The Volokh Conspiracy

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Political Ignorance

January 6 and the Problem of Political Ignorance

Ignorance and bias played a major role in the attack on the Capitol and in the continuing belief of many Republicans that Biden didn't really win the 2020 election. The issue is part of the broader problem of political ignorance and bias, which is by no means confined to any one side of the political spectrum.

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The Attack on the Capitol. January 6, 2021.

 

A number of factors helped inspire the attack on the Capitol that took place one year ago today. But one big one was ignorance: The rioters believed that Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election, and that Joe Biden has "stolen" it through fraud. They clung to this belief, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, including numerous court decisions rejecting GOP claims of fraud, many of them authored by conservative, Republican-appointed judges.

Sadly, this delusion is not limited to the comparatively small group of extremists who actually participated in the January 6 attack. Polls consistently show that a large majority of Republicans still believe that Biden did not win the 2020 election legitimately. This despite the fact that the evidence against that view is even stronger today than it was a year ago. For example, it has been augmented by an investigation conducted by GOP members of the Michigan state legislature. In Arizona, an audit conducted by the "Cyber Ninjas" - consultants hired by pro-Trump Republicans hoping to find evidence of fraud - actually concluded that Biden won by a larger margin than the official vote tally indicates.

The persistence of the Trumpist "Big Lie" about the election poses obvious dangers. Among other things, it increases the chances that similar violence might recur in future elections, should Trump - or some other GOP candidate - again lose. After all, violence might well seem justified to people who believe that the opposing party "stole" the election from their candidate. In addition, the belief that the opposing party is trying to steal an election might well lead partisans to support similar efforts to by their own party, such as Trump's attempts to pressure state officials into falsifying the vote count in his favor. Some Republicans are planning more systematic efforts of this kind for future elections.

Why do so many Republicans believe blatant falsehoods about the 2020 election? The answer is rooted the broader problem of political ignorance. Because there is so little chance that any one vote will make a difference to the outcome of an election, most people are "rationally ignorant" about politics and government policy. They spend little time seeking out relevant information, and are often ignorant of even basic facts about the political system, such as the names of the three branches of government. Such ignorance makes people more susceptible to lies and conspiracy theories, including those about the 2020 election.

I summarized the connections in a November 2020 post, in which I first warned about the dangers of Trump's lies about the election:

In [my book] 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.

For much the same reasons as they have little incentive to seek out information, most voters also have little incentive to objectively evaluate the information they do learn. They instead often indulge ideological, partisan, and other biases - a phenomenon economist Bryan Caplan dubbed "rational irrationality." These dynamics are pretty obviously at work when it comes to many GOP partisans' beliefs about the 2020 election.

As I emphasized in the November 2020 post and in many other writings, ignorance and bias of this kind is far from unique to Trump supporters or to the right side of the political spectrum. There is no shortage of left-wing examples, including widespread belief in 9/11 "trutherism," referenced in my earlier post. Social science evidence indicates that partisan bias in evaluation of political information is widespread among both liberals and conservatives, with neither side being significantly better or worse than the other. It would be a mistake for liberals (or anyone else) to assume that ignorance and bias are problems confined to the other side of the political spectrum, to which their own side is blissfully immune. Politicians across the political spectrum routinely exploit voter ignorance and partisan bias -  a problem that long predates Trump. Barack Obama, for example, did so with his strategy of using a blatant lie to sell the Affordable Care Act to the public.

Nonetheless, the persistence of the Big Lie about the 2020 election is a particularly dangerous example of this broader phenomenon. The risk is that it could lead to actions that gravely undermine the basic structure of liberal democracy - ironically, in the name of saving it. That makes it more dangerous than a lie that "merely" facilitates the enactment of a specific dubious policy.

There is no easy or quick solution to the problem. Some possible paths to undermining future elections can be closed off through legal and institutional reforms, such as fixing loopholes in the Electoral Count Act. It also helps that a large majority of Americans reject the Trumpist take on the election and hold Trump at least in large part responsible for  the events of January 6, even as a majority of Republicans continue to believe in the Big Lie. Elsewhere, I have argued that the best long-run antidote to political ignorance is to limit and decentralize political power, and expand opportunities for people to "vote with their feet."

Nonetheless, there is still a risk of further violence and attempts to undermine elections so long as the base of one of the two major parties persists in this kind of delusion. Breaking that delusion, once it has become widely established, is a difficult task.

"Mainstream" media and public policy experts can continue to debunk Trump's lies. But, for a variety of reasons - both good and bad - most Trump supporters have little faith in these sources. Many (like most other voters) probably don't even pay much attention to the details of media and expert analyses of election issues.

Both common sense and some empirical research indicates that people are more likely to accept unpalatable political truths when those are presented by people they perceive to be on "their" side. Thus, Republicans may be more likely to accept that the 2020 election wasn't "rigged" if they hear it from leaders or experts who are themselves conservative Republicans. But most GOP politicians are wary of angering Trump and the Party's base. Those who have spoken out - like Wyoming Rep. Lynne Cheney - have faced ostracism from the party as a result.

Today, big-name Republican political adviser and pundit Karl Rove performed a potentially useful service by publishing a high-profile Wall Street Journal article denouncing both the January 6 attack and lies about the election outcome. Rove urges fellow Republicans to join him in speaking out. Whether they heed his call remains to be seen.

In sum, this will be a difficult challenge to overcome. But the beginning of wisdom is to at least recognize that the problem is rooted in the broader dynamics of political ignorance and bias - dynamics that are far from unique to Trumpist Republicans, or to this specific issue. We should also recognize there is room for incremental progress through institutional reform and other measures, even if we cannot quickly achieve a comprehensive solution. In the long run, we should also work towards restructuring the political system in ways that reduce the influence of public ignorance, and empower people to make decisions in settings where there are much better incentives to seek out information and use it wisely.

NEXT: The Trojan Doctrine: Trademarks and the Law of the Horse

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  1. This isn't the voter ignorance typically brought up on the site, where an individual avoids or doesn't learn something. These individuals have sought out misinformation intentionally. listening to information sources that don't tell the truth. Is it really "ignorance".

    This is an example of tribalism. The individuals in question believe that anyone who isn't in their tribe is lying or out to get them. As such, violence is warranted. The non tribe members are taking things from them, and that isn't right. It has nothing to do with political ignorance, and everything to do with picking a side.

    1. ↑↑↑_THIS_↑↑↑

  2. A very good post, with two exceptions. The first is this statement

    "The rioters believed that Donald Trump was the real winner of the 2020 election, and that Joe Biden has "stolen" it through fraud. They clung to this belief, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary"

    The evidence was not overwhelming. the evidence was unanimous. The statement above leaves the impression that there was some evidence to suppor the idea of a 'stolen election' but that the counter evidence overwhelmed it. This was not the case, there is no evidence whatsoever of a stolen election and to imply otherwise in the interest of say, fairness weakens the whole post.

    The second concern in the post is this statement,

    "Politicians across the political spectrum routinely exploit voter ignorance and partisan bias - a problem that long predates Trump. Barack Obama, for example, did so with his strategy of using a blatant lie to sell the Affordable Care Act to the public."

