can keep a secret if two are dead.

    That said, we’ve had 4 years of accusations of the hackability of elections.

    The idea that the elections that have the results we want are the good ones and I JUST HAVE SOME QUESTIONS! about the ones that have the results we don’t want is a bad idea that will be reflected.

    We need, seriously, we need to clean up how election counts are done. We need transparency for electronic voting (open source that stuff! If you absolutely must have it be closed source, give the contract to Bally or Williams or one of the other slot machine companies).

    It shouldn’t be this easy for people to be able to just be asking questions about the process.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
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      One of the aspects of our system that makes it harder to breach is that it is state-centric with competing centers of power. For all the hubbub about the electoral college it greatly complicates the ability to ‘steal’ a presidential election. A centralized popular vote run by the federal government on the other hand would be a huge target and a single point of failure. Sure there are plenty of technical and administrative ways to address that but is it a net improvement in security? Whatever the answer is I don’t think it’s ‘obviously, yes.’Report

    • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Jaybird
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      I don’t see the technocratic side as being any type of solution to the distrust. In fact the more of that we see, the less human it becomes.

      We need more philosophers asking the questions to maintain social truth.
      Like:

      Is left leaning organized union workers counting ballots in most of the major population centers a good idea?

      Is it good to create a more complex system?

      Is it good to have stacks of ballots deliveted at 3:00am?

      How much do people as individuals value this system?

      Do people want what this system is producing?Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to JoeSal
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        says:

        Conspicuously absent from your list of questions is whether there is a better alternative to the system that exists, whether it is attainable, etc.Report

        • Avatar JoeSal in reply to InMD
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          says:

          I have no problem with such questions. If you can find a better social truth you may find a better system. Although you may find there is no resolved social truth about the current system also, after that what is your metric?Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to JoeSal
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            I think the lowest bar is a system that allows management of a big, diverse polity without turning into something resembling 16th century Europe or or the now existing ME. There are many higher bars we might aspire to.

            Not sure if that answers the question and honestly I’m not much for philosophy. History on the other hand is something I think about often.Report

            • Avatar JoeSal in reply to InMD
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              I think it will take philosophy to honestly find the truth of where we are and what the truth is about where we want to go. I think the cost of not doing that is very high.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JoeSal
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        says:

        Well, there’s technocratic leadership that decides what kind of juice is appropriate for WIC recipients to purchase.

        And there’s technocratic leadership that decides election tabulation processes.

        The latter kind isn’t bad.Report

        • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          So if we take the technocratic leadership of the tabulation process out for a good/bad social truth evaluation, the assumption is that it’s good?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JoeSal
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            says:

            Social Truth doesn’t have primacy long-term over Non-Social Truth.

            Remember the whole “Reality-Based” term that got thrown around too much? Stuff that is not tethered to Reality will find itself way out there eventually as Reality moves on.Report

            • Avatar JoeSal in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              I have no problem with that, i just don’t see a big indicator that reality hasn’t moved on and this thing is another archaic construct that society held onto for too long.

              I mean after the discovery of subjective value and individual sovereignty, it should be obvious what the flaws are in this system.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    The problem is Trump, Trumpism, and his enablers. The Republican Party leaders still seem to fear Trump and his more hardcore supporters. So they will at best be passive in how they go forward. They might not help him but they are not going to stop him either.

    The man himself is someone whose need for total domination precludes any ability to lose gracefully. His niece thinks he will be very dangerous for the next few months:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/nov/08/mary-trump-on-the-end-of-uncle-donald-all-he-has-now-is-breaking-things

    “This is what Donald’s going to do: he’s not going to concede, although who cares. What’s worse is he’s not going to engage in the normal activities that guarantee a peaceful transition. All he’s got now is breaking stuff, and he’s going to do that with a vengeance. I’ve always known how cruel he can be. Shortly after the 2016 election, when I’d see him being particularly cruel, I would think about how he treated my father [Fred Trump Jr, Donald’s older brother, who died of alcoholism at 43]. He took away our family health insurance after his father, my grandfather, died – this was when my nephew needed round-the-clock nursing care, which we then couldn’t afford. That is the kind of man he is.”

    Biden is up by millions of votes and has a healthy margin in the electoral college. Yesterday, the Washington Post revealed that a Trump toady at the GSA refuses to sign the paperwork that helps the Biden transition team get a start on things because the election results are “in doubt.” A good chunk of the federal apparatus has been filled with toadies and sycophants who are more interested in pleasing the boss than doing the dictates of their job.

    For the past few years, Aaron’s posts on the Democratic Party telegraph all the scorn that one normally reserves for ex-lovers after an unexpected and bitter break-up. George is a clown who should have been banned from this site long ago but he seems to give people giggles. Other people here seem to exist to “own the libs” but will never admit it. At this point, why should I do anything but conclude that the Republican Party is filled with people for whom no Democratic victory is ever legitimate. Or filled with anything but cowards who refuse to stand up to Donald?Report

  7. Avatar Chip Daniels
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    The republican actions here continue in the direction they have been moving for a while now, of abandoning democracy when it fails to deliver what they want.

    Even if they fail to actually overturn the results, they can at least convince their followers that American democracy no longer exists, and therefore the rules no longer need apply.

    Again, they are now a revolutionary force that refuses to accept the legitimacy of their fellow citizens.Report

  8. Avatar Aaron David
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    says:

    Well, since I am mentioned so prominently in this I feel I should respond.

    No, the point of my piece was not that because the Right/Repubs feel bad about the election that we should honor the bitter cocktail of the Right’s lived experience and deny the election. The thrust of my piece, which I admit I wrote rather quickly and didn’t spend a week or so making sure that all of my arguments were as tight as could be, was that there are concrete steps that have been taken around the world to ensure the appearance of free and fair elections. Hence my mentioning voter ID such as the one used in Mexico. I also made sure to mention how most countries do not allow easy mail-in voting, and how the presence of fraud is the driver of that.

