Saturday, December 18, 2021

Facts Don't Matter To These Folks

The stolen election meme keeps roiling through American politics. Jesse Wegman writes:

The professional vote-fraud crusaders are not in the fact business. While they pretend to care about real election crimes, their purpose is not to identify whether voters are actually committing such crimes; it is to concoct a world in which the votes of certain people (and it always seems to be the same people) are presumptively invalid. That’s why they are not chastened by data demonstrating — again and again and again and again — that there is essentially no voter fraud anywhere in this country.

Thanks to their efforts, about three quarters of Republicans believe the 2020 election was stolen, and they won’t be convinced by evidence to the contrary.

That evidence continues to grow. Earlier this week The Associated Press released an impressively thorough report examining every potential case of voter fraud in six decisive battleground states — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — where Donald Trump and his allies challenged the result in 2020. Voters in these six states cast a combined 25.5 million votes for president last year, and chose Joe Biden over Mr. Trump by 311,257 votes. The total number of possible cases of fraud the A.P. found? Fewer than 475, or 0.15 percent of Mr. Biden’s margin of victory in those states.

Facts won't change these peoples' minds. They are a virulent minority who know they are a virulent minority. Like those in the South who used to be referred to as "white trash," they cling desperately to the notion that they are better than people whose skins are not white. They dare not say what they believe. So they claim, with Donald Trump, that millions of votes were fraudulently cast. It's simply a lie:

That’s the thing about voter fraud: Not only is it rare, it’s generally easy to catch, especially if it happens on a larger scale. In 2019, North Carolina officials ordered a do-over of a congressional election after the winning candidate’s campaign was found to have financed an illegal voter-turnout effort. That candidate was a Republican, as were two of three residents of the Villages, a Florida retirement community, who were arrested and charged with double voting in the 2020 election earlier this month. (The third had no party affiliation.)

To the extent there is any fraud, it is almost entirely an individual phenomenon. The A.P. report confirmed this, finding no evidence anywhere of a coordinated effort to commit voter fraud. That’s no surprise. Committing a single case of fraud is hard enough; doing so as part of a conspiracy is essentially impossible, once you consider how many people would need to be in on the scheme. “It’s a staggeringly inefficient way to affect an outcome,” said David Daley, the author of “Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy.” “It simply doesn’t work.”

To sum up once more for the folks in the cheap seats: Voter fraud is vanishingly rare. It is virtually never coordinated. And when it does happen, it is often easily discovered and prosecuted by authorities.

But people who don't buy facts buy lots of snake oil.

Image: The Conversation


Anonymous said...

Facts don't matter at all when your product is propaganda. Fox News hosts a daily Nuremberg rally for its 3.5 million viewers. Facebook's algorithms steer its billions of users to ever more radical conspiracies and lies. It and other social media platforms allow the liars to fine tune their messaging and target specific audiences. And then the corporate media reports as though it were some indication of truth that "millions believe" that CRT is taught in schools, that Covid is a hoax and vaccines are harmful, that the 2020 election "was stolen," and so on. It's no wonder people are having a hard time telling truth from lies.


Owen Gray said...

Propaganda has been around for a long time, Cap. But modern technology gives it an even bigger bull horn and a global reach.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Culture wars once pitted right against left. Now there's another player, a sub-culture that freely and near totally substitutes belief for fact.

Global News has a report on the anti-vaxxer/conspiracy theorists cult. Like the "stop the steal" gang they have a clear political affinity to the radical right that includes both Bernier's fringe but also a number within O'Toole's caucus.

The author, a prof/MD from Queens University, did a deep dive into the online world that these people inhabit. She warns that they're no longer just a harmless bunch of nutbars. They have amassed both political and financial power and they're here to stay.

Owen Gray said...

I had trouble calling up the link, Mound. So I went to the Global site and called it up there. There are diseases of the mind that are worse than COVID.