    The sentiment of this statement is correct, but the example is wrong. Obama's blatant lie, that you could keep your old policy if you wanted grew out of near total ignorance on the part of Obama with respect to the details of the ACA. He did not intend to lie, he just didn't know what the hell he was talking about and his arrogance in this case blinded him to that fact. But yes, Dems and liberals lie all the time, just not in the case cited in the Post.

    But almost all, if not all of those professing the 'stolen election' scenario are lying in the sense they know what they are spouting is not true. They are lying for political gain and to ingratiate themselves with Trump. This is truly despicable and a danger to the Republic. The lie about ACA was unacceptable, but it did not endanger the nation even if it was the difference in passing ACA.

    ,

    1. The problem with ignorance (which includes most people when it comes to economics, politics, and science) is that people who are ignorant generally don't dig into the details to figure out if something is plausible or not.

      This is true of people who avoid getting vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 because "a friend of mine knows a nurse who said that the mRNA vaccines alter your DNA" or someone who refuses to buy GMO foods "because they are bad for you" or those without gluten sensitivities who pay extra for "gluten free" foods.

      Most of the idiots who stormed the Capitol a year ago probably truly believed "the great lie" just as much as Obama believed his obvious misstatement (no one with even a rudimentary understanding of insurance, the PPACA, or business economics believed Obama's statement - but many ignorant people did).

      I would also argue that the dire impact of too many Republicans believing the "great lie" is being way overblown and that the PPACA will have more impact on the country (good or bad) in ten years than the "great lie" will have had.

      There are too many Republicans who believe the "great lie" and therefore felt the that process was not being subverted. On the other hand there are also too many Democrats who believe in socialism and don't understand the basics of personal freedom, including economic freedom, on which the country was founded. There is hope for the former once they are convinced of the facts. I fear there is little hope for the latter as they try to turn our entire social system on it's head including silencing speech they don't agree with, punishing successful entrepreneurs with excessive taxes, etc -- they just don't care in the structure and wish to overturn it.

    2. We got to keep our health insurance. In fact, our premiums went down a bit.

      Obama couldn't control what private insurers did.

      1. That is closer to my view. But I thought there was some cynicism in what Obama did. I think he understood as well as many that insurers would mostly choose to drop existing policies. But he also understood that Obamacare did not require that result. Which made his statement not a lie when he said it, even though it was unlikely to hold up for long.

        1. Even politicfact, which keeps a very heavy thumb on the scale indeed, couldn't stomach that claim. Lie of the Year: 'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it'

          Yes, if your policy already complied with the ACA, you could keep it. But that wasn't what he said.

      2. "Obama couldn't control what private insurers did."

        Oh, you mean the ACA was a suggestion, not a law?

        No, actually the ACA did take away most people's existing policies, because the only way you got to keep a policy that conflicted with it grandfathered is if there were no changes AT ALL.

        1. I should note it did take a while to get around to most people's policies, though I lost mine almost immediately, because it was a good one.

        2. Most people? No, that's nonsense. Most policies were in compliance with the ACA's requirements already.

          1. Sooner or later you lost your policy. The better policies died faster.

          2. Sarcastr0 - you are correct about large company policies but not about small company ones. In our case the state had rules for companies under 50 employees - these plans were much better and much more affordable than the plans that replaced them under the ACA.

          3. My plan was too generous per ACA, so it had to be downsized. Maybe you had one that was "juuusst right.

      3. This may be true for you, but is not the case for many.

  3. "The persistence of the Trumpist "Big Lie" about the election poses obvious dangers."

    Bigger dangers than Hillary still claiming Trump stole the 2016 election?

    What about Al Gore supporters who still claim the 2000 election was stolen?

    1. I have to agree. The selective choice of history in this article is very notable, as there were near constant claims that both prior presidents stole their elections that persist to the present day. The only difference is that the protestors in 2000 and 2016 confined their protest to outside the capitol while the 2020 protestors got in.

      This also willfully ignores the multiple insurrections that had occurred in the year prior. The "autonomous zones" were
      1: Organized
      2: Had a leader
      3: Were armed
      4: Claimed to be independent of the USA
      5: Claimed land for their independent country
      6: Lasted for long enough for people to know the purpose and direction of the zone.

      To compare, the January 6th riot was unorganized, leaderless, unarmed, never declared that they were overthrowing an elected government (indeed, they claimed that they were preventing an insurrection), and it was over in a matter of hours, before anyone on the ground really was able to understand the extent of what happened.

    2. When Al Gore and Hillary Clinton supporters storm the Capitol to try to prevent an election certification, get back to us.

      1. "Stolen election" means something very specific. It basically means stuffed ballot boxes. It does not mean extending poll hours so that people who really do have the right to vote have a chance to vote. It does not mean allowing ballots to be collected in a variety of ways so that people who really do have the right to vote are able to do so. It doesn't even mean that the electoral college awards the election to someone who lost the popular vote. No, a "stolen" election is pretty much limited to dirty tricks in which bogus votes are counted, or legitimate votes aren't. The rest of that is tactics. And when Trump says the election was stolen, that's pretty much what he wants his followers to think.

        Looked at in that light, I don't think there are many Gore or Clinton supporters who think the 2000 or 2016 were stolen. There was much grumbling about the electoral college, and about Russian bots spreading falsehoods in 2016. But actual stuffed ballot boxes? No, I didn't hear much from Democrats alleging that, and given the circles I run in, I would have heard about it if there were.

        Trump, on the other hand, is claiming actual votes were stolen. So trying to compare him to Gore or Clinton is nothing more than what-aboutism that's not even analogous.

        1. Not "Brevity" much?

        2. Many people claimed that the Supreme Court falsely declared Bush the election. There were open declarations that it was stolen and that the Florida recount should not have been stopped. The word "stolen" was used extensively, and there were large protests outside Congress during the certification and the inauguration. It was so bad that the New York Times actually went and did the recount themselves, and even the fact that every legal method of counting gave the election to Bush didn't stop the claims.

          I last heard that claim all of a week ago. After 20 years, people still believe it. So no, this isn't a one-off thing and we should object to selective condemnation.

          1. Ben, assume all of that to be true. Now, compare how Gore handled it - like a grown up, conceding to Bush once it was apparent the fat lady had sung, even presiding over the joint session of Congress that declared Bush the winner - to how Trump handled it.

            1. "like a grown up"? by Effing his (Hispanic Maid, not that there's anything wrong with that) "Conceding to Bush"? yeah, when his attempts to fellate the Fl Surpreme Court failed, oh wait, his fellation succated, Thank J-hovah for the 538 "W" voters. Yes, the environment would have probably done better with AlGore, Air Force 1 much more efficient than his G6, and POTUS's don't fly as much as former VPOTUS's in any event.

              1. I’m sure there’s some point or other you were trying to make.

            2. Trump's conduct since the election has been appalling, and in this respect at least Gore deserves commendation. But the OP was about Trump supporters, who in fact are no more ignorant or blinkered than Gore supporters. There are, however, a lot of more of the latter in faculty lounges, which is why Somin takes care not to offend or insult them.

