Friday, November 20, 2020

I Know What Is Happening

Inspired by a podcast about The Screwtape Letters, which mentioned Lewis's aversion to attending to any current events whatsoever, I have paid no attention to the events of the last week. I took a deep breath, chuckled, and remembered that I have been about 80% accurate in the past predicting what is going on when I don't pay attention to the news, but only 60% accurate when I am following it closely. I keep forgetting Lewis's advice to pay no attention, because if something really big is happening people will be unable to refrain from telling you about it, and forgetting my own advice to wait a week on all news because so much of the dross will have fallen out at that point.  If you have followed very closely over the years, you may remember that James suggested that there might even be a market for a news outlet that had "coming back for a second take a week or two later" as its raison d'etre. Though we are now senior citizens, James and I both remain young and naive, apparently.  There is no such market.  No one wants to hear such things.

I confess it is not fully true I have heard nothing in the last week except things people have sent me. I have seen headlines while going from one place to another online, and I have a quick mind which fills in what must be behind these, whether from the legacy media headlines on my search engines and every sidebar, or from the blurbs about other articles when I am over at Maggie's, Grim's, etc.  I have not been to Insty and Althouse because they will of course be consumed by the issues of the day, with less attention to longer-term issues.  It is a natural progression that I see in myself and so do not wish to kick intelligent observers very hard about it.  They are smarter than I am and have a much better grasp on what these things mean in the short term. But yearly issues will suck you into monthly issues; monthly issues will draw you into weekly issues;  weekly issues will draw you into daily issues - and once you are in that deep you will be clicking ridiculous links to try and see WHAT IS HAPPENING ABOUT THIS NOW??!! I HAVE TO KNOW!! The wickedness of my own heart attests to this. 

So here is what is happening about the challenged election.  I will hazard that I am 80% correct in this.

1. Trump isn't backing down.  He thinks he has the goods on multiple aspects of things going wrong in this election and thinks he might even win.

2. There are a few relatively small but real things that have shown up. A thousand votes here, a hundred votes there, a big red flag that a small discrepancy might be a sign of a big discrepancy in some state.  I don't know which state. Maybe more than one.

3. No one cares if there is crap in states that weren't close, which is a shame, because they might be close next time.

4. There is one big-ticket item, which Trump and/or his supporters think might change multiple states and they are counting on.  It is a not a good percentage roll of the dice.  It is probably one in a hundred that it is right, maybe as high as one in ten, but it is not zero. There are aspects to it that an election observer from Mars might say "Y'know, that is worth looking at." But there isn't enough to turn the election otherwise.

Full disclosure: since I started writing this I have been back and forth, checking the injury reports on my fantasy football teams, my emails, and Bing-ing something about Paradise Lost. I had things composed in my head thus far on my Rail Trail walk and have now put that into words into words. Since then:  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THE ELECTION SOFTWARE IN SOME STATES COMES FROM VENEZUELA? I don't want to leap to conclusions here.  It may have been completely vetted and is very good stuff, altogether likely to give good results.  But did no one look at the optics of this?  "The foundation of our state's election process comes from Venezuela.  Trust us that it's fine."  I admit I am working from headlines here.  Venezuela might have only breathed lightly on Dominion and conservative nutcases are making a big deal about it, clutching at straws.  But...but...

And to flip to the other side of this, if this were known beforehand, why did no one make a big deal about this starting two years ago?  Trump is jumping in now and complaining about things that have been in place for years?  That's on him, or on some Republican somewhere.  Sorry.  Yet I admit, this is just the outsider's look. So that's the big-ticket item, isn't it? Consider: If there were corruption at this level about election practices, we would have been hearing about it for a long time, as we already know about dead people voting in Chicago, slashed tires in Milwaukee, harvested votes in a score of locations, paid-for votes in Atlanta , intimidation votes in Philadelphia, or false-count votes in Detroit. If Dominion has been news for years, I haven't heard about it and the conservative press hasn't been sounding the alarm for the last few years.  Therefore, I conclude there is unlikely to be anything there.

5. Trump has every right to challenge every state, every district, every vote, but Democrats are complaining that this is unprecedented, as if they haven't been complaining the last four years and still muttering about Bush-Gore twenty years ago.  They have no historical memory, Republicans have too much historical memory.

6. Except Trump is being a dick about it, which is unnecessary when he should be laser focused on where real problems are suspected, not only for his election chances, but for the good of the country.