    My mentioning the Dem complaints of voter suppression was not to be done as some sort of “to be sure” but to show that both sides do have a legitimate set of questions about voter integrity that need to be answered. But, I did focus on the idea that right now, as we speak there is a lot of question on the Right as to what happened, and with many of the inconsistencies that hadn’t been answered by the press (at least not perceived as so on the right) along with one of my own pet issues, ballot harvesting and its appearance of impropriety. Which is something I have talked about her at OT for many years.

    What I didn’t want to do was help spread rumors. I was talking about the feelings of a bad election, not the truth of a bad election. And I thought I made that perfectly clear, and indeed there were enough commenters in the thread who seemed to catch what I was saying to make me feel that I expressed myself clearly.

    And lastly, what I am truly, well beyond any specific allegiance to any specific party, is an advocate for free speech. I am part Jewish. And in that Jewishness, I would walk down the street with Hitler himself in the defense of free speech and each person’s right to it. Will I swing wide in that defense, and say things that others might find offensive? Of course. Yes, Ira Glasser and the ACLU’s defense of neo-nazis is a huge influence on me. But an even bigger influence would be my great-Grandfathers dissertation “On The Censorship Of Hebrew Books”. All of my comments here stem from that in at least a small way. I am going to play devil’s advocate, in part due to my love of free speech and the perception of mine that many people no longer want this protection, which I find truly sad.

    I hope this answers any questions that seem to have arisen from my piece.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Aaron David
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      says:

      Aaron,

      If you had led the other piece with this you might have gotten a different response – even from me. But you didn’t and so a lot of us started looking at you and wondering if you were sliding down the George Turner slope.

      I am going to play devil’s advocate, in part due to my love of free speech and the perception of mine that many people no longer want this protection, which I find truly sad.

      And I will respond as I have before that what you “perceive” as the left (and lets be honest that’s who you are talking about) trying to roll back free speech protections is really the left simply holding people to account for what they say. Free speech as you envision it is free from such reprobation – and that’s been a huge problem for America in my lifetime.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Philip H
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        So, I should only write to please you? Never to challenge you?

        As long as I am here that will never be the case.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Aaron David
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          says:

          Nope. Challenge away. But understand that means I can challenge back. It means my take is as legitimate as yours. And when you go off the rails you will be told you are off the rails. You don’t seem to want to accept that last part.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Philip H
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            says:

            And in my post, I did not in any way say disagreement was illegitimate.

            And no, I did not go “off the rails.”Report

            • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to Aaron David
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              A writer needs to take responsibility when a substantial number of readers take away a point that was not intended. As you are aware, Phillip was not remotely alone in his takeaway here.

              The fact is that it opened with a lot of assertions that appeared to validate the notion that winner is not clear. It asked questions with clear answers but and treated those answers as mere matters of opinion.

              Perhaps more problematic even than the fact that these issues angered a number of people was that several of those who claimed to like it seemed to also take the same impression as those who disliked it – the only difference was that it reinforced their prejudices.

              The first several paragraphs should have been written much differently rather than appearing to convey the view from nowhere that certain claims that are clearly false could be valid.

              The question of how do we put the pieces together when this is all over – or even whether we can – is an interesting and important one. The problem is that the post seemed to push the pieces further apart to start with.

              Again, I realize this may not have been your intent, but it was the effect on enough people that you should ask yourself what you should have done differently at minimum.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mark from NJ
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                “A writer needs to take responsibility when a substantial number of readers take away a point that was not intended. ”

                If I figured that Philip H were actually interested in a charitable reading of anything here that’s even vaguely conservative, then I’d consider his opinion of the piece meaningful.Report

              • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to DensityDuck
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                What about mine?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Mark from NJ
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                says:

                If you’re going to bring in an Argument From Authority by citing the “substantial number of readers”, then one criticism of your position is to discuss the validity of that claim.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Mark from NJ
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                says:

                First, thank you for taking the time to write this. As someone who always enjoyed your writing here, it both means a lot to me and helps me clarify a few things.

                As I am sure you well know from your time here, there is a lot of baggage that can get carried over into the comments, things that bleed back to earlier posts. And in the replies, I may have immediately discounted many of these things too quickly due to this. And if so, that is unfair of me.

                As far as the piece goes, yes, there was a little intention to shock, to play a hard devil’s advocate. And in these fragile times, maybe that is inappropriate. I am not sure of that, and Andrew as the managing editor did not seem to remark on it to me if he felt that way.

                I did feel that the main thrust of the piece was clear, and as Pinky and JoeSal seemed to immediately pick up on where I was going with it, just picking at a sore subject maybe. Much like Jaybird will often take a lot of grief over the means of his questioning. But to say I went off the rails, as Phillip does, is to impinge the integrity of the site and Andrews editorship, neither of which we have nearly as much trouble with when the post is something less controversial.

                I don’t generally talk about the time I spend writing something, but as I attempted to clarify in the comment above, I wrote most of it that morning, due mainly to impressions I was getting from both sides at the time, combined with the last few years, and feel that in my attempts to include both sides issues I was clear in this. Again, it a fairly quickly written post.
                Maybe it should have been listed as a 10-second news post, however, I am not the one who makes that decision.

                I didn’t think that the language I used in the post, which was intended to balanced while reflecting the current timing, would be so controversial. Indeed I still don’t, although others do as you clearly point out. I certainly will take that into consideration in my future posts.

                Again, thank you for the reasoned input. I try to take all criticism to heart, and as I said, it does mean a lot coming from you.Report

              • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to Aaron David
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                says:

                Thanks Aaron. I appreciate the response. And I do hope you realize that my criticism is of the piece, not of you or your integrity. I also apologize for the initial vociferousness of my reactionReport

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Mark from NJ
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                Water under the bridge. And no issues with the vociferousness, that is what the internet is for.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Aaron David
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      This isn’t the direct point of your comment but i’m a big free speecher to. I would defend nazis right to speech and do everything i could to mock and harm their movement. They have rights but they are toxic and dangerous. F them. They have rights and are welcome to them. They are also a blight.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I agree with this opinion:

    Report

    • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Jaybird
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      And that is a very succinct version of what I was saying.

