By Roger Kimball
Ross Douthat is one of the faux-conservatives who The New York Times likes to keep around to provide respectable, buttoned-down window dressing to camouflage its more outré excursions.
I’ve never met him, rarely read him, but I did glance at his recent column “Why Do So Many Americans Think the Election Was Stolen?” after an old college acquaintance sent it to me with the sneering remark that he was concerned for my sanity.
I appreciate the compassion, of course, and would like to respond by doing a good turn for Mr. Douthat.
In brief, I’d like to introduce him to Occam’s razor, which not only supplies a nice example of the Latin gerundive in action (“entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem”), but also, in English, offers good advice for mental hygiene. In short, all things being equal, the simplest and most forthright explanation is often the correct one.
In the present case, the correct answer to the question “Why do so many Americans think the election was stolen?” is this: because it was.
I understand that it’s statements like that which move people like my unhappy correspondent to email people they haven’t seen in 40 years.
I also understand that it’s statements like that which prompt journalists like Douthat to write long columns that dilate on conspiracy theories of yore. Who killed Kennedy? Did the moon landing really take place? Is the Pentagon leveling with us about UFOs?
That’s the aspic into which he inserts his question about how “the belief in a stolen election has spread among people I wouldn’t have thought of as particularly Trumpy or super-partisan.”
Had I known that Douthat was planning his column, I could have saved him the trouble of expending nearly 2,500 words puzzling over this mystery.
The day before his column appeared, the Trump campaign issued a press release detailing the lawsuit it had just filed in Georgia, documenting hundreds of thousands of illegal votes in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Among other things, the suit includes affidavits from dozens of Georgia residents attesting, under penalty of perjury, to massive voting irregularities, from failure to verify signatures on absentee ballots to the mysterious appearance of “pristine” absentee ballots not received in official absentee ballot envelopes. Those ballots, it goes without saying, were almost exclusively for Joe Biden.
Data experts also provided sworn testimony that identified more than 150,000 illegal votes, to wit, votes from 2,560 felons, 66,247 votes from underage voters, 2,423 votes from people not registered to vote, 1,043 individuals registered at post office boxes, 4,926 individuals who voted in Georgia after registering in another state, 395 individuals who voted in two states, 15,700 votes from people who had moved out of the state before the election, 40,279 votes of people who moved without re-registering in their new county, and another 30,000 to 40,000 absentee ballots that lacked proper signature matching and verification.
I was told there would be no math, but my abacus says that those tainted ballots add up to between 163,573 and 173,573 votes that, by law, must be excluded from the tally.
As of this writing, Biden is said to be ahead of President Donald Trump in Georgia by 12,284 votes.
Conclusion? Trump won Georgia.
Accordingly, Ray S. Smith III, lead counsel for the Trump campaign, asked the court to “vacate the certification of the presidential election and to order a new statewide election for president” or to “enjoin the certification and allow the Georgia legislature to reclaim its duty under the U.S. Constitution to appoint the presidential electors for the state.”
To date, the Trump campaign hasn’t been very successful in getting judges to pay attention to such petitions. I wonder whether this suit will help turn the tide.
Assuming that the numbers are correct—and I do make that assumption—the case for a redo of the election (or for the issue to be turned over to the state legislature to appoint the electors) seems to me to be irrefragable.
And this, remember, is only Georgia. A similar situation obtains in several other states.
In a sworn statement from Nov. 30 that accompanies the Georgia suit, the election lawyer J. Christian Adams maintains the 2020 election was characterized by “well-funded and coordinated nationwide efforts to dismantle and nullify state laws designed to ensure the integrity of elections.”
Moreover, Adams says “these efforts were deliberate and funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from ideologically-motivated philanthropic sources. … These efforts went so far as to involve direct cash payments to targeted election officials to administer elections in a manner aligned with the philanthropic purposes of the effort, even in circumstances when those administrative changes conflicted with state law.”
How do you spell “bribery”?
Douthat is part of the chorus urging us to “get over” the election of 2020 and “move on.”
It’s a large and diverse chorus.
But as Trump’s rally in Valdosta, Georgia, on Dec. 5 reminded us, there are many, many people who aren’t ready to get over it or “move on.”
On the contrary, they believe that there was widespread, systematic voter fraud that delivered an election actually won by Trump to Biden.
They regard that election as illegitimate.
There are more than 70 million of them.
Which is why I think that my friend Roger L. Simon is right in his prediction that, absent a meaningful remedy for the fraud, “massive civil disobedience” awaits us in the United States in 2021.
It will be amusing to see what airy puzzles Douthat sets for himself when that happens.
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