Donald Trump

Perils of Trump's Conspiracy-Mongering About the Election

His promotion of far-fetched conspiracy theories about the election is highly unlikely to change the results. But it is damaging, nonetheless.

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Rudy Giuliani and other Trump campaign lawyers promoting conspiracy theories at a news conference on Nov. 19, 2020.

 

Donald Trump and his lawyers (led by Rudy Giuliani) are promoting far-fetched conspiracy theories about supposed voter fraud in the presidential election. They claim large-scale voter fraud instigated by a massive international cabal including Democratic Party leaders, tech companies, George Soros, and even Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez (who died in 2013). State and federal courts have almost uniformly rejected Trump's and the GOP's claims; their few wins are on matters unrelated to voter fraud, and have no chance of shifting enough votes to change the outcome of the election. As co-blogger Keith Whittington explains, Trump's efforts to get GOP-controlled state legislators to appoint pro-Trump electors in states where Joe Biden won the popular vote are also nearly certain to fail.

But while Trump's conspiracy-mongering is unlikely to succeed in reversing the outcome of the election, it can potentially cause harm in other, less immediate ways. Already, a recent Monmouth survey shows that 32% of Americans and 77% of Trump supporters believe that Biden won because of voter fraud. If it persists, this widespread belief that the soon-to-be president won office illegally is likely to exacerbate already severe social conflict and distrust. The focus on fraud can also divert public and elite attention from genuine political and social issues.

Perhaps even worse, the perception that democratic elections are "rigged" is one that future authoritarian politicians can exploit to further erode liberal democratic institutions. As Benjamin Wittes famously put it, Trump's "malevolence" is tempered by his "incompetence." Trump lacks the skill to lead a coup or systematically subvert our institutions. His constant scandals and obnoxious behavior further limit his appeal, and make it hard for him to lead effectively.

The next authoritarian-minded president (whether of the right or the left) could turn out to be more competent, less scandal-prone, and capable of exercising greater self-control. He could potentially build on the suspicions sowed by Trump and use them to undermine liberal democracy far more effectively than Trump himself.

It would be a mistake to say that widespread belief in conspiracy theories began with Trump's presidency, or that it is confined to the political right. Far from it. In my book Democracy and Public Ignorance (published before Trump won in 2016), I noted how surveys taken more than a decade ago showed that some 25 percent of Americans endorsed "birther" claims that President Barack Obama was not a "natural born" citizen eligible for the presidency, and a similar percentage believed "truther" claims that President George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance, but deliberately chose to let them happen anyway, because he and his allies hoped to benefit in some way. A 2009 study found that about 25% Americans believed that "the Jews" deserved at least "a moderate" amount of blame for the 2008 financial crisis—a belief more prevalent among Democrats (32%) than Republicans (18%) and independents.

More recently, Pew found that some 25% of Americans believe that it is "definitely" or "probably" true that the Covid-19 crisis was intentionally planned by powerful people. Republicans (34%), blacks (34%), and Hispanics (33%), were especially likely to hold such views. But the idea was also endorsed by 18% of Democrats.

In Democracy and Political Ignorance, I described how belief in conspiracy theories is partly fueled by general public ignorance about government and public policy. Most of the public has little understanding of government and political institutions. They thus underestimate the extreme difficulty of planning, coordinating, and covering up large-scale conspiracies. Birtherism, trutherism, and Covid conspiracy theories are all more prevalent among people with relatively low levels of education and political knowledge. The less you know about government, the easier it is to believe that events are controlled by a shadowy cabal of ultra-competent evil-doers who can skillfully cover up their misdeeds.

But the popularity of conspiracy theories is also boosted by partisan and ideological bias. In assessing political information, most people act not as objective truth-seekers, but as "political fans" who tend to overvalue any claims that cohere with their preexisting views, and downplay or ignore any that cut against them. Much like sports fans, who tend to be biased in favor of their preferred team and against its rivals, political fans are highly biased in favor of their preferred party and ideology, and against its opponents.

Thus, it is not surprising that trutherism was especially popular among Democrats (many of whom hated George W. Bush), birtherism appealed primarily to Republicans (many of whom hated Obama), and Trump's election conspiracy theories appeal almost exclusively to his own supporters. Particularly in an era of severe polarization, partisan bias has a big impact on voters, leading many to believe ludicrous claims they might otherwise reject.

The role of bias and partisanship is one of the factors that make Trump's conspiracy-mongering especially dangerous. Partisan Republicans are more likely to accept conspiracy theories when such ideas are promoted by the leader of their party, who still enjoys sky-high approval ratings among Republican voters, despite his unpopularity with general public opinion. Endorsement of his ideas is seen by many party members as a kind of test of partisan loyalty.

Such beliefs might be undermined if other prominent Republican leaders spoke out against them. But most are reluctant to do so, for fear of attracting Trump's wrath.

The combination of ignorance and partisan bias make it difficult to combat conspiracy-mongering, and are likely to ensure that it will remain a problem even after Trump leaves the White House. Trump has been a particularly egregious exploiter of ignorance and partisan bias. But these problems did not start with him. There is no easy solution, though we should consider a range of possible options.

There is much that individual citizens can do to make themselves better voters and more enlightened consumers of political information. But I am not optimistic that any significant number of people will actually do so. Most individual voters have strong incentives to remain "rationally ignorant" and to avoid confronting their biases, even though such behavior leads to harmful collective outcomes.

In the long run, I believe that the best solution is to limit and decentralize government power, so that people can make more decisions by "voting with their feet" and fewer at  the ballot box. Foot voters have stronger incentives to become well-informed and work to constrain their biases.

But such a transformation cannot be achieved quickly. In the meantime, we can at least recognize the nature of the problem. And we should also try to ensure that Trump and other political elites who promote dangerous conspiracy theories pay a price for their misdeeds. To take just one example, politicians who engage in such behavior should not be accorded the deference, honors, and social perks customarily given to current and former officeholders.

Such social sanctions are unlikely to be fully effective. Among other things, prominent partisan leaders may remain popular among their own supporters, even if others shun them. But it might at least be possible to improve incentives at the margin. And marginal improvement is still a lot better than nothing.

NEXT: Fulton v. City of Philadelphia and Free Exercise: A Debate Between Jordan Lorence (ADF) and Me

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  1. How utterly depressing.

    1. Its unseemly, but it seems a lot less damaging than Hillary and the Dems enlisting the FBI and the FISA courts in their Russia! Russia! Russia! hoax last election.

      1. Wow. Talk about making Ilya’s point.

        1. Especially since there was no Russia hoax. Obviously (as in any story) some specific details were wrong, but the basic outline was correct, as confirmed independently by Robert Mueller and the Republican-headed SSCI: Russia interfered in the election, and Trump was aware of that and welcomed it, though there’s no hard evidence of any express agreement. Whereas there is zero evidence of any fraud in this election.

          1. “zero evidence of any fraud in this election”

            Must be nice living in alternate universes.

            1. Michael,
              Fair point. I took David’s comment to be shorthand for “There is no evidence of any systemic fraud…the fraud we see is merely the tiny tiny tiny fraction of a fraction of 1% that we’ve seen in every election since the dawn of our Republic, from president to dog catcher. We don’t care about this–except when our favored candidate loses and we need an excuse–since this minuscule number does not change the results.”

              But there’s nothing wrong with you posting and making sure the record is correct.

              1. “We don’t care about this–except when our favoured candidate loses”

                I remember discussions about ethical behaviour some time ago when the discussion was about whether it was stealing to take a pencil from your employer. ‘We don’t care about this’ is a mighty slippery slope. We KNOW that dead people voted… I mean, this is not debatable. If someone is determined and capable enough to ‘steal’ dead people’s votes in an attempt to comb the rolls of registered voters and the national change of address database looking for candidates in their venture. Perhaps those same people organize to harvest votes. We KNOW that people were turned away from the poles because the seemingly already voted. Either they are liars or someone stole their vote. We also have seen out of Nevada a large number of people uncovered who voted in two states at once… a felony. Some play this down as military people but even their special situation does not allow them to double vote. These methods of cheating the vote may be something that you find to be insignificant and perpetual but in aggregate how many, particularly down level, races that have been decided by fewer than 50 votes could they effect. Trump complained about the dirty voter rolls and attempted to see them cleaned up and was met with stiff resistance. Judicial Watch had to sue to see some 1.5million people expunged from just LA country…. just LA County. While I don’t hold my breath, I would love to know just how much of Hillary’s popular vote came from those in California who were not entitled to vote… and Biden too.

                I would suggest that the reason most of this is advertised as small potatoes is that is never really take seriously. While some may scoff at Trumps efforts, it may not just be about the election. I may be about cleaning up the voting system which he tried to do after he was elected. Some people fear the transparency…

                By the way, while you may wish to scoff at the voting machine allegations.. Trump and this election cycle are not the first time these questions have been raise by both democrats and republican. Go on, tell me that Sanders wasn’t excluded by a system that intended for Hillary to win the nomination.

                1. If by “large number of people” voting twice in Nevada you mean six people (because that’s what was found), then I agree with you.

                  And of people “turned away” from the polls for having already voted, I found exactly one news story, and it was because the woman has a very common name and clearly the other voter of the same name did not pay attention to the address verification screen.

                  1. The Trump campaign identified 3,062 people who “improperly” cast mail ballots in Clark County. They stated that those people had voted twice, once in Clark County and once in their new state of residence. Media immediately claimed that these were military people voting absentee… that would be a fair assumption but IF these people also voted in their new state of residence it is, one way or another 3,062 that were case ‘inappropriately’. Now Trumps folks could have misstated the problem or those people who voted in other states had their ballots filled in and filed for them. Deserves a look at the facts.

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                    2. Your “evidence” is an “if.”

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          2. The FBI told 17 lies to get FISA warrants, as documented by the IG. Hillary and the DNC paid Michael Steel to direct a Russian asset Igor Danchenko to make up lies about Trump with his drinking buddys.

