Time To Move On

November 26, 2020

It is time to move on.

The presidential election is over. There does not seem to be any way—legitimate or otherwise—for Donald Trump to overturn the results. When certified, those results will give Joe Biden over 300 electoral votes, making him the next president of the United States.

As we explained previously, the allegations of fraud are improbable. Of course, the idea that there was no fraud during the election is senseless, especially owing to the fact that this election had the largest share of mail-in votes ever. But it is essential to distinguish between that and the actual argument that needs to be made.

To be clear, the president has the right to advance any challenge he wants against these results. But we also must be realistic both about the chances that fraud took place on a scale that could influence the election, and whether there exists enough evidence to overturn the results.

It is fair to question how it is possible that so many people voted. But there is a simple answer to this question. In a typical election, many people don’t think twice about the impact the government can have on their lives. However, during COVID, the government’s influence—especially the federal government—came sharply into view.

Still, some of the arguments that are being advanced by the president’s legal team are, quite frankly, bizarre. Sidney Powell argues that Dominion—the company that provided voting machines in many places—manipulated the actual vote total, using an algorithm that would change votes from Trump to Biden as they were cast. Then, when they were overloaded by Trump votes, they needed to manually truck in new Biden votes.

One would think that a claim as explosive as this would be accompanied by at least some evidence.

But it has not.

It is totally okay for Trump voters to have extraordinarily little confidence in the system. It is okay to recognize that mail-in voting—especially when conducted on this scale for the first time ever—is ripe for exploitation and fraud. But it is another thing entirely to say that that fraud automatically happened to the extent that it swayed the election. That sort of charge would depend on the volume of evidence the president can present.

And it is quite another thing to say the machines were inherently corrupt.

These are not allegations anyone should make lightly. They do not just mean someone lost the election; they mean this country is no longer a functional democracy but a banana republic, controlled by some tinpot dictator with an iron fist. And that is not the case.

What Powell is saying is not the same as the warning by Attorney General Bill Barr, before the election, that mass mail-in voting is not a good idea.

Powell has had every opportunity to make her case in court. She continues to promise that she will, but she still has not done so. Neither has she made this case out of court.

After Powell alleged the fraud at the RNC last week, Tucker Carlson offered to have her on his show to detail the charges.

“We simply wanted to see the details,” he said. “How could you not want to see them? So, we invited Sidney Powell on the show. We would have given her the whole hour. We would have given her the entire week and listened quietly the whole time at rapt attention. That’s a big story.”

But she refused to come on.

Which is telling, because Carlson is the most pro-Trump of all hosts today.

Even the president’s team is distancing themselves from Powell. Giuliani released a statement on Sunday saying, “Sidney Powell is practicing law on her own. She is not a member of the Trump Legal Team. She is also not a lawyer for the president in his personal capacity.”

And that’s from the legal team, whom Chris Christie called that same day a “national embarrassment,” because they keep saying there was massive fraud—until they walk into a courtroom, where they tell the judge they don’t have evidence of fraud at all.

It makes one wonder what exactly is the strategy here. The most I can figure is that while Trump knows he lost, he is determined to undermine Biden’s win as payback for what they did to him with the “Russian collusion” charges.

Which is not unfair. Still, we need to recognize the reality for what it is.