          2. You're avoiding the distinction, Ben.

            There were disagreements with the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, but Gore conceded the election. Has Trump? No Senators voted noted to certify any state's slate of electors in 2000. Anti-constitutional Republicans like Cruz and Hawley did in 2020. Those are not minor differences. There is no parallel.

            Same with respect to 2016 vs. 2020. Hillary Clinton conceded the election to Trump on November 9, 2016. Just days after election day. Has Trump conceded? Did any Senators vote not to certify any states electors in 2016? Again, what happened in 2020?

            Even assuming your point is accurate that the word "stolen" has been used with respect to 2000, 2016, and 2020, the people using it obviously meant different things. Your attempted analogy between Trump and his supporters' behavior in 2020 to the behavior of Gore or Hillary and their respective supporters in 2000 or 2016 is so obviously flawed that it very nearly suggests you are being intentionally dishonest.

            What happened in 2020, including the failure of Trump to concede, the sitting President actively promoting conspiracy theories about stuffed ballot boxes, etc., the sitting President openly pressuring various officials to overturn the expressed will of the voters (Raffensperger, Pence, etc.), the sitting President refusing to concede after all legal challenges failed, all ballots counted, and electoral votes cast, the sitting President promoting those lies of a "stolen election" to a crowd including many who then stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop the counting of electors and throw the election to Trump, the sitting President refusing to attend the inauguration of his successor.

            Ben, you're either delusional or a liar if you refuse to concede the uniquely damaging behavior of Trump, his enablers, and his supporters with respect to the 2020 election.

          3. Ben, I can help you out. Try to switch focus. Whenever you hear, "Stole the election," say to yourself, "Stole, schmole."

            What matters, what does the damage now, is that Trump with his ongoing activities and antics has gone far beyond that stole-the-election claim. What Trump has done amounts to denial of the authority of the people's power to decide the election.

            Trump's protracted denial, and energetic agitation, amount to him entering into a rivalry with the American People for the nation's sovereignty. He literally is trying to organize enough political force to triumph in a contest of raw power over America's popular sovereign. Trump is trying to organize a faction to throw America's popular sovereign out of American constitutionalism, and replace it with some invention of his own.

            Now ask yourself, did you see Hillary doing that? Al Gore?

        3. " It basically means stuffed ballot boxes"

          Says who?

          1. Trump, and a bunch of people on this blog for a while.

        4. "Stolen election" means something very specific. It basically means stuffed ballot boxes.

          I think it's a bit broader than that. But it means one of two things:

          1) Sufficient legitimate voters being prevented from voting (or having their ballots tossed) without good reason; or
          2) Sufficient fake votes (votes by people who aren't eligible to vote either because they already voted, or don't live in the district, or aren't citizens, or don't exist) being counted.

          Here's what's not a stolen election: a legitimate voter, eligible to vote, casting a vote, and having that vote counted despite a minor technical discrepancy.

          Some people here *cough*Brett*cough* seem to think elections are a game, and that arbitrary rules must be complied with down to the microdetail because that's the point of a game. If the rule says that the ball is dead if the shoelace of the guy holding it grazes the sideline, well, that's the rule. If the rule says that if you breathe funny on the ball and it moves a millimeter, that counts as a penalty stroke, well, that's the rule. They may be silly rules and trivial infractions, but the point of the contest is to see who can get the most points or the lowest score by complying exactly with the rules.

          But the point of an election is not to secure compliance with rules, it's to see who the electorate wants to win. To be sure, some rules are necessary for administrative purposes, and to prevent fraud, so one can't just say, "Everyone do whatever you want." But it's also illegitimate to say, "You're eligible to vote. It's indisputable who you wanted to vote for. But you ignored this arbitrary rule that doesn't advance our goals, so your vote doesn't count."

          If the ballot instructions say, "Fill this out in black ink," and you overlook or ignore that and fill it out in blue ink, that does not make your vote fraudulent. It does not justify tossing your ballot. It does not mean the election was "stolen" because an election official or a judge ordered that your vote be counted anyway. (Assuming that this is applied equally, of course, rather than just to you.)

      2. OK, put that on my calendar, Al Gore/HRC supporters storm the Capitol after DJT's election certification January 6, 2025.

      3. Didn't the Teacher Unions storm the State Capital in Madison to stop the State Legislature vote to end some of their monopoly powers? Didn't crazy "karens" storm the Senate to stop the SC vote? was this a level higher..yes..was it organized? No. Were the rioters armed? No. Did they destroy statues and paintings unlike the marxist BLM riots? No. And let's be honest..this is the Congress that allowed an undeclared war for 20 years in Afghanistan killing hundreds of thousands of Afgan citizens including droning of thousands of children into pieces. Should the capital police been more forceful..yes but honestly this wasn't much of an insurrection. Heck the Russian Hoax was more of one.

    3. Hush. Many of Prof. Somin's friends and colleagues believe that about the 2000 and 2016 elections. He only wants safe targets: he would never take on the Bruce Ackermans (just as an example) of the world.

      1. CANCEL! CANCEL OPINION NOT PERMITTED!!!!!

    4. The Gore supporters say that based on the objectively true fact that SCOTUS did tilt the scales to Bush and that a complete recount with uniformed rules might have swung it to Gore. They also point out that the Buchanan ballot confusion robbed Gore of the win. Gore conceded the election and his supporters did not attack the capital.

      The Clinton supporters say that based on the objectivity true statement that there was Russian interference to help Trump and that members of the Trump campaign knew about it. The uncertainty is if Trump knew about it or not and if there was any communication between the Trump campaign and Russia. Clinton conceded the election and her supporters did not attack the capital.

      The Trump supporters based their views on the objectively false statement that Trump won the election and there was a massive conspiracy (that included his own supporters) to steal the election. Trump did not concede the election and his supporters did attack the capital. Trump spreads lies about the election to this day.

      1. There was a massive conspiracy to steal the election. Why do you think Twitter blocked the New York Post for several weeks just before the election, and they and Facebook both blocked people from citing the facts in that report? Where did Zuck Bucks go to pay for illegal changes in election procedures? Why were Pennsylvania poll workers caught on tape destroying election records, and saying they couldn't talk any more about what they were doing because it's a felony? Why has Georgia found more and more of the kind of illegal procedures that Trump supporters claimed, specifically including illegal ballot harvesting?

        Democrats thought that their alliance with media scum would let them rewrite facts. They are now finding out that tactic was only good for the year 2020, as their whines about "real democracy" and "insurrection" and "worse than Pearl Harbor" fall on deaf ears.

        1. Michael P, that stuff may still be okay for a while. But when people close to you start asking why you do it, give it up immediately. If they get the impression it's involuntary, they will conclude you are psychotic.

        2. "Why do you think Twitter blocked the New York Post for several weeks just before the election"

          Because it's openly funded by the Kremlin to produce misinformation and propaganda. It isn't a real newspaper.

