Joe Biden, truth teller?!? (Part I)

In the first of what will surely have to be an on-going series, let’s examine the proposition that President Joe Biden is that rarest of rare things, an honest politician.

Let’s start with his well-documented past deceptions and lies. And they are well-documented indeed, primarily because it was documented at a time when the media was still making nods to at least the pretense of being an objective and honest broker of information. Biden’s first run at the presidency in 1988 ended in failure when it was revealed that he was plagiarizing other people’s political speeches, most notably those of British Labour MP Neil Kinook, going so far as to even steal Kinook’s stories about his own family’s history. The late Robert Kennedy was also someone from whom he stole.

And it wasn’t Biden’s first foray with presenting other people’s work as his own. Back when he was in law school, he was caught plagiarizing from others’ work in one of his law papers. In a confrontation with a reporter, in which he prefaced his remarks with the Trumpesque braggadocio “I probably have a much higher I.Q. than you do, I suspect”, he claimed that he earned three degrees as an undergraduate, was the only person in his law school class to get a full scholarship, and ultimately finished in the top half of his law school class. All of these were lies.

During that 1988 campaign, his staffers tried to stop him from falsely claiming to have joined the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s, but the lie was repeated at several campaign stops. When the campaign was imploding on the back of the plagiarism charges, and Biden was struggling to stay in the race, he implicitly copped to the lie while trying to avoid admitting it, saying ““I find y’all going back and saying, ‘Well, where were you, Senator Biden, at the time?’ — you know, I think it’s bizarre. Other people marched. I ran for office.”

But the lies about his activism during the Civil Rights era didn’t start with his 1988 campaign. He’d been telling porky pies about it for years.

When Biden gave up on his 1988 quest for the presidency, he finally admitted:

”I was not an activist…I worked at an all-black swimming pool in the east side of Wilmington, Del. I was involved in what they were thinking, what they were feeling. But I was not out marching. I was not down in Selma. I was not anywhere else. I was a suburbanite kid who got a dose of exposure to what was happening to black Americans.”

That burst of honesty proved to be only temporary. By the time he was running for the presidency again in 2020, he was back to touting his imagined youthful activism again.

Of course, the 2020 campaign provided Biden with the opportunity to lie about all kinds of things, not just his Civil Rights (non-)activism. In South Carolina he told an audience that:

When I got out of the United State Senate, instead of taking a Wall Street job – and they’re not bad, I’m not making them bad – but instead of doing the things that I never did before, I figured I wasn’t going to change all these years from what I was comfortable doing. So I became a teacher. I became a professor.

Actually, the job he took when he left the US Senate was the job of Vice President of the United States. But aside from his confusion about the job he left in 2016, what he actually became at that point was the recipient of what was essentially a no-show job with a huge salary, an honorary “professorship” at UPenn in exchange for his name and a few appearances at “big ticket” events. He never taught a single student in a single class.

He also repeatedly told campaign audiences that he had been arrested trying to visit Nelson Mandela. Eventually he was forced to admit that it wasn’t true.

And it isn’t just his own personal history that he lies about. He’s an inveterate liar about policy. In his final debate with Trump, he claimed that “not one single person, private insurance, would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare.” Of course, Obamacare literally outlawed certain insurance plans, resulting in many millions of people losing their insurance.

In that same debate he said ““I have never said I oppose fracking.” Sure, Joe.

During an earlier debate, speaking about Obama era border enforcement policies, he said “What Latinos should look at is, comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous, number one. We didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those things, number one.” Whether one wants to call them cages or not, in fact the facilities used to detain illegal immigrants under Trump were the exact same facilities used to detain illegal immigrants under Obama.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Biden had this to say about his opponent, President Donald Trump:

Have you ever heard this president say one negative thing about white supremacists? Have you ever heard it? That’s the reason I got back in this race because of what happened in Charlottesville. People coming out of the woods carrying torches, their veins bulging. Close your eyes and remember what you saw. And a young woman gets killed, that resisting the hate and violence. And the president gets asked to comment on it. what does he say? He says there were “very fine people on both sides.” He wouldn’t even condemn David Duke, for God’s sake.

In 2000, Trump condemned David Duke as “a bigot, a racist, a problem”. During the 2016 campaign, Trump condemned and disavowed Duke over, and over, and over again.

As for white supremacy, Trump has repeatedly condemned it. In one White House address Trump said:

Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

Even his infamous and much mischaracterized “very fine people” comments following the violence in Charlottesville, which is the basis for the Biden’s deceitful insinuation, Trump specifically said (12:55) ” I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”

So is President Joe Biden an honest politician, or does it seem more like he is dishonest? On past evidence, it appears that he has been dishonest pretty much perpetually about his past, about policy, about other people, about his own actions, going all the way back to his law school days in 1966. We’ll see if he maintains his record for dishonesty while he remains President. Stay tuned…

 

128 Responses

  1. New post up.

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  2. Washington Post has dismantled their presidential fact-checking team, as no such thing would ever be necessary for Biden.

    https://www.bizpacreview.com/2021/01/21/washington-post-ends-fact-check-program-for-trump-has-no-plans-to-launch-one-for-biden-1019603/

    But there has been one fact check from Forbes: Turns out when Biden said he wasn’t going to ban fracking and then immediately banned fracking, that wasn’t actually a lie. Thanks, mainstream media!

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelsandler/2021/01/21/did-biden-break-campaign-promise-on-fracking-no-heres-why/?sh=12aeb8aa75a2

    *Note: it was was easy to find the story on why Biden’s lie about banning fracking wasn’t a lie on Google. First hit.

    It wasn’t possible to find the story on Washington Post ending its fact-checking program, at least not for me, on Google. Went to duckduckgo and it was like the first result.

    I’ve always been a fan of Google search, the company’s new motto of “Let’s Be as Evil as Possible” not withstanding, but it’s gotten to the point where searches on topics of politics and culture are so biased it’s becoming worthless. Let’s say I was a lefty and wanted to find this old right wing rant about something . . . it would be hard as hell because they are just purging and downgrading results they don’t think people should see now.

    Bing continues to just suck generally.

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  3. Matt Taibbi talks about the monoculture of the left and the media:

    https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-echo-chamber-era?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo4NTc0NzI2LCJwb3N0X2lkIjozMTc4MzE4OCwiXyI6IlFsWWVqIiwiaWF0IjoxNjExNDE5Njk4LCJleHAiOjE2MTE0MjMyOTgsImlzcyI6InB1Yi0xMDQyIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.n7_VPC1hHHk6KnEOBgCEbFlksxC97mepSWZU-OlNphA

    Makes a great point about how when stories don’t come to fruition, the press just abandons them rather than follows up with what has to be interesting to readers: why didn’t crazed white supremacists attack all 50 capitols as promised? Why were 65k NG troops in DC for the inauguration with literally nothing to do, and no actual threat? Where is the FBI getting its intel?

    Nah. Who cares.

    Should we worry about martial law? Before the inauguration, USA Today and multiple other outlets wondered what would happen if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act, especially after the CEO of My Pillow, Michael Lindell, was spotted entering the White House with a document full of notes that apparently contained suggestions for invoking military rule.

