By now many conservatives have addressed the absurd midterm elections (see here and here, for example). To avoid getting lost in the weeds, let’s focus on one clear statistic: the popular vote totals for House races, where every district in the United States held elections on November 8. This number encapsulates the panorama of American voting, with a sample size large enough to allow us to see beyond pockets of rigging.
This is what CNN reported seven hours after the last polls in California, Washington, and Oregon closed:
By this point, only 80% of the nation’s ballots were counted. The Republicans led by 6.2 million votes.
The following day, twenty-four hours after the end of voting, the percentage of ballots counted had only risen from 80% to 84%, and the Republican lead over the Democrats had shrunken to 5.75 million votes, a shrinkage of nearly half a million.
The 4% that got counted in this one-day period amounted to 1.9 million new Republican votes and 2.6 million new Democratic votes.
Then by Friday, a full 72 hours after the end of voting, the percentage of ballots counted had risen at a sloth-like pace to 88%, and the Republicans’ lead over the Democrats had fallen to just over 5 million votes. See a screenshot of CNN’s report here:
In the time interval between midnight on November 10 and 9pm on November 11, there were counted about 960,000 Republican votes and almost exactly 1.7 million Democratic votes.
By the time the news cycle was over for the week, the Republicans’ lead in the popular vote had shrunk from 6.2 million to only 5 million. This buffer of 1.2 million “lost” lead votes is more than enough to dash the hopes of Republicans to hold their leads in the Nevada Senate race and several California House races. This buffer is also enough to put reversals in the Arizona Senate race and Kari Lake’s gubernatorial bid out of reach.
The explanations for multiple coincidences all fall flat, despite the straight-faced protestations of election apologists.
“The West Coast closes later!” The time lag cannot explain why inconsistencies persist between the states that had been closed for 21 hours and those that had been closed for 24.
“The late reporting districts are more Democratic!” The “more Democratic” region includes Silicon Valley and the home base for Amazon. Republican districts have disproportionate shares of elderly people, rural communities, and white Americans who do not have college degrees. Why would their votes be counted faster than the Democrats’ urban and suburban constituencies who include many more engineering degrees and powerful people who work in Big Tech? Wouldn’t aging retirees and people living in the country be more likely to use mail-in ballots than urban professionals or metropolitan voters who have multiple voting stations close to them?
“It was so much to count!” Didn’t everyone in America know 100 years ago that there would be midterm elections in the fall of 2022? Only the Democratic districts lacked the time-management skills and common sense to have a tabulation system ready to go?
To be believed, these explanations require that we accept multiple coincidences and aberrations while ignoring the simplest, most plausible, and likely reason for the glitches: people involved in the counting and reporting of ballots were intentionally staggering tallies to give themselves time to fabricate a desired outcome—Democratic control of the Senate and/or House—without arousing too much suspicion. Certain results were strongly desired by Democrats: a 51-49 result in the Senate favoring the Democrats (assuming that Herschel Walker will lose in the December runoff, by which time conservatives will have stopped paying attention), and something like a 218-217 Democratic majority in the House. This way the Democrats lose nothing and are close enough to the polls to claim—farcically—that these results are real and the beleaguered public entrusted them with another two years of cultural, economic, social, and military depravity.
But how can this happen?
Maybe we can pinpoint the beginning as the liberals’ rage over the 2000 election, which led to much of the left’s rationalizing of election fraud based on the notion that George W. Bush took office under a cloud of suspicion and went on to involve us in multiple wars overseas.
Maybe it was Al Franken’s wacky 2008 rise to the Minnesota seat. Or maybe the key turning point was in 2010, when the Tea Party swept the House but the Senate stayed under Democratic hands through one weird Senate race after another. Perhaps the biggest warning sign was the 2016 election, when Hillary Clinton’s epic “lead in the popular vote” stretched from half a million on election night to a full three million by a couple of weeks later. Then came the recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan at the behest of Jill Stein, in which every recount trimmed down Trump’s lead without reversing his win.