            There was never any factual basis for the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants, or any collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

            1. The FBI having broadly slipshod practices with FISA and a partisan conspiracy are two very different narratives and you cannot use proof of one as proof of the other.

              There was never any factual basis for the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants, or any collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.
              And THIS is just nonsense. Even the Steele dossier had it’s more mundane facts corroborated.

              1. Thanks for this comment.

                You are correct there is no indication that Trump or his staff was targeted, it was documented that the FBI was broadly sloppy in its FISA submissions. I suspect that many of those wailing about the unfairness to Trump had little concern when the surveillance warrant was some average Joe talking to his father in Tehran.

                You are again correct that much of the Steele dossier was corroborated. In fact Steele was criticized for the broad use of commonly know information.

                1. SOP in something like the Steele dossier: You mix innocent things that can be corroborated with nasty lies that can’t easily be proven false. And people irrationally attribute the verification of the innocent stuff to the lies.

                  1. Remember that Hillary threw the Steele Dossier in the trash where it belonged…then Republicans dug it out of the trash to start an investigation in order to undermine the Trump presidency.

            2. The FBI told 17 lies to get FISA warrants, as documented by the IG.

              That’s not what Horowitz said.

              Hillary and the DNC paid Michael Steel to direct a Russian asset Igor Danchenko to make up lies about Trump with his drinking buddys.

              You got Christopher Steele’s name completely wrong, and yet that was the most accurate part of that sentence. Hillary/the DNC paid Fusion GPS, not Christopher Steele, to do opposition research on Trump.

              There was never any factual basis for the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants, or any collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

              There was factual basis for the Steele dossier, the FISA warrants, and collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

          3. Also, no one (at least no one in a serious position of authority) ever argued that Russia had actually, physically changed any votes. So this attack on our Republic—in which Trumpistas and their cabal of 3d rate lawyers baselessly claim actual systemic and systematic fraud—is far, far more damaging and dangerous.

            1. Sidney Powell hasn’t even presented her case yet.

          4. Obama knew about Russia too and did nothing. Why isn’t he in jail?

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  2. A football team that displayed the type of behavior exhibited by Trump and his supporters following a loss would be in danger of being suspended for the rest of the season for poor sportsmanship and would richly deserve it. Once upon a time presidents led by example.

    1. Trump does lead his supporters by example.

      Like any successful peddler of shoddy goods, he knows his target audience with meticulous precision.

      1. They are trivially preparing the groundwork for a deluxe assault on Biden over the next four years, similar to what was done to Trump over the previous four.

        How is this not immediately obvious?

        Those who voted for either side, or cheered on the assault, which would not be me, as I spent it going hoarse with concern of the misuse of the government’s power of investigation, targeting political enemies, even if Donald “Lock her up!” Trump may have deserved it in some cosmic sense, both built this bed, so both sides should enjoy lying in it.

        When you all come to your senses, let me know.

        1. The “game” of “tit-for-tat” has got to stop. From Clintonian conspiracy theories, to 9/11 Bush “trutherism” to Obama “birtherism” to what Trumpists describe as the “Russia Hoax,” this is getting out of control. At some point, Americans as a group have to decide they like having a Republic, and confine their arguments to what the contours of federal power should be. I take a very simple, non-ideological approach with my leftist friends: A vast, diverse country of 330 million people cannot practically be governed by a central government for the most part. So widespread implementation of federalist and libertarian principles are the only viable alternative. I do get understanding nods when I make this point. So there’s hope.

          1. “I take a very simple, non-ideological approach with my leftist friends: A vast, diverse country of 330 million people cannot practically be governed by a central government for the most part. So widespread implementation of federalist and libertarian principles are the only viable alternative. I do get understanding nods when I make this point.”

            What approach do you take with your conservative and Republican friends, and how do the clingers respond?

            1. #ImATrollAndNeedAttention

    2. If a football team presented credible evidence that the other team had poisoned their food the night before, the FBI would be investigating. And why isn’t the FBI investigating this????

      Yes, 190% of registered voters cast ballots. That sound fair?

      1. There’s been no credible evidence Ed. Just bullshit and arm waving.

      2. Yes, 190% of registered voters cast ballots. That sound fair?

        It sounds like your traditional fidelity to the truth, which is like Trump’s fidelity to his spouses.

      3. There was credible evidence that Brett Kavanaugh abused women but the FBI was called off quick for that investigation. If we are investigating everything let’s go back and start there.

        1. No there wasn’t any credible evidence that Kavanaugh abused women. None whatsoever. You’re utterly delusional if you believe there was.

        2. Define “Credible”.

          I would think it would involve some knowledge of where. When. Have ANY corroborating witnesses.

    3. If politics is to be compared to a game, then the umpires (to use the Chief Justice’s metaphor – referees if you want a football comparison) are the judges.

    4. See the Patriots cheating repeatedly. How many games were they suspended? LOLOL Pro Tip: None. The Team was fined and lost some meaningless picks in the future. Try again, your analogy is broken.

  3. If Trump won by a landslide: Valid and Compelling Concerns Raised by Biden’s Truth-Finding About the Election by Ilya Somin

    1. Trump DID win by a landslide.

      1. I’m talking about if they officially accepted it. A fantasy I know…

      2. How is getting 6 million less votes “winning by a landslide “?

        1. Molly,
          Don’t try to seriously engage. He’s a well-known Russian troll.

  4. I’m old enough to remember a bunch of prominent national leaders spending about three years telling us that Russia hacked the 2016 election and that Trump was in league with them.

    And it was all utter bovine fecal matter. And yet, I don’t remember a whole lot of people in elite positions talking about how the Russia collusion hoax was doing “grave damage” to the country.

    So take your hypocrisy and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    1. Yep, Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, McGahn, and Mueller are fairly typical incompetent Bush Republicans that attempted to undermine Trump’s presidency before it began. Once Trump appointed the Bush loyalist Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court most of the Bush loyalists (aka Deep State) stopped trying to undermine the Trump presidency.

    2. It was irrefutably proven, via numerous GOP investigations and those of our institutions, that Russia did in fact meddle in the 2016 election with the goal of seeing Trump elected.

      That a criminal conspiracy was not proven comes down largely to Trump’s obstruction of justice, and his lies which he told in his written answers, because he rightfully was too afraid to sit down for answers under Oath where he’d have been found guilty of perjury.

      Try coming back to reality.

      1. Sorry, Mueller seemingly taking an adversarial stance was wrong especially in light of how important the Russian interference investigation was to the integrity of our elections. So Mueller’s adversarial stance undermined his investigation because it guaranteed that half of America would reject the findings out of hand. The investigation should have been explicitly about interference with no chance of any indictments for people close to to Trump or Hillary. That’s right—if you think Trump colluded with Russia then you should want Hillary locked up because hiring a foreign Russia “expert” to perform oppo research into your opponent is simply indefensible!! The FBI and CIA are the entities tasked with investigating foreign entanglements and if an American were to come across foreign entanglements they should straight to the FBI and stop whatever they did to come across that information.

        1. Don’t forget the wearing- a- wire Mueller visiting Trump 2 days before he started Investigating. Claimed he wanted the FBI Director Gig. Also said he, couldn’t be loyal to the President. Not how appointees work FOR the President.

      2. Lol, see this is the problem right? This, right here.

        You talk better than everyone else, but your showing the same conspiracy minded thing everyone else is.

        Russia did collude to see Trump win. The way they did so was utterly ineffective and ultimately did not matter. It was literally just buying Facebook ads. In an election where Trump was outspent anyway. The Mueller report conclusively showed zero actual collusion with the Russians or any attempt to “hack” the election.

        Did Trump commit obstruction of justice? Maybe. I dont even know if a president can commit obstruction of justice if he controls the justice department.

        That being said, Trumps conspiracy theories are complete nonsense.

        And this entire conversation is really stupid. It shouldn’t matter as a matter of policy who spied on who but everyone gone nuts so whatever. I just want to go back to talk about policy again.

        1. I agree we should be talking about policy and keep in mind in Florida 60% of voters voted for a $15/hr minimum wage…and Trump comfortably won Florida. And then in another Trump state a Democrat won the governorship running on expanding Medicaid which state Republicans blocked in his first term. So that means Cruz conservatism is unpopular and Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards personifies where the American electorate is in 2020. So he served in the military and has traditional values and he respects police…but he also wants every American to have access to basic health care and believes working Americans should get paid enough to lead a comfortable existence.

          1. Yeah two isolated results means the entire country is ready to go full batshit crazy progressive.

            Man, you political zealots have your heads so far up your asses you don’t even know if the sun is up.

            1. Nope, Obamacare is very popular in the Trumpiest states. John Bel Edwards is a pro-life Democrat so if you are interested in politics then maybe try reading about politicians other than Trump.

              1. Fuck off. I can’t stand Trump and the fact that he’s your go to insult just proves how vapid your thinking is.

                Ooh a Trump insult. That’s creative.

                1. Trump’s initial base was moderates…which is why Obamacare is so popular in a state like West Virginia which is Trump’s best state. Trump also signed Manchin’s $10 billion coal miners pension fund bailout…Trump supporters like free things…because they aren’t conservatives.

        2. The Mueller report did not establish a criminal conspiracy with Russia.

          It did not disprove collusion (indeed, the inexplicably numerous contacts with Russia detailed in the report prove collusion, but that is not a crime).

          1. You are exactly who Somin is describing as the ill informed dumbos that latch onto long ago debunked conspiracy theories.

            1. Mueller reports clearly demonstrates otherwise, if you bother to actually read it.

              Try it sometime.

              1. Of course Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump. He merely failed to demonstrate that he was guilty of anything.

                Exoneration is neither necessary in a country where you’re innocent until proven guilty, nor possible in a country without 24/7 panopticon surveillance. The very fact that Mueller threw that line in his report is a confession of bias.

                1. I didn’t follow the Mueller investigation closely but I know the Republican neocons on MSNBC are obsessed with it and believe it shows wrongdoing by Trump.

