BREAKING: Biden Wins AZ

Is there a sarcasm font?

Via the NYT: Republican Review of Arizona Vote Fails to Show Stolen Election.

After months of delays and blistering criticism, a review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, ordered up and financed by Republicans, has failed to show that former President Donald J. Trump was cheated of victory, according to draft versions of the report.

In fact, the draft report from the company Cyber Ninjas found just the opposite: It tallied 99 additional votes for President Biden and 261 fewer votes for Mr. Trump in Maricopa County, the fast-growing region that includes Phoenix.

The full review is set to be released on Friday, but draft versions circulating through Arizona political circles were obtained by The New York Times from a Republican and a Democrat.

So, from the point of view of welcoming any evidence that might help tamp down “steal” narratives, this is welcome news. It is mildly amusing that the so-called audit found a few more votes for Biden. I expect that at the press conference later today will contain some inflammatory conspiracy theorizing.

For example, the draft report contains the following:

they also claimed that other factors — most if not all contested by reputable election experts — left the results “very close to the margin of error for the election.”

I suspect that the focus will be on those “factors” will be used to argue for greater restrictions on voting in Arizona.

State Senator Wendy Rogers, a Republican who is among Arizona’s most ardent advocates of the stolen-election canard, posted on Twitter late on Thursday that the 110-page document was “simply a draft and is only a partial report,” and looked ahead to a hearing on Friday discussing the results. “Tomorrow we make history,” she wrote.

But, course,

One expert and critic of the review who had seen a draft report of the findings called those red herrings.

“The whole report just reflects on the Ninjas’ lack of understanding of Arizona election law and election administration procedures,” said Benny White, a Republican in Tucson who is an adviser on election law and procedures.

The entire process was farcical and dangerous, even if it did ultimately match the same results as those from the official count.

This will also end up being another illustration of the way in which many people are willing to let their preferences shape how they look at empirical evidence. Just like a lot of people are willing to look at clear evidence about the pandemic and the efficacy of vaccines and still treat Covid-19 like the sniffles and eschew a Moderna shot for Ivermectin so, too, will a lot of people see confirmation of Biden’s win in Arizona and still assert that the election was stolen.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Democracy, Elections, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Like all fantasists, whether their obsession is the tooth fairy or unicorns, they’ll move on to the next lie that supports their delusion.

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  2. Scott O says:

    Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no! Was Benghazi over after 3 investigations? Or Vince Foster? Let’s go team, we can drag this out at least till the midterms.

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  3. Gustopher says:

    Well, the Cyber Ninjas are more reputable than I thought — I figured they would just lie. This is not going to get them more work reviewing other states.

    I can only assume that socialists infiltrated the counting, and threw off the results. Venezuelan socialists, perhaps.

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  4. inhumans99 says:

    While I hear what Steven is saying and Sleeping Dog and Scott, the fact remains that in “draft” format or not, it is now out there on the internet that not only did Biden win in AZ, but by a small handful more of votes than noted when the votes were first tallied up.

    Also, this report comes from a firm that is so in the tank for the Republicans it is not even funny, so finding that Biden actually received more votes than Trump, well…oopsie doodle, that is not the results the MAGA crowd were expecting, lol!!

    I love it. I also appreciate that this report just makes the stop the steal folks sound even loonier and out of touch than they currently are. Granted, this report will not stop them from embracing the conspiracies, but as far as working the margins, this report can only help.

    Hopefully, some members of Congress who are not completely cuckoo for cocoa puffs, but still expressed some sympathy that the stop the steal folks should be heard and let the audit process come to a conclusion, they will read the this report and go okay, that is it, I am done. Biden won by an even bigger (slightly bigger, but it still counts) percentage in AZ and they will feel it is no longer politically valuable to rhetorically coddle the stop the steal folks.

    In fact, with this report it may even be harmful for some politicians to still declare they stand shoulder to shoulder with the stop the steal folks, and I suspect some members of Congress are breathing a sigh of relief that this report gives them the cover/excuse to try and quickly disentangle themselves from the Stop The Steal folks.