      Bravo.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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      Yeah because in the case the trumpists would have said nothing and accepted their loss gracefully if it was a normal election. That is a tenuous conclusion. R’s have been raising hell about voting “irregularities” for years and good old fashioned in person voting. They have done things to minimize voting by the wrong people for years. Heck some are screaming that the prelim good vaccine news was delayed just to hurt trump.

      And of course some of the delays were caused by R’s who refused measured to speed things up. And R’s were claiming fraud and trying de-legitimatize how people were voting when they were insisting they would win in a landslide.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Jaybird
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      So my problem with statements like this the left has actually demonstrated its case over and over and over. we’ve done it here numerous times. But because it FEELS like the wrong answer to you and others we get swatted away with false equivalency. Sorry, but this insistence is a huge part of why we are where we are as a nation.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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        says:

        I’m one of the “there’s no conspiracy, there are too many moving parts” people. That said, there are a lot of things that are screwed up and have been screwed up and “questioning the legitimacy of the election is wrong!” arguments come across as somewhat disingenuous to the people familiar with the arguments about Russia hacking the election.

        I mean, I saw an argument on the twitters about people discussing maybe getting faithless electors involved to change the outcome of the election Just In Case.

        Quick: without knowing who was making the argument, how do you feel about faithless electors? Is it part of the system as designed or is it treason?

        And watching people pivot from “THIS IS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE!” to “well, you have to understand…” and back is something that feeds the ever-living crap out of cynicism.Report

      • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        This.

        Except it’s not just the “left.” While I may have voted for Biden, not many would reasonably consider me the “left.” And I’m confident I’m not alone in this.

        More to the point, the SecState of GA is not the “left.” Boris Johnson is not the “left.” Ben Sasse is not the “left.” Erik Erikson is not the “left.” Etc., etc.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Mark from NJ
          Ignored
          says:

          To be clear a good many folks on the Right in the US have been blathering on for years about how the Democrats will steal this election and citing vague handwaving threats about fraud. Every time they do the left – me included – can in a matter of minutes extract and provide real world evidence disproving the case.

          In otherwords we see the twitter statement that Jaybird quotes as more of the continued lying in service of maintaining power since we can actually easily and often support our case.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Let’s study this guy’s assertion.
      His assertion is that if “a contender can claim it was tainted and neither side can demonstrate their case immediately you have right Fucked Up.”

      Really?
      Lets apply this to the criminal justice system. If a prosecutor can claim you are guilty, and neither side can prove the case immediately, we have right fucked up?

      Does that sound reasonable to everyone here?

      How would the defendant side “demonstrate their case”?
      Isn’t that what’s called proving a negative?Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t buy this for 2 reasons.

      First, there’s an implied demand to prove a negative and to be able to do it immediately on whatever ground the person making the assertion of fraud choses.

      Second you’re often dealing with an argument from ignorance (i.e. I can’t personally connect these dots therefore x must be true). Most of these are coming from a total lack of understanding of the voting process itself, applicable law, and in a lot of cases just basic civics.

      Now these are questions that must be answerable given appropriate time and analysis. But the fact that there is not an immediate simple response to every random thread someone starts pulling does not in itself impugn the system.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      This is a good example of why I think you operate in bad-faith Jaybird. The election result is clear. Biden won the majority of the votes and the a good part of the electoral college. Pretty much every media organization out of ONAN has called it. Trump is throwing a tempertantrum and even Fox News has pulled away. Yet you seem to think it is a mess and not clear for reasons that can only be attributed to amusement and/or benefit somehow. What astronomical level of proof do you need from Democrats? I feel like the answer is that you will never be persuaded.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Sigh. I agree that Biden has been elected. I’ve said so multiple times.

        I also think that the fact that there are still states that are screwing this up IS BAD.

        I think that the ambiguity in 2000 was bad. I think that the ambiguity in 2016 was bad. I wish that there were less ambiguity and that the criticisms of how the swingiest swing states had done things were more easily dismissed rather than criticisms that had to be addressed as problems that, yeah, should be fixed next time.

        Don’t interpret this as a defense of Trump.
        Interpret it as a defense of the system.

        Doubt in the system is bad. It should be addressed with boring charts, powerpoints, and explanations of what happened, what went wrong, how what went wrong was mitigated, and what’s going to happen next time. Boring and technocratic.

        Not social pressure.

        I’ll repeat what I said in 2016: Trump doesn’t worry me. The guy who comes after Trump worries me.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          “I also think that the fact that there are still states that are screwing this up IS BAD.”

          What states have screwed up? And how? Please be specific.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            Still stuck at 98% after a week? That’s bad.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Bad, why?
              And isn’t this pretty much the norm?
              Like, did they count faster in 2016 and 2012?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                They were done counting at 2:30 AM Eastern Time the day after the election in 2016.

                Romney wanted to concede 11:15 PM on his not-gonna-be-election day but Karl Rovvve said “No, Ohio still could go for him!” on Fox and it took Florida and Virginia to get actually acknowledge the writing on the wall by 1AM the next day.

                There was just, you know, cleanup afterwards.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Pennsylvania counted 100% of the ballots by 2:30 AM?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                From the Guardian:

                1.35am/6.35am Trump finally clinches Pennsylvania, another key battleground state, making his lead virtually unassailable. Clinton long viewed the state as a key part of her “firewall” and had held a rally Philadelphia with Barack Obama on Monday night. Trump is now at 264 electoral votes and ahead in counting in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Arizona, any of which makes him president.

                I assume the timestamps are EST and GMT.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Isn’t your objection that its “bad” that they have only counted 98% a week after the election?

                I mean, California was called by the networksthe moment the polls closed, but they have still only counted about 89% of the votes.
                (Alaska has only counted 52%!)