          "Where did Zuck Bucks go to pay for illegal changes in election procedures?"

          You're repeating a vile antisemitic lie. There is no basis in fact for it.

          "Why were Pennsylvania poll workers caught on tape destroying election records"

          They weren't. Again, that's simply a flat-out lie.

          "Why has Georgia found more and more of the kind of illegal procedures that Trump supporters claimed, specifically including illegal ballot harvesting"

          And again, this is the exact opposite of the truth. Georgia investigated the election as the nutjobs demanded, and found that Trump's votes had been _over_ counted.

          If your only recourse is to complete fiction, it suggests you're actually insane in your desire not to admit having been completely and utterly fooled by scumbag liars who only want your money.

          1. The New York Post is funded by the Russians? Bats**t crazy. But probably many of Somin's academic colleagues would believe it.

            1. Does "probably" here mean you really don't have any idea who Somin's academic colleagues are, or what they believe? I think that's probably what you meant.

      2. Please "russian interference"..really? Well, they spent a few hundred K on bad FB ads which how many people really saw? Clinton and Obams kneecapped Trump with the Russian Hoax...that is grounds for treason. Perhaps some of the DNC folks involved it that should be in jail without bail like the rioters have been.

        1. What Russian Hoax?

          Trump tried to collude. He thought he was colluding. It was only his stupidity, laziness and incompetence which prevented from doing "the art of the deal".

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsbkB0lcmeE

      3. "The Gore supporters say that based on the objectively true fact that SCOTUS did tilt the scales to Bush and that a complete recount with uniformed rules might have swung it to Gore."

        Then why didn't they ask for uniform rules in the recount? It was the Bush side asking for uniform counting standards, remember, not Gore.

        "They also point out that the Buchanan ballot confusion robbed Gore of the win."

        So freaking what? You cast the vote you cast, not the vote you meant to cast. When the people counting the ballots have your vote for Buchanan right in front of them, they can't put it down as a vote for Gore on account of mind reading, even if it would probably be correct mind reading.

        You might actually have a reasonable complaint about the 'butterfly ballot' if it had been designed by Republicans. But it wasn't, the people who produced it were Democrats.

        1. Your characterization of the legal wrangling about Florida recounts in 2000 are, to be as generous as possible, misleading.

      4. As always, your bias and ignorance pushes straight into stupidity. There is no 'objectively true fact' that SCOTUS tilted the scales in favor of Bush over Gore -they provided a ruling. There was no Russian collusion or interference, except for that undertaken by the Clinton campaign. The rioting in DC after Clinton lost was far more violent destructive than the events of 6 January 2021. Trump lost the election, this does not mean that citizens cannot protest. As you are not particularly intelligent, I doubt you will comprehend this.

    5. Trump attempting to steal an election, and almost getting away with it except for the actions of various state officials and Pence, is far, far worse than the bitching and moaning of unfair elections from Democrats about their losses.

    6. Bigger dangers than Hillary still claiming Trump stole the 2016 election?

      What about Al Gore supporters who still claim the 2000 election was stolen?

      Yes. Much bigger. Orders of magnitude bigger. First, few or Gore supporters still cling to those ideas, if many ever did.

      OTOH, 70% of Republicans think Biden stole the election, and a substantial portion of those believe violence is justified to fight back

      Second, those few who do have yet to mount an assault on the Capitol to install their preferred candidate.

      Third, they do not have the support of a large number of Democratic members of Congress, whereas the GOP has made believing the absurd a litmus test of party loyalty.

      Your whatabouttery is nonsense. Grasping at straws. It is plain as day that the Republican Party is unwilling to accept the legitimcy of an election they lose, to the extent of, at least, winking at violent efforts to overturn the results.

    7. The Trump-loving, and Trump-loved, 1/6 insurrectionists erected a gallows to hang Mike Pence for doing what Al Gore did.

  4. I would suggest that the real cause is not political ignorance but political alienation. Large segments of the population believe that their concerns are not heard by the elites and they have little power to effect changes.

    This is largely responsible for the response to Trump's "Drain the Swamp". Similarly blacks fell much the same sense in a different direction, leading to those who acted out in the protests 2020.

    1. and some of us believe the 1st amendment(and 2d, all of them actually) means what it says.

    2. I would suggest that the real cause is not political ignorance but political alienation. Large segments of the population believe that their concerns are not heard by the elites and they have little power to effect changes.

      Yes, absolutely. I have called it 'disconnection' in conversation. Our political leadership has become completely disconnected from those they represent.

    3. No, the problem is ignorance. You can feel left out for reasons that are true, and feel left out for reasons that are fantasy.

      1. You can feel left out for both at the same time, too.

  5. If you actually want to understand what led to that riot, Darryl Cooper has the best explanation that I've seen: https://outsidevoices.substack.com/p/author-of-the-mega-viral-thread-on

    1. it wasn't chip embedded commands from Trump?? CANCEL! CANCEL!

    2. Darryl Cooper has a theory but not a whole lot of support for it. It's apparently based on talking with a handful of Trump supporters who may not be representative of the whole.

      He writes: “It may surprise many liberals, but most conservative normies actually know the Russia collusion case front and back.” It's a bit ironic that in the preceding sentence, he conflates spying on Carter Page with spying on the Trump campaign. (The FISA warrants were issued after Carter Page left the campaign.)

      He writes that Trump supporters knew that cases challenging election procedures, “wouldn’t see a courtroom until after the election.” Common sense should have told him that Courts try to rule on election procedures before the election rather than after. The “2016 Election Lawsuit Tracker” at ProPublica.org lists the status of various lawsuits, and I can't spot any lawsuits where the Court didn't reach a decision prior to election day (though in many cases the ruling is on issuing a preliminary injunction rather than a final decision on the case).

      Cooper doesn't even consider the role of the right wing propaganda machine in creating the environment where the January 6 attack could have occurred.

      1. Ken, multiple of these "court did reach a decision" was a decision that the challenger had a lack of standing because they had not been harmed. Multiple of these cases were published on this very blog. That was one of the things that got people angry "No justice before of no standing. No justice after because it's moot. No Justice ever".

  6. How do you have an attack when the attackers brought no weapons.

    Sounds like it was organized by a bunch of liberals.

    1. can you imagine the BO on that "Viking Helmet" guy? Probably what killed that Security Dude(HT to the morbid obesity, type 2 DM, HTN)

    2. Luckily for you there are lots of videos of the attack so you may educate yourself regarding your good faith question.

      Unless you were making some exemplary point about political ignorance, in which case well played.

      1. of the female USAF Veteran getting murdered?? (legal term, look it up, its what happened) Yes, she was murdered, normally an unarmed minority (In DC the Veteran was definitely a "Minority") citizen being murdered by an armed Law Enforcement Officer would result in serious vengeance and anger(HT J. Winfield) but here? Oh, the journalists covering the (murder) have PTSD!

        1. Oh, give me a break. Yes, ideally that cop shouldn't have shot her, and he apparently isn't the best cop around in terms of weapon handling.