                  1. At least you admit your ignorance. Easily cured by reading the report.

                    1. Trump committed an impeachable offense and thankfully someone reported it to a whistleblower. I very seriously doubt we will ever have another Special Counsel after Mueller and Starr because both were a huge waste of time. And keep in mind the worst thing a president ever did was W Bush pressuring the CIA to torture detainees with the goal of eliciting false confessions tying Saddam to 9/11…and the CIA resisted but W Bush still lied us into a war!?!

                    2. “At least you admit your ignorance. Easily cured by reading the report.”

                      It has lots of big words.

                2. He actually demonstrated quite clearly that Trump obstructed justice.

                  READ THE FUCKING REPORT YOU TWAT.

                  You have zero integrity. I hope when you go to your grave, that you realize what a putz you turned yourself into, over a politician who couldn’t care less if you existed at all.

                3. “Of course Mueller didn’t exonerate Trump. He merely failed to demonstrate that he was guilty of anything.”

                  Which, with our legal system as it is, means he was exonerated, no?

                  1. Not even vaguely.
                    Or does the fact that no charges have been filed against either Hillary or Hunter Biden exonerate them?

          2. “The Mueller report did not establish a criminal conspiracy with Russia.”

            It doesn’t show collusion either. Because the Russians were too smart to put Trump in charge of anything they cared about. so they went ahead without his “assistance”.

        3. Russia did collude to see Trump win. The way they did so was utterly ineffective and ultimately did not matter. It was literally just buying Facebook ads.

          Well, and literally just hacking the DNC and leaking their documents. Have we forgotten about that already?

          1. “and leaking their documents”

            … coincidentally hours after release of the “grab ’em by the pussy” tapes.

          2. Yet the company that claimed Russia did it was unwilling to say that under oath.

            Weird.

            Fuck your “beware of theories” bullshit.

            And I anxiously await to keep up with the Biden Body Count.

            1. Yet the company that claimed Russia did it was unwilling to say that under oath.

              I mean, that’s completely false. I assume this is a reference to the talking point that they said that the evidence was circumstantial rather than direct, which talking point is based on a misunderstanding of what circumstantial evidence is.

      3. Nothing of the sort was proven. Read the Mueller Report.
        Intell personel have come forward and reported that in fact, analysts never had intel that suggested Russia favored Trump,
        As far as the rest of your fantasy.
        If any of it were true, Nadler and Schiff would have included it in the articles of impeachment. Why do you suppose they chose not to?
        Because no lawyer is stupid enough to present such charges and have to defend them against any person that has passed the bar.

  5. >He could potentially build on the suspicions sowed by Trump and use them to undermine liberal democracy far more effectively than Trump himself.

    Sounds good.

  6. I admit I don’t know whether modern politicians have become more virtuous and given up on the kinds of vote fraud which used to mar American elections in the Bad Old Days. Or perhaps the system is vulnerable to fraud, but politicians haven’t exploited these vulnerabilities. Or maybe there was fraud but it didn’t affect the Presidential election.

    How should I know? For myself, I’m going to see what the courts have to say about the latest round of fraud claims. Maybe if the courts find the claims false and administer stinging rebukes to the “conspiracy theorists,” that might resolve my doubts.

    Or even in advance of any court decision, maybe the legal bloggers at Volokh can analyze the law and evidence and show how it doesn’t establish fraud – so obviously so that it’s not even necessary to wait for the courts.

    But nothing I see in this post addresses these latest claims. So other than this blog itself and the court system, where do I go in search of credible sources?

    1. Which of the -ending court cases strike you s the most promising in terms of establishing “fraud” that would alter the results of the election?

      1. Is there some part of “I don’t know” which was unclear?

        1. Anyway, the Trump side lost in the fed. district court in Penn – I suppose there’s an item being prepared about that.

          I just found a site with the opinion but now I forget where I got it.

          1. The opinion.

            The judge pretty much admitted that, given that the only possible remedy was invalidating the election, (Exactly what gets done for lower offices.) there was no way in hell he was going to find for Trump.

            1. He said he’d need serious evidence, and that there was literally nothing that even smelled like evidence.

              Your selective reading is a weak attempt to spin yet another bit of evidence Trump has zero support for this.

    2. How should I know? For myself, I’m going to see what the courts have to say about the latest round of fraud claims.

      Not much of anything, because Trump’s lawyers know the difference between TV/twitter — where they can say whatever the hell they want without consequences — and courtrooms — where that kind of conduct gets sanctioned. Trump’s lawyers aren’t raising these fraud claims in actual court filings. They’re arguing about picayune aspects of state election law in court. (And making very bad arguments about that, too.)

    3. “Or even in advance of any court decision, maybe the legal bloggers at Volokh can analyze the law and evidence and show how it doesn’t establish fraud – so obviously so that it’s not even necessary to wait for the courts.”

      I do not expect reliance on the Volokh Conspirators in this regard to be profitable. They plainly have embraced the coward’s position — mostly silence — in this context.

    4. “For myself, I’m going to see what the courts have to say about the latest round of fraud claims. ”

      Someone will have to file some lawsuits alleging fraud, first. Oops, it takes a good-faith reason to believe the claims can be proven to get to that point, and Trump hasn’t found an ethical attorney willing to sign that complaint.

  7. “Perhaps even worse, the perception that democratic elections are “rigged” is one that future authoritarian politicians can exploit to further erode liberal democratic institutions.”

    Alternatively, there could be a real benefit to be had here. Many state’s voting systems, even after the 2000 election, are riddled with opportunities for fraud.

    Maybe Trump’s ability to make plausible accusations will force these states to make any accusations implausible.

    (I was a poll worker in Idaho for this election. The system is very tight, to include multiple live streaming cameras of where all the ballots are taken after the polls close.)

    1. Gosh, I wonder how Philly could get hold of such magical cameras?
      Are you from the future? I cant think of any other reason why a place like Philly wouldn’t do something like that.
      maybe we could get Vagas to count the votes, they know about those mystical camera thingys too, right?

      Its almost like they don’t want to take any actions to alleviate fears of fraud.

      1. Which video stream from PA would you like to see?

      2. “Gosh, I wonder how Philly could get hold of such magical cameras?
        Are you from the future? I cant think of any other reason why a place like Philly wouldn’t do something like that.”

        Gee, are you from the past? Would there be another reason why you wouldn’t know that Pennsylvania live-streamed the election handling?

  8. No person ever believed something when it was in their personal interests not to believe it.

    What this post is documenting is the ultimate disintegration of the United States into blocks of states. The country may exist in terms of national defense and a few other areas under the umbrella of the United States federal government but will actually operate as semiautonomous confederations. This breakup will be peaceful, the red states will be as happy to see the blue states leave as the blue states will be happy to go.

    The destruction will have started with the Trumpers, but not end when they leave the stage. The major catalyst will be the overturning of Roe which will mean the end of the majority allowing the tyranny of the minority, even though abortion rights will remain at most state levels. This beginning of the end of the unified U. S. is what Mr. Somin is documenting in his post.

    1. Partisanship is becoming cities and rural. There will be no breakup.

  9. Conspiracy mongering, hmm really? I am old enough to remember that say 20 years ago if you had told me that a cabal of the cia, intelligence community, fbi, doj, dnc, the U.S. Congress, state department, the pentagon and corporate media would conspire to a soft coup not once but three times including an actual impeachment of the legally elected president of these United states, I would have laughed at you and told you to put on your tin foil hat. PROBLEM IS THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED AND IS STILL HAPPENING! We just learned last week the state department and pentagon have been lying to the commander and chief about troop levels in syria AND THEY CELEBRATED IT! So why in the hell would you geniuses at the volohk conspiracy have such a hard time believing that a fraudulent election just happened and accuse Trump of “conspiracy mongering”? As for the uneducated BS, I have a BS in Cybersecurity, I also worked in military intelligence for 30 years, I would put my educational credentials up against the authors anytime.

    1. No offense, but you are a nitwit if you think Trump’s behavior with respect to Ukraine didn’t amount to an “impeachable offense”. Keep in mind Republicans didn’t have to remove him they could have merely forced him to drop out of the 2020 race.

      1. And you are a dimwit (offense is meant) if you think it was an impeachable offense, not even the commiecrats thought it was, that’s why they impeached using a made up from whole cloth charge. But let’s go to someone who actually did break the law and committed an impeachable offense, remember these words on video? “ I remember going over and convincing our team, others, to convince that we should be providing for loan guarantees. And I went over, I guess, the 12th, 13th time to Kiev. And I was supposed to announce that there was another billion-dollar loan guarantee. And I had gotten a commitment from Poroshenko and from Yatsenyuk that they would take action against the state prosecutor. And they didn’t.

        So they said they had—they were walking out to a press conference. I said, nah, I’m not going to—or, we’re not going to give you the billion dollars. They said, you have no authority. You’re not the president. The president said—I said, call him. (Laughter.) I said, I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars. I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a b-tch. (Laughter.) He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

        Joe Biden bragging about black mailing Ukraine into dropping an investigation into his crackhead son and by extension into himself. Do you hypocrite much there idiot?

        1. Omg, your brain is fried from watching Fox News. Btw, if Republicans win in GA then the Republican establishment will have made out like bandits thanks to Trump…and the poor saps that supported Trump in the primary got almost nothing for voting for Trump! So Romney voting to impeach Trump looks to be why Trump lost because all of the other Republicans besides Trump had a very good night on Election Day. So you only have to do one more thing to make Romney and Rubio and McConnell the happiest men in America—send money or vote for the two globalists running in GA!

        2. Oldcrow1 : “Joe Biden bragging about black mailing Ukraine into dropping an investigation into his crackhead son:

          God almighty. Do we really have to review this imbecilic nonsense yet again ?!? Yes, Biden demanded Shokin be fired. This was because :

          01. That was the order of the President – who wasn’t concerned about Hunter.

          02. Firing Shokin was a publicly-stated United States foreign policy objective. This had zero to do with Hunter.

          03. The official State Department position was Shokin had to go. Hunter was irrelevant to this.

          04. The U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine gave a speech in Odessa demanding Shokin be fired. Hunter wasn’t on his radar screen.