                Is this bad?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You have to remember, we’re having this argument because Jaybird quoted a robot saying something only a robot with no experience of real human life would say.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If one of the candidates has been mathematically eliminated, at that point it’s good to call it and then just count the rest of the votes and it doesn’t really matter if there are errors in the 1-2% range. I mean, I suppose it matters *SPIRITUALLY*… but winning by 54.2% versus 53.8% versus 55.1% isn’t a big deal. The dude won.

                Now, of course, the difference between 49.8 and 50.1 is all of the difference in the world.

                But it is still bad that Arizona is *STILL* at 98% after a week.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Again…Why is this bad that it takes a week to count all the ballots?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                If I had to point to anything in particular, I’d point to the situation we’re currently in.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What “situation”?

                The states are methodically counting all their ballots, within the timeframes their respective legislatures have set for them, pretty much the way they have in every election.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                But a robot wouldn’t understand this. All election officials pray for a small-turnout, high-margin election of overwhelmingly election-day, in-person votes for obvious reasons. They didn’t get that. And in many states, they got slammed with far more mail-in or early votes than they are used to. In some states, the election officials had to sit on their hands while early and mail-in votes were sitting there and they couldn’t, by law, do a thing with them and get a jump on the process.
                All things considered, it’s going remarkably smoothly. By human standards, anyway. But it’s hard to talk to a robot.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              “ Timing of results:Maricopa County (Phoenix) released its final large set of results Saturday morning. Officials there said that a small number of provisional and other ballots that need additional time to process still remain.”

              Actually bad? Or looks bad? Do you know enough to know the difference?

              This feels like one of those things where it’s easy to say, “98% after a week? What gives, dumb dumbs?”
              And then someone explains what gives… namely an election carried out under brand new circumstances amidst a global pandemic and we realize 98% is damn good.
              And then someone says, “Yea but still…”

              So… why is 98% a week later bad? What did they do wrong?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                This was basically what inspired me to write the Arc Digital piece. I got so tired of people making excuses (or just blaming Republicans) when it’s been a big problem across several states of varying political persuasion *even while* other states with the same constraints did a much better job.

                It’s hard to believe “it just can’t be done” when people to your left and right are doing it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Is there a point at which you would agree that, okay, we should have the numbers in by now?

                Friday?

                If so, we’re arguing over 3 days.

                If not, I’d like to know when you’d say “okay, we should have them in by *THIS* date.”Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Wisconsin literally counted their ballots within 24 hours of starting the count.

                All of them.

                That’s really aggressive and I don’t necessarily expect states that don’t start counting on election day to be that efficient. But what about 2x that? 3x that? Why is that so unreasonable?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not saying it’s good. I’m saying we don’t know if it’s bad.

                What was the deadline for ballots? What does it mean that ballots are being processed? Are they being cured? Does the state allow for that? Does the 98% account for overseas absentee ballots?

                98% of what number? NYT reports it is 98% of estimated ballots. What is the estimate based on?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, for my part I think it’s bad.

                Whether it’s bad because the administration of ballots is bad or it’s bad because of the rules set forth for counting I don’t know.

                (As for the 98%, it’s supposed to be of excepted ballots but I think at some point 98% and 99% just became shorthand for “Not yet, but they have exceeded our estimate for how many ballots there so so here we are” but I don’t know that for sure.)Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                “Think it’s bad” and “screwed up” are not synonyms.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Are we arguing over whether it’s a six on the ten scale or a seven?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We’re arguing if it’s on the scale.

                What is Arizona screwing up? I don’t think “Not having final results yet” is a good enough answer.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                Each state sets their own deadline for when results have to be tabulated.

                California, for example, requires that the ballots be counted no later than 30 days after the election.

                Seems reasonable to me.

                What doesn’t seem reasonable to me, is that suddenly, just all of a sudden, not getting all the votes counted by X days is just somehow obviously crazy and evidence of a broken system.

                Where is this coming from? Why weren’t we hearing all this in 2018, 2016, 2014?

                Does anyone here even remember when the final tallies were in those years? Probably not, because it wasn’t a Big Issue then.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It took most of the month. Complaints about California in particular are not new. Not an issue in the presidential outcome, but it mattered for congressional races and the length of time it took for us to learn the popular vote.

                It’s up to Californians what they will accept, for sure, but I don’t think they should find this acceptable and am annoyed by the spillover effects (their outcomes matter to all of us).Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                No disagreement that earlier would be better, but how about your state? What is the deadline there?

                Are they about on track per previous elections, or are they markedly late?

                What I’m not seeing anywhere is data like “We normally finish in X days, but now its taking Y number of days”.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I have a different complaint with my state: Counting was quick, but not easily accessible. I had to find out our results by checking the NYT.

                It is, of course, entirely in West Virginia’s discretion how public to make the information. I’m sure they are following the process and the letter of the law.

                But my response to this is that this should be changed.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I could pull a date by which we “should” have the results out of my nether regions, and so could anyone else. But without some real-world knowledge of what’s going on and why, it’s just a date pulled out of my nether regions, and no better — and no worse, for that matter — than anyone else’s posterior eructations.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Is there a date by which Trump ought to have conceded?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Trump” and “ought” don’t belong in the same sentence. I won’t prescribe when he ought to recognize a reality that nearly everyone else already recognizes. “Trump” and “reality” don’t belong in the same sentence either. January 20 will come, and his leasehold on the White House will end, whether he concedes or not.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                He’ll concede when it’s in his personal best interests to concede. There are no rules or laws on the issue so that’s his default.

                The whole idea that he’s “tearing down Democracy” is just hysteria and drama. There are no judges being ignored, no troops being organized to take over, no one being arrested.

                He’ll leave office on Jan 20th. The reality show will run until then (and maybe after).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Fair but his no cooperating with transition plans have real consequences.

                The 9/11 Commission found that delays with W. Bush’s transition process (due to the recount hubbub) contributed to the intelligence failures that contributed to 9/11*.

                If Trump acts in such a way that delays or inhibits Biden’s transition plans, it will hav real consequences on a number of levels.