          But I'd have expected to get shot, myself, if I'd been doing the same thing. Seriously, I've seen that video, and it was suicide by cop. Do NOT try to bust through a door when there's a cop on the other side with a drawn gun telling you to stop!

  7. I lost a lot of respect for Trump in how he handled his loss, and I'm convinced it was a loss. If Trump actually thought he won he went about it the wrong way. And the Jan 6. debacle was Trump's fault, although I don't think it was preplanned, except by maybe the FBI, and I don't think Trump has any legal liability.

    However I don't think the Democrats have any high ground to stand on, the Russian Interference Hoax was probably even more damaging to our country, and weaponizing the FBI and Intelligence committees to try to freeze Trump or get him to resign was even more dangerous than the 2020 election dispute.

    I also think the Russian Interference Hoax lead directly to the 2020 election dispute: if the Democrats and the deep state were willing to go to the lengths they did to get Trump 2016-2019, it certainly makes it more believable they might try to commit fraud in enough key states to swing the election. I don't think that happened but it does make it more believable.

    1. In my opinion Trumps reaction to his loss directly caused the Republicans to lose control of the Senate. His actions energized Democrats and demoralized Republicans causing the loss of two Senate seats in Georgia run off elections.

      1. I agree, I've said multiple times that I blame Trump for losing the Senate. And I blame him for the damage the Democrats have done having even marginal control of Washington.

      2. Not Trumps fault that both Repubiclan candidates ran incompent lackluster cam-pains(no misspelling, they were painful) Admittedly the Chick had a harder road, facing a charismatic Afro-Amurican-Anti-Semite, but Perdue, (look up P-word in the dictionary and you see "David Perdue") refused to debate his opponent, (look up "Woke, pretentious, Millennial and you see "Jon Ossoff") ran commercials where most voters first heard his gay-ish voice, and now thinks he's going to beat Brian Kemp, who for all his foibles (He jokingly pointed a shotgun in the general direction of one of his daughters suitors) will Politically Ass-rape-Tea-bag him in the primary.....

    2. This is not something you can bothsides.

      And capitalizing the Russian Interference Hoax doesn't make it a thing outside conservative shoutey circles.

      And then you end with an amazing bootstraping from 'I believe this thing isn't real, which lets me forgive this real bad thing my side did.'

      And thus to partisans do work so they can look themselves in the mirror and yet defend what they defend.
      This is why I cannot trust you to stand up should the same crowd try the same crap in 2024. Damn shame to think that of a countryman.

      1. That's a lot of name calling for not having any real point.

        The fact that you don't admit that the Russia collusion hoax was an actual conspiracy says much more about you than about Kazinski.

        1. It may say a lot about me to you, but you think a lot of things that aren't true are actually real facts.

          Your post above about the twitter-Zuckerberg-Democrats-Georgia-Pennsylvania conspiracy is a humdinger.

          Blocking the NY Post was the archstone to the whole scheme!

      2. NOT.
        A.
        DEMOCRAT.

    3. The only hoax of the Russian hoax is calling it a hoax. The Russians did interfere with the election.

      1. Somebody believes in the Big Lie.

        Tell us more, Molly.

          1. They weren't particularly trying to elect Trump. Rather, just like most people, they thought Clinton was going to win, and wanted it to be a small win in order to weaken her.

            After the election they started pushing the other way, running anti-Trump ads, and organizing anti-Trump rallies. They didn't care who won, they just wanted us at each other's throats.

            But, again, their amount of spending was spitting into a hurricane compared to total campaign spending.

    4. Do you think Trump should have been convicted by the Senate and barred from holding future office?

      As to your claims of the Russian Interference Hoax, how about we let Durham finish his work instead of assuming such a hoax occurred?

      1. Somebody believes in the Big Lie. Tell us more, Josh.

      2. We agree Josh R = ...how about we let Durham finish his work instead of assuming such a hoax occurred?

        I want Durham to take his time and chase down exactly what happened here, because to this day we still do not know. IG Horowitz's reports have been helpful. Durham's investigation has to be thorough, complete, and unassailable - whatever he finds. I hope and trust he will complete his investigation by the book; I am heartened thusfar by the fact his people don't leak like a damned sieve to the press. In fact, I am also glad the MSM ignores him; so much the better as he is undistracted.

        1. However, on the other hand, justice delayed is justice denied.

          If suspicions are true, it's likely that the full Durham report will indicate multiple elected officials. If this goes past the next election, then we will lose the ability to vote out congressmen, and perhaps even to account for candidates' actions in the next presidential primary.

          Additionally, there is a non-trivial chance that Trump, Pelosi, Clinton, or Biden won't live to see the next two years. "Acquitted too late" is a real concern when several people involved are in their 70s.

          1. Ben....We wait, and give Mr. Durham the time and space he needs to issue his report. It has to be unassailable, IMO. If it take an extra election cycle, so be it. This is simply too important to get wrong.

    5. so a political game where prior to votes being cast you have no standing to object to the rules changes through non-legislative means, but afterward too bad we don't have time is just fine? There was a coup in 2020 but it was organized by Soros DAs and the DNC.

  8. They had a special song composed by the Miranda sung by the Hamilton cast today at the festivities.

    That ought to convince Trump supporters of the error of their ways.

    1. My mistake, apparently it was a song from Hamilton, "Dear Theodosia", not a new song.

      1. And talk about irony...the song in the musical was sung by Burr - who was tried for treason.

    2. Politicians do cringey thing. Truly, this is the thing to talk about.

      1. NOT. A. DEMOCRAT!

        Seriously.

    3. ha ha ha..Pelosi's silicon and botox have migrated to her brain

  9. I'm confused (as usual),
    I thought the "stolen erection" was in 2016 when the Roosh-uns (HT B. Sanders "45" in an alternative universe where the Roosh-uns didn't erect Trump by releasing Hilary Rodmans antisemitic e-mails and Comey didn't decide to not indict HRC by not indicting her)
    umm did what I said above, even remember Marxist Stream Media Pundits Pundit-ing that E-rectors could deny Trump the POTUS by being unfaithful (totally constitutional)
    indeed, a few were, rendering HRC's defeat even more humiliating...

    1. You're right; you're confused.

      1. and you're ugly, I can get un-confused.

        1. You’ve offered no evidence of either.

          1. and your old man!, seriously bring some more game to the game, but as you're obviously demented (like our POTUS) I'll hold your hand and lead you back to your room in the Nursing Home...

            from 2016 I've listened to countless PMS/Clinton News Network/Marxist Stream Media about the Russians stealing the election by exposing the Hilary Rodman(HT J. Jackson, another Anti-semite) cam-pain(no misspelling, anything with HRC involves pain) sabotage of Bernie's Campaign....

            Et Tu, Stupid?

            1. I’m sure there was a point you were attempting to make.

              1. on Yo Hai'd!
                seriously, usually you make a point, give some supporting evidence, preemptively attempt to hinder your opponent's response(you never played chess growing up, did you? "Amuricans play Poker, Russians play Chess, Henry Kissinger said that shit(or Oliver Stone?)
                So you have no rejoinder, no clever quip, in German I'd respond,

                "Na Und?"

