The release of the controversial Arizona election audit prompts a few thoughts on why conservative concerns over the 2020 contest won’t go away. Are Trump supporters simply conspiracy theorists, blind to any and all facts, or is there a more logical explanation for their insistence there was something rotten in our electoral system last year?
Many of the smartest people I know believe the 2020 election was stolen. This is a simple fact. They believed this the morning after the election and they believe it just as strongly today. You can call them what you will, but these are highly educated, successful professionals and skilled tradesmen, productive members of society that are well respected by their peers, not frothing at the mouth types with tin-foil hats. Contrary to popular belief in the media and establishment classes, they do not believe this because Donald Trump told them so or they’re conspiracy theorists. Rather, they’ve reached this conclusion starting from a simple question: Does anyone really believe Joe Biden would have beaten Donald Trump if the 2020 election were held according to the same rules and standards as 2016? To my knowledge, no one has asserted that. Instead, it’s a foregone conclusion the radical reimagining of our electoral process in 2020 itself proved decisive for Biden. In other words, the rules that had governed every previous election over the past several decades were summarily tossed out and new ones were put in place that were far more favorable to the Biden campaign and, if 2020 looked like 2016, Trump would be in office right now.
Of course, mentioning the very concept that elections have rules these days is enough to prompt progressives and the Biden Administration to claim you want to reinstitute Jim Crow, or perhaps Jim Eagle as Biden himself bizarrely insisted. This, however, is the ultimate straw man argument, designed to deflect from the obvious: Elections, like contests of any kind, necessarily have rules. Generally speaking, these rules serve two purposes, verifying who is eligible to vote and what constitutes a legal vote with appropriate security measures, and providing a framework for candidates to plan their campaign strategy, primarily get out the vote efforts and ground game. A vote is not simply an idea in a voter’s mind, plucked from the ether and counted provided it’s scribbled on a napkin. A vote is the express will of the voter, exercised through a legitimate process agreed upon by both parties. It’s a right that requires you to do something to participate in the process, not do whatever you want and expect your vote to be counted.
Thus, the transparency around the creation and implementation of these rules is essential to maintaining a fair process, and the stability of them over time is equally important to ensuring security, tried and trusted methods being much less subject to error and controversy. It should be no surprise to anyone that radical changes in the conduct of elections, what Time Magazine has described as a “revolution” in how people vote, can be met with outright skepticism and accusations of unfairness or cheating. How else would you expect the losing side to react to the untested implementation of voting processes no one had even heard of before 2020? Put another way, when did 24-hour drive through voting become a thing in the first place? Whoever heard of a random ballot drop box where votes are just sitting there for weeks? When and why did absentee ballots, a system everyone knew and trusted, suddenly become mail-in ballots and then universal mail in ballots? The implementation of any single one of these techniques should’ve been the subject of intense debate, but all of them at once, across most of the country, in a single electoral cycle, right in the middle of the election itself is unprecedented in our history. You have to go all the way back to 1920 to witness a similar change in the electorate, when women received the right to vote. Of course, this only occurred after the lawful passage of a Constitutional amendment, an occurrence that doesn’t happen without intense debate and scrutiny, meaning everyone knew the rules were changing and why, unlike this time around.
In 2020, however, this “revolution” in how we conduct elections wasn’t properly debated in public, and agreed to by both parties. Instead, it was rammed through by Democrat politicians and friendly state courts, over the strenuous objections of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, and many of his supporters. It’s as if two teams were about to meet in the Superbowl, and one of them was allowed to rewrite the rule book in secret with no input from the opposing team. One team shows up on the field, ready to play the game as it’s been played for years, only to find out the rules are no longer what they were as recently as last week. Indeed, if this were a sporting event, no one considering the matter objectively would believe it fair or reasonable to change the rules in the middle of the game in the first place, but that’s exactly what happened in 2020, nor is that the worst of it. At the time, the sudden rush to change the rules was widely depicted as some spontaneous, grass-roots effort prompted by the pandemic, but shortly after the election, Time Magazine reported that the process was driven by a “cabal” and “conspiracy,” orchestrated by rabidly anti-Trump progressive and other establishment operatives. How does this sound to you? “A well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information.”
Of course, no one honestly believes this group intended to make the election more fair or secure for the sake of fairness and security. They’re express goal was, of course, to get rid of Trump by any means necessary and they manipulated long-standing, trusted rules governing elections to achieve it. How do we know this? The founder of the group, Mike Podhorzer, senior advisor to the President of the AFL-CIO, is on record stating he specifically undertook this secret effort because Trump was a threat to democracy. In October 2019, Mr. Podhorzer started to believe that the usual tools, meaning the normal electoral process, wouldn’t be sufficient if the President himself was trying to disrupt an election, despite no evidence whatsoever that was the case. He concluded, “We desperately need to systematically ‘red-team’ this election so that we can anticipate and plan for the worst we know will be coming our way.” By March 3, he was saying, again without any evidence and before the push for mail-in ballots became public, “Trump has made it clear that this will not be a fair election, and that he will reject anything but his own re-election as ‘fake’ and rigged.”
