Political Fallacy

There’s an interesting intersect between math and philosophy, where two opposite statements can in fact turn out to prove another point. A fallacy (there are more terms for it) is a fault in reasoning. It’s deceptive in nature, meant to not address the item at hand. It’s a GREAT political tool.

Quick example. Violent video games make people commit crimes. There are holes in this like crazy. Just violent games? Crimes didn’t exist before video games? It somehow makes people commit the crimes, by giving them the weapons? It’s pretty easy to drive a truck through that thinking, but as a soundbite, you betcha that mothers will clutch their pearls.

In modern history (post WW2), the US has aggressively pushed democracy around the world. They’ve gone to war for it numerous times. There’s a level of pride in “liberating” countries so that their people can dictate their future, rather than an unelected cabal. In principle, people can agree to this.

I won’t go into the existing US political system. It’s clearly broken, and to a degree so complex that there’s frankly little that can be done about it without removing everyone in office and preventing them from returning. Best of luck and all that.

What I will get into is the amazing spin on the invalidity of the election results. So here we go:

  • The current president told his supporters not to vote by mail, the competition did the opposite.
    • Of note, in 2016 there were 33m mail in votes. Including the current president. 2020 saw 64m mail in votes.
  • Mail-in votes (and other distance voting options), for historical reasons, are counted after in-person votes in 21 (!!) states.
  • The competition received in the range of a 9:1 ratio of the votes.
  • Regardless of the outcomes, it was clear that due to the above there would be a major uptick when those additional (and substantial) votes were counted.
  • Due to the way the US electoral system works, PA was enough to tip the final scales.
  • The US media has called the election since the 40s, they did so again, for the competitor.
  • The current president is not willing to accept the results (which is acceptable in the context of recounts), yet asking that both vote counting stop in places he’s losing, and continue in places he’s winning.

Cool, cool, cool, cool. ‘cept….

You can’t really be advocating for democracy elsewhere when you are saying that your system is rigged. I mean, they’re not in Russia where the election results are posted before voting begins. If you’re at the point where you don’t trust multiple state’s results over millions of votes, where you believe that people who voted by mail are somehow all crooked if they didn’t vote the way you wanted, then there are some foundational items wrong in the logical thinking.

Let’s say they are right, the system is broken and full of fraud – then the whole thing has to start over again and it looks like a coup from one side. Let’s say they are wrong, and this is the actual results – they will look like they tried to stage a coup from the other side. And it just amplifies the longer this goes on.

This is a view from Canada, where our election system is certainly not perfect. We have tremendous interest in the well-being of our southern cousins. It’s absolutely fascinating to see the insanity, to the point where I wonder if there’s really any point. More worried that it spreads.

3 thoughts on “Political Fallacy

  1. New Jersey is an interesting example. Our state was called for Biden right after the election. They recorded over 3 million votes that had been mailed in prior and Biden had a majority win, in round numbers from my memory 65% to 35%. Which in a predominantly blue state seemed like a slam dunk. But, and there is always a but, we had over 5.5 million registered voters, over 2 million potential votes not counted yet. In my own county, they have said that as of last Thursday they still had 150,000 mail in votes to count received after Election Day, and they still had all ballots that were cast at the polls, that they hadn’t even started counting. They said that the official drop boxes had to be emptied 3 times on Election Day. As of yesterday the difference is now 57% to 41% with 10% of the votes left to be counted. Sure the odds are that Biden will carry the state, but the feeling here is that those in power here basically told us, you voted in person on Election Day, your vote doesn’t matter, all those that voted by mail decided the election. Kthnxby. The election, at the very least here was handled poorly. No one should be made to feel that their vote is meaningless.

    As for the Trump stop counting challenges only in some states, I believe that they did in those states where they changed election laws just prior, extending the date to receive ballots, some opening ballots prior and sending them back to voters so they could correct mistakes, even ignoring missing signatures or ones not even close. I had looked up the info, typically there is about a 30% rejection rate for mail in votes in a normal election. This year it was practically 0%.

    It is going to be messy, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump takes the lead for a bit and still loses, or if neither gets 270 and it goes to Congressional vote.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The problem (well, one of the problems) with democracy is that it relies on the losing side(s) being willing to accept the outcome. That has worked pretty well in liberal democracies for the simple reason that the practical impact for most people on either side of having the other side in charge for a few years is minimal. Mostly the differences between the sides is minimal, even cosmetic. Mostly all parties likely to win an election adhere to the same set of codified behaviors and expectations with only a certain, small degree of protective coloration to create an impression of distance.

    To a large degree, that was what Trump claimed he was going to stop and to a lesser degree he’s done some of what he said he would. The result is that the usual nominally democratic compromise won’t hold. People who proclaim democratic principles rarely admit that they’re only happy when their side is in charge but outside of a few zealots (the “I’d die to defend your right to say something I completely disagree with” bunch) everyone understands what the game is. When something like this happens and one side percieves there’s a real chance that the other side, if left to get on with under democratic rules, will rip up the rule book and institute a different set altogether, accepting the result stops being an uncomfortable duty and starts to look like an existential threat.

    At the moment the focus is on Trump fighting the result through the courts. It’s still okay to play the democracy card and let that run its course in the belief that the status quo ante will be restored through the rule of law. But if he were to win those cases and overturn the result? Would it be democratic to sit back and wait another four years to try again? Would there be a democracy to go back to after that?

    Democracy is great when everyone agrees how its supposed to work and no-one rocks the boat. But when half the electorate vote for someone who openly promises not just to rock it but to punchit full of holes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed on many fronts. Democracy as a concept is rarely what we see in practice.

      I should point out that regardless of the winner, democracy in the US is on its knees. Unless there’s a massive, and absolutely unheard of unification, the next one is going to simply amplify this one.

      Liked by 1 person

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