                * To be clear, I’m not laying any of this at Bush’s or anyone else’s feet. The winner was unknown until December. And 9/11 or something similar may have happened regardless. My point is simply to illustrate that delays in the transition process aren’t mere procedural or symbolic matters. They have real world consequences, large and small.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                9/11 was 8 months after Bush took over. Giving him an extra 6 weeks might have been helpful but that seems a reach.

                I’d say it takes a year or more for one team to fully step in. However if Gore had won and kept the team intact, it’s not clear to me that even that would have made a difference.

                AQ was on the radar but not at a “we should be declaring war on them” level. They’re a non-state actor and there are issues for evaluating how dangerous they are and what to do about them.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m relaying what the 9/11 Commission found. Maybe they were wrong. But delays in transition are never going to be good. Sometimes those delays may be necessary.

                The current delays? Unnecessary.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                The Commission’s report is here: https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report_Exec.pdf

                I can’t cut and copy, but at the top middle of page 6 they talk about the transition. Basically both Bush and Clinton seriously didn’t like the military options.

                Clinton was awaiting evidence when he stepped down, but I doubt Clinton(Gore) would have invaded Afghanistan before 911. Bush accepted that AQ was behind the Cole before 911 but also wasn’t willing to invade.

                Fast forward to Obama and he didn’t want to treat them as something our army needs to deal with either.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Doubt in the system is bad.

          Reinforcing it by coddling your grifting, infantile, pice of shit leader while claiming you “just want to see all the legal votes counted” is bad. But the fact that he’s completely corrupted the GOP doesn’t worry you.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          You do realize that a lot of states refused to allow the processing and counting of mail in ballots before election day, right? You do realize that the media spent a long time discussing a red mirage and a blue shift, right? My California ballot was opened and counted by October 20th according to the tracking website. Pennsylvania was not allowed to process mail in ballots until it calculated all of the election day ballots. This slowed everything up. Plus pandemic. A lot of things were created on the fly.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            And yet there were states that were done in a couple of days despite that.

            Huh.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Did they have the same rules?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                No.

                Is that fact supposed to point me toward “this isn’t bad” or “there’s no problem with the status quo” or what?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No. Maybe those rules are bad.

                Okay then. Let’s look at who made those rules.

                Who made the rules in Arizona?

                Was it Republicans? If it was Republicans, there is something… well… I’ll just say something… about a group making the rules for the contest and then claiming that those rules are the reason why the results o the contest can’t be trusted or are illegitimate.

                Did Arizona screw up? Or did Republicans in Arizona charged with overseeing and administering the election screw up?

                Oh…and… what will you say if we learn after the fact that those states with final counts on election night are the ones with more irregularities upon review?

                The fact is, we don’t know if and who screwed up yet. Merely saying, “Well, those guys are done and these guys aren’t done so obviously the latter screwed up,” is pretty simplistic ‘analysis’.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Why should we look at the rules unless we agree that there’s a problem?

                From what I understand, we haven’t even hammered out whether it’s bad that Arizona hasn’t completed counting yet.

                If it’s not bad, why should they change?

                Shouldn’t we figure out whether Arizona being Arizona is a problem first? Heck, *ANYBODY* can pull numbers out of their butt and say “this is suboptimal”.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You said:
                “I also think that the fact that there are still states that are screwing this up IS BAD.”

                I asked for examples. You said:
                “Still stuck at 98% after a week? That’s bad.”

                So… you were asserting Arizona screwed it up and cited the timeline of their vote processing.

                Do you stand by that assertion? Are you certain that being at 98% a week later is clear and obvious evidence that they screwed up?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I certainly think that it’s evidence that, next time, they should do something much more like the states that did not screw up.

                But it feels like we’re arguing whether something is a 5 versus a 7 on the ten scale at that point and not whether it’s on the scale at all.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, you’re begging the question of IF they screwed up.

                Some states finished processing their votes last week. Some will finish this week. Some may finish beyond.

                I see no reason offered to think that one group necessarily screwed up. I see that they finished at different times. It does not necessarily follow that that is evidence of a screw up.

                So, again, why is 98% a week later a screw up? Besides simply being different than other states?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                They should change, but not because they did anything *WRONG*, just that there’s better ways to do things, and we shouldn’t hold anything against anybody but we also shouldn’t have the status quo.

                So let’s just agree that they should change and put the whether there are reasons that they should change on a back burner.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No. At this point, there is no reason to think we won’t have accurate results on the timeline necessary to send electors to Washington to officially select the President.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                I think I’m probably worried about more dynamics than whether we’re going to send electors to Washington in plenty of time to officially do stuff.

                But if that were my only concern, sure.

                We’ve got all the time in the world.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yet again with the “This is bad for reasons I can’t explain” stuff.

                Suppose I assert that this election in 2020 was the best run election ever in the history of America, and the counts were processed more efficiently and swiftly than any before.

                Who here has the ability to argue against that point?
                Can anyone find how long it took to count in previous elections and compare to this one?

                Can you do that without Googling? No?
                Then why is there this certainty that somehow this election is “bad”?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Who here has the ability to argue against that point?

                Would I be allowed to find sources?

                Can you do that without Googling? No?

                I see.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If you don’t know the answer to the question, why have you formed a conclusion?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Is this one of those things where I have to walk in a blank slate without knowledge of states that have accomplished this sort of thing?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No this is one of those things where you support your assertion with some sort of evidence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Am I allowed to use Google?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Now I’m more curious as to how you arrived at this conviction that somehow the election is “bad” yet freely admit you have no knowledge or evidence for that.

                How did you arrive at this point? And why do you persist?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I have reports of places that did well and I’m comparing them to reports of places that did poorly.

                But if I’m not allowed to look them up to show them to you, I don’t have any evidence at all.

                So if I show you stuff like this, and the followup question is “did you google to get that?” and my answer is “yes, of course I googled to get that”…

                Then what?