    I can see some GOP members of Congress sending these folks down the memory hole, someone asks a question to a Senator regarding their expressing solidarity with these folks several months back and now the Senator will say, Barbara, you have it all wrong, I may have said that folks (not just the STS folks) deserve to be heard and if there is something to their concerns we should investigate but I never claimed to a member of the stop the steal group, next question please.

    Like I said, if members of Congress are smart they will use this report to memory hole these loons and move on.

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  5. Scott F. says:

    This will also end up being another illustration of the way in which many people are willing to let their preferences shape how they look at empirical evidence.

    I’d ask that you be very clear about your use of “many people” here in light of your recent post on partisan cues and filters. Yes, all partisans (in fact all people) take in information filtered through their own particular lens. But, there isn’t anything close to symmetry in how partisans let their preferences shape their intake of empirical evidence, least of all when it comes to elections and vaccines. Evidence still has a place on the left.

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  6. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @inhumans99:

    Like I said, if members of Congress are smart they will use this report to memory hole these loons and move on.

    If members of Congress are smart?!?! BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Sadly, they’ve had better off-ramps before and not taken them. And certainly if Trump continues to scream stolen election they won’t off-ramp at all. If they didn’t after 1/6, they never will.

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  7. Michael Cain says:

    @inhumans99:

    …but by a small handful more of votes than noted when the votes were first tallied up.

    Small enough number that we are talking about provisional or damaged or other edge case ballots that depend on human judgement.

    Most of the fraud people in all the states gave up on the idea that ballots were miscounted months ago. Now it’s all about process, and fringe theories of how thousands/millions of ballots were mysteriously introduced into the counting process. I look forward to seeing what methods the Ninjas point at in their report. Or, now that they’re looking at lawsuits of various sorts, if it will be “Well, there’s the possibility that fraudulent ballots could have been introduced…”

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  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The only thing that matters is that the audit got different results than the election did. That means, YOU CAN’T TRUST ELECTIONS!!!

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  9. Scott says:

    Give credit where credit is due. Two Republicans from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors don’t hold back.

    https://youtu.be/mXVQ7GxePT0

    BTW, it doesn’t matter whether the swing in votes went to Biden or Trump. The people looking to undermine voting will use the differences to say: “See! All vote counting is highly inaccurate”.

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  10. Kylopod says:

    @Scott:

    BTW, it doesn’t matter whether the swing in votes went to Biden or Trump. The people looking to undermine voting will use the differences to say: “See! All vote counting is highly inaccurate”.

    That’s the Holocaust-denier playbook.

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  11. @Scott F.:

    I’d ask that you be very clear about your use of “many people” here in light of your recent post on partisan cues and filters. Yes, all partisans (in fact all people) take in information filtered through their own particular lens. But, there isn’t anything close to symmetry in how partisans let their preferences shape their intake of empirical evidence, least of all when it comes to elections and vaccines. Evidence still has a place on the left.

    When I say “many people” I actually do mean most human beings.

    The perhaps subtle distinction is that leadership on the leftward side is not asking its adherents to believe nonsense, while leadership on the right is. That is, in my view, the real distinction, not that people on the left, broadly defined, are more amenable to empirical evidence than are those or other ideological persuasions.

    (Note, for example, that prior to Covid, most anti-vaxxers were on the left–which points out that being on the left doesn’t, dare I say, innoculate a person from rejecting empirical evidence).

    But, again, to be clear, the elites on the right are the ones asking their followers to believe nonsense, and many (not all) on the right are willing to do so. And, further, when it comes to vote totals and vaccines, in particular, leaders on the left are promoting empirical true positions.

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  12. Kathy says:

    I figure losing the election must be like having ten simultaneous orgasms while on a cocaine high and petting a puppy, otherwise El Cheeto Benito would not be so eager to re-live it over and over again.

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  13. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: I love this observation. I am not a psychotherapist, but I am reasonably informed that people with narcissism can’t help but obsess over failures just as much as over success. It’s kind of why it’s considered “illness”, which requires suffering.

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  14. Monala says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: prior to Covid there were plenty of anti-vsxxers in the right, too. It was a true case of “both sides.”

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  15. just nutha says:

    @inhumans99: Sadly, memory holing the loons (and what did the birds do to earn that metaphor?) may depend on how much electoral mileage any given Congressgrifter* can get from keeping on “protecting the vote.”

