On “Decertification,” Everybody’s Wrong (Or Lying)…

When everybody’s unethical, it begins to be difficult to figure out what “ethical” would be.

In Wisconsin, some Republican officials have launched a serious (though ridiculous) “decertification” effort, an effort to persuade the Wisconsin Legislature to rescind the state’s 10 electoral votes, thereby starting a movement in other states where President Trump lost by a narrow margin and there are reasons to doubt the integrity of the count. In Arizona, a Republican state legislator running for secretary of state, and other GOP candidates for Congress, have also called for withdrawing the state’s electoral votes, which went to President Biden. Last September, Trump wrote a letter to Georgia officials asking them to decertify Biden’s Peach Tree State victory, but there was no response, appropriately.

Apparently these and other bitter-enders think that the election, which is almost two years in the rear view mirror, can be reversed at this impossibly late date, resulting in Donald Trump’s triumphant re-installment as President. They are, to be blunt, insane. They are also ignorant. There is no way to get there from here. None. Zero. Am I clear? Even if tomorrow there was found undeniable, verified proof that Trump did win the 2020 election by a landslide, as he has irresponsibly claimed, there is absolutely no provision in the Constitution to permit the election to be cancelled, reversed, or done over.

This is approximately as sensible a fantasy as that of illegal immigration activists who argue that the border jumpers are justified because Mexico still owns Arizona, New Mexico, California and the rest because they were stolen by the Polk administration and the contrived Mexican War. It’s too late. Of course it’s too late, and there is no precedent or law that supports doing anything but accepting reality, learning from what went wrong, and doing better next time.

This does not mean, as the mainstream media would have us believe, that inquiries into the many dubious aspects of the election should stop, and that there is something sinister about sniffing the smoke to see if there was a fire. If a thorough investigation shows that Biden indeed was fraudulently elected because of many irregularities in the narrowly decided states (as well as because of the rigged coverage of the campaign and indeed Trump’s entire Presidency), the public not only has a right to know, it needs to know. Those responsible in such a scenario would have to be held accountable. If such a discovery meant that Biden’s legitimacy was undermined, well, it should be undermined, though it is hard for me to imagine how Joe’s perceived legitimacy could get much worse than it already is.

The fact that Trump is fanning the flames of idiocy and encouraging supporters to accept the fever dream of a reversed election result is one more—there are many—reason to hope, pray and perform animal sacrifices to persuade Fate to take him out of the running, the front pages, and our lives.

The other side is almost as bad, however. Here’s what the Times today and the AP last summer refer to as among the”restrictions on voting” that were passed by the Wisconsin legislature and that the state’s Democrat governor has vetoed:

[One bill] would require most elderly and disabled people who are indefinitely confined to show photo ID to vote absentee; require all absentee voters to fill out more paperwork and show their ID every time they vote absentee, rather than just the first time; and require voters who are confined to apply to get an absentee ballot every year, rather than have them sent automatically.

Any vote not directly linked to a valid photo ID is inherently subject to question. Absentee ballots can be filled out by individuals other than the named voter, and the elderly and handicapped are particularly vulnerable to having their votes co-opted. The fact that such measures are routinely called “restrictions” and  “voter suppression” by the “resistance”/Democratic Party/ media alliance is itself a cause for suspicion. Why do they want voting systems that are vulnerable to illicit manipulation and fraud?

Another metaphorical verse in the same song, also used in today’s Times, is this quote, from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers:

“Republicans now are arguing over whether we want democracy or not.”

This is just one more steaming scoop onto the already towering pile of the “Republicans are a threat to democracy” lies that now comprise a large proportion of the desperation efforts by a flailing and failing party to avoid their just desserts in the coming November. Trump and the deluded GOP members are completely wrong about overturning the election now: we have laws. The idea that when laws don’t let us do what we would like or what is “just” we can just twist them like Slinkies is a Leftist concept; Republicans are supposed to abhor such behavior, like ethicists do.

However, democracy requires a trusted and a legitimately trustworthy election process. It does not threaten democracy to call a sloppy, flawed, inadequately secure election that violated multiple state laws what it was: unreliable. In fact, a full and open inquiry followed by remedial measures to be applied to future elections are essential to preserving democracy.