    On Inauguration Day these stories melted away in silence. Trump and his wife Melania ditched the White House more or less without event Wednesday morning, unless one counts the unauthorized use of Village People hit “YMCA” as an exit tune (“it would seem his abusive use of our music has finally ended,” the band said in a statement). In localities around the country, there were but a few scattered reports about tiny or nonexistent demonstrations at state capitols.

    Also this:

    The Post just tried to remove seven paragraphs of their own archived article about Vice President Kamala Harris, which contained a cringeworthy scene of Harris and her sister joking about prisoners begging for water, only to restore it after an outcry. CNN meanwhile ran a story that incoming Biden officials had to “build everything from scratch” with regard to Covid-19 policy because the Trump administration had no plan for vaccine distribution at all — not a bad or even a terrible plan, but literally a “nonexistent” plan, despite the fact that 36 million vaccines had already been delivered.

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  4. “let’s examine the proposition that President Joe Biden is that rarest of rare things, an honest politician.”

    Has anyone around here claimed that?

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    • No, but it has been claimed he’s more honest than Trump when I think they are probably at parity. The differences are stylistic.

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      • Trump probably has him on quantity, not quality.

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        • jnc:

          Trump probably has him on quantity, not quality.

          I’m not sure Trump does have him on quantity, but surely there is a point at which that doesn’t even matter. If candidate A lies 70% of the time and candidate B lies 60% of the time, it makes no sense to me to argue that B is a better candidate because A is dishonest.

          There are lots of reasons that one might rationally prefer Biden over Trump. Honesty is not one of them. Biden is a liar, too.

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        • Most politicians lie all the time. Historically true. Back before TV they’d blatantly promise contradictory things to different groups because the likelihood of getting caught was low. Lying is baked into politics, IMO.

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        • KW:

          Lying is baked into politics, IMO.

          Yup. Precisely why it makes no sense to me to single out one of them for special condemnation as a liar.

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        • I don’t but I think the objection to Trump is stylistic. Most politicians are just regular bald-faced liars, while Trump comes off like a used car salesman or a really low-rent lawyer. It’s the Queens in him, maybe.

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        • KW:

          I think the objection to Trump is stylistic.

          Agreed. He’s low class, not high class. That’s why sophisticates don’t like him. They are embarrassed that a gaudy, low rent millionaire could be their president. They prefer a charismatic liar to a used car salesman. Which makes 2020 kind of ironic, if you remember how Biden was mocked back in 2008/09.

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        • “Most politicians lie all the time.”

          This absolutely true. And it’s about the most trivial things too.

          If you get a chance, watch the documentary about Anthony Weiner’s attempted comeback with his run for New York Mayor (called “Weiner”). They film him lying to the press about stupid things like what time he’s going to go vote in the Democratic primary.

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    • jnc:

      Has anyone around here claimed that?

      Mark seems to think he is, at least relative to DJT. How else to convince him otherwise than to detail Biden’s perpetual lying?

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  5. Members of the press actually claimed this with a straight face:

    “If Biden wins, political journalists have a lot of catching up to do
    By Dan Froomkin –
    October 21, 2020 12:22 pm EDT


    It was not Biden that the Washington press corps needed to hold accountable. Biden simply was not the story.

    But all that changes if and when he becomes the president-elect.

    The second he is declared victor – or, given how long that could take, perhaps even once all the votes are cast – political journalists should be holding him to the highest possible standards of transparency, logic, and clarity.”

    https://presswatchers.org/2020/10/if-biden-wins-political-journalists-have-a-lot-of-catching-up-to-do/

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    • The media lied to its customers. Again! Surprise!

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    • jnc:

      Members of the press actually claimed this with a straight face:

      They lie even more than Biden or Donald Trump!

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      • And the media’s lying is pernicious and coming to dominate the processes of journalism, from mastheads to closing comments sections to their fact-checking. Not only are the fact checks often untrue, calling them fact checks when they are in fact attempts to spin a story and get talking points out is a lie. The division between news and opinion is a lie.

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  6. Anyone actually believe this? I think the numbers are actually the opposite in terms of left vs right:

    “Violent and destructive activity among far-left groups has been increasing nationwide, according to a recent study by the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonprofit policy research group. Though nearly 70 percent of terrorist attacks and plots in the U.S. last year were committed by white supremacists and far-right militia groups, according to the study, the portion led by anarchist and anti-fascist groups rose to 20 percent from 8 percent in 2019.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/destructive-protests-by-anarchists-and-extremists-signal-divided-left-as-biden-administration-begins/2021/01/23/70f93610-5d8c-11eb-a976-bad6431e03e2_story.html

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    • I imagine the unlikely numbers are in how analysis is done—say, counting honeypots where the FBI plans and urges some right-winger or someone not on any political spectrum to agree to commit some terrorist act and the arrests the dupe and says “we stopped a terrorist” but don’t count a number of riots because those were “protests” … then the numbers say whatever they want.

      They might count hatecrimes as right-wing violence but not hate crime hoaxes as left wing. But the numbers found unlikely to me as representing some objective reality.

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    • jnc:

      Anyone actually believe this?

      I don’t. But this has been the narrative from the left/media for quite some time.

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    • You would be forgiven for forgetting that the left spent all of 2020…. rioting….

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    • property destruction doesn’t count as violence.
      or so we’ve been told.

      I’ve made my peace with it. I take comfort knowing that those who insist antifa or black bloc are tactics or an idea rather than a decentralized movement will be considered no different than me. If they want to lie to themselves, fine.

      But, maybe that decentralized nature is the blind spot. They can’t conceive of such a notion — everything needs to be run from central command — so they can’t process it.

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  7. Great read:

    “Glenn Greenwald: ‘Journalists Are Authoritarians’
    What went wrong at the outlet he co-founded, what’s wrong with the ACLU, and what might go wrong in the Biden administration

    Nick Gillespie | From the February 2021 issue”

    https://reason.com/2021/01/23/journalists-are-authoritarians/

    Greenwald goes full Scott:

    “Under Obama, as I’m sure you know, the Espionage Act of 1917—one of the most pernicious laws we have on our books; it was enacted under Woodrow Wilson, and it was designed to criminalize dissent from U.S. participation in World War I—was invoked against whistleblowers and sources, like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and a dozen others, more under Obama than every other prior president combined. It ended up being three times more prosecutions under the Espionage Act for our sources as journalists than all previous presidents, including Nixon or Eisenhower or whoever you want to pick. And the press said almost nothing.

    Trump gets in, and The Washington Post changes its motto to “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” essentially saying press freedom is under assault. [White House reporter] Jim Acosta writes a bestseller with some pompous, self-glorifying title, like Danger: Reporting in the Era of Trump. What the fuck ever happened to Jim Acosta that constitutes an assault on press freedom? The worst thing Trump ever did to any of them was to say mean things about them in tweets. Those aren’t assaults on press freedom. I was threatened by the Obama administration with prison when I was doing the Snowden reporting. I was criminally indicted by the [Jair] Bolsonaro government at the beginning of [2020] for the reporting I did in Brazil. Those are attacks on press freedom. Saying Jim Acosta is an idiot, and tweeting something insulting about Wolf Blitzer, isn’t.”