    *I was going to correct back to the standard “critter” and then realized the other was just as accurate.

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  16. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I don’t think anything precludes a narcissist from being a masochist as well.

    In fact, it would explain a great deal about the tiny don’s many failures.

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  17. inhumans99 says:

    At the risk of spamming this thread with my comments, on another site I answered this post:
    “I’m afraid of some kind of longer term game plan. Does questioning election integrity open doors for future election fraud? Does it open discussion to try to block mail-in voting so all the homebodies don’t vote?

    Or, I mean, is the AZ GOP just a very un-serious operation? What are they going to do with all the MAGA people who thinks Surf Ninjas and GOP are now deep state?”

    With this reply:
    “John Doe (I changed the name of the person I was replying too), I think that the audit results actually strengthen Election integrity in the minds of most everyone who is not loony tunes insane. This was an audit done by a firm that is so in the tank for the GOP it is not even funny. When the audit results find that Biden won with slightly even more votes than originally reported while Trump actually had his vote count reduced a slight bit, well oopsie doodle, not what the MAGA folks were expecting to hear.

    If AZ does not let this go, to use your words the AZ GOP are just going to considered a very un-serious operation. As the days pass-by, it is becoming more and more apparent to all but the real actual hardcore true believers in Trump (and Trumpism) to finally start to put some distance between Trump and the GOP. I for one welcome Trump running in 2024, as I feel a lot of folks will finally feel that is the straw that breaks the camels back and they start screaming at Trump to get the frack of the stage.”

    So yeah, I think that people might finally start to scoff at the Stop The Steal folks and not worry so much about any blowback.

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  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @inhumans99: I wish I shared your optimism.

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  19. Michael Cain says:

    @just nutha:

    (and what did the birds do to earn that metaphor?)

    A bit of research suggests that the actual origin goes back to the 1700s sometime, when “loon” was used to indicate someone had any of several bad behaviors, including those typical of some types of mental illness.

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  20. Kylopod says:

    @Monala:

    prior to Covid there were plenty of anti-vsxxers in the right, too.

    It’s actually a misconception that it was ever primarily a right-wing movement. In 2015, Pew published a study suggesting that 10% of Democrats and 12% of Republicans held anti-vax views.

    The perception of it as a left-wing phenomenon probably was because its most prominent advocates tended to be Hollywood celebrities, most notably Jenny McCarthy.

    But in one of the 2011 GOP debates, Michelle Bachmann expressed anti-vax views, in response to Rick Perry’s HPV mandate. Trump himself expressed such views in 2016.

    I think right-wing anti-vaxxers have always tended to frame it in terms of opposing government control, whereas on the left it’s rooted more in negative views of the pharmaceutical industry.

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  21. Kylopod says:

    @Kylopod:

    It’s actually a misconception that it was ever primarily a right-wing movement.

    I meant it’s a misconception it was ever primarily a left-wing movement.

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  22. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    I don’t think anything precludes a narcissist from being a masochist as well.

    I’d call it self-loathing rather than masochism. I believe it’s one of the central traits of all narcissists.

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  23. @Kylopod: That’s fair.

    Let me re-frame my point: being on the left did not stop leftist anti-vaxxers from ignoring the empirical evidence.

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  24. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    being on the left did not stop leftist anti-vaxxers from ignoring the empirical evidence.

    Of course. But it was always a pretty fringe view on the left. I can’t remember hearing it from any major Democratic politicians or liberal pundits. It was initially pretty fringe on the right, too, though the statements of Bachmann and Trump suggest it was on the rise a while before Covid.

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  25. Modulo Myself says:

    The one person I do know who was an anti-vaxer before Covid had a son–like Jenny McCarthy–with autism. So not to defend her or Jenny McCarthy but I get it. When bad things happen to loved ones, people look for answers. I get how that can end up in anti-vax territory if you don’t know that much (or anything) and are overwhelmed by what happened to your child who you happen to love.

    The Covid anti-vax people are not the same. Other people getting sick while Trump was president exploded their minds. They treat like Covid like it’s the fulfillment of some liberal fantasy to close schools and businesses and make people wear masks. That’s just an insane reaction to reality.