                Google that Shit

                Frank "seriously, up your game"

                1. I’m sure there was a point you were intending to make.

  10. "Why do so many Republicans believe blatant falsehoods about the 2020 election?"

    Probably because they are not blatant falsehoods. Might want to start there!

    1. and you don't "refresh the Tree of Liberty" with strongly worded letters.

  11. It's sad that everyone else is more stupid and ignorant than Ilya.

    1. Professor Somin wishes to curate what information we see. For our own good, and to reduce our ignorance. How do I begin to thank him for such a generous and unsolicited offer? /smh

      1. Curate: "carefully chosen and thoughtfully organized or presented."

        Yes, he absolutely is (AND SHOULD) curate info for us. He's not suggesting censoring lie that you can find elsewhere...even if only the truly delusional or mentally retarded could possibly believe some of them. But, on a legal blog, I'd certainly want law professors to do their own analysis of arguments and evidence, and have them present these thoughts to me. It's how I learn. When Josh Blackman writes here, he 100% curates . . . I've (so far) found him to be irresponsible most of the time. But he'd be a bad writer if he did no curation. Same with Prof Volokh, and same with Ilya.

        I guess I'm surprised that you (apparently) are *shocked and dismayed* that this totally normal behavior is going on. Or, at least, you felt it was so noteworthy that you felt compelled to make a smartass comment, which I assume was intended to communicate something to all of us other readers.

        1. SM811, curating what blog topics and posts come to VC is fine. And encouraged (I learn a lot here). Curating the information I see elsewhere in life is not. It is the second that is unsolicited and unwanted.

          Isn't that what Professor Somin is really arguing for, SM811?

          1. Are you being serious here? Can you support that with anything from his actual writing?

  12. Claiming fraud was old news a century ago.

    https://youtu.be/9iMy0969BTw

    Quit feigning like it's something new.

    Secondly, both sides do it, in preparation for unfavorable election night results, prepping the background "everybody knows" BS noise.

    See! Trump prepare for FRAUD AT POLLS in 2016!

    See! Hillary and Obama chastize him over it!

    See! Them switch sides with unexpected results.

    See! Moving Heaven and Earth for 4 years to undo the choice of voters!

    See! In 2012, when my wife became a Democratic observer volunteer to watch for intimidation at polls (that being a big hype the previous 4 years), and they gave her a phone to call a roving lawyer if she saw anything. At 8 pm, the moment the polls closed, with it obvious the Democrats would win, the state party immediately declared the election fair.

    So go ahead, criticize the idiot for having things get out of control. But spare me the wide-eyed doelike facetiousness.

    The nation was not served well the past 4 years, and it was far from all Trump.

    1. This is nothing like what Trump did during the election.

      There were powerpoints about how to ignore the vote of the people.

      1. wow, surprising that (Idiot) you (Idiot) don't (Idiot) give(Idiot) a link (Idiot) to one.
        Oh, did I not say you're an Idiot?

        Frank

        1. I'm not sure if being called an idiot by a shit-for-brains internet troll is an insult or a compliment.

          1. He's using Nazi (((brackets))) too. Best ignored.

      2. And some of these other things were well-planned, too. Actually, were any not so?

        You fight as if a knight for the good side. I'm saying there are no good sides, in grabbing for power, or the wielding of it.

  13. The ignorance here rests mostly with the political elite that chose to smack the label "Big Lie" on the notion of election fraud then used Big Tech to censor anything related to it. Imagine that, cut off legitimate discussion of a huge societal problem and that has the effect of making people want their voice being heard. I've always said that if you want to avoid something like the protest on January 6th don't censor and dismiss people the way the establishment did in 2021.

    1. Your opinions are reasoned, well founded, and supported by evidence. I hope your will is up to date. (Not that you'd leave this Moral Coil because of me, but, you know.....poke the Bear, he's gonna poke Back)

  14. You might think that in this era of Trump, Ilya's quixotic quest to show that both sides are equally ignorant would finally have given up the ghost. But no, he keeps on at it, a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

    1. Oh, that your side's wrong? Author! Author!

      *please link to "Mountain of Evidence"

  15. You'd think that a lawyer like Ilya would know what a constitutional and legal travesty the widespread election law changes leading up to the election were, but I guess it's easy to ignore things when your social standing depends upon doing so.

    1. 'Stolen election' dumbasses are among my favorite culture war casualties. Their betters can't inflict enough scorn, disrespect, and mockery on these deplorable losers.

      1. If only reality was as simple as your mind.

        In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign sued and the Democrats counter-sued on the conduct of the election. The case ended at the state Supreme Court which looked at the law as written by the legislature and signed by the governor and decided that despite the non-severability clause, the law could be selectively sliced apart anyway.

    2. You'd think that a lawyer like XD would be familiar with the caselaw and would know that there was no "constitutional and legal travesty," and that adapting election procedures is something that happens in every election.

  16. I agree in general that citizens may have sensible grounds for not expending a great deal of their time and resources investigating claims made in political discourse ("rational ignorance"), but the January 6 riot is almost the worst conceivable example of that phenomenon.

    Someone who woke up and went into work on January 6, 2021 in Anytown, Ohio without any awareness that Congress was convening on that date to count the votes of presidential electors was, in that sense, truly rationally ignorant. That person would have had only the most tenuous of connections to that official proceeding and investing time and resources in learning about it would have had no tangible payoff for that person.

    By contrast, people who traveled across the country to march on the Capitol invested a great deal of their own time and resources and placed themselves at considerable personal risk of bodily injury and criminal liability. It is absurd to suggest that those people rationally decided that it was too much trouble for them to look into the factual and political claims for which that effort was undertaken but nevertheless took time off work, got on planes, rented hotel rooms, etc.

    1. Excellent point.

  17. No, disbelieving MSM storytelling isn't "ignorance". Misdescribing events isn't going to get anyone to buy or read your book.

    1. I don't know, 'The Art of the Deal' sold pretty well.

      1. What did it say? Somehow your comment must be relevant, right? You're not that juvenile, surely...

        Please expound so we may understand what your point is.

    2. It's pretty clear that there's nothing that could get you to read a book.

  18. Trump's attempts to pressure state officials into falsifying the vote count in his favor.

    That's just TDS nonsense. Trump asked them to find the truth.

    Don't be deranged. Trump has plenty of real issues, but when he's accused in this kind of twisted way, the accuser is the liar.

    1. "Oh, I lost by 37,112 votes? Hey, help me find 37,113 votes, so I can win."

      Yup, sounds totally above-board and ethical to me. Brave, misunderstood Donald Trump, alone in his quest to bring honesty and integrity back to politics, cursed to be surrounded by judges he appointed, Republican auditors handpicked by Republican politicians, who willfully ignore the truth, and instead focus on the actual votes that were cast. It's practically a Greek tragedy. And to make matters worse, Epstein's not around to buddy up to any more. What's Trump gonna do to relieve all his stress now? (Just kidding, of course. As long as there is an 18-to-30 year old pussy to grab, Trump will do just fine.)