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    • It is amazing to me that the left doesn’t realize how authoritarian it is, and how it gets away with the worst case of projection i have ever seen.

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      • I don’t think those folks understand authoritarianism. All the ones that do (and there aren’t that many) tend to bail and become “right wingers”–as defined by not agreeing with the moral validity of lefty totalitarianism.

        But I’ve seen a number of the lefties excuse lefty authoritarianism under the theory that it’s only REALLY authoritarianism when the people doing it or bad or doing it for bad reasons, and I’m good and I agree with these people so they are by definition good.

        When some conservatives have quoted that “first they came for the socialists” quote about not speaking up in the face of encroaching fascism or totalitarianism, the response is always: “The quote isn’t ‘First they came for the Nazis’, and if it was, I would say: of course I didn’t speak up for the Nazis! They are Nazis!'”

        Basically, their can’t be leftist authoritarianism, not really, because lefties are the good guys and everything the do is done for the greater good and thus the authoritarians in that scenario are actually the people who disagree with them.

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  8. Another good one.

    https://www.city-journal.org/journalism-advocacy-over-reporting?s=09

    The parallels between QAnon true believes and Russiagate true believers is uncanny.

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  9. It is such a relief not to have a sexual harasser in the Oval Office anymore, isn’t it?

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    • My position on that is pretty much the same as Trump. Should have pushed the story sooner. Gotten evidence, recorded the timeline.

      Clinton was president for 8 years and JB and even Trump are practically saints by comparison.

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  10. Huh….now that Biden’s been elected, WaPo owner Jeff Bezos decides that maybe mail-in voting isn’t such a good idea after all.

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  11. But at least it isn’t Trump promoting hatred, intolerance, violence and incitement, right?

    #Priorities

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  12. A good post, Scott. It details JB’s history of self promoting lies over many years.

    It also is solid evidence of how small time a liar JB is compared to Trump, whose lies over the same years, were built into one scam after another.

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    • Mark:

      It also is solid evidence of how small time a liar JB is compared to Trump, whose lies over the same years, were built into one scam after another.

      Why is lying one’s way into political power/success “small time” but lying one’s way into business power/success is of a different, and more troubling, order?

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      • I’d be curious what lies were talking about. Lots of things—like Trump University—were essentially scams with Trump’s name attached, which was mostly licensing. Lack of due diligence or perhaps even interest in what he was actually putting his name to seems the bigger issue.

        Compared to “not going to ban fracking” not sure I can think of a Trump lie that seems more impressive. Maybe him lying about COVID being no big deal in order to avoid panic?

        Trump clearly either lied or bought into lies about the election, but any worse than the Russian collusion story?

        I dunno. I think the differences remain stylistic more than substantive.

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  13. BTW Mark, I am still curious what “con” Trump pulled on the country while he was President that was a bigger con than either the Russian Collusion Hoax or “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” under Obama?

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    • Well, “Mexico will pay for the wall” was not right, although he actually seemed to hammer out a really productive and positive relationship with Mexico so . . . hard to hold that against him. Did promise a trillion dollar infrastructure plan and nothing came of that. But every politician doesn’t deliver on their promises, so . . .

      Drain the Swamp might be the biggest one. He didn’t drain the swamp and his efforts at it were half-assed, and even out the door he didn’t really seem to do anything to hurt the swamp. The swamp remains just fine.

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      • I know that a great number of those “claims” rated false are opinions, predictions that didn’t not pan out, typical political criticisms that every politicians engages in, all the time, and for whom you could probably easily count tens-of-thousands or more (especially in a campaign year). The same kind of counter was not applied to Joe Biden (and won’t be, as it’s not necessary, apparently) and even if it had been or was, the criteria would clearly be different. They aren’t going to take a statement about Trump having left “carnage” that he now had to “clean up” and call that a lie.

        300 of those are Trump saying he passed the biggest tax cut in history. Which is false but is recognizably Trump-style hyperbole. I’m assuming every time Trump said something was “the best ever” and “everybody says it’s the best”, those got counted, too.

        By just what they publicly acknowledge counting as falsehoods, I find indicative that the number is meaningless, and was just explicitly a political tool to use as a cudgel against the political side they don’t favor.

        His assertion that the election was rigged was a falsehood. Of course. Although by another metric everything election is at least somewhat rigged–just ask Bernie Sanders. Did HRC and the Democrats generally get this kind of fact-checking with the Russian collusion narrative? Nah.

        Some of his lies about the Ukraine phone call don’t sound like lies so much as spin. Again, if we’re going to count every time a politician spins as a lie, then they all will pack around 30k after 4 years. Just take them all the way through one campaign season.

        Apparently 200 of them are all the times Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. Come on, man.

        15 of them were the times Trump reassured his supporters that Mexico was paying for the wall. Which counts, but also comes under the heading of Obama’s millions of jobs “saved or created”–i.e., Mexico was “paying” for the wall because of the robust economy due in part to curtailing illegal immigration and the new trade deals. Yada yada. A lie indeed, but not exactly unusual in politics.

        He falsely extolled his achievements in trade, foreign policy, the economy and immigration.

        That’s from the article. And: really? REALLY?

        I mean, holy shit. Someone is lying in this and it’s not Trump. Well, it’s not only Trump.

        He offered false assurances about the pandemic and warned darkly about fraud in the upcoming election.

        These are counted as falsehoods. That’s just not a good-faith effort to keep track of actual falsehoods.

        Yes, Trump lies like a dog. And I understand why Democrats and liberals and people who (understandably) just didn’t like Trump would like to think Joe is substantively different on that front. I don’t think he particularly is. And I’d say time will tell–but it won’t.

        Washington Post has disbanded the presidential fact checking group, after all. So nobody is going to be keeping a list like this for Biden. And WaPo would not do it in good faith, even if they did.

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      • Mark:

        I suppose that if you consider the WaPo an objective and reliable source for “fact-checking” politicians, it explains much about your view.

        In any event, you don’t need to convince me that Trump lies. What I don’t understand is the double standard which finds Trump’s lies so condemnable but is completely blase about Biden’s lies.

        And I’m still curious about why you think lying to gain political power is “small time” but lying to gain money is somehow of a higher order. I guess I am not gong to find out which of Trump’s “cons” as president was a bigger and more disturbing con than the marketing of Obamacare or the Russia Collusion hoax, but if we are going to talk about Trump and his opponents in terms of “cons”, I would liken it to the movie The Sting. Trump is like Hooker at the beginning of the movie, basically a small time grifter stealing small change from people in the streets. The Dems are like Gandalf at the end of the movie, playing the long con for high stakes, and doing it in such a way that the victim doesn’t even know he got conned. Which helps explain why some people still believe the Russia Collusion hoax to this very day.

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        • Thought about it a bit, and Trump’s worst lie, IMO, was about crime rates. During the campaign he went on about how bad they were and it was simply the opposite of the data and historical trends and I found that very irritating.