          05. Firing Shokin was a bi-partisan stance of the U.S. Senate, Republicans and Democrats. Their group letter demanding this action failed to mention Hunter.

          06. The European Union insisted Shokin be fired. The EU doesn’t care a jot about Hunter.

          07. A World Bank official policy goal was Shokin had to go. Hunter, wasn’t a factor.

          08. The IMF insisted on Shokin’s firing. None of its reasons touched on Hunter.

          09. The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development issued a policy statement demanding Shokin’s ouster. Hunter’s name doesn’t appear in the document.

          10. There were street demonstration in Ukraine against Shokin alone. Every anti-corruption group in the country insisted he must be fired. When the prosecutor was finally pushed-out, the Kyiv Post described him as one of the most loathed figures in the entire country. I’m betting little of that was based on Hunter.

          Please tell us, Oldcrow1 : How was pressuring Ukraine on Shokin about Hunter when it was the President’s order, a established objective of the entire gawdforsaken U.S. government, and a goal shared with the whole frigg’n western world.

          Nobody on the planet Earth should be so mentally-challenged STUPID as to believe the Right’s fake bullshit Shokin scandal.

          That includes you, Oldcrow1.

        3. “Joe Biden bragging about black mailing Ukraine into dropping an investigation into his crackhead son and by extension into himself. Do you hypocrite much there idiot?”

          This is another conspiracy theory that doesn’t pass the common-sense test. The underlying theory here is that someone was influencing Joe by giving money to Hunter. The problem with that is… what were they getting in exchange for the money?

      2. Pro tip. Performing you constitutionally enumerated powers is not an impeachable offense.
        Name one impeachable action.

        1. Cry more, Deplorable!

        2. Extorting Ukrainians with the threat of withholding aid that Congress had ordered to be provided unless they made up fake claims about Joe Biden. That was easy.

          1. And I guess you really believe that Biden extorting Ukrainians to fire a prosecutor who was investigating his son was all just purely coincidental?

            1. Hunter Biden was never being investigated. Nobody has ever made that claim. The claim is that Burisma and Zlochevsky were being investigated. But it’s a false one; the whole problem was that the prosecutor was refusing to investigate them.

              But president-elect Joe Biden did not extort anyone, as at the time he was Vice President and thus had no power to do anything. All he was doing was passing along a message from the administration. As grb explained above, firing this prosecutor was something everyone wanted, not Joe Biden specifically.

              1. “Hunter Biden was never being investigated. Nobody has ever made that claim. The claim is that Burisma and Zlochevsky were being investigated. But it’s a false one; the whole problem was that the prosecutor was refusing to investigate them.”

                Except that is false. And the prosecutor they demanded be hired…closed the case completely a month later. So, best case scenario, we forced a country to fire a prosecutor for doing…exactly what the guy we demanded (and why is it our business in the first place?) did.

                “But president-elect Joe Biden did not extort anyone”

                Except he did. Clearly and proudly.

                “All he was doing was passing along a message from the administration. As grb explained above, firing this prosecutor was something everyone wanted, not Joe Biden specifically.”

                Why did it require US to threaten a billion dollars that was already approved to be withdrawn if they did not do what we wanted?

                And how is it different, in any way, from what you think Trump did? Except Trump did not threaten the money at all.

                1. “Except Trump did not threaten the money at all.”

                  True, in the sense that they didn’t say the money would be withheld, they just withheld it. Until, suddenly and without explanation for the delay, they turned the money loose.

      3. No offense, but you’re just a nitwit.

        Couldn’t handle an objective opinion if someone handed it to you.

        1. Omg, Hugo Chavez is under your bed!!!

          1. Ooh. Another Trump insult. That’s all you know how to do, apparently even regardless of the opinion of Trump of the person you’re insulting.

            You’re quite the intellectual.

            1. Technically, a Hugo Chavez insult, not a Trump insult.

            2. Bevis, no need with Sebastian.

              He’s not even really a liberal, just has his own nutty set of conspiracies.

              1. Ask him about Obama being a Muslim sometime.

                1. I have no problem with Americans that hold themselves out as Christians but in secret are Muslims or Jews or Hindus or Swingers. 😉

                  1. It was amusing, the way the conservatives pivoted from how offensive the Obamas’ Christian minister was, because he was so anti-racist, to explaining how they knew he was really a Muslim.

      4. “Keep in mind Republicans didn’t have to remove him they could have merely forced him to drop out of the 2020 race.”

        They didn’t have to force him to drop out. All they had to do was nominate somebody else.

    2. Certificates of education don’t preclude you from being a conspiratorial twat incapable of rational thinking.

      1. And your mom is a star player in the Tijuana donkey shows moron.

        1. I’ll admit that your insult would bother me if you had any credibility in this world.

          Let me know when you’ve recovered some integrity from your dishonorable discharge. I hear that follows you around for a very long time.

    3. People don’t realize that the permanent bureaucracy’s coups and insubordination to Trump amounts to the permanent bureaucracy standing athwart the lawfully elected civilian government. I’m glad that Trump inspired them to behave this way, they laid their cards on the table. They made it clear that they believe we are their subjects and they are not our public servants.

      1. People don’t realize that the permanent bureaucracy’s coups and insubordination to Trump amounts to the permanent bureaucracy standing athwart the lawfully elected civilian government

        Yes. remember how the Ukraine scam started? A second hand accounting of a Presidential phone call. Staff on assignment to the White House, took a whistle blower complaint to the CIA IG.
        The IG refused, because it happened in the White House, not the CIA. So then they tried the NSA IG, and even though it was still White House matter, he ran with it.
        In the end we got Vindman testimony. His red flag moment (well actually the guy that told him red flag moment…President Trump was in danger of contradicting foreign policy goal of the “working group” Yep the President was contradicting the bureaucracy. Thats what got him impeached. Exercising his constitutional power to set and execute foreign policy.

        1. Omg you are dumb. Ron Johnson gave Trump a good spanking when someone tattled on Trump to him. That is why Ron Johnson behaved like such a clown in 2020 because right when he found out what Trump was doing he demanded Trump stop and so Trump released the funds…but only because Johnson caught him red handed.

    4. As for the uneducated BS, I have a BS in Cybersecurity, I also worked in military intelligence for 30 years, I would put my educational credentials up against the authors anytime.

      So your “educational credential” is that you went to college?

      I believe Prof. Somin has a bachelor’s degree from Amherst, a masters from Harvard, and a JD from Yale. He’s still wrong about a lot of stuff (though not the subject matter of this post, obviously), but I certainly think he has you beat in terms of academic pedigree.

    5. ” I am old enough to remember that say 20 years ago if you had told me that a cabal of the cia, intelligence community, fbi, doj, dnc, the U.S. Congress, state department, the pentagon and corporate media would conspire to a soft coup not once but three times including an actual impeachment of the legally elected president of these United states”

      There is no kind of coup that includes an actual impeachment.

  10. Meh, if conspiracy theories are really that bad, then surely university professors who promote them should be stripped of tenure, right? Can you imagine any of the Conspirators embracing that remedy? Hahaha. That’s always my test for whether Prof. Somin really believes something is a serious problem, and he always fails.

  11. But is it true? And if the election experiences fraud sufficient skew the election, should we not investigate? Know? Is the US a banana republic where in elections are jus for show? Does anyone really believe there was no fraud?

    1. “Does anyone really believe there was no fraud?”

      I believe Donnie’s stooges did their best, but no, I don’t think they succeeded.

  12. Sidney Powell was right the last two times and has way too much to lose with wild claims now.

    THE ELECTION WAS RIGGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Biden got 30%, max — and the danger is not dealing with that.

    1. And you know this how? . . . .

      1. It’s the sort of thing you just KNOW without being able to explain why.

    2. Wow. You going for the gold huh? Not content with just saying Trump won you need to say he won 70%!of vote.

      1. You haven’t met Dr Ed before?

        Suffice it to say, he’s not exactly in touch with reality.

        1. But he’d love to tell you some lovely stories about living in Maine.

  13. ilya-somin
    all I know is that Apple is messing up MY computor (i paid for it
    is it mine in Lawyers Term ?) all the time ! coding coding coding on
    all URL . So suddendly voting machine are PURE as the Virgin Mary.

    1. The difference is that the people who set up voting machines know what they’re doing. So your testimony that you don’t doesn’t persuade.

  14. Perils of Trump’s Conspiracy-Mongering About the Election

    Concerned columnist is concerned. Film at 11.

  15. Where were you during the Trump-Russia hoax, the Mueller non-investigation, and the trumped up (pun) impeachment?

  16. This is all, this is all very very sad. Sigh. Whenever anyone wants to talk about policy again let me know. Until then, I’m done with this constant idiocy, its probably not great for my mental health.

    Over and over again .. whether Kavanaugh committed sexual assault, whether 2016 was rigged. whether 2020 was rigged, you all do realize none of these actually concern policy right? And so literally has zero bearing on real life? And yet that is all anyone actually wants to talk about nowadays. And whenever people do discuss policy it is always wrapped in some conspiratorial or ideological nonsensical cloth. On both sides. I’m sick of it. Half of reason’s content is about a bunch of egomaniac idiots in D.C. I wish there was a way to filter out anything with the word Trump in it unless its a Trump administration policy decision.

    1. Guess what: there are policy implications to this lunacy.

      Also guess what: a pox on both your houses is facile, and such omnicynicism is increasingly in vogue on the right to rationalize nihilistic discarding of principles.

      You should care about this, and you shouldn’t think both sides are bad ends your need to engage.

  17. “voter fraud” is an interesting formulation. It seems to imply that there are claims of massive fraud by “voters.” Really ?

    I should have thought “vote fraud” or “election fraud” were much more appropriate for the sort of claims I’ve heard anything about,

  18. Has Somin ever written a post that wasn’t an advertisement for his books?

  19. In which Somin either knows no CPA or fraud investigators and never took a stats class in his life or he’s purposefully conflating obvious fraud and conspiracy theories.