      1. "help me find" is not a request for manufacturing fraudulent votes.

        Unless you're deranged by Trump hatred.

        1. That's exactly what it is. Elections officials do not "find" votes.

  19. There was no peaceful transfer of power following the 2016 election. The outgoing administration kneecapped the incoming one through politicized intelligence, salacious leaks, and a baseless special counsel investigation that persisted for the majority of the term. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, as far as I'm concerned.

  20. Trump continues to propound the Big Lie because he profits from doing so. That will continue to be the case until Trump is held to account for his lying and grifting.

    The criminal justice process is there for a reason. Let´s hope Trump and his cohorts are held to account and imprisoned sooner rather than later.

    1. Imprisoned for what?

      1. Attempt and conspiracy to corruptly influence an official proceeding in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1512(c)(2) and 1512(k).

        1. And 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious conspiracy

          ...conspire to oppose by force the authority [of Government of the United States], or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.

          Note the crime is the first word of that quote...the act of force never has to happen. Granted, corruptly influence is more likely for Trump but, hey, who can resist a little sedition?

  21. The election was stolen through corruption in the press and the social media platforms. Hunter Biden's laptop alone was sufficient to put the nail in Biden's candidacy if that story hadn't been buried, and that example is a mere drop in the bucket of the overwhelming propaganda that was flooded onto the sleepers in the political middle that were nudged toward the democrats by outright media falsehoods and lies of omission.

    Ironically Trump only proved himself corrupt in the end by his actions in the aftermath of election whereas the prior accusations such as Russia etc etc etc etc etc were left wing propoganda. And he handed the senate to the Dems in the process by allowing them to win in GA due to his unhinged rhetoric.

    1. What exactly did you expect, after all the social media censorship?

      Look, as soon as you start censoring the other side in an argument, people tend to conclude you're doing it because you'd otherwise lose the argument. That's just natural, and a reasonably good heuristic, too.

      You act like you're guilty, people think you're guilty. You kick out election observers, (Yes, it DID happen!) and people think you're rigging the count. You break the rules, and the loser has to be expected to think that's why you won.

      This was a pretty close election, about (IIRC) 43k votes in two states, and it would have come out differently. There are a lot of "but for" reasons for Trump losing, (And, yes, I think he did lose.) and a lot of them stink on ice.

      Election laws being violated, political donations laundered by making them to election offices instead of the candidate, social media censorship. It's quite easy to think Trump would have won a fair election conducted by the rules.

      That's not quite the same thing as him having lost due to fraudulent votes, though, or actually having won. He did lose, on December 14th, when the EC voted, and that's when he should have ended his contesting the outcome.

      But the losers in that election have plenty of reason to think they were cheated.

      1. Seems to me that the Dems/media (there's no difference) aspire to cheat in whatever ways they can get away with while engaging in Orwellian finger pointing in the other direction. The current disinformation around Jan 6 geared toward pushing through the corrupt voting "rights" bill is today's example. I watched Ari Melber's MSNBC show yesterday, and every second of it was dedicated to spinning bullshit about what happened a year ago, and I am sure the rest of the evening's programming was no different. 

        In my view, the gulf between extreme propaganda and stuffing ballot boxes is not very wide. To your point, there are indeed compelling examples of outright fraud, but they were never substantive enough to show the election was turned as a result. Trump and the GOP could have gained a lot more political traction by highlighting corruption in the media. By overselling the outright fraud, they overshadowed the propaganda and gave the Dems/media a means of clouding all of it. 

        1. In my view, the gulf between extreme propaganda and stuffing ballot boxes is not very wide.

          Well, then in my view you're an idiot.

    2. Hunter Biden's laptop alone was sufficient to put the nail in Biden's candidacy if that story hadn't been buried,

      1) The story wasn't buried. It was widely reported, and Twitter's temporary block of it made it even more widely discussed.
      2) The notion that it could have affected Biden's candidacy in any way is a joke. There was nothing to the story, which was so bad that the NYP reporters wouldn't let their names be used on it, and every other conservative outlet mocked it. And of course it didn't have anything to do with Joe Biden anyway.

      and that example is a mere drop in the bucket of the overwhelming propaganda that was flooded onto the sleepers in the political middle that were nudged toward the democrats by outright media falsehoods and lies of omission.

      "The election was stolen because people said things that weren't true about my candidate" isn't a thing.

      1. "The story wasn't buried." lol

        1. How do you know about it?

      2. "And of course it didn't have anything to do with Joe Biden anyway." lolol

  22. Hey man didn't you get beat by Angela McCardle at Geno's debate? I honestly thought you were a jerk when you played the appeal to authority to "science" and downplayed Ms. McCardle's experience in the healthcare industry. You have to love "elites"..it is all about credentials not experience or even smarts...and why the hell was the hit piece on Bishop Tutu in Reason/Volokh? Even if you think he was anti zionist....when in Reason?

    1. I have no idea what this is a reference to, but a look at Angela McArdle's biography does not seem to show any experience in the healthcare industry.

  23. Volokh isn't qualified to talk about loopholes in Election law if he can't even see his own loopholes in First Amendment arguments.

    To Volokh and his supporters who encourage cybercrimes to continue:

    This is the regime to combat harmful online harassment that the USA needs to be set up, ASAP:

    1. Congress needs to pass federal personal data protection laws that criminalize malicious doxing and cyberstalking on a federal level, giving uniformity across state lines.

    2. Congress needs to reform Section 230 to remove ISP immunity from liability if they are notified of cyberstalking, doxing content, and malicious cyberharassment targeting individuals for no legitimate purpose, and impose fines for ISPs and networks that do not remove within a period of time. Fine Google/Facebook say USD 1000 per day if the content remains up and they do not remove.

    3. Institute "notice-and-takedown" mechanism for cyberstalking, cyberharassment, doxing content similar to DMCA for Copyright. The poster can appeal but he needs to reveal his identity and location (similar to DMCA), which would allow victims to sue him if necessary.

    4. Update specific jurisdiction requirements to allow victim of online harassment and stalking to sue from their own state rather than spending exorbitant resources to find out the location of the defendant, who may be out of the country.

    5. If anonymous defendant is found to be using VPN, the plaintiff gets default judgment unless defendant comes out, reveals his identity, to fight the charges.

    6. Establish uniform rule to allow victims of cyber-harassment and cyberstalking to file civil and criminal lawsuits using pseudonym to protect them from re-victimization.

    7. Establish local, state, and federal cyber-investigation cells to investigate reported online crimes rather than ignoring these harms.

    8. Establish a Federal court specifically designed to fight against cyber crimes, with limited jurisdictional and uniformity of application issues.

    We need ROBUST laws in the 21st century that balance Freedom of Expression with curbing online harms. Online harassment will not go away, no matter how hard Eugene Volokh tries to deny it. History will prove him wrong.

    To hell with unrestricted, expansive, dangerously broad "Free Speech" interpretations. The rights of a psycho or mentally ill, malicious harasser to harass, torment others takes a back seat to the rights of the victims to be free from this abuse. See Canada's new "tort of internet harassment." America is falling behind by miles.