          Although Biden has a similar history lying about crime or at least exaggerating it when arguing for the ‘94 crime bill (he was not alone when doing so, though).

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        • His worst continuing lies were about COVID, now that we know he knew how serious it was at the times he repeatedly down played the danger.

          His worst strategic lies were the claims that he could only lose by fraud coupled with the attempts outside of courts to overturn the election by repeating lies about it and pressuring state officials, and maybe the Justice Department as well. He convinced so many people that while he could not marshal a shred of evidence of fraud in a courtroom, state, federal, D state, R state, D Judge, R Judge that the election was stolen that about a third of the voting population is living in a fantasy world. Hypnotic effect? True believers? I don’t get it. D conspiracy to make him lose while Rs gained House seats was nuts.

          Mexico will pay for the wall and biggest inaugural crowd were examples of ordinary political lying – bragging, asserting a hope as a reality – stuff comparable to what many have done.

          He did much worse, and got worse over time.

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        • His worst continuing lies were about COVID, now that we know he knew how serious it was at the times he repeatedly down played the danger.

          Who’s lies were worse, Trump or Fauci’s?

          I’m fascinated by your faith that no evidence was presented re fraud when thousands upon thousand of affidavits were presented. Most of the dismissals, I thought, were due to lack of standing. Finally, non legislatures changing election rules seems fraudulent to me and grounds for legislatures to thought electors and pick new ones.

          But, you know, OMB.

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        • Who presented affidavits to what court and when? I am aware of one proceeding where affidavits were presented in support of a TRO and at the Temporary Injunction hearing the affiants all backtracked there testimony. I am aware of hearsay on hearsay. No courtroom quality sworn first person observations of anything amounting to fraud were presented at any hearing before any court.

          And despite the theory you and Scott love about state legislatures setting election laws state courts always have the duty to square state law with state constitutions and the standard duty to provide equitable remedies in extreme circumstances. This is the nature of the common law system. Nothing in the US Constitution abrogates these state responsibilities of state courts and the Federal courts recognize the state courts’ obligations. Had a state court violated the federal constitution a federal court would have ruled on it.

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        • Mark:

          And despite the theory you and Scott love about state legislatures setting election laws…

          It’s not a “theory”. It’s a fact. State legislatures have the authority to set election law. Governors, election officials, and judges do not have authority to change them at their whim. Besides which, the relevant point is not the method by which election laws, and specifically those designed to protect against fraud, were changed, but rather that they were changed in a way to make fraud more likely to happen and less likely to be caught.

          …in extreme circumstances

          What extreme circumstances?

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        • A state could potentially have a constitution that allowed for other ways of setting election law outside of the state legislature, couldn’t it?

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        • KW:

          A state could potentially have a constitution that allowed for other ways of setting election law outside of the state legislature, couldn’t it?

          I suppose that a state Constitution itself could stipulate certain election practices. But the whole 3-branch system of government that is ubiquitous across the states is designed so that one branch, the legislative, makes laws. And that would include election law.

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        • Mark:

          D conspiracy to make him lose while Rs gained House seats was nuts.

          Just as it doesn’t take a literal conspiracy for the Tech overlords to all be on the same page in trying to deplatform conservatives, Dems changing (legally and otherwise) or failing to enforce, election laws in order to make routine fraud on a larger scale than normal possible can still be widespread without it being a literal conspiracy.

          And I find it very bizarre that you think that Trump losing while the rest of the R’s gained seats is strong evidence against the possibility of fraud effecting the outcome of the election. Your thought process, it seems, is that if the D’s were going to cheat in order to win the Presidency, why wouldn’t they cheat to win House seats too? But this ignores how the elections actually take place. In order for fraud to effect the makeup of the House, one would need to orchestrate cheating in lots of districts across the nation, while in order for fraud to effect the presidential election, it only needs to take place in a few districts in a couple of closely contested states.

          Think of it this way…if I am in a position to stuff a ballot box with 10,000 extra ballots, that is 10,000 extra votes for Biden in a statewide election. I can also use those ballots to stuff the box for a House election too, but it is 10,000 extra votes for only a single house seat in a district wide election. And if the district is already overwhelmingly Democrat with a safe House seat, the 10,000 extra votes has exactly zero impact on the House, but they can have an election-turning effect on a close statewide vote for the Presidency. And where exactly is cheating most easily accomplished without being found out? In a district completely controlled by a single party, of course.

          What seems nuts to me is to think that it makes perfect sense, and doesn’t raise even a scintilla of suspicion, that Trump lost despite the fact that the R’s did spectacularly well in the House, he increased his previous vote total by over 12 million, he got the highest percentage of the black vote for a R candidate in sixty years, and he won almost all of the 60 bellwether districts that have collectively picked the winner in every election for decades. That is what strikes me as nuts.

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        • You and I are definitely on the same page here. But Trump also violated my “incumbent wins” formula—-which makes me think there was serious distortion in the system, and seems like a nuke going off to me, so with everything else going on … I have to confess my perspective is biased. But in a lot of ways this election was either filled with fraud or a modern miracle and represents a sea change in the electorate and our electoral system.

          It’s so impressive to me (all those “never happened before” unicorns) that the disinterest (and sometimes outright censorship) in the incredibly novelty of this election I find fascinating.

          Trump’s stretching out the fight into January was also a huge novelty—and was discussed endlessly. The electoral miracles that Biden pulled off apparently aren’t worthy of discussion or even interesting to the pundits and the press. That’s just fucking weird to me.

          But it is what it is. Hopefully more serious people are at least looking at making things better the next time around.

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        • KW:

          It’s so impressive to me (all those “never happened before” unicorns) that the disinterest (and sometimes outright censorship) in the incredibly novelty of this election I find fascinating.

          I think it is probably driven by the usual media biases, but ramped up to 11 by TDS. Anyone who is as emotionally invested in seeing the back of Trump as we have seen in the media (and elsewhere) will be loathe to even think about anything that could possibly redound in his favor.

          Hopefully more serious people are at least looking at making things better the next time around.

          Following the Florida debacle in 2000, a group of media outlets banded together to do their own analysis of the ballots under the various methods of counting disputed ballots and, if I recall correctly, concluded that under almost all scenarios, Bush got more votes. I don’t expect any such such broad media effort to take place this time because most of the media is already fully invested in the narrative that there is nothing to see here, move along dammit! But I do suspect that there will be some effort made, perhaps by an academic somewhere, to do a wider statistical analysis of vote counts and ballot numbers to shed some light on just how atypical (or not) the results were this time. Also, as demonstrated by the Texas case I linked to earlier, establishing an actual criminal fraud case takes a lot of time. If there was detectable and provable fraud, we’re not going to know for sure for months if not years, but eventually it may come out. It would be unlikely to garner headlines in the NYT or WaPo, but it’ll be out there somewhere.

          Like

        • “He convinced so many people that while he could not marshal a shred of evidence of fraud in a courtroom, state, federal, D state, R state, D Judge, R Judge that the election was stolen that about a third of the voting population is living in a fantasy world.”

          You forgot R AG in that list.