  20. Yet everyone in the media pretended that “election hacking”, followed by “election meddling”, followed by “foreign collusion” were reasonable assertions to explain the 2016 result.

  21. Somin criticizes voter ignorance, then links to an article on how to be a better voter which is behind a pay wall at that bastion of truth, The Washington Post. Does Somin believe this is conducive to reducing voter ignorance?

    Polls show an absurdly high number of voters receive their news and political information via social media which is heavily censored. Does Somin think this contributes to less voter ignorance or more?

    If Biden won the election fair and square, what conclusion does Somin draw with regard to the level of voter ignorance in the USA in 2020?

    Lastly, would Somin kindly explain to this ignorant voter the difference between a conspiracy and a “far-fetched” conspiracy?

  22. When you consider the fact that an informed electorate is this country’s most important institution, then for someone who supposedly lacks the skills to systematically subvert our institutions, he’s managed to do a remarkable job.

    1. “for someone who supposedly lacks the skills to systematically subvert our institutions, he’s managed to do a remarkable job.”

      He had help.

  23. Ilya, you seriously do NOT understand conspiracy thinking.

    You don’t defeat conspiracy theories by dismissing them as crazy. You defeat them by taking them seriously.

    Suppose you’ve got a conspiracy theory that says, to pick something at random, that a pedophile ring is being run out of the basement of a pizzeria.

    You can tell people, “Do you have any idea how mad that sounds? It’s utterly implausible, you’d never keep that secret!”

    Or you can escort them into the pizzeria, and demonstrate that the basement is full of unfolded pizza boxes and bins of ingredients.

    Which do you suppose is going to be more effective?

    You go the first route, and the conspiracy theorist is going to direct your attention to a town in the UK known as Rotherham, and sneer at your conviction such a conspiracy is impossible.

    You go the second route, and the evidence of their senses demonstrates to them that their theory is false. If, indeed, it is.

    You’re never going to convince suspicious people that elections are honest by just categorically rejecting their concerns. You have to permit the sort of detailed audit of the system that would actually detect what they’re alleging, rather than a mere recount. Recounts can’t detect fraudulently sourced ballots, they can only count them.

    1. Mind, if going into the election you shut down all sorts of security features such as signature matching, permitted ballot harvesting, mailed ballots to people on a voter roll you know hasn’t been purged property, and then obstruct election observer access, you’ve probably already closed the door on any chance of persuading people the election was honest.

      Because people don’t do that in order to conduct honest elections…

    2. Conspiracy theorists are completely unmoved by contrary evidence. In your theoretical search of the pizza place, conspiracy nuts would just declare that the pizza place had been tipped off by deep state satanists and thus moved the sex dungeon before the search.

      1. Exactly.

        There is no way to convince a committed conspiracy-monger that he’s full of shit.

        1. So, one excuse after another for why you won’t bother taking the theory seriously enough to genuinely prove it wrong. The fact that you disagree with it means it doesn’t have to be proven wrong.

          And so the theory lives on, because you can’t be bothered to do the one thing that might kill it.

          Remember Birtherism? Went on and on, until Obama relented and agreed to have his original birth certificate released. Have you heard much Birtherism since then?

          No, the evidence killed the conspiracy, just as the refusal to release the evidence had been feeding it.

          1. The White House released Obama’s long-form birth certificate in April 2011. In August 2012, Donald Trump tweeted

            An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud.

            So, no. Facts don’t work, the conspiracy just refocuses on another baseless allegation and the crowd follows because getting to the truth was never what they were in it for.
            The birther mobs were fueled by hatred for a President who dared not to be white. Trump saw an opportunity to ride the wave to build his brand, and his claim to be the guy who made Obama take birthers seriously earned him legitimacy as a political force. He kept it up as long as it could provide dividends, and didn’t actually concede that Obama was US-born until Sept. 2016.
            The parallels are striking. Trump claimed he had a team of investigators investigating in Hawaii who “cannot believe what they are finding”, and promised that he would lay out all the evidence when the time was right. Somehow the time was never right. Somehow in 2020 the time never seems to be right to provide evidence of the massive organized fraud touted in the media – but not in the courtroom where lunacy has consequences.
            So again, no. In addition to the obvious response that it’s the proponents of outlandish arguments who bear the burden of proving them, taking conspiracy theorists seriously enough to expend the effort to debunk them plays into their hands. You won’t convince them but you will give them oxygen, and since discrediting whackadoodle theories consumes thousands of times more resources than inventing them it is a game you cannot win.

    3. Conspiracy theorist are not known for their rational acceptance of evidence.

    4. Hi Brett,

      I completely agree with you here. And Ilya, I’d suggest you really consider it.

      One of the issues here is a complete lack of trust by people in the mainstream media. And, that lack of trust has reason…the mainstream media (now including Fox) has been absurdly partisan in its behavior for the last 4 years.

      Adding onto this has been one-sided social suppression of views and viewpoints that don’t agree with the liberal consensus. Boycotts and firings of people for having “conservative” stances. Pressure made on attorneys from the Trump campaign to “leave the case or else never get a job again”. Firing of people because they went to a Trump campaign event. “Blacklists” of people who worked in the Trump administration. This type of behavior isn’t good in a free democracy. And it leads people to be suspicious.

      What should happen in the current situation? The court system should play out. The legal system should play out. The avenues of the proposed allegations should be investigated and explored. This would be right, just, and allow any potential criminal wrongdoing to come to the light. And a media sense that “I don’t think anything will be found, but we’re going to check…just to be sure”.

      What would reinforce conspiracy theories and divide the country? Actions that seek to suppress any looking into the matter. Actions that seek to hamper, hobble, and eliminate investigations. The exact actions that are currently occurring.

      Let’s use an analogy. Let’s say something is alleged to be stolen from a vault. On one hand, you can investigate the vault. Bring the person or two in. Bring a camera or two with them. And show them, the item is exactly in the vault where it was supposed to be. That is open, honest, and revealing. Even if you know it wasn’t stolen.

      Let’s do the opposite however. The person alleges something is stolen from a vault. You deny it’s stolen from the vault. They ask to look, and you call them crazy for even trying to look in the vault. They try to get a court order to look in the vault, and you “persuade” their attorney to withdraw from the case, or else never get a job again. Then you ask that they drop the matter “for the good of the country” (but no, they can’t look in the vault). This isn’t open and revealing. It looks like something is trying to be hid. It looks like social pressure is being used to keep something from being hid. And it’s what’s going on now.

    5. Brett, it’s cute you think facts effect people already convinced of a conspiracy. People have been presenting you with facts for 2 weeks and you’re still rationalizing for these folks.

      What conspiracies deal with is not some misapprehension with reality, it’s a psychological reaction TO reality.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTfhYyTuT44

      1. Openness and transparency effect people. Serious consideration of their arguments effect them.

        Telling people they should just “shut up” and saying “There’s absolutely no evidence.” and blacklisting them and their lawyers if they try to raise a fuss. That doesn’t convince them.

        1. ” Serious consideration of their arguments effect them”

          Why do people who have weak relationships with reality care if people are seriously considering their arguments?

          Trump lost because most of the people who are legally allowed to cast ballots didn’t want him to be President any more. What arguments against this merit “serious consideration”?

          When people show up making “arguments” that are obvious wishful thinking, then, no, their arguments do not require “serious consideration”.

          It IS possible for Republican Presidents to win re-election. Reagan manged the trick quite handily, and even W managed to do it despite handing off as much of the job to Cheney as he could.
          Even Nixon won a second term, and would have been able to serve until 76 had he had enough faith in his team to refrain from trying to cheat in the election of 72.

        2. You’re wrong AL. Calls for ‘transparency’ are a continual theme for conspiracists.
          Each new reveal just opens up further requirements for transparency, even as engaging them gives them a veneer of legitimacy.

          If birtherism didn’t teach you that, you may want to look into it again.

          1. Calls for transparency are a continual theme for anybody who’s dissenting from whoever is imposing the opacity. The question is, what drives opposition to transparency?

            And birtherism taught the exact opposite lesson. It went away when Obama finally consented to his birth certificate being released.

            1. I didn’t say the calls are all bad, I said engaging in them to calm down a conspiracist won’t help.

              Birtherism did not go away with the release of his birth certificate, even famously for you!!!!

              1. Really? Prove that last accusation, then. I was never a birther by any reasonable definition. I merely thought the real birthers were entitled to a hearing on the merits, at which time I expected them to lose. It was McCain who was a naturalized citizen, not Obama.

                Like it or not, the natural born citizen clause is in the Constitution, and I am not fond of the judiciary declaring parts of the Constitution unenforceable.

                1. As I recall, you pulled your occasional postmodernism ‘how can we ever know something is with metaphysical certitude? I wasn’t there to see the delivery!’

                  Which you continue to be correctly roundly mocked for.

                  1. I have no respect for people who would mock the sane position that absolute certitude should be reserved for logic and mathematics, not contingent historical facts. I reserve faith for religion, and I’m a Roman Catholic, not a Democrat.

                    What I said was that Obama being born somewhere other than Hawaii was certainly possible, (In that it would have violated no physical law.) but that the evidence suggested that it was extremely unlikely. It would have required a large and complicated conspiracy to have generated the public evidence, with no apparent reason for such a conspiracy; It’s not like they’d have known back then the kid was eventually going to run for President.

                    If you’re hanging your case for me being a “birther” on my refusal to confuse “extremely unlikely” and “impossible”, and my belief that the birther idiots were entitled to a hearing on the merits, you’re not as clever as you think you are.

                    More likely “birther” has become just another content free epithet in your arsenal, like “racist”.

                    1. Yeah, still funny.

                      Taking refuge in epistemology is not fooling anyone.

                      You call Hillary Clinton a criminal with a lot less doubt than you have about Obama being born in Hawaii. Or Kavanaugh being innocent of sexual assault. Or Communists infiltrating and controlling every institution that does something you disagree with.

                      It shows where your heart is to everyone, it seems, but you yourself.

                    2. “What I said was that Obama being born somewhere other than Hawaii was certainly possible, (In that it would have violated no physical law.)”