The lasting relevance of The Emperor Has No Clothes
Whenever it started, the mask fell off two years ago. The 2020 election was so thoroughly marred by irregularities, and skeptics so totally dehumanized, that it’s fair to say conservatives brought this horror show on themselves through their own paralysis and silence. As any schoolteacher will tell you, people who get away with no consequences will view the outcome of their own misconduct as both a reward and an encouragement. The more you “let it go” the more of it you are going to get. This is what teachers know from years of being nagged by students to “let us do a take-home exam.” If you cave and foolishly use an honor code, telling them to take the test at home without cheating, it is guaranteed that they will blow off the class, act like fools, learn nothing, and then cheat their way to As. Their fake As will be proof exonerating them when you try to discipline them and they lie to avoid penalties. Rather than show gratitude for your having given them what they asked for, they will walk away with the lesson that their complaining and nagging received positive reinforcement. You will get more attitude, not less, and they will blame you for having been foolish enough to concede to them. And they will never stop demanding to be allowed to take their tests at home, with each concession leading to increasingly rude and rambunctious behavior.
How The Teacher’s Dilemma Becomes a Political Problem
The nineteenth-century fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, The Emperor’s New Clothes, featured an emperor as the main character. It was a political warning above all, based on the natural human tendency to go along with obvious falsehoods due to peer pressure. In the myth, the emperor is fooled into believing he has a beautiful suit because the swindlers set him up to walk around almost naked. Not wanting to go through the hassle of confronting weavers and the citizens about the embarrassing fraud he had bought into, the emperor pranced around with no clothes on and everyone implicitly encouraged it by not saying anything, fearing that if they commented on the obvious craziness before them they would be deemed crazy rather than the emperor.
Historical Precedents for Self-Perpetuating Insanity
The farce is enhanced, of course, by the projective quality of the Emperor’s new clothes: people fear that if they comment on the obvious, they will be stigmatized rather than the person who deserves the stigma (and they are, by the way, right in fearing as much). Even someone like Ann Coulter, who once upon a time called out Al Franken’s fraud in the 2008 election, now demonizes 2020 election skeptics as QAnon fanatics and conspiracy wackos.
The answer to the question – if the votes were fake, wouldn’t they have gotten caught by now?—lies in the simplest review of history. Large and small, epic and tiny, history provides us with embarrassing, obvious frauds and lies that go on indefinitely because people are afraid of saying anything. Let’s start with the Inquisition.
The Emperor’s Grand Inquisitor
By the late 1400s, Isabel and Ferdinand, the “Catholic Monarchs” of Spain, were a power couple. Isabel was likely more sincere in her faith than her husband was, but she didn’t become the queen of Castile by being a gentle dove. She had to fight against her father and brother to become the queen. Skeptics had good reason to know that Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor elevated during Isabel’s reign, was not really defending Jesus Christ or the church. The Bible does not condone engaging in torture and defamatory secret trials. But the Inquisition, freed from accountability to the papacy or the kings of Spain, had a massive secret police force—the original Deep State—and managed to carry out around 600,000 shadowy trials before finally, in the early 1800s, the whole system was shut down. Writers from Voltaire to Cervantes had mocked the Inquisition, but everyone was terrified to dismantle it, fearing that they would be accused of defying God. The Inquisition plodded on for a full 300 years after the Protestant Reformation. Imagine in the year 2322, conservatives still feeling afraid to comment on bogus election reports.
The Emperor’s Divine Right to Rule
Charlemagne was crowned in 800 in a religious spectacle that declared earthly sovereigns as the anointed stewards of God’s people on Earth. One thousand years would pass before people questioned the divine right of kings enough to decide that constitutional republics based on popular sovereignties might be a better idea (now, of course, we are watching constitutional republics unravel like the divine right of kings before it, over the same basic logistical problem—how to choose successors in a process that is both legitimate and proper). The English executed their king in 1649 and then went back to monarchic rule in 1660 because they were so unable to break with the belief that God had personally chosen whichever inbred prince, no matter how feeble, had lucked into the throne. Today we know this is folly. Many back then knew it too. But it continued for hundreds of years.
The Emperor Spreads “Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité”
Today the guillotine symbolizes all that was outrageous about the French Revolution. The new calendar, mob rule, civil war, and the mass beheadings of perceived opponents, all strike us as barbaric enough that the world should have been tireless in stopping the madness of the French 1790s. But ten years after the fall of the Bastille, Napoleon led the most massive and energized national army Europe had ever seen. He even got exiled and came back, still embraced by supporters believing he was liberating all of humanity by invading sovereign nations.
