Tip: The most important observation is the last one.
1. In the hours between when I started the last post when I got back out of bed two-and-a half hours later, two crucial states where the President was shown leading flipped to narrow leads for Biden. This does not prove or even suggest chicanery, but under the circumstances it looks bad. (“Gee, they cheat fast!” was a comment on one of the conservative blogs following the election live.) The meme above may be unfair, but it accurately expresses what went through my mind when I saw the new totals.
This is why it is unethical to create “the appearance of impropriety” if you have anything to do with the government. People need to trust the government, its institutions, and the fairness and openness of elections. The appearance of impropriety is just as damaging as actual impropriety. We have already seen this in the aftermath of the Mueller investigation and the prosecution of General Flynn.
2. Both parties have worked to deliberately create suspicion about the political process, and the decision to vastly increase the use of mail-in ballots, in what should have been recognized as a close election, knowing that doing so would delay the process, create opportunity for mischief, and keep the results of the election mired in uncertainty for days and even weeks was either epically incompetent or sinister. Now, instead of the single state having a “too close to call” vote total with the Presidency hanging in the balance as in 2000, we have six, which will presumably multiply litigation and uncertainty. That’s a disaster, no matter what the final result is, and it is a disaster that should have been avoided at all costs. It was unethical and negligent not to avoid it at all costs.
3. That the Democratic state government of Pennsylvania, knowing it was a pivotal and hotly contested state, did not prepare for the election sufficiently and have a clean, fast election process including the rapid counting of all votes is revolting, suspicious, and inexcusable by any logic.
4. How many early voters would vote differently had they known about, for example, the success of the President’s Middle East peace initiatives, or the emerging evidence that Joe Biden actively assisted his son in influence peddling activities both during and after his time as Vice-President? I don’t know. I do know that early voting is an endorsement of knee-jerk, unintelligent, uninformed voting, which contributes to malfunctioning democracy.
5. If the polling industry isn’t killed by this fiasco, it should be. I don’t even want to read Nate Silver’s spin, or that of any other pollster. The entire environment in which the campaign was held, as well as strategic decisions by the candidates, was warped by bad and biased information falsely represented as “scientific.” The polling organizations fell flat on their faces in 2016, and had four years to fix what caused them to tell everyone that Hillary Clinton was sure to win. They obviously fixed nothing—but then bias makes you stupid, and as we all know, you can’t fix stupid.
6. The Democratic party leaders’ threats and proclamations now make them look like fools, because they are fools. All indications are that the Republican Party will keep control of the Senate, and the Democratic majority in the House seems to have been reduced, despite the pollsters’ assumption that the coming Biden “landslide” would give Democrats the mandate they need to impose sweeping, transformational changes.
This makes the doomsday scenarios now being blathered by the Right absurd. It is also why the stock market is surging. As one financial whiz said a few minutes ago, now that the markets know that there will be no huge tax increases or headlong rush to socialism, there’s no cause for panic. Oh, a Biden administration will strangle industry with regulations, but every Democratic administration does that.
I have a pretty good idea what is going to happen if Biden wins, but this is an ethics blog, and much as I would enjoy doing so, going into all that is not an ethics exercise.
7. This is what Republicans should choose as the party’s most ethical course if it comes to pass that President Trump is defeated after all of the votes are counted and all of the legal challenges are through.
President Trump should gracefully accept defeat. He should pronounce the election results legitimate and fair. The Republican leadership, especially Mitch McConnell, should pledge to work with the new administration as much as it can without violating core principles. All Republican officials should attend the Inauguration. They, and President Trump, should urge their supporters to be good American citizens, and to avoid anger, hate and protests. The transfer of power should be peaceful and without rancor. In short, the Republicans should do everything the Democrats did not do in 2016. This alone would make considerable progress toward healing the wounds, which I believe could be fatal if untreated, that the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck inflicted on the nation.
And I should paste feathers on my arms and fly to Poughkeepsie. The chances of any of this happening is zero.