                      Well, there is the one physical law, in that Obama’s mother was in Hawaii at the time, and we have not yet developed any physical laws that allow matter to travel instantaneously from one spatial position to another one.

            2. “And birtherism taught the exact opposite lesson. It went away when Obama finally consented to his birth certificate being released.”

              And while that was happening in your imagination, out here in reality Obama never had the power to limit access to his birth certificate.

    6. “You don’t defeat conspiracy theories by dismissing them as crazy. You defeat them by taking them seriously.”

      That’s what THEY want you to think.

      “Suppose you’ve got a conspiracy theory that says, to pick something at random, that a pedophile ring is being run out of the basement of a pizzeria.
      […] you can escort them into the pizzeria, and demonstrate that the basement is full of unfolded pizza boxes and bins of ingredients.”

      If pointing out that the pizzeria doesn’t HAVE a basement isn’t enough to dissuade the conspiracy theorists, what level of objective proof is immune to conspiracy-theorist rationalization?

      “You’re never going to convince suspicious people that elections are honest by just categorically rejecting their concerns. You have to permit the sort of detailed audit of the system that would actually detect what they’re alleging, rather than a mere recount. Recounts can’t detect fraudulently sourced ballots, they can only count them.”

      The elections were audited, by a whole federal agency devoted to ensuring their security. Trump fired the director of the agency for saying something other than what Trump wants to say.

      1. If pointing out it doesn’t have a basement doesn’t involve going there and directing attention to the fact that there’s no basement, it’s just more meaningless assertion.

        When people don’t trust you to begin with, you need evidence, not claims of evidence.

        1. When people are prepared to dismiss any evidence, they’re prepared to dismiss ANY evidence. Yet you insist that the way to fight this is to engage them, and present evidence.

    7. “Ilya, you seriously do NOT understand conspiracy thinking.

      You don’t defeat conspiracy theories by dismissing them as crazy. You defeat them by taking them seriously.”

      Depends on how crazy they are to begin with. (referring to both the theory AND the theorists.)

  24. So Trump is now asking legislatures to disregard the actual vote and hand him their electoral votes. I don’t think it’ll happen but you don’t often here a President come out for the destruction of the republic. Will the supporters here be against such legislative action if it occurs?

    1. That’s the easiest question I’ve seen in a long time.

    2. Trumpistas care only for winning. After all, his loss is proof of fraud. Had he won they’d be trumpeting “The Will Of The People” and “Most Honest Election Ever!”

      Principles are for chumps, right Trumpistas?

      1. You’re right sarcasmic as to the Trumpsters, but you’re ignoring that if Trump had won the entire fucking country would be on fire thanks to your side.

        Why don’t you clean up your own mess and let the right worry about theirs.

        1. Don’t track in counterfactuals. It’s just an excuse to insert your own narrative.
          The left does enough crappy real stuff for you to condemn them for.

        2. My side? Which side is that?

      2. ” Had he won they’d be trumpeting ‘The Will Of The People’ and ‘Most Honest Election Ever!'”

        Trump fired the guy who said this was the most honest election ever, who felt a need to pipe in on the subject just because assuring the public that the election was run fairly was the guy’s job.
        Mr. Trump is not a fan of bureaucrats who perform their jobs well. In this, he is joined by many Republicans.

        1. Trump should have fired that guy. When a guy is given the job of securing our election system, and asserts “nothing to see here” after the dumpster fire we saw this year, he’s clearly the wrong man for the job.

          If he’d said, “This election was a hot mess, but so far as I can tell Biden’s victory was outside the margin of fraud.” I might have a different opinion. That’s a respectable conclusion.

          “Everything was peachy” is not a respectable conclusion.

          1. “Trump should have fired that guy. When a guy is given the job of securing our election system, and asserts ‘nothing to see here’ after the dumpster fire we saw this year, he’s clearly the wrong man for the job.”

            He insisted on sticking with objective reality over Trump’s preferred imaginary one. So, yeah, he wasn’t going to keep the job. Your mistake is not applying your own logic to the Presidency. When a guy is given the job of running the country, and says he should keep the job after the dumpster fire we saw this year, he’s clearly the wrong man for the job.

    3. I need a cite for that.

    4. If fraud that would change the outcome is proven between now and when electors vote, what other remedy is there? There’s no time to hold a new election.

      This is one of the reasons we have electors.

      1. Haven’t you already stated fraud is proven?

          1. OK, that leaves with the claim that fraud is unproven.

            Now for the big swing.
            …and the reason that fraud has not be proven is:
            A) the conspiracy that did all the fraud is way too powerful
            -or-
            B) because there wasn’t any fraud.

      2. “If fraud that would change the outcome is proven between now and when electors vote,”

        Donnie hasn’t been able to manufacture any fraud that would change the outcome of the election, despite Rudy’s best efforts. This is why we keep making fun of him for trying.

          1. Was this your equivalent for reasoned debate?

            It’s not very convincing.

    5. If electors are replaced without proof of enough fraud/illegalities to have swung the election, I’ll oppose it.

      Election results are thrown out all the time under such circumstances. Generally local elections, but it’s an existing practice.

      1. “If electors are replaced without proof of enough fraud/illegalities to have swung the election, I’ll oppose it. ”

        Sure you will. Just like Lindsay Graham was going to oppose appointing any Supreme Court justices within six months of an election.

  25. So, by your own admission, Trump is unlikely to get anyone to do anything that will result with him being the President on January 20, 2021 after the noon hour, but you still felt compelled to write a long screed about it. OK….

    1. Because the President saying this nonsense matters.

      You now have other downballot Republicans, some who lost by like 40 points, refusing to concede because of voter fraud.

    2. You think a sitting president using the power and bully puppet of his office to actively circumvent the legitimate democratic election of his successor by a robust repertoire of actions including spreading lies, filing bogus lawsuits, pressuring local canvassing boards and state legislatures, dog whistling to militia groups, cowing most of his party into silence and some into acquiescence and collaboration.

      You don’t think any of that’s worth writing about?

      Whether he succeeds or not?

      1. “bully puppet”

        pedant mode ON
        the term you meant to use is “bully pulpit”.
        pedant mode OFF

        complaining that partisans are acting like partisans rarely produces any changes.

  26. To write a pompous piece about the gullible commoners believing in conspiracy theories, and then completely ignore the actions of multiple federal agencies over the four years, kind of exposes the lie of the whole premise,

    1. Comey, McCabe, Rosenstein, McGahn, and Mueller are all Republicans.

      1. Because checking a box on your voter reg form means what exactly….?

        1. Nope, Comey maxed out donations to McStain and Romney when they ran against Obama…and Obama appointed him specifically as an “olive branch” to Republicans in his second term.

          1. The guy just plays both sides of the fence. That proves he is an operative. Nothing else. Try again sport.

            1. The lack of evidence of the conspiracy is just proof of how powerful the conspiracy is!

              1. Rosenstein literally wrote a memo urging the President to fire Comey, and then used Trump acting on it as a pretext to hire an independent counsel. That’s pretty good evidence of at least a small scale conspiracy, in my book.

                1. ” That’s pretty good evidence of at least a small scale conspiracy, in my book.”

                  That’s the EXACT sort of conspiracy thinking that gets conspiracy-theorists laughed at.

    2. “To write a pompous piece about the gullible commoners believing in conspiracy theories, and then completely ignore the actions of multiple federal agencies over the four years”

      The head of the federal government, (all the federal agencies) for the last four years has been Donald Trump. You know the anti-Trump conspiracy is powerful once you assume they got to him, too!

  27. Seriously. All of you fucking partisans. Why bother? Somebody puts up an article and y’all show up and just start flailing away at each other with the same old stupid bullshit.

    Can’t you see how stupid it makes you look to the team less plurality out here? Do you care? Or is your idiocy a point of pride?

    Y’all are revolting.

    1. It’s not pride, it’s tribal affiliation, and more importantly negative tribal affiliation. It feels good to join.

      And there are some villains we love to hate so much we’ll make them up.

      None of us are above this.
      There’s a saying. ‘In every room there is one person who won’t fall for the propaganda, who won’t be fooled by the populist appeals and who doesn’t go for partisan bromides. Pay attention to that person; they’re the mark.’

  28. To me it appears as another 4 years of watching the losing party attempt to undermine and delegitimize the President. Yay.

    Disclaimer: I’ve got no dog in this fight, I voted against both Hillary and Trump in 16 and both Biden and Trump in 20.

    1. You having trouble picking a winner? Who you got in this year’s Superbowl, the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Philadephia Flyers?

      1. I’m proud to say I’ve been voting in presidential elections since 1984 and have yet to pick a winner!

        1. This is an easy task to achieve once you decide not to support EITHER the D OR the R brands of candidates.

          In my imagination, I sometimes invent election systems in which people can vote both FOR and AGAINST candidates, where the winner has to have more FOR votes than any other candidate and fewer than 50% of voters choosing AGAINST.

  29. There are conspiracy theories and there are real conspiracies. Explain away the stacks of affidavits.

    1. This reminds me of how Ann Coulter used to write books back in the 2000s and they were filled with insanity, and her supporters would say, “But they’ve got lots of footnotes!” As if quantity were a substitute for content. There aren’t “stacks of affidavits,” but there are some. But they say virtually nothing about fraud. You have to read them, not just count them.

      1. Left: “Look there are thousands of reported hate crimes a year!!!”
        Reasonable Man: “Yeah but most of those are complete junk when you look into the details…”
        Left: “But there were thousands, literally thousands!!!!!”

        Funny how that little rhetorical trick works, right?

        1. Out of left field whattaboutism like that just says a lot about your priorities.

          Also, though, I think you’re arguing hate crimes are mostly hoaxes. Which is as crazy as the strawman you constructed. Really a bravura performance, to outflank your own strawman in the crazy.

          1. At this point I’d like to suggest a new internet “law”, akin to Godwin’s law: “The first person to complain about “whataboutism” loses the argument.”

            Look, I don’t freaking CARE if left-wingers are about as allergic to context as a vampire is to holy water. When you sling some accusation, “you do that, too” is still a perfectly reasonable response.