          To me, the story of Trump losing is relatively simple from the exit polling data. He lost college educated white voters, especially women relative to previous Republicans. Gains with minorities didn’t make up for that.

          Like

        • jnc:

          To me, the story of Trump losing is relatively simple from the exit polling data.

          A change in roughly 100,000 votes out of 150 million wouldn’t have changed the exit polling in any appreciable way at all, but would have flipped the election result.

          Like

        • Also the election polling hasn’t been all that accurate. 2004 being on example but I recall it being off in 2016 as well. Basically in any election where a Republican wins.

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        • If you want to believe in your version of Russiagate, there’s nothing I can say to dissuade you. Barr’s investigation was dispositive for me.

          What these recent episodes have done for me is convinced me that the people who want to abolish the electoral college are right.

          Because it shouldn’t come down to roughly 100,000 votes in a few swing states given the popular vote results.

          Like

        • jnc:

          If you want to believe in your version of Russiagate…

          I haven’t said I believe anything. I was just pointing out that it doesn’t make sense to think the exit polls easily explain the result when a change in a few votes could have easily altered the results with exit polls still showing exactly the same thing.

          Of course, just because someone doesn’t embrace the Dem/media narrative that fraud could not possibly have had any impact on the election doesn’t mean they do embrace the “stolen election” narrative. The fact is that we don’t really know the true effect that the loosening up of election laws and the mass use of mail-in voting had on the election. I respect Barr probably more than anyone here and accept his conclusions, but contrary to your suggestion, he didn’t do an “investigation” into voter fraud. He and his team reviewed specific complaints and couldn’t find any evidence to support the notion that those complaints would have effected the outcome of the election.

          As for comparisons to Russiagate, well, if/when the full forces of the FBI and the justice department have spent 3 years and $30million dollars investigating it and come up with virtually nothing, then maybe the comparison will make sense.

          Because it shouldn’t come down to roughly 100,000 votes in a few swing states given the popular vote results.

          Not you too….Read the Constitution. There is no such thing as the popular vote.

          Like

        • I have not seen any compelling evidence that election fraud on the level necessary to swing the election couldn’t be done. I think it could be and may have been.

          Also I’ve seen no definitive evidence that it was done. Although I’m more than satisfied there were a lot of irregularities and bizarre correlations and statistical anomalies that make suspicion of widespread voter fraud a real possibility.

          In any case I’d like to see some real effort to reform and harden election processes universally.

          Like

        • KW:

          In any case I’d like to see some real effort to reform and harden election processes universally.

          Agreed, but I suspect it is unlikely to happen. If anything, I think that mail-in voting is going to be expanded even further, especially by Dems.

          Like

        • I don’t inherently object to mail-in voting, but without things like watermarks, signature verification, and more robust mechanisms for challenging ballots, it is definitely an invitation for excessive voter fraud. In any system I could support, every ballot would have a serial# to identify both its validity, date produced, and geographic area it was meant for. The ballots would be bristling with obvious anti-fraud measures to discourage fraud.

          Like

        • jnc:

          Back in September, Texas indicted 4 people, including a sitting County Commissioner Shannon Brown, on 123 felony charges relating to electoral fraud in getting the County Commissioner elected….back in 2018. The fraud was committed via mail-in ballots, and resulted in Brown erasing a 19% Election Day deficit once mail-in ballots were counted.

          It took an investigation over 2 years to establish that this local election was impacted by mail-in voter fraud and that Brown was illegitimately put into office.

          So, if it took a 2 year investigation in order to establish that mail-in vote fraud had resulted in the wrong guy being elected in a local election in Texas, why does anyone think that the failure of a 1 month investigation by a bunch of private lawyers across several states to establish enough fraud to reverse the election is proof positive that it absolutely, in no conceivable way, could ever possibly have happened in a presidential election?

          Like

        • I don’t think they care if there was fraud. They won!

          Like

        • Joe, the problem with the Electoral College is derivative of the problem with the House of Representatives that we pretty much all have agreed can be solved easily by statute. Just give the smallest state one rep and all other states multiples based on their populations and both the HoR and the Electoral College become substantially more representative. It has been 120 years since the House was renumbered but there are more than three times as many people in the nation now.

          Like

        • Agree with expanding the House, needs to be done.

          Like

        • I don’t think any state is going to want to have less representation. And it doesn’t really solve the problem of representation unless it at least doubles the size of the house. Which I’m all for.

          Like

        • There was no Barr investigation. I wouldn’t even say there should have been one. There would not have been any time to do it properly, so initiating one would have been purely political—to create a narrative where Biden gets in and then shuts down any investigation into election fraud.

          No one brought Barr a smoking gun on top of an open-and-shut case, which I wouldn’t really expect to exist.

          Like

        • I know exactly what the Constitution says. I’m arguing it should be amended.

          I think the drawbacks to the electoral college outweigh the benefits at this point.

          Like

        • jnc:

          I think the drawbacks to the electoral college outweigh the benefits at this point.

          And what are the drawbacks?

          Like

        • I’m curious about the Senate then, keep 2 per state?

          Also, prior to the elimination of the EC should states be allowed to secede?

          Like

        • My point in asking is that such a fundamental restructuring of the electoral process should allow for states who disagree with this, Wyoming for example, who came into the Union with the understanding that their position as a low population state would still be able to have some influence in the POTUS/VPOTUS election process, to re-evaluate their participation in the Union under the new rules.

          Like

        • I guess when it comes to Covid though he should be all “We’re gonna die and there will be no respite from this hell plague of death!”

          Like

        • It was good enough for the media from March to November, so it should be good enough for him.

          Like

        • The states have to sign on though. At least 2/3rds of them. 2/3rds of the state aren’t going to vote to end the electoral college, not without some new source of additional relevance.

          Like

        • 4 per state, split geographically. Just cut it down the middle. Each side of the state gets two senators. Or even better: two senators appointed by the legislature, two elected by popular vote.

          Like

        • “jnc:

          I think the drawbacks to the electoral college outweigh the benefits at this point.

          And what are the drawbacks?”

          The ongoing de-legitimization of the election process every time the candidate who actually gets the most votes from citizens loses. And the temptation to try and decide the outcome through litigation.

          On a snide note, the electoral college had one job, to prevent the election of a demagogue, and it failed.

          I’d leave the Senate as is. It’s part that should be left as counter-majoritarian. I’d even repeal the Seventeenth Amendment.

          But the President should just be elected by direct popular vote where everyone’s vote has equal weight.

          Sure I’d let states secede but I’d let that happen at any time for any reason, like Brexit.

          But that’s not really relevant here as this change would have to go through the amendment process just like previous structural changes so the states do have to ratify it.

          Liked by 1 person

        • … and police activity? Little sly nod at Antifa there.

          Like

        • Ya mean prevent former officials from cashing in on their former positions w/in the government?

          https://www.foxnews.com/politics/left-leaning-groups-pressure-companies-not-to-hire-ex-trump-officials

          Who gives a fuck?

          Like

        • I just wish they did this to all former DC pols and there barnacles.