    1. Psst - the author of this piece is Somin, not Volokh (either of them).

  24. "But most GOP politicians are wary of angering Trump and the Party's base. Those who have spoken out - like Wyoming Rep. Lynne Cheney - have faced ostracism from the party as a result."

    She's been ostracized because she twice voted to convict on false impeachment charges. Not because she disagrees with claims that the election was stolen.

    1. Weird everyone's more angry at her about the 2020 election.
      See also: Cruz yesterday.

      Your party of choice is crazier than you wish it was.

      1. To be sure, it is. It's still not the party of gun control and political censorship, though, so I'll stick with it for a while. You want me defenseless and silenced, you don't get my vote.

        1. Your betters do not want your vote or your approval, Brett Bellmore.

          But we will have your compliance. You get to whine about it as much as you like, of course. But you will continue to comply with the preferences of better Americans, until replacement occurs.

    2. She's been ostracized because she twice voted to convict on false impeachment charges.

      She voted no times to convict on false impeachment charges, and one time to convict on true impeachment charges.

      And you're just proving the point: it's about the cult of Trump. Not about her positions.

  25. Volokh's interpretation of the 1A is purely sadistic and cruel. The guy has no empathy and doesn't understand the nature of internet communication.

    Under Eugene Volokh’s asinine interpretation of the First Amendment, there would be NO such thing as cyberstalking or cyber-harassment! These crimes would simply not exist in his world. Because these actions are performed with words, Eugene would have the 1A apply to anything that involves words (or by extension, pixels). No course of conduct that involves typing words on a screen would be subject to any civil or criminal liability regardless of content, form, or intention. This mean in Eugene’s warped world, revenge porn, doxing, public disclosure of private fact, privacy violations, even swatting would be perfectly legal, and even encouraged!

    Ludicrously, he argues that these malicious acts are actually “valuable” because they provide value to “at least some people.” That’s a BS argument, because anyone can argue that say doxing material provides value to “someone” – yeah, the doxers and the criminals doing the harassment of course! A person’s credit card can be posted and it would provide value to someone, the thieves. A person’s revenge porn pictures can be posted and it would be obviously valuable to countless shady people on the internet. Eugene’s 1A internet speech test is: as long as the information posted is “of value” to someone, that content doesn’t qualify as harassment! This insanely warped logic is beyond asinine that I wonder how Eugene can say this with a straight face. There is no discussion at all from him on the rights of the victims and their constitutional right to be free from malicious harassment (4th Amendment). Eugene Volokh is borderline sadist who just wants to see people’s lives get wrecked and he takes enjoyment in seeing victims suffer.

    No civilized society would just let victims take the brunt of harassment while online criminals can get away by hiding behind a warped definition of the First Amendment. If the constitution says “Congress shall make no law” then maybe the 1A needs a new interpretation in the age of the internet! Because the current approach is leading to very bad social results and instability when people can just say whatever they want online with no liability. Volokh is insane.

  26. Was this a big problem in 2017? Did the Democrats just acknowledge Trump was president or did they try to do THE EXACT SAME THING!

    Actually more, they funded a $30 million special investigation of what turned out to be an absolute hoax and all of the players knew it.

    No the problem isn't that elections are disputed. That is free speech. I get it this author thinks the election was fair. Why? Well the "Authorities" told them so. Others may think the authorities are hiding stuff which they did. Its not like lets open up the books was the attitude. Its no lets find an "Obama" judge to block you from looking at the books. Because you have "no evidence". The evidence is the books!

    It's one side and only one side that wants to use law enforcement to make that illegal.

    And Professor Volokh. You have this pathetic article published. Are you EVER going to address civil rights abuses by the J6 prisoners?

    Or is that type of article censored by Reason. Wow about as edgy as a butter knife here.

    1. I don't remember any attack on the capital in 2017. I remember Clinton conceding. I also remember the investigations confirming the bulk of the accusations against Russia.

      1. Then you are wrong on both counts. Amazing how in-group bias has blinkered you, the rioting in DC after herself's loss, and confirmation of accusations against Russia. The former is easily found, the latter has unraveled, but you seem quite resilient to facts that do not align with your beliefs.

        1. Are you claiming the Hillary didn't concede in 2016? Or that there was an attack on the capital in 2017? Leaving Russia aside, what did Molly write that you consider wrong "on both counts?"

      2. Go here and get back to me.
        https://www.realclearinvestigations.com/articles/2021/09/09/realclearinvestigations_jan_6-blm_comparison_database_791370.html

        Also note the Pink Hats and the Kavanaugh protestors illegally entered the Capitol

  27. “Lynne” Cheney? WhoDat

    1. It's an inadvertent substitution for Liz, obviously. Was that really worth a comment?

  28. Is this a paid advertisement?

  29. A riot does not become an attack on government, on the framework of the democracy, due to sociopolitical bias. It is a riot, pure and simple. Prof Somin is engaging in the same sort of sophism that the far right/left use when they discuss the activities of their opponents as attacks and threats that must be taken seriously. The same sort of verbal sleight of hand police use when requesting funding based on risk, or defending use of force. It is intellectually dishonest at best. He is not alone, the commentariat seems to relish engaging in the same practice.

    1. Ha ha yeah, a riot that just by coincidence happened to smash into the US Capitol building as Congress was in session counting and ratifying the electoral count. Ignoring that fact isn't intellectually dishonest at all.

  30. I don't know if Trump was cheated or not, but I have been watching election results since the Ford/Carter election and never have I seen a major city's vote counting suspended -- and in this election we saw counting in Detroit, Atlanta, Philedelphia and a major area in North Carolina call a "time out" and suspend counting -- all in Democrat controlled areas.

    Add to that the dubious election law rulings by several courts and I smell something fishy.

    Perhaps if Trump wasn't an asshole he might have gotten a few powerful Republicans to fight, but that was not to be. Most knowledgeable people concede that Nixon was cheated by Kennedy supporters, I suspect in the future word will leak out.

  31. So if there was absolutely ZERO election tampering, what exactly was Zuckerberg, et al getting for the half-billion dollar investment? If that had been Koch money we would all be deaf from the screaching of the harpies of the left.

    1. Making it easier for people to vote.

      1. In a very select set of precincts, not across the board. So, if some right-wing dark money is submitted, with conditions, to election officials - you'll have zero problem with that.

        I would think anyone concerned with election integrity would be disturbed by any funding outside of the govt conducting the election. That is why we pay taxes, for exactly that kind of thing.

  32. Actually Professor, one of your links https://misenategopcdn.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/99/doccuments/20210623/SMPO_2020ElectionReport_2.pdf demonstrates the following:

    1) The State impeded the recruitment of GOP poll watchers and Judges
    2) Court orders allowing watchers and challengers proximity to the activity was ignored.
    3) Was not able to address the idea that private money may have tainted polling place activity

    I do have criticism of the report:

    They appeared uncurious as to why mistakes only hurt Republican chances, and the report appears to rely on the statements of those that might be implicated if wrongdoing was found.

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