            You don’t get to accuse somebody of having their shit stink, and then rule out any mention of what yours smells like. It doesn’t work that way.

            1. Brett is annoyed about being called on his whataboutism, but not annoyed enough to stop doing it

            2. Just because you’ve embraced a fallacy that lets you rationalize your own side’s bad behavior doesn’t mean everyone has to indulge your self-deception.

              1. Context doesn’t equal rationalization. Politics is a zero sum game, you tear down your opponent so you can win.

                If both candidates are rotten, that doesn’t make them both innocent. But if you accuse your opponent of being rotten, in a zero sum contest, your opponent is certainly entitled to point out your own rot.

                No matter how convenient it would be if only your accusations ever got discussed.

                1. It’s not acting like context. You have used this method countless times to turn away from Trump’s latest outrage in order to complain about things that you’d prefer to talk about, generally years ago and invariably coming from the Democrats.

                  It’s textbook, and it’s weak. I do it too at times without noticing, but I don’t indulge nearly as much as you.

                  1. No, what you usually indulge in is shouting “Whataboutism”, in a crazy demand that, when you accuse somebody of something, nobody point out your side does it too.

                    It’s just the pot insisting that the kettle isn’t entitled to point out that it’s black, too. That’s all yelling “whataboutism” really is. Nothing more. Nobody’s allowed to mention that your shit stinks, too.

                    Why you think we should indulge this crazy demand is beyond me.

                    1. “No, what you usually indulge in is shouting ‘Whataboutism’, in a crazy demand that, when you accuse somebody of something, nobody point out your side does it too.”

                      Some time around the time you were ten years old, and you got caught doing something you shouldn’t have been doing, and you tried to justify it by claiming “but, mom, everyone else was doing it!” your mom should have pointed out for you that other people’s wrongdoing doesn’t excuse your own.

                2. ” Politics is a zero sum game, you tear down your opponent so you can win.”

                  If idiots buy into this, they get what they deserve.

            3. “You don’t get to accuse somebody of having their shit stink, and then rule out any mention of what yours smells like. It doesn’t work that way.”

              Yet, oddly, this is what you like to do. Except in the form of “Nuh-uh! YOURS does!

    2. “There are conspiracy theories and there are real conspiracies. Explain away the stacks of affidavits.”

      Sure, right after you explain why this giant conspiracy of Democratic Party supporters you’ve imagined didn’t also arrange for a Democratic Senate.

    3. The Pennsylvania judge the other day did read them, and then blasted the authors because they were written by Republican poll watchers who had skipped their orientation and training and thus knew nothing about how elections happened. Because they had no idea what was happening, those poll watchers ended up filing affadavits because they they had no idea what was standard election procedure and what was not.

      1. Actually, that was a Michigan judge. But your point stands.

  30. LOL!!! This is rich. The election was hijacked and Trump is the threat? You nimrods deserve Biden.

    1. “The election was hijacked”

      Is this the term you use when your preferred candidates gets fewer votes than the other guy got?

  31. [gasps, clutches pearls] The future authoritarian bogeyman is lurking in the shadows!

    The usual remedy for scary bogeymen is to use the government to punish innocent Americans.

    If Biden takes office, Trump will start campaigning for 2024 — he got 70+ million votes in 2020 — and his first issue will be 2020 voter fraud. Get used to hearing about it. Also expect to hear a lot more about Hunter. And that’s just in the next few months.

    1. I’m sure Hunter is already lining up “investors” who want newfound influence form the “Big Guy”….

      1. If they’re stupid enough to believe that Hunter can deliver anything of value, it’s their fault they lost money on the deal.

        1. If you’re stupid enough to think the Chinese gave him all that money without delivering anything of value, that’s your problem.

          1. Are you talking about Ivanka’s trademarks?

            1. Which were released at the same time China cut loose a huge bunch of trademarks they were sitting on. It was a wholesale change in their trademark policy, not an Ivanka specific action.

          2. Hunter got a billion dollars from China…Trump owes China a billion dollars. 😉

          3. “If you’re stupid enough to think the Chinese gave him all that money without delivering anything of value, that’s your problem.”

            Are you talking about “facts” we learned from Rudy’s laptop?

          4. Hunter isn’t my problem, though apparently imaginary conspiracy Hunter is a big problem for you.

      2. It’s not even that. If you can get someone like Hunter and Joe to take a bribe, you can keep proof that they took the bribe and use that to extort something in the future.

        1. Hunter Biden is a private citizen. He is free to accept money from anyone without it constituting a “bribe” that could be the basis of later extortion.

          1. An important lesson.

            Facts which disprove a conspiracy theory do not disprove conspiracy theories for/to the conspiracy theorists.

          2. Thank gosh he wasn’t flying to China on board Air Force Two for business meetings. That’d be terrible.

            But tell me more about TEH EMOLUMENTS!!!

            1. “Thank gosh he wasn’t flying to China on board Air Force Two for business meetings.”

              Why would Hunter be flying to China with Mr. Pence?

    2. Trump isn’t smart enough to STFU when it’s in his interest to do so. So, yeah I expect he’ll keep trying to “but, Hunter!” for at least 4 years. He kept “my investigators found something you will not believe!” after what they found was a Hawaiian birth certificate.
      , thus
      He tried to “drain the swamp” by filling it up with corruption, and he’s finally going to fulfill his basic 2016 campaign of Making America Great Again by leaving Washington, thus allowing it to happen.
      2021 will be the first year of Making Florida Worthy of Ridicule Again.

      #MFWRA

        1. Does “Gfy” stand for something that means “Gee, these facts make my previous advocacy look stupid.”

    3. “Get used to hearing about it.”

      We are accustomed to the pointless rants from half-educated bigots, superstitious knuckle-draggers, disaffected clingers, backwater culture war casualties, anti-social incels, and others in the Republican-conservative electoral coalition.

      Right-wingers will continue to flood AM radio, online message boards, militia gatherings, Republican committee meetings, and similar spaces with nonsense. Their betters will continue to shape our national progress against the wishes and efforts of those losers.

      It’s the American way.

      Get used to it.

      1. #ImATrollWithLiberalPersona

        1. I suspect this is a fairly accurate prediction, down to the closing sentence which may have a bit of wishful thinking. Not to the level of “Frankly, I think we won the election” coming from Trump, or the SoS talking about a smooth transition to the second Trump Administration, but still highly wishful.

          Perhaps if there IS a second Trump administration, someone will have managed to saddle Mr. Trump with some capable administrators from whom he is willing to accept advice.

  32. Two points:

    1. . I don’t argue against Trump’s right to pursue legal measures available to challenge the election outcome. However his propagation of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories will likely create a not insignificant cohort of people who are irrationally ungovernable. This is bad.

    2. It is understandable that a sizable portion of Trump supporters would be susceptible to conspiratorial thinking. For example: the victory of their preferred candidate was for long said to be due to Russian interference; Trump supporters have been ostracized in decent society on account of their preferred candidate; their preferred candidate has been subject to the most biased treatment by media and bureaucracy of any president in history; news that would hurt Trump’s opponent was censored by most social media platforms; pharmaceutical companies who, judging by donations much preferred Biden, suspiciously waited until after the election to announce vaccine success; etc. Given all this (and more), is it any wonder some Trump supporters think the election results may not have been on the up and up? Perhaps those who profitably peddled TDS also bare some culpability for the situation in which we find ourselves.

    1. No. This is not something where you get to pivot towards sympathy for the victimized Trump voter.

      The shunning in ‘polite society’ in any statistical sense is questionable (news flash: Trump supporters tend to cluster). But they believe it because they’ve been told to believe it. And it’s made them advocate for stuff a lot worse than shunning.

      1. All together now…
        “lock him up”… “lock him up”… “lock him up”…

    2. “1. I don’t argue against Trump’s right to pursue legal measures available to challenge the election outcome. However his propagation of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories will likely create a not insignificant cohort of people who are irrationally ungovernable. This is bad.”

      He’s free to raise his case, where he has one. But the fact that he has yet to make a case is nobody’s fault but his own. Pointing out that his increasingly desperate attempts to forestall the inevitable look increasingly desperate is one of those things that free Americans are free to do. If we thought he looked like winnie the Pooh, we could say that, too. Most importantly, in 59 days none of us has to care what Trump has to say about much of anything.

    3. “Trump supporters have been ostracized in decent society on account of their preferred candidate”

      Well, that and the fact that they are bigoted, poorly educated, gullible, lethally reckless, superstitious, and belligerently ignorant. If you embrace nonsense, bigotry, and backwardness in modern America, you will and deserve to be disrespected by educated, reasoning, accomplished, reality-grounded, modern, decent Americans.

      1. #ImAHungryTrollWithoutRealPrinciples

        #FeedMeOrIWillCry

        1. That’s a lot of letters to type without spaces just to say “you’re right”.

          Or did you MEAN to say something different?

  33. This is real when prophecies fail stuff. Georgia’s election got certified, Trump’s lost all his cases except 1, Michigan is saying there’s no reason to overturn the election, yet these people are convinced all of that actually means they’re winning and are gonna be revealed to have won any day now.

    1. The alternative is admitting that Donald Trump is not very good at being President.

  34. “Donald Trump and his lawyers (led by Rudy Giuliani) are promoting far-fetched conspiracy theories about supposed voter fraud in the presidential election.”

    How can it be a threat when it can’t even overcome common-sense?
    Trump and his stooges (led by Rudy) keep advancing a theory that Trump lost the election due to a massive conspiracy of Democrats who somehow forgot to also submit ballots for Democrats in Senate races. If the Democrats had such a conspiracy at their disposal, they’d also have arranged to win at least 66 seats in the Senate in January, instead of the 48 they have nailed down so far.
    Most of the ranting about unfair elections is coming from people too stupid to understand how our election systems work, starting with Trump and apparently (led by Rudy Giuliani)

    1. “Trump and his stooges (led by Rudy) keep advancing a theory that Trump lost the election due to a massive conspiracy of Democrats who somehow forgot to also submit ballots for Democrats in Senate races.”