          That being said all this shit has got to have some unintended consequences. What I’m not sure but … something.

          Like

        • So, the “science” went from “masks will do nothing” to “two masks or your Hitler”!

          Forgot the link! https://thepostmillennial.com/watch-dr-fauci-recommends-two-masks-after-previously-advising-not-to-mask-at-all

          But Trump’s positive attitude are worse than Fauci’s lies? OMB

          Like

        • We will never know because the WaPo never tracked Fauci’s lies.

          I’m guessing WaPo counted lies that Trump repeated as lies, though, so maybe some of them counted.

          Like

        • Guess! There hasn’t be a new war in like 5 years almost. They are jonesing.

          Like

        • Heterosexuality or the institution of marriage?

          https://www.campusreform.org/article?id=16693

          Because I would agree with one but not the other.

          Like

        • It’s going to happen. I don’t see how it doesn’t.

          Like

        • McWing:

          Weird.

          Despite the extreme circumstances of a Trump presidency? Weird indeed.

          Like

        • jnc:

          The ongoing de-legitimization of the election process every time the candidate who actually gets the most votes from citizens loses

          Why do you think that de-legitimises the election process? Is the Wimbledon Tennis Championship delegitimised every time the player who wins the most games loses because he lost more sets? Is the World Series delegitimised every time the team that scores the most total runs loses because they lost more games?

          And the temptation to try and decide the outcome through litigation.

          This isn’t the result of the electoral college. It is the result of 1) the increasing power that the President is able to unilaterally (albeit unconstitutionally) exercise and 2) the absence of a core of shared values that leads to the belief that losing an election represents an existential threat to the values of losing voters. (And when the winner is a Democrat, that belief is increasingly justified.)

          On a snide note, the electoral college had one job, to prevent the election of a demagogue, and it failed.

          And you think a National popular vote would have prevented Obama’s election?

          But the President should just be elected by direct popular vote where everyone’s vote has equal weight.

          Why? What do you think the purpose of the Presidency is supposed to be?

          Like

        • And you think a National popular vote would have prevented Obama’s election?

          Heyoo!

          Woodrow Wilson was unavailable for comment.

          Like

        • I am okay with a national election, if rigorous election audits are done. Nationally. California especially.

          … that being said, I like the electoral college and I like the states having power. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, I can’t see the states going along with a dissolution of the electoral college anytime soon.

          But it irks me that people complaint about the electoral college being in democratic. It’s the system of selecting a president. It’s the method. It works. If its delegitimizing its because people aren’t taught history. Or statistics. And don’t know or care what federalism is.

          Popular votes aren’t the answer for everything and there are about a million things the government does unilaterally that I’d like to get a vote on. The regulatory bureaucracy is far, far more in democratic (and unrepresentative) than the electoral college. If anything we need more buffers or systems that result in unexpected outcomes. Or give outsize power to different states at different times.

          Like

        • KW:

          If its delegitimizing its because people aren’t taught history. Or statistics. And don’t know or care what federalism is.

          Agreed.

          Like

        • “Why do you think that de-legitimises the election process? Is the Wimbledon Tennis Championship delegitimised every time the player who wins the most games loses because he lost more sets? Is the World Series delegitimised every time the team that scores the most total runs loses because they lost more games?”

          None of those contests purport to be a democratic process or a representation of “We the People”.

          I don’t think the anti-democratic arguments for the continuation of the electoral college persuade a majority the general population anymore, and it’s ongoing existence, especially when there is a split between the popular vote and the electoral college vote has become a destabilizing force as opposed to a unifying force.

          “Why? What do you think the purpose of the Presidency is supposed to be?”

          To represent the nation as a whole, instead of the individual House districts or states as distinct political entities.

          Like

        • jnc:

          None of those contests purport to be a democratic process or a representation of “We the People”.

          But they do have pre-established rules by which the winner is determined, which in turn dictates the strategies employed by the contestants in trying to win. And that is the relevant point. In none of the cases does it make any sense at all to look at what the results “would” have been under an entirely different set of rules, and then use that speculation to declare the current rules “illegitimate” because they don’t produce the same result. It is in fact wrong to think you can even know what the results would have been under a different set of rules.

          BTW, the electoral college system doesn’t just “purport” to be democratic. It is democratic. As for “we the people”, that is just a rhetorical flourish in the preamble. You will search in Article II in vain for any indication that the President is assigned the job of representing “we the people”.

          I don’t think the anti-democratic arguments for the continuation of the electoral college…

          My arguments for the electoral college are not anti-democratic. The only “anti-democratic” aspect of the Electoral College, the allowance for so-called faithless electors, has nothing to do with the argument over whether or not there should be a national popular election for the president. That particular anti-democratic aspect has literally never had any effect on any election, and can be (and indeed has been) quite easily eliminated by any state that desires to do so.

          A national popular vote would not be any more “democratic” than the electoral college vote. It simply assumes a different population group – individuals rather than states – for which the democratic process was designed.

          …especially when there is a split between the popular vote and the electoral college vote…

          Again, there is no popular vote. How can you even know if there would be a “split” between the popular vote, if there was one, and the electoral college vote? If you want to make the argument that there should be a national popular vote instead of a state-by-state vote because you think the structure of the Constitution got it wrong, and the constituent parts of the US that the federal government should seek to represent/mediate between are individuals and not states, then fine, that is at least an argument that makes sense even if I don’t agree with it. But to argue that the rules should be changed simply because the result didn’t match what you speculate the result would have been under a different set of rules doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

          To represent the nation as a whole…

          Yes, but what are the constituent parts of which the whole is comprised? In our constitutional framework, the constituent parts are sovereign states, not individuals. And so to say that the president is supposed to represent the nation as a whole is to say that he is supposed to represent the common interests of the states, not the common interests of individual citizens. That is why the nation is called the United States of America and not the United Individuals of America.

          If you are opposed to the whole notion of federalism, then fine, make that broad argument. But if you support the idea of federalism that the Constitution was designed for, then I don’t understand why you think a national popular vote is a more legitimate method of electing the president than a state-by-state election.

          Like

        • From hell’s heart I stab at thee!

          http://cnn.it/3aazZrL

          Like

        • I listen to a number of what many would call Conservative, Inc. podcasts. Unlike Ace and other further-right wingers, I don’t object to Conservative, Inc. generally. I feel like they are right on more than they are wrong about, even if they would prefer to lose with civility in most circumstances.

          But they are just like the mainstream media. Everything keeps coming back to Trump. To the point I’m sick of hearing them start throwing in Trump anecdotes to where a show about Biden’s executive orders features more bitching about Trump than talk about the EOs.

          Good christ. He’s out of office. Sure he’ll play some role in the future, but the Democrats control the house and the senate and the executive branch. Talk about what they are doing now. Talk about Big Tech and what they are doing without reference to how it’s somehow Trump’s fault (and then a long bitch about Trump doing this, Trump doing that, blah blah blah).

          Commentary’s John Podhoretz has gone on long rants about how the press is obsessed with Trump and can’t stop talking about Trump and then does the exact same shit.

          I definitely know now how the MoveOn.org people felt. Sheesh.