                Am I not allowed to think that “it’s possible to do it well and we should look to the states that did it well as an example for the states that didn’t do it as well as the states that did”?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                For what definition of “poorly”?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                “Relative to well”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Sigh. You’re being obtuse. And deliberately so.

                It’s okay to admit you’re wrong. Good even.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                If it’s possible to do it well (defined as… two days?) then taking a week to ten days is doing it poorly.

                And arguing that the status quo is fine when there are bad actors abusing the status quo can also be interpreted as obtuse.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “…bad actors abusing the status quo…”

                This is a brand new claim. Can you substantiate it?

                Also 2 days versus 10 days. There is a pizza place near me that uses a special oven and makes delicious pizza in 90 seconds. There is another pizza place near me that uses a regular oven and makes delicious pizza in about 15 minutes.

                It’d be silly for me to insist the latter one is doing it poorly simply because they’re doing is slower.

                Is speed a goal? If so, why? Who set that goal? Why is it important?

                I’m reminded of the adage that things can be done well, quick, or cheap. Sometimes you can get two out of three. It is almost impossible to get three out of three.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                This is a brand new claim. Can you substantiate it?

                Sure:

                Sufficient or would you like more?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We must rectify all issues about which the Trump spawn can be douchebags.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Its more that this is an example of what Saul talks about, how you immediately embrace Republican talking points in advance of actually knowing anything.

                And look, there’s nothing wrong with having priors- I sure as hell have them, and everyone else does too.

                But its at least good to admit to them and speak with that in mind, rather than from the voice of detached observer.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Having more states change and do a better, quicker job of counting thus pretty much preventing there from being shadows of reasonable doubts about whether Trump has been mathematically eliminated is reflecting a Republican talking point?

                Because I’m under the impression that preventing Trump from doing that sort of thing would be something that people from *ALL* corners of *ALL* parties would be able to embrace.

                Well, except Republican, probably. The Trumpy ones.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, jumping to the conclusion that the election is “bad” prior to any evidence is exactly a Republican talking point.

                Nothing wrong with that!
                I start with all sorts of assumptions prior to evidence which are formed by my liberal beliefs. That’s why we call them priors.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                See, if you’re arguing that I’m arguing that “the election is ‘bad'”, then I’m confident that you don’t understand my argument.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You said this:
                “I also think that the fact that there are still states that are screwing this up IS BAD.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes. I did.

                Do you see the difference between that and “the election is ‘bad'”?

                Or, even if you don’t, do you see how someone else might see a distinction between the two concepts?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If you’re now arguing that no one understands what you are arguing, maybe it’s time for a coffee break.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I wouldn’t have to argue that you, Chip, did not understand what I was arguing if you were capable of restating my argument rather than condensing it to “the election is ‘bad'”.

                Though I note that you cannot tell the difference between me saying that you didn’t understand my argument and me saying that “no one understands” it.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You believe states screwed up the election.
                You believe states screwing up the election is bad.

                But you do not believe the election is bad.

                Ooooooooo…..kaaaaaaaay.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                You believe states screwed up the election.

                No. I believe that describing the process to quickly do a ballot count as “screwed up” is probably true for a handful of states when I compare them to the states that did well.

                Because there are states that did well.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It takes Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, and most states just a few hours to finish. We’re all done at 9 or 10 PM. It’s summing numbers. How hard can it be? We had no problem counting votes quickly even when we used pencils or gear-driven counting machines.

                The states that can’t seem to finish counting all happen to be the ones identified early as the key battleground states where almost everything about the election, from months out, looked hinky. Gee, what are the odds of that?

                Counting honestly is quick and easy. Rigging things take preparation and, if the desired result still falls short, lots of extra time. That’s why the UN and international election observes use delayed vote counts as a big red flag marking election fraud.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                I can’t speak to most of them. However, Arizona turned out to be a swing state this year. Their count is miserably slow, but no slower than every other election. California is not a swing state (but does have close Congressional districts) and is incredibly slow, just like always.Report

              • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Texas was still counting at least as recently as yesterday (I think they may be done now). Seems worth mentioning.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mark from NJ
                Ignored
                says:

                Alaska has only counted 69% of the votes. New York has only counted 74%.
                In fact, I think almost every state in the union is still counting, even if just the final few percentages.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Mark from NJ
                Ignored
                says:

                Absolutely. There are reasons that states don’t certify their votes until around Thanksgiving.

                If we were to pass a federal law that said states must certify their votes by, say, Thursday after election day, there would be a huge wave of statutory changes at the state level, and an enormous outcry about unfunded mandates.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Again, you said:
                ““I also think that the fact that there are still states that are screwing this up IS BAD.””Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes. I did.

                And I think that they should improve to be more like the states that are not taking more than a week.

                And I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why this is controversial.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If there isn’t a mercy rule for comment threads, there ought to be.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m crazy enough to think that people will eventually agree that the things that could be improved should be.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                And he’s reduced to this. A perfect illustration of why we need a mercy rule.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “WHY DON’T PEOPLE AGREE WITH A TOTALLY DIFFERENT POSITION THAN THE ONE I’VE BEEN ARGUING ON BEHALF OF!?!”!Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                “Not that it *NEEDED* to be improved!”Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                As Steven Weinberg once said: “Not even wrong.”Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Demonstrate to whom, people who still think that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim and COVID is a hoax?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        So long as the people making that argument don’t have Mueller votive candles next to a cross-stitched “RUSSIA HACKED THE ELECTION” sampler, I think that the argument that the 2020 truthers are nuts who can easily be dismissed can be successfully made.

        Arizona’s count is at 98% and there’s fewer than 15,000 votes separating the two candidates. Some places have uncalled Arizona (others haven’t).

        I’d really like that number to be 100% and not 98%.