7 thoughts on “On “Decertification,” Everybody’s Wrong (Or Lying)…

  1. More to the point: President Biden was elected by the Electoral College and President Trump was not re-elected. Constitutionally, it doesn’t matter what came before this. President Biden IS the current President of the United States, full stop.

    This is one of the benefits of the Electoral College: it takes something huge and complicated and distills it down to something small, understandable, and verifiable. This is the first reason I cite in defense of the EC to people who talk about abolishing it. Without the EC, EVERY GODDAMN ELECTION will become like Florida in 2000, forever. Is that what you really want?


  2. When Evers beat Walker for Governor, it was pretty surprising to many voters. Primarily because Walker was a good bit ahead in vote counts with some really big counties almost fully counted. But then, wonder of wonders, more votes were found! Good news for Evers, he won.

    Interesting the party that consistently wins elections with found votes, voting rule changes at the 11th hour, and constant complaining about the other party cheating through gerrymandering doesn’t want rules around voting. I’m not saying any party cheats, but methinks they protest too much.

  3. Let’s just look a some truths about the 2020 election and see if we cannot deduce what might be going on.

    Truth #1: The democrats got up to shenanigans in the 2020 election, and if the exact nature of those shenanigans was laid out to the people, the people would probably nearly unanimously agree the shenanigans amounted to cheating. The people would not unanimously ADMIT it was cheating, but they would know. The democrats do not want the people on the left to know that they engaged in behavior that essentially amounts to cheating.

    Truth #2: The election is not going to be undone. It was never going to be undone. Everyone who isn’t a complete moron knows it cannot be undone. Everyone who knows it cannot be undone is not going to admit that they know it cannot be undone, however, because a lot of people hate the democrats and like to piss the democrats off. Polling is useless.

    Truth #3: The democrats cheat. The democrats have always cheated, at least at the regional level. Everyone on the right knows the democrats cheat. Everyone on the left thinks a majority of people agree with them about everything, rendering cheating unnecessary. The people on the left would be shocked to find out they are not agreed with by a huge percentage of the population.

    Truth #4: The republicans let the democrats cheat. The republicans have always let the democrats cheat because political calculations produced an equation that said it was more politically expedient to let the democrats cheat than to call them on it. The democrats have escalated their cheating over time because they can. The democrats accuse everyone else of cheating to keep the political calculations in their favor by confusing their base.

    So, you have one of these I know what your doing, you know what your doing, you know I know what your doing, i know you know I know what your doing, situations. The question for the politicians has not been: who is doing what? The question for the politicians has been: how long can we get away with it before riots start? That question has now been answered. 2020. That was when the riots started. The riots started because Trump ran his mouth.

    Now, we can debate why Trump ran his mouth. We can debate whether he knew what would happen. We can debate his motives. There are 3 basic questions you have to answer to analyze Trump’s motives:

    1. Did he really think the election was rigged?

    2. Did he think his accusations would overturn the election?

    3. Did he think his rhetoric would cause riots?

    I think I know the answers to those questions (yes, no and yes). This an ethics blog, so we can debate the ethics of each question. My analysis is that the ethics seem rather murky, because the ethics were always murky. Politicians are not ethical people. Trying to separate each individual unethical thing out and analyze it is very difficult because the rest of the unethical context is important to understanding each individual piece of unethicalness.

    At the end of the day, though, I think the root cause of all this was not Trump. Trump did his Trumpy Trumpishness, and blew a hole in the bandaids and duct tape that was our election system, but he didn’t stick the bandaids and duct tape there in the first place. The real problem is that no one seems to want to replace the bandaids and duct tape with a brick wall. There always should have been a brick wall. This shouldn’t even BE a question. US elections should be decided by the vote of the people, not by who can rig the election best.

    If people don’t want people like Trump kicking holes in the wall they should build better, more ethical walls, not complain when the wall collapses.

    If my answers to the questions are correct, then Trump isn’t playing 4-D chess here. He wants the election systems made secure. He doesn’t care what trouble he stirs up. He is using an ends justify the means rationalization, and I think a lot of people on the right agree with him. Trump is a utilitarian tool of the people. The people wanted the system blown up, so they voted an explosive into office. Trump did what his voters wanted, and blew stuff up. His actions are simultaneously ethical and unethical at the same time. It is ethical to do what your voters voted for. It is unethical to to instigate riots, even if what your voters wanted was riots. He should have found a more ethical way to do his voters bidding.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.