The Emperor’s Biblical Citation in Support of Slavery
Anybody who reads Genesis 9 with a dose of honesty can see that the text does not tell readers to enslave Black people. The “curse of Ham” is a story about Noah getting drunk and passing out naked in his tent. Two of his sons are careful not to look at him while Ham carelessly sees Noah’s bare body. The resulting curse refers to Canaan, the ancestor of people settled in the Middle East (not Africa), and is obviously not a command for systematic multigenerational enslavement of people from the western shores of Africa based entirely on skin color. Yet this mangled interpretation of the Bible was not only preached in churches but used to persecute anyone who questioned it as they saw millions of Africans degraded and abused. This went on for four centuries and plagued both Catholic and Protestant nations.
The Emperor Was Born Gay
If you type “people are not born gay” on many social media sites you may see your account suspended. Certainly anybody who says this aloud is not going to be hired by a university or find work in the media. What happened? Fifty years ago the medical profession reversed a century of psychopathology and deemed that homosexuality was not an illness. From saying it was normal to saying it was inbred and fixed at age zero was a shockingly short leap. For five decades, mountainous evidence has shown that homosexuality is not genetic, does not persist in all cases, and is in many cases the result of environmental factors (including in many instances abuse). The idea that an infant without language can emerge from his mother’s body desiring same-sex stimulation is absurd. Yet there is still vicious backlash against anyone resisting the statement “people are born gay.” The LGBTQIIA+ acronym grows. The transgender movement says that people can’t even be born male or female. The national backlash against pedophilia points to the danger in believing that prepubescent boys and girls have sexual orientations. But people still can’t resist the shibboleth that infants are gay at birth. The culmination of this logic is Drag Queen Story Hour, where men dressed up as self-destructive female strippers engage in seductive dances in front of toddlers. Yet despite the undeniably repulsive images of DQSH, many people—including many conservatives—still won’t tell gay people that they were not homosexual at birth.
The Emperor Got Elected in Iran, Venezuela, the Philippines, and Cuba
We must remind ourselves from time to time that “election observers” are an entire industry sponsored by organizations like the United Nations. From Iran, where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got “elected” with 62.6% of the vote; to Venezuela, where Hugo Chavez got elected by a 10-point margin over his challenger; to the Philippines, where Bill Clinton’s old friend Gloria Arroyo went to jail for election-rigging over 10 years ago; to Cuba, where regular elections would show Castro winning over 90% of the vote; the story is a universal human one. You can have all the Aristotelian and Lockean ideas you’d like about the ideal form of government and how things ought to be, but the best political dreams come down to how to count ballots. I hate to anger American exceptionalists, but our country is no different. Fake elections are a reality; real elections are often a fantasy.
The Emperor Is Not Santa Claus, I Promise!
Never mock conspiracy theorists. Billions of people around the globe coordinate an action plan every year to perpetuate the myth that a chubby old man in a red suit flies around in a sleigh led by magical reindeer delivering gifts. And we carry on the lie with a straight face.
The Emperor’s Completely Objective Peer-Review System
Finally, the last example to illustrate why it is completely feasible for fake elections to go on right before us, indefinitely, with nothing to stop them, I give you the 21st-century faculty lounge. During my 20 years in academia, the faculty union protections, grievance procedures, search committee guidelines, and performance reviews all created the illusion of unbiased peer review. We all pretended that there was no liberal bias whatsoever. There were even books published claiming to prove through statistical analysis that conservatives were not the victims of discrimination on college campuses. And every year, millions of American college students went to their classes and knew beyond any doubt that the faculty lounge was a liberals-only club.
The Emperor Steals Votes
All these examples show that frauds can be perpetrated on large groups of people over long stretches of time, and there is no natural guarantee that they will be “caught” simply by virtue of being so obvious. There is no doubt in my mind that the midterm election results are fake and a large cross-section of American society knows they are. That doesn’t mean we will be able to reverse them or stop this from happening again. History tells us the odds of taking the election process back are dim.
In researching this article I have come to a sad conclusion. Once the illusion of real elections is lost, we are left, really, with no self-government at all. Maybe all the elections have been fraudulent. Perhaps it was better when we believed the results. But times have changed. Now many people see that the emperor has no clothes, watches porn, and steals ballots. The truth is worth acknowledging, even if it means this is a turning point in history, and we can never go back to the naïve belief that popular sovereignty through democratic elections is a desirable political model.