        Wouldn’t you?Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Like, for example, this happened:

    I can imagine responses falling into mostly two categories:

    1. This is Puerto Rico! This has no effect on the Presidential Election!

    2. Oh, crap. Is this sort of thing widespread? How would we know?Report

  11. Avatar greginak
    Ignored
    says:

    Good news SecState Pompeo just said ““There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”
    Things are going great.Report

  12. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    In today’s lawsuit in PA, the Trump campaign seems to be claiming that casting a ballot by mail is improper no matter how you do it.Report

  13. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Randy Balko does not think Libertarians are covering themselves in glory: https://twitter.com/radleybalko/status/1326197727290593280?s=20Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Well they’re not, though I don’t precisely blame them. Trumps nomination and election functionally defenestrated principled libertarianism and, worse, utterly destroyed what had been up until that time a fashionable illusion that the Republican Party was moving generally in a libertarian direction. The joke was on them of course; conservatives weren’t more pro-libertarian from 2008 on, just anti-whatever-W-Bush-Stood-for. Libertarianism, at least the tax cutting plutocratic friendly kind, was simply a default to fill in the void that W left when he drove the GOP into the ditch and to try and justify blanket opposition to Obama.
      Having all those illusions ripped away has to have been terribly traumatizing. Not just the illusion of advancement of their ideology but the realization that the overwhelming majority of self proclaimed libertarians weren’t actually libertarian. Feels to me like libertarianism has kind of been crawling in circles trying to figure out what hit them ever since ’16.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Since many libertarians favor the economic aspects over the civil liberties aspect, the Trump’s administrations hard stance against social spending even during a pandemic suited them well.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw
      Ignored
      says:

      Radley suffers that malady known as intellectual honesty.Report

  14. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    My guess is that Trump is going to give us an Avignon President. Biden will be the true President in the White House while Trump and his enablers will still insist that he won. Trump will function as an Anti-President from Mar-A-Lago. Since Trump is not going to help Biden transition at all, it’s good that Biden is an old Washington hand that spent eight years in the White House as Vice President. At least he knows where things are assuming Trump didn’t trash the place.Report

  15. Avatar George Turner
    Ignored
    says:

    The narrative is following a predictable sequence. We started out at “Biden won!” but Republicans didn’t buy it, no matter what Fox News said. We kept pointing to glaring, massive evidence of voter fraud. By the US State Department’s own standards, there was massive voter fraud. State Dept. report on Ukrainian election fraud.

    Illegal use of absentee ballots. Check.
    Opposition observers ejected. Check.
    North Korean style turnouts. Check.
    Mobile Ballot Box fraud. Yeah, pretty similar things here.
    Computer data altered. Check.

    “This massive ballot-box stuffing, fake turnout figures, and other forms of fraud and abuse allowed the authorities to create a victory for their candidate that almost certainly would not have been possible in a free and fair election. ”

    We have all that, and more. The physicists, statisticians, and geeks like me are weighing in. Just a few minutes ago I ran across a new statistical analysis that found that In Michigan, in just three counties, 69,000 Trump votes were changed to Biden votes by an algorithm that used a function of how Republican the precinct was. The slope of the line for transferred votes versus Trump’s %, for all precincts, was linear. Fortunately Michigan’s legislature is taking action and calling for a very thorough audit of everything.

    The number of such analyses, and the rate they’re coming out, is astounding. Democrats tried to rig an election, not just in one state, but all over the place, and they got caught.

    The first narrative, “There’s NO EVIDENCE of election fraud!” has already failed, and we’re seeing the media shift to

    2) “There’s no evidence of SERIOUS election fraud!”

    That will last perhaps a day, perhaps a week, and then we’ll go through a very predictable sequence of talking points.

    3) “There’s no evidence of WIDESPREAD serious election fraud!”
    4) “There’s no evidence that the widespread election fraud CHANGED the result!”
    5) “There’s no evidence that any of the widespread election fraud was COORDINATED!”
    6) “There’s no evidence that any top Democrats even KNEW about the coordinated widespread election fraud!”
    7) “There’s no evidence that any top Democrats ORDERED the coordinated widespread election fraud!”
    8) “Those Democrats are NOT REPRESENTATIVE of the Democratic party!”

    Folks here will argue each of those talking points in turn, for all they’re worth.

    This has all happened before, and this will all happen again.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Aaaaaaaand that’s game, seems to me.

    Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m sure Rudy can come up with some more witnesses. This time, maybe even some that aren’t sex criminals.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Was this the guy who got 130k from conservative donors? Seems like fraud was indeed found.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Report

    • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      So I guess now we can confirm someone really is trying to steal the election. But it sure ain’t the Democrats.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mark from NJ
        Ignored
        says:

        The evidence certainly seems to be there.

        Additionally, this shoots any other claims of fraud pretty much dead.Report

        • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I really hope so.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Not by the remotest long shot. The Michigan worker who made the claim likely just wanted some free airtime, and his claims wouldn’t be part of any relevant fraud because Michigan doesn’t except late ballots no matter when they are postmarked. He could post mark them October 3rd and they still wouldn’t count.

          The actual allegations are from postal workers in Pennsylvania. There, one has given a sworn affidavit that supervisors were separating and back dating ballots, and there, such ballots would be counted.Report

          • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to George Turner
            Ignored
            says:

            Do keep up George. Your PA allegation is the one that fell apart and turned out to be perjury. Maybe its time to give up and stop throwing spaghetti.Report

            • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mark from NJ
              Ignored
              says:

              Uh, no. The postal worker in Pennsylvania vehemently denies, on camera, that he recanted his claim. The press is just running more fake news. The postal worker in Michigan did recant his claims.

              Here is the PA postal worker, in his own words talking about the Washington Post’s claims that he’d recanted, and challenging the Post to recant their article claiming he recanted.

              I’m pretty sure that his own video trumps the Post’s recantation narrative.Report

              • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Stop. Just stop. This is eyond shameless. Do you really expect us to believe what he told a convicted fraudster, knowing he has $140k on the line, over what he told actual investigators under oath?