          Like

        • This part is hilarious.

          That strategy — if that is even a word that can be associated with what this is — has massive limits. Sticking it to the man will only get you so far. It’s not a solution to any problem. It’s just a way to express frustration, anger and a feeling of helplessness.
          Think of it this way: Giving someone the finger might make you feel good in the moment. But it doesn’t solve anything.

          It’s a “come on, be nice to your benevolent overlords and superrich oligarchs” while also lacking any self-awareness whatsoever.

          Like

        • The electoral college exists specifically not to prevent demagogues, but prevent mob rule. This was also part of the argument for senators being appointed, not popularly elected–which was changed by amendment, as the electoral college could be. However, popular election of senators does not entirely erode the power of the states, as each state continues to have two senators, but popular election of the president takes all the power and relevance away from pretty much all the states, save California. Maybe Texas.

          We can argue about the electoral college all day long but I just don’t see a situation where you get a majority of states to agree to award their electors to the popular vote winner, or 2/3rd of the states to sign on to an ammendment converting the election to a popular vote. Maybe. But I doubt it.

          But history is not taught. Federalism is not broadly understood. There’s no general understanding what the relevance of the states are to the union. There is no real civics education any more. Academic historians are nothign like classic historians. The lessons of the enlightenment are broadly forgotten. And there’s no perspective: the bureaucratic regulatory state is far more undemocratic than the electoral college, but there’s not constant complaints from activists and the press that it needs to be abolished.

          The more you universalize the democratic process, the more power you give both the urban centers over everybody else, and a handful of states over the rest of the country. If a candidate knows they will win by promising to fuck the rest of the country and give all the other 49 states resources and revenue to California–the more likely that is to happen. And why not stop with the presidency? Why not have all 100 senators voted on by the entire country? Why give individual districts the power to “throw a wrench” into the works and elect some QAnon type to the house?

          I object less to popular election of the president, though, than I do the impulse to do it. While a popular election will give a few states, primarily California, undue influence as to who gets elected, both the primary process and the national election process can be gamed, just like the electoral college. Good luck to states trying to preserve restrictive primaries under a national popular election model. I don’t see an argument for keeping party X from voting in Party Ys primary (this being clearly undemocratic by the same argument that says the electoral college is undemocratic) and vice-versa. You’d have to end up with a situation where the other party essentially picks your party’s candidate.

          Like

        • You will search in Article II in vain for any indication that the President is assigned the job of representing “we the people”.

          The president is supposed to preside. The crazy amount of power the president has is, in itself, unconstitutional, IMO. The executive branch is way overpowered. Which might not be the case so much, if the legislative branches did their constitutional job, but they seem disinterested in doing so.

          Like

        • “But they do have pre-established rules by which the winner is determined, which in turn dictates the strategies employed by the contestants in trying to win.”

          I’m not disputing what the current rules are. I’m arguing for what I view is an improvement to the rules.

          “If you want to make the argument that there should be a national popular vote instead of a state-by-state vote because you think the structure of the Constitution got it wrong”

          More like it’s outdated and counterproductive to maintaining the legitimacy of the Constitution with the actual citizenry. Every time there’s a Florida 2000 or other situation where swarms of lawyers descend to decide a close election and it ends up in the courts erodes trust in the system a little more.

          Sure the outcome in 2000 and 2016 would have gone the other way, but it would have been decided a lot more expeditiously and it’s a lot harder to manufacture fraud on a scale large enough to throw a direct election than as you note 100,000 votes in some swing states.

          I don’t see any ongoing benefits from the electoral college that merit keeping it over a direct election for president.

          I’m also self aware enough to know that I’d be pretty pissed too if the results had gone the other way in those two contests and I also remember that in 2000 everyone actually thought it was going to go that way heading into election day (i.e. Gore expected to win the electoral college and Bush expected to win the popular vote) and all the partisans were on the opposite side of the argument until the election actually happened.

          Like

        • Sure the outcome in 2000 and 2016 would have gone the other way, but it would have been decided a lot more expeditiously and it’s a lot harder to manufacture fraud on a scale large enough to throw a direct election than as you note 100,000 votes in some swing states.

          I’m not sure this is 100% true. Not so long as the states are still setting the rules, and aren’t called to task for the widespread lack of signature verification, voter verification, prevention of non-citizens voting, etc. All it takes is California being a rebel state to throw a national election. Again, a revision that just gets rid of the electoral college with no codified demand for VoterID, post-election auditing by bi-partisan commission (preferably from a randomly selected state outside the state being audited), etc., would remain a non-starter for me.

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        • jnc:

          I’m arguing for what I view is an improvement to the rules.

          I understand, but your criticism of the existing rules seems to be that it has sometimes produced a result that differs from what it would have been under the new rules. My point is that 1) you can’t know that and 2) you are just assuming without justification that any result under your proposed rules is inherently a better/more legitimate result than one under the existing rules.

          More like it’s outdated…

          The electoral college system is simply an expression of federalism. Why do you think federalism is outdated? I think it is more necessary today than ever before, given the increasingly polarized value systems that exist in the nation.

          …and counterproductive to maintaining the legitimacy of the Constitution with the actual citizenry.

          I’m not sure how you conclude this. What evidence is there that having a state-by-state election rather than a national popular vote delegitimizes the Constitution in the minds of the actual citizenry? I’m wondering how you would even measure it. My guess is that most of the actual citizenry spends approximately zero amount of time thinking about the Constitution and considering whether or not it is legitimate because of the way that presidential elections take place.

          In any event, I get the sense that, regardless of what other people think, the electoral college delegitimizes the Constitution in your mind. Is that incorrect?

          Sure the outcome in 2000 and 2016 would have gone the other way…

          Again, you can’t possibly know this. We have no idea how many votes any candidate would have gotten if the election was run under an entirely different set of rules. This is why I am compelled to challenge this repeated talking point, but it is a point you seem to not want to acknowledge. Wholly apart from the fact that the existence of the electoral college dictates the campaign strategy used by candidates, and under a national popular vote candidates would campaign in an entirely different way (just as a baseball team would have an entirely different strategy if the World Series was determined by the most number of total runs scored rather than games won), the unspecified details of your national popular vote proposal would also have a huge impact on the way elections end up playing out.

          Does the winner need to get a majority of votes or just a plurality? If the former, what happens if no one gets a majority, as happened in 4 of the last 8 elections, including the two you claim would have gone to a different candidate under your proposal? And how do you know how that would have played out in 2000 or 2016? If the latter, that gives a big incentive for third-party candidates to run, and changes the dynamics of the election process significantly. How can anyone possibly speculate with any degree of certainty how those dynamics would have played out in earlier elections had they been run under those rules? It is literally just random guesswork.

          I don’t see any ongoing benefits from the electoral college that merit keeping it over a direct election for president.

          It provides the same benefit that it has always provided…it forces candidates to appeal to the concerns of a wider geographical cross-section of the nation than would otherwise be the case. And in an age in which we are increasingly ruled by Executive Order and administrative state “rules” rather than laws passed by our elected representatives, that has become more important than ever with regard to the Presidency.