Mr. Podherzer proceeded to organize a group that would itself disrupt the election, rapidly changing long-standing norms, what they described as “fortifying” it, but who were they fortifying against? Donald Trump, and who was the beneficiary? Joe Biden. The group had two primary goals, increasing the usage of mail-in ballots to unprecedented levels, what they described as “overhauling America’s balky election infrastructure,” and leveraging the power of social media to censor opposing ideas. Both of these initiatives started before the pandemic, but were then supercharged in a flurry of outright lies, claiming the very plans they were already making just happened to perfectly align with the safety needs of a country coping with coronavirus. The coordination of these plans was conducted entirely in secret, funded with $2 billion in shadowy money, $300 million from Mark Zuckerberg alone.
Mr. Zuckerberg, however, would provide more than funding. The group also met with the heads of social media companies, once again in secret, to control the flow of information before the election. This resulted in even legitimate news from reputable sources, like the emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop, being suppressed prior to the election. It even extended to the companies lying about why they suppressed the story, even as they allowed the proliferation of false counter stories like the claim the emails was “Russian disinformation.” It’s notable that this new, secret standard applied only to news that was unfavorable to Joe Biden; to my knowledge, not a single story unfavorable to Trump was suppressed, regardless of how outlandish, from the debunked Russian bounties to the false stories he wouldn’t visit graves because dead soldiers were losers. Not content to merely control the flow of information, the group also embarked on an ad campaign that, once again, just happened to line up perfectly with candidate Biden’s needs and ignore any and all contrary evidence. As they describe it, “Beyond battling bad information, there was a need to explain a rapidly changing election process. It was crucial for voters to understand that despite what Trump was saying, mail-in votes weren’t susceptible to fraud and that it would be normal if some states weren’t finished counting votes on election night.”
I’ve previously asked liberals to consider taking The Trump Test, that is comparing your reaction to some development under the Biden administration to what it might be if Trump was still in office. In this case, what would progressives be saying if Steve Bannon spent $2 billion to “fortify” the election against Joe Biden? If you believe they’d be claiming there was nothing to see here and it was the most secure election ever, I’m not sure what to tell you. You’d be able to hear their howls of outrage on Mars.
At the least, they wouldn’t be casually dismissing any concerns over the integrity of the election as a conspiracy theory, despite that no real conspiracy is required to corrupt an election. Instead, groupthink is sufficient. Allow me to explain the difference: The phrase conspiracy theory requires or at least implies overarching coordination. The classic example in the modern era is the idea that 9-11 was an inside job, but in order for that to be the case hundreds, if not thousands, of people both inside and outside the government would not only need to be in on it, they’re actions would need to be coordinated by some kind of command and control. Someone had to plan it and tell the participants precisely what to do, in the precise order, or the whole thing falls apart.
Elections, especially close ones, don’t work that way, however. The end-game is well known, getting votes, and any effort directed at increasing the vote for your preferred candidate will have an impact, whether that comes in the form of eliminating restrictions on what constitutes a legal vote, processing votes that might not meet the legal standard yet you believe will help your candidate, harvesting votes on behalf of your candidate, whether legal votes from family or community, or illegal votes from people who moved or dead people, or outright printing ballots illegally. It can be one or all of the above, in any combination, and it requires no coordination within or between states.
In 2020, a change of 103,896 votes in three states out of 155,508,985 votes cast in 50 states would’ve changed the result. That’s a shift of a mere .067%, meaning nothing widespread or systematic would be required to influence so small a part of the total. Instead, we’re talking exclusively about very small, hard to detect differences across a radically different system than we’ve ever used before. To put this in perspective, the number of votes cast increased by 20.7% between 2016 and 2020, and nearly half of all votes were cast by the completely untested and untried mail in ballot system. Why is it inconceivable to anyone that a mere .067%, as in not even seven in ten thousand, votes could have been cast or counted illegally amid these kinds of numbers?
The recently released audit of the Arizona results identified approximately 50,000 votes that require further investigation, half the total required to flip the entire election. This includes 23,344 people who appear to have moved prior to the election, 6,591 that seemed to have moved out of state entirely, 9,041 more votes than ballots sent out, and 5,295 voters in Maricopa County who appear to have voted in another county as well. Biden’s margin in Arizona was barely 10,000 votes, meaning anyone of these issues, whether intentional fraud or just mistakes in the system, could conceivably change the entire outcome of the election in the state. Who would rationally look at numbers that small amid changes in the system that big and not at least suspect some funny business might have been a factor?
Ultimately, I don’t write this post to attempt to change anyone’s mind or because I have access to any evidence or special knowledge of the subject. I’ve previously written that it’s the Republicans fault the election was lost, even as the battle rages on. At this point, I’ve simply grown tired of the media and progressives treating intelligent people who think for themselves like retrograde morons who believe only what Trump tells them simply for looking at what happened and using their own brains. It’s doubly disgusting considering these very same people would be saying the exact opposite if the revolution in our elections had favored Trump. They know it. We know it. It’s time for rational people to find common ground or at least understand why each side thinks the way we do: Trump isn’t going to be reinstated, but demanding integrity in elections and rolling back ridiculous stuff like 24-hour drive through voting isn’t an insane position. In my opinion, it’s insane we had such a thing in the first place…