      I keep pointing this out, and it keeps getting ignored: Multiple states, such as Pennsylvania, have eliminated straight ticket voting. Formerly, you could just check “Straight Democratic vote”, and it would count as voting for every Democrat on the ballot. Very convenient if you’re filling out piles of ballots.

      Now you have to individually check each office. Labor to manufacture ballots scales with the number of offices voted. So you can’t just say, “We’re really trying to win the Presidency here, but as long as we’re at it, let’s win Dog Catcher, too.” It doubles your workload!

      Under these circumstances, only one office votes IS exactly what you’d expect a manufactured vote to look like.

      Now, that doesn’t prove that a bunch of people didn’t desperately want Biden elected, but didn’t give a damn about any other office on the ballot. But it’s certainly suggestive.

      1. No, Brett, it’s not suggestive.
        The idea that a lot of people are loyal to a particular party is not very suspicious.

        Unless you’re straining to find suspicion to justify your own side’s descent into anti-democratic madness.

        1. Engage, Sarcastro. I didn’t say there was anything suspicious about a lot of people being loyal to a particular party. About as many people are loyal to the Democratic party as the Republican, or else these elections wouldn’t be so close.

          I said that it was suspicious when you got a huge number of ballots that only had the top of the ticket voted, and no other office.

          1. I said that it was suspicious when you got a huge number of ballots that only had the top of the ticket voted, and no other office.

            You just explained exactly why it’s not suspicious!

          2. “I said that it was suspicious when you got a huge number of ballots that only had the top of the ticket voted, and no other office.”

            That is suspicious, unless you’re assuming that the conspiracy was run by Democrats, who didn’t want to win any Senate races.

      2. “I keep pointing this out, and it keeps getting ignored: Multiple states, such as Pennsylvania, have eliminated straight ticket voting.”

        Ballots that pick only candidates from one party are illegal now?

  35. I respect that this is an opinion piece, and as such it is wholly acceptable to call Trump’s theories far-fetched in the first sentence. However, the media is doing the same, over and over, in what are supposed to be impartial news stories, often referring to Trump’s “baseless” theories in their leads. While I agree that we’ve not been shown anything to indicate that far-fetched and baseless aren’t accurate characterizations of the election fraud theories being advanced, the media in its clear exhibition of bias is only further cementing the belief among hardcore Trump supporters that he’s been cheated. Journalists could go a long way toward lessening the risk of the peril this article correctly warns of simply by reporting what is being said and done accurately and fairly without adding their own opinions. After all, it’s an old saying in politics that if your opponent is making a fool of himself, you shut up and let him do it. By issuing another batch of “he’s a fascist” stories on what are supposed to be news pages every time Trump tweets something ridiculous, the media is only making matters worse.

    1. However, the media is doing the same, over and over, in what are supposed to be impartial news stories, often referring to Trump’s “baseless” theories in their leads. While I agree that we’ve not been shown anything to indicate that far-fetched and baseless aren’t accurate characterizations of the election fraud theories being advanced, the media in its clear exhibition of bias

      Right here, you admit it looks factual to you, and then you declare it’s biased.

      That makes it pretty clear whatever your beef is, it’s not actually bias.

      1. Whether or not something looks factual to me has nothing to with whether it’s biased.

        1. If it’s a true statement of the facts, then it cannot be biased.

          If you’re asking the media to have a better tone to keep Trump folks from strapping on the tin foil, I’d suggest the fault may not be in the media’s tone.

          1. A “true statement of the facts” cannot contain a reporter’s opinion that Trump’s claims are “baseless,” as dozens of stories do, because that’s not a fact; it’s an opinion. Any adjective such as “false” or “baseless” needs to go in quotes and be spoken by an informed source, not a reporter himself or herself.

            1. Fair enough, you got me there. So it’s an evaluation. One you agree with.
              Are all evaluations biased? If so, then your issue is more epistemological and goes well beyond the media.
              Otherwise, your agreement would tend to indicate you think there analysis is factually based.

              And yet also biased somehow.

              1. The problem here is that Ken is biased, and not towards reality.

            2. This is a bad faith argument. For one thing, baseless is not opinion; it’s objective fact. If the issue is weighing the evidence, that may be to an extent a matter of opinion. But that’s not what has happened here; the Trump team has proffered no evidence of election fraud.

              Second, if the media did what you said, the Trumpkins would just say, “See, the media is biased. They’re choosing to quote a supposed source who is calling it baseless.”

              1. “here; the Trump team has proffered no evidence of election fraud. ”

                But they did demand that the election results be invalidated based on a claim of not having access to watch the ballots being counted, after the party observers had access to watch the ballots being counted (and, in fact, the counting was live-streamed to anyone who wanted to watch.

            3. “A “true statement of the facts” cannot contain a reporter’s opinion that Trump’s claims are “baseless,” as dozens of stories do”

              Sure it can, unless and until there’s a basis to believe that Trump lost because fraud was committed rather than because voters didn’t want him to continue being President. Trump got a lot of votes, but “fuck off, Trump” got even more.

            4. ” Any adjective such as ‘false’ or ‘baseless’ needs to go in quotes and be spoken by an informed source”

              Adjectives are opinions now?

              You’re a very “nutty” person (informed source, your own ranting)

    2. “I respect that this is an opinion piece, and as such it is wholly acceptable to call Trump’s theories far-fetched in the first sentence.”

      Yes, it is acceptable to lead off an opinion piece with facts.

  36. 1) I remember on 5th grade being very impressed by the book “Clear Thinking” by Hy Ruchlis. It felt like keys to the kingdom. Little in my formal education before or since covered the same territory.

    Ilya, why do you not more strongly emphasize broad exposure to the methods of rationality in your writings? This seems more important than the question of ignorance per se, for the same reason that one teaches a man to fish rather than giving him fish.

    2) What I find most depressing about the whole five-year Trump debacle is the extent to which Republican incumbents enable, or actively encourage, the man’s unprecedentedly relentless evisceration of not only democratic, but many civilized values. History should punish not only Trump’s legacy, but the legacies of those staying silent at moments such as this, when democracy is most in need of courageous defenders.

    1. I can’t leave point 2 alone without asking specifically why someone such as McConnell doesn’t speak against Trump’s refusal to acknowledge reality in clear terms. Done right, this could have quite a positive impact on the health of our system. It would require but one dollop each of integrity and courage. It would even burnish his legacy in the long run.

      1. “I can’t leave point 2 alone without asking specifically why someone such as McConnell doesn’t speak against Trump’s refusal to acknowledge reality in clear terms.”

        Mitch gets his power in Congress by not doing things. This leads to inaction becoming his default choice of action for everything.

      2. Remember the last four years?

        Go fuck yourself.

        1. That’s Trump in a nutshell.

  37. What is often fascinating is that the more complicated the conspiracy the more people believing it. The Trump lawyers did not even try to sell a small conspiracy, they went big starting with China working through Venezuela and Cuba working down to smaller groups and person. Wrapping it all up into a hot mess. Why, because if you believe a little you will believe in a lot. In 2016, we have documented evidence of Russian interference. We have it because it is pretty hard to hide that kind of stuff. Even a little buying adds, coordinating with Trump staffer, and hacking the DNC. All left trails that were pretty obvious. So the idea that some grand conspiracy to steal the election from Trump was so good that it left no evidence is pretty hard to buy.

    1. Keep in mind Trump supporters believe Hunter is a billionaire criminal mastermind…so Hunter has the ability and means to steal an election. If only Hunter would use his brain and wealth for good he could probably cure cancer!?! I bet with his father as president he attempts to blow up the moon!?! I’m scared.

      1. Trump supporters believe Trump has earned billions.

        1. Trump supporters. Forbes. Any actual person studying his holdings.

          Half a dozen of one. Six of the other.

          1. Their grip on reality is not very tight. The conman HAS separated millions of dollars from fools, but billions are bigger than millions.

          2. ” Any actual person studying his holdings.”

            All you have to do to verify his income is examine his income tax returns. You know, the ones that show all the income. Skip over the ones that just show losses.

  38. Somin is an advocate for the Deep State. He underwent big government indoctrination in his Ivy school.

  39. Keep in thoughts Trump supporters accept as true with Hunter is a billionaire crook mastermind…so Hunter has the capability and method to thieve an election. If handiest Hunter could use his mind and wealth for desirable he could in all likelihood therapy cancer!?! I bet together with his father as president he attempts to explode the moon!?! I’m scared.
    https://www.divineleather.com/ladies-zippered-leather-biker-vest/

  40. The perils of ignoring obvious election fraud.

    1. Obvious to everyone except the courts, Republican election officials, media…

      I’m sure this will become part of the right-wing expanded universe, right alongside Vince Foster and Sandy Hook.

    2. “The perils of ignoring obvious election fraud.”

      The thing is, it’s only obvious to people who desperately want to believe it exists.

      1. …now do Russia collusion and see if you can maintain consistency.

        1. You mean the Russia collusion detailed in the Mueller and Senate Intel Committee reports?

        2. “now do Russia collusion”

          There was no Russia collusion because collusion, like Tango, requires two partners. Russia wanted him elected, but not badly enough to actually take a meeting with Trump. They’re good at what they do, unlike Trump.

  41. Birtherism isn’t a conspiracy theory. Obama had a foriegn non citizen father. That legitimately brings his natural born status into question. The fact is there is no law nor federal court case that defines the term. No one alive knows what it means. Neither of Harris’ parents were citizens not even permanent residents. Harris shouldn’t even be a citizen. She wouldn’t be in any other first world country except Canada.

    1. “Birtherism isn’t a conspiracy theory. Obama had a foriegn non citizen father. That legitimately brings his natural born status into question.”

      Except that since 1868, children born in the United States are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside. The conspiracy theory part of birtherism comes from believing that there was some kind of cover-up about where somebody was born. Newborn infants are not capable of lying about where they were born, hence the conspiracy. It is and was a shallow and desperate ploy to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States. Stop me if you’re detecting a trend…

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