Many conservatives are convinced that Joe Biden and the Democrats cheated their way to victory. They did not. It’s a lie.
Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Fox News are lying to you. They know it. This is very simple. I will explain.
In every election, every election of my lifetime and yours and going back further, they count votes after Election Day. It is normal. It always happens. Every election.
But the thing is, it’s never news. Well, it’s almost never news. Sometimes, there’s a real nail-biter, like when Al Franken beat Norm Coleman for that Minnesota Senate seat. But typically, post-Election Day vote-counting is not news because it’s completely uncontroversial: There usually aren’t very many ballots, not enough to change most outcomes, so it happens away from the TV cameras.
When the AP and the TV networks call races on election nights, they are not making that call because every single vote has been counted. They are making that call with the knowledge that there are a certain amount of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted, but they know how many there are, and where they’re from, they know that those votes won’t make a difference in the outcome.
So the vote-counting that’s still going on in a few states is something that always happens. What is different now, of course, is that far, far more people voted by mail this year because of the pandemic. And this is a vitally important point for people to understand, something you’ll never hear mentioned during Fox News primetime. This is happening because Democrats and Republicans all over the country agreed it should happen.
In the wake of the pandemic, states revisited their election laws to make it easier for people to avoid voting in person. Fully 12 states liberalized their voting laws by expanding absentee/mail-in eligibility, according to this list from the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures. These states passed laws that, in varying ways, allowed people to claim illness as a reason for requesting a mail-in ballot, or in some cases states decided to require no excuse at all.
The list includes such breeding grounds of radicalism as Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia, and more. It’s just 12 states because 35 others, from very blue to very red, already let people request a mail-in ballot for any reason. That leaves only four states—Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas—that changed nothing to accommodate the pandemic, which is the Trump position, in essence. Four states.
So you see—conservatives all over the country agreed to relax voting laws. And they did so in the full knowledge that it would mean many more ballots to be counted after Election Night.
Take hotly contested Pennsylvania. The Keystone State actually passed a major voting reform law in the fall of 2019, before the virus. Democratic Governor Tom Wolf called it “the most significant improvement to Pennsylvania's elections in more than 80 years.” House Majority Leader Bryan Cutler, a Republican, chimed in: “This bill was not written to benefit one party or the other, or any one candidate or single election. It was developed over a multi-year period with input of people from different backgrounds and regions of Pennsylvania.” It passed both houses comfortably on a bipartisan basis.
So Republicans across the country agreed to all this. That’s number one.
Number two: Conservative media keeps asking: Isn’t it convenient that in every state, these late votes are going Biden’s way? Many people see an immense conspiracy here. They point, for example, to quotes by Democrats from earlier this year predicting that even if Biden was behind on Election Day itself, he’d catch up in the after-election counting, as if this is proof of how the vote was rigged.
Hmmm. Let’s think about why things unfolded this way in so many states. Why, for example, would Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) take so much longer to count its votes than, say, Potter County, along the New York state line in north-central Pennsylvania?
Well, one explanation is that the evil socialists of Pittsburgh intentionally held the Biden votes back so that he could make a dramatic multi-day comeback as part of a grand conspiracy. Another is that Allegheny County had about 700,000 votes to count, while Potter County had 9,000 to count. You decide which seems more plausible.
On top of that, we have a ton of research and history that tells us that Democrats tend to vote early or absentee much more than Republicans, who still prefer voting on Election Day. These were habits, it was easy to see, that the pandemic would only reinforce, because Democrats are more cautious and mask up more.
In other words, the fact that Biden would lead in early voting, Trump would catch up on Election Day, and then Biden might have a shot at retaking the lead in late counting because most of those votes would be from higher population centers was entirely predictable, and nearly everyone predicted it. It was the way things were bound to unfold. But a conspiracy it was not.
And by the way, with respect to Pennsylvania, the state’s Democratic counties were pushing the legislature to change the law this fall so that they could count mail-in ballots before Election Day, so that none of this would have happened! Processing ballots before Election Day would have permitted Bucks County to tabulate them all within 12 to 15 hours after polls close, according to elections experts who testified before the state legislature at the time. “If they would just do that, that’s it, that’s all we really need,” Diane Ellis-Marseglia, a Democrat who chairs the Bucks County Board of Commissioners, said. But the legislature—Republican-controlled, please note—didn’t make that change.
Yet on the right, it’s all a conspiracy. And liberals are total hypocrites. That’s another good one. I’ve seen conservatives whine: Funny how in 2016, according to the libtards, Trump rigged the election, but when it comes to 2020, the election’s clean and no one’s rigging anything.
This is a special skill of right-wing propagandists like Limbaugh and Hannity. They’re constantly mixing apples and oranges, taking two completely different situations and calling them the same thing when, other than each one involving an election, they’re not similar at all.
Let me put it this way. A car is a car. A Rolls-Royce is a car. And a Yugo is a car. But when you look under the hoods, they’re pretty different.
And that is what’s going on here. In 2016, there was credible evidence that Trump might have been colluding with a foreign government. I realize there has materialized no subsequent smoking-gun proof that that happened, except for the colluding he did in broad daylight (“Russia, if you’re listening…”). But the point is that there was credible evidence. Seventeen intelligence agencies agreed that Russia was intervening to help Trump. It was hardly insane to wonder whether Trump was accepting any help.
This time, there is just no credible evidence of any wrongdoing. I’m sure there are instances of fraud here and there, and Fox and others know how to take isolated instances and make them look widespread. But it is not reality.
Conservatives are surely enraged that Trump’s lawsuits are getting laughed out of courts across the country. But there’s a reason for that. They are not producing credible evidence. Here’s what a Michigan court had to say about what the Trump team offered as evidence:
“This ‘supplemental evidence’ is inadmissible as hearsay. The assertion that Connarn was informed by an unknown individual what ‘other hired poll workers at her table’ had been told is inadmissible as hearsay within hearsay, and plaintiffs have provided no hearsay exception for either level of hearsay that would warrant consideration of the evidence. The note—which is vague and equivocal—is likewise hearsay…”
I could go on, but I hope we’re clear here. I can certainly understand Trump supporters being horrified at the way things worked out. If things had gone in the opposite direction, I can assure you that I’d be horrified. But I can also assure you that, distraught as I’d be, I would not be questioning the validity of the process, and I feel confident that most liberals wouldn’t be. These votes are coming from cities. Of course they’re for Biden! If they were coming from Wyoming and Idaho, I’d be plenty bummed, but I’d accept the basic reality that they’d be running 75-25 Trump.
So there is no conspiracy here. There is no massive fraud. There is, instead, a normal process that happens in every election, made different this time by the pandemic, but following the same basic rhythms as always. The word for that isn’t conspiracy. But it does end in -acy. I think you know the word I mean.
Enough already. Stop the squeal.