Another sidebar: If Joe Biden, who will clearly be installed as president next year unless he has a stroke, really wants to be president of all Americans and not just people who send him money, he will make reforming voting procedures a top priority, so that the country will not have to go through this again, because we have elections as fair as Scandinavian ones. Many, maybe even most Democrats would support this, except those are the quiet ones who don't send so much money and don't destroy cities. A fair number of Republicans will glower and mutter, but agree to accept this as such a good thing that they can get behind it even if the Democrats are leading it. So we know Biden won't do this - and let us revisit this one year from today and prove it.  Lindsay Graham or Ted Cruz or someone should challenge him on this as the one big item for 2021, and we should echo that at every turn in support of this.  Cue James or Texan99 or Douglas2 or Donna B making an entirely reasonable comment that is unfortunately as naive and idealistic as before.  Sigh.  These are my people. We shall slowly go under the waves together, and I salute you. Go either way, driving an idealistic American stake in the ground or sighing and making a practical suggestion instead.

7. The news media is digging up theoretically Republican people who say that Trump should stop challenging everything.  National Review has a better take, that he should keep going, but stop being a dick about it. Trump will pay no attention to either, which everyone already knew, so why do any of us write things anyway?  This probably isn't a new observation, but a cumulative summary of the previous six points.

8. Prediction - shouldn't really be part of this discussion but I have had a third glass of port: Zero Democrats will push for election reform next year, even though and some percentage of Republicans will continue in their (mildly but not fully) paranoid belief that it is all illegitimate. It would of course be good for the country, but what is that when you can use an issue to portray your competition as crazy? And it would "feed into" Republican concerns, and we can't have that.


Harold Boxty said...

Your predictions were pretty spot on.

This is why we had no investigation into voter fraud after 2016: "House Speaker Paul Ryan reiterated Tuesday that he’s seen “no evidence” of rampant voter fraud during the 2016 election."

I don't think Trump will succeed in overturning the steal. I wish he spent his remaining two months burning down the house by declassifying everything, pardoning everyone, and firing all of them in Washington. He should release a dozen executive orders a day until he's out of office.

Oh well. RIP the U.S.A.

GraniteDad said...

Not sure I want the feds anywhere near New Hampahire’s voting process or laws.

GraniteDad said...

Also, on the Dominion stuff I’m not worried about the machines switching votes since
1. The paper ballot review in GA largely matched the original count (Trump picked up votes due to an error originally but unrelated to the machines)
2. Trump isn’t making this part of his lawsuits. If they really thought it was an issue they would have pushed for a full recount in WI and elsewhere.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Agree about election reform, now that you mention it. Systems don't fix corruption, though they can make it easier or more difficult. We don't have election problems because "our people don't do that." It's cultural. come to think of it, that's been my argument on gun control all along also. We're less likely to shoot people up here - though that has changed slightly as people have moved in from other places. The laws don't affect that much.

Donna B. said...

Headlines: don't believe them, as at least since 1971 (the year I worked at a newspaper) they are not written to convey information. They are written to make you read the story, or nowadays to get you to click on it. One of the basic tricks is to write the headline to hint at something that didn't happen.

Now for the naive part... I fantasize about a time when I will never know who my relatives, friends, and neighbors are voting for. I wish for pollsters to go bankrupt because everyone answers "None of your business". I also wish for universal use of the Oxford comma and to never meet anyone who has written "for all intensive purposes".

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Granite Dad is entirely with you on the Oxford/Princeton comma.

You have seen the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves, I assume?

Donna B. said...

I've heard of that book, but not actually seen/read it.

I meant to mention that one of the best things about living in an HOA subdivision is that the only signs permitted are "For Sale" or "For Rent" so I actually don't know who my neighbors are voting for.

The Associated Press is responsible for trying to eliminate the Oxford (and Princeton, you say?) comma. They are also responsible for reprehensible hyphenation. I hates 'em.

Donna B. said...

Since this discussion has degenerated to stylebooks, one of my proudest parenting moments involved MLA. As high school students are sometimes wont to do, my youngest daughter once drank enough that Mom & Dad got involved. Her punishment was twofold. First, she had to get up the next day and teach her Sunday School class of 3 year old angels.

Second, she had to write a paper on the dangers of alcohol poisoning with a minimum of 5 references, MLA style. Her friends were horrified that she was burdened with a mother who knew what that was. She didn't admit to me until she graduated from college that she was secretly proud of me and used "You know I can't get anything past my Mom" as an excuse a few times.

Let's not delve into my parenting failures, OK?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

There were a few times when a son would be on the phone looking at me in distress about an invitation he had received. I would say "If you want, you can blame it on me."

Texan99 said...

I'm reading fewer articles, just sending a daily check or two to various campaign or litigation funds. The lawsuits will either work or they won't. The indications for 2022 are better than I thought they were likely to be a couple of months ago, but we'll see.