                Meanwhile, Trump’s attorneys admitted in court – yet again – that they don’t actually have evidence of fraud.

                https://mobile.twitter.com/marceelias/status/1326345253360635904

                Goodbye George. I’ve had enough of you. I’ll not be engaging with you ever again.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to Mark from NJ
                Ignored
                says:

                The USPS worker making the allegation is a Marine Afghanistan War veteran. He isn’t intimidated.

                As for your link, the Republican lawyer wasn’t alleging fraud, so he didn’t need to present any evidence of it. What he was alleging was that improper ballots had been counted, and that they should be disallowed.

                Here’s the entire exchange, not just a piece bit taken out of context.

                THE COURT: In your petition, which is right before me — and I read it several times — you don’t claim that any electors or the Board of the County were guilty of fraud, correct? That’s correct?

                MR. GOLDSTEIN: Your Honor, accusing people of fraud is a pretty big step. And it is rare that I call somebody a liar, and I am not calling the Board of the DNC or anybody else involved in this a liar.

                Everybody is coming to this with good faith. The DNC is coming with good faith. We’re all just trying to get an election done. We think these were a mistake, but we think they are a fatal mistake, and these ballots ought not be counted.

                THE COURT: I understand. I am asking you a specific question, and I am looking for a specific answer. Are you claiming that there is any fraud in connection with these 592 disputed ballots?

                MR. GOLDSTEIN: To my knowledge at present, no.

                THE COURT: Are you claiming that there is any undue or improper influence upon the elector with respect to these 592 ballots?

                MR. GOLDSTEIN: To my knowledge at present, no.

                THE COURT: Does it make a difference whether a claim of irregularity or technical noncompliance with the election code is made with or without an accompanying claim of fraud or improper influence?

                MR. GOLDSTEIN: It does not. I mean, to claim the technical defects are immaterial, which is in some sense some of the thrust of what the DNC argued, is really to misperceive what is going on in the election code. The election code is technical.

                These requirements are all technical. And some of them sit in that code for reasons that are a mystery for all of us. I mean, I sort of recounted for you my view of why the elector signing in his own hand is material. The DNC have their reasons for why they think it is material or immaterial. The fact of the matter is, it is in the code. The code is itself technical. Those technicalities are part and parcel of the law and a violation of the results in a ballot that can’t be counted.

                He’s not claiming that they were somehow fake ballots from Russia, or that election officials were rigging them. He was merely saying that the ballots failed to meet requirements set out in Pennsylvania law, and thus are invalid ballots.

                A more interesting case is the 23,000 Pennsylvania ballots that were received before they were even sent out, which is impossible without some kind of time machine. There were also 35,000 mail-in ballots that were received the same day they were sent out, which can’t happen either, and 51,000 ballots that were received the day after they were sent out, which is extremely unlikely.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mark from NJ
                Ignored
                says:

                What’s alarming is that George is just repeating the same lies that the Republican President, Governors and Senators are all saying.

                We can ignore George, but at least he doesn’t have the Department of Justice at his disposal.

                And by the way its important to call these lies. These aren’t differences of opinion, these aren’t good faith mistakes, what the President and the Republicans are saying are just shameless lies intended to destroy faith in the electoral process of our nation.Report

              • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Yup. The goal isn’t to actually win on anything. It’s to throw enough spaghetti on the wall to make everything seem questionable. Maybe at some point you even forum shop enough to find a judge who is willing to play along and create a little more doubt. But even that’s not strictly necessary, as demonstrated by their unending stream losses in court, leaving now what seems to be around a dozen exasperated judges in their wake.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mark from NJ
                Ignored
                says:

                From Trump’s point of view it’s win-win. It’s a low percentage play to try, but even if it doesn’t work he’ll still come out ahead.

                He can play the victim card after he leaves office and raise money on the issue right now.

                Other possibilities are someone will pay him to leave and/or cooperate. “Pay” doesn’t have to mean “money”, it could mean ending investigations into his business or some other political favor.

                Trump does everything with maximum drama. He doesn’t have to break things when threatening to break things gives him what he wants without any risk.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mark from NJ
                Ignored
                says:

                Mark, you’re a New Jersey guy. You know perfectly well what’s being thrown at the wall..

                “Spaghetti’? Seriously?Report

              • Avatar Mark from NJ in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s this weird filter at OT ever since the days Tod was in charge and I can’t seem to get around it. F%$# gets autocorrected to “fish,” and now with Will, s#$@ gets autocorrected to spaghetti.

                (In truth, I was just trying to keep Wills phrasing from the OP here).Report

              • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to Mark from NJ
                Ignored
                says:

                If only we had the ability to do that…Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Ruuuudy… you have some ‘splainin’ to doooo!Report

    • Avatar The question in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I mean it really doesn’t help that the only evidence of voter fraud they found so far is a republican mailing in his mother’s ballot when she was dead. now I just saw a screenshot of this so I’m not entirely setting but I don’t know if she filled it out herself before kicking the bucket or whether he decided he knew what mom wanted from the afterlifeReport

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      You do a national search for someone who wants to create drama and you’re going to find “someone” who is maybe sort of relevant. Put a microscope on them and there won’t be anything there other than emotion.

      Ford vs Kavanaugh had the same dynamic.Report

  17. Avatar Kristin Devine
    Ignored
    says:

    Good piece as always Will, but here is the thing – if you want to talk about throwing spaghetti around and seeing what sticks, there’s a lot of water under the bridge regarding questionable applications of that strategy. “Trump is a syphilitic monster conspiring with the people of Timbuktu to deny basic civil rights to precious human beings who love adorable baby puppies” etc etc etc…all these handfuls of totally fake spaghetti that people in the media – THE MEDIA, arbiters of truth – used their loud voices and long reach to put forth and promote.

    I know that you’re no fan of this type of approach, but to me, that sole crazy person screeching about this erosion of spaghetti-flinging norms lo these past four years, jumping in now to decry the flinging of spaghetti feels too lateReport

  1. November 13, 2020

    […] latest installment, Motivated Ambiguity and the 2020 Election, got me thinking about the nature of throwing spaghetti around to see what sticks, as author Will […]Report

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