          Like

        • I understand, but your criticism of the existing rules seems to be that it has sometimes produced a result that differs from what it would have been under the new rules.

          As I understand it, he believes the results would generally be viewed as more legitimate. I don’t think so. I don’t think the problem is the electoral college in that regard–at all. The left generally sees the results of the latest election as entirely legitimate, not because the person with the most “popular vote” also won the electoral college, but specifically because “they” won. The right doesn’t see it as particularly legitimate, or at least a lot of them don’t.

          Similarly, the left will see any for of election as legitimate so long as they continue to win them. When they lose, there will be reasons that the election was illegitimate. I think a natural consequence of popular election of the president will be closer elections–so instead of a 7 million vote victor it might be 1 million or 500k and that actually won’t help the losing side view the election as more legitimate than the electoral system.

          And the electoral system is a clear system that is state-centric and we know the rules and if the rules are followed then viewing the result as illegitimate is an entirely emotional position. Again: I don’t object strenuously to moving the presidency to the popular vote. If we could get serious voter security measures and an independent agency (or multiple independent agencies) that audit election equipment and it’s established there cannot be mail-in voting without signature and residency verification (and proof of life, for that matter) then I think it would be fine.

          But an electoral system is no less legitimate than a popular vote system. States appointing senators was no less legitimate than popular election of senators, IMO. Also I’m not sure changing that was an improvement, but to each their own.

          The house is intentionally meant to be the federal democratic body. If embracing democracy as indicated in the constitution is the goal, it is far more important to expand the house to be more representative of the general population and create smaller districts than it is to abolish the electoral college.

          Although until it happens, I’m going to believe the point is moot because I just don’t see the electoral college being abolished. There is a way it could happen by concurrence: most states agree to give their electoral votes to the popular vote winner. The problem with this is not enough will sign up unless certain states start doing it for real, no matter the outcome, and then start shaming the states that aren’t for being undemocratic. As long as it’s theoretical I don’t think you’ll ever get enough states signing up.

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        • KW:

          I pretty much agree with everything you say. Especially this:

          Also I’m not sure changing that (election of Senators) was an improvement, but to each their own.

          I think it was definitely the opposite of improvement. It results in things like senators voting to place burdens on state governments without being accountable to those state governments for doing so.

          Like

        • Concur. While ideally the senators would be more responsive to the population of the state, ignorance and disinterest tend to act as insulators, allowing senators to pull shit they never would if they were appointed and responsible to (to some degree) the state legislatures.

          Like

        • Again, you can’t possibly know this. We have no idea how many votes any candidate would have gotten if the election was run under an entirely different set of rules.

          There are hundreds of thousands of for-and-against voters that just don’t vote, because they live in a blue state or a red state and their vote is performative rather than consequential. A national election changes that dynamic, potentially considerably. There may be a million potential Republican voters in California that just don’t vote because their vote doesn’t matter in an electoral system, and they aren’t engaged enough with downticket races to care that much. There are plenty of people who are just checked out that might check in under a popular vote system. There are likely a non-trivial amount of blue state voters who might feel relieved of having to go vote under a popular vote system, at least at first, assuming the Democrat was destined to win in a popular vote election.

          Again, the the election process itself isn’t made more secure and transparent, I don’t see any change in either side regarding election losses as legitimate, no matter which system is in operation.

          Like

    • “BTW Mark, I am still curious what “con” Trump pulled on the country while he was President that was a bigger con than either the Russian Collusion Hoax or “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” under Obama?”

      The Atlantic actually tries to answer that:

      “Biden Will Lie to You

      All presidents do.

      January 26, 2021
      Adam Serwer”

      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/biden-will-lie-you/617820/

      Like

      • The president manufactured terrorism threats from the left, and suppressed warnings about those on the right.

        Which is basically bullshit, IMO. It’s a narrative. Or … a lie.

        Of course, the left will major media news organs covering for them. However much Trump lied or how many cons he pulled, it’s one thing to be a lying liar who lies and to lie, maybe slightly less, but have the full apparatus of the media and the state and academia out there to make your lies true.

        When all the fact-checkers in media and online seem to only find lies when fact-checking the “right” while most fact checks of the left are either “mostly true” or “the received wisdom of the gods” … it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. If there was a huge, non-stop effort by the media and entertainment to call Biden the worst liar ever … it would make him seem like an unusually awful liar as well. But that won’t happen and it wouldn’t happen even if Biden was objectively a much more severe liar than Trump.

        So … hard to make a true apples-to-apples comparison. But people at that level in American life are congenital liars, IMO. All of them.

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        • KW:

          Which is basically bullshit, IMO. It’s a narrative. Or … a lie.

          Agreed. I didn’t have time to Fiske that article yesterday, but literally every example of what Serwer presented as a uniquely Trumpian lie could have easily been mirrored by a lie from Obama or the left in general.

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        • Or is just a lie from Serwer (which is okay, and I don’t remember specifics but Serwer has in the past seemed to be an outstanding prevaricator, though less so now as the rest of the press has seemed to rise to his standard, but I don’t necessarily trust my brain so I may be incorrect in that).

          The lie (a thing of which the press is routinely guilty of) is say that Trump lied by exaggerating the threat of violence from the left (he did not, remotely; if anything he did far too little to highlight it) and downplayed the threat from the right (what threat? Outside of the Capitol Riot, what gathering of actual right wingers results in crazy white supremacist violence? And even there, there were (lack of news coverage to the contrary) left-wing activists there acting as instigators, along with some QAnon folks. Although as bad as the QAnon cult is and potentially could be, QAnon didn’t spend the summer burning down affordable housing, destroying small minority-owned businesses, looting, rioting, and setting DC on fire: that was far leftists.

          The problem is that Trump’s “lie” is inconsistent with the press’s and the left’s more obvious and pernicious lie: that actual violence and destruction was no big deal amongst the left, or perhaps was to be blamed on conservatives, either masquerading as peace-loving antifa or for instigating the violence by existing). And then they argue that the right is a huge violent threat, much more so than the people who set dozens of fires in DC and destroyed property across the city, because QAnon trolls and other right wing armchair quarterbacks say angry and violent things on the Internet sometimes.

          But there is something very Animal Farm to me in defining lies as “disagreeing with the approved narrative”. Or Stalinesque. Which is kind of where we’re at.

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        • It’s a bit of an old saw but the left is using 1984 as an instruction manual.

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        • Well, yeah. Also a lot of Animal Farm in it. Well, various old-school liberals I knew back in the day would tell me it was silly to think America would persevere, noting that it was only 200 years old and much older societies fell back in antiquity, and we would, too. Guess they were right!

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        • The Whiggian view of history was never correct. Nothing lasts forever.

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  14. Both the NYT & Washington Post are still putting pieces about the 1/6 riot on their front page today.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/capitol-attack-domestic-extremists/2021/01/23/1bc981c0-59b5-11eb-a976-bad6431e03e2_story.html

    They are going to continue to milk that for all it’s worth, especially since the predictions about protests over the inauguration turned out to be a bust.

    Like

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