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  26. Mike in Arlington says:

    quick hit: I think one of my posts got hung up in moderation b/c I had 2 links. Could someone check and release please?

    regarding anti-vaxx ideological split. I found this study about the ideological split of antivaxxers, and it seems to say that the more extreme a person is on the spectrum, right or left, the more likely he or she is to be anti-vaccine.
    https://theconversation.com/anti-vaccination-beliefs-dont-follow-the-usual-political-polarization-81001

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  27. @Kylopod: RFK, Jr. comes to mind, but he never served in office, to my recollection, but clearly is from a prominent political family.

    It was initially pretty fringe on the right, too, though the statements of Bachmann and Trump suggest it was on the rise a while before Covid.

    Which backs my basic thesis–the issue is not about inherent protection from error based on ideological camp, but rather about whether ideological elites push an issue.

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  28. @Modulo Myself:

    The Covid anti-vax people are not the same

    In the context of this discussion, though, the issue is whether someone accepts empirical evidence or not, so similar in that sense.

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  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @inhumans99:

    The 22 AZ elections are going to be very interesting. While I have no insight in to what the average AZ voter thinks, my experience tells me that voters who are only mildly partisan, react unfavorably to politicians that are outside the mainstream. Given that the states gubernatorial office is and open seat election, this could be a significant D pickup. Regarding the legislature, I’ve no idea how gerrymanded it is.

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  30. Sleeping Dog says:

    @just nutha:

    The cackled of a Loon, is very reminiscent of demented laughter.

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  31. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    RFK, Jr. comes to mind, but he never served in office, to my recollection, but clearly is from a prominent political family.

    But he’s still a fringe figure, despite his family background. He’s never been a major liberal commentator on the order of say Rachel Maddow or Jon Stewart, let alone a sitting member of Congress or the President of the United States.

    There is actually one fairly prominent liberal commentator who has held borderline anti-vax views for years–Bill Maher. But he’s always been somewhat of an oddball, not very representative of the left.

    the issue is not about inherent protection from error based on ideological camp, but rather about whether ideological elites push an issue.

    But aren’t the ideological elites a reflection of what people in their camp, in general, tend to think?

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  32. NW Steve says:

    @Mike in Arlington: @Mike in Arlington:

    the more extreme a person is on the spectrum, right or left, the more likely he or she is to be anti-vaccine

    My experience is that people who are extreme in one dimension are often extreme in multiple dimensions; that extremity per se is the predominant characteristic. Being anti-vax is just another convenient mode to demonstrate extremity.

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  33. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Regarding the legislature, I’ve no idea how gerrymanded it is.

    AZ’s districts are drawn by an independent commission. The commission and its staff have not released any draft maps yet. Given what we know about changes in population from ten years ago (and speaking as a hack cartographer), the most important outcome is likely to be that exurban areas will be peeled off of suburban districts and attached to rural districts to make the population numbers work out. Certainly that seems to be happening on draft maps in Colorado, where there is also a commission and similar sorts of population change.

    The AZ Republicans have a single seat majority in each chamber. There are, IMO, a whole bunch of warning flags they should be paying attention to (eg, ballot initiatives for recreational marijuana and higher minimum wage both based easily over Republican opposition). I’m willing to take bets for a craft beer that AZ flips from a red trifecta to a blue one in the 2022 elections.

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  34. just nutha says:

    @Michael Cain: That still doesn’t answer the question of what the birds themselves did to cause people to feel that they could just demean loons like that.

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  35. DrDaveT says:

    @just nutha:

    That still doesn’t answer the question of what the birds themselves did to cause people to feel that they could just demean loons like that.

    Um… yes it does?

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  36. Gustopher says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Let me re-frame my point: being on the left did not stop leftist anti-vaxxers from ignoring the empirical evidence.

    I suspect the anti-vax attitude actually made a lot of them move to the right, but I don’t think we have a good study that shows this. None that I have seen, anyway. “Vaccines cause autism” leads pretty quickly to “vaccine mandates are tyranny” and then presumably to “Fauci is a fascist” and “we don’t hate black people, we just love and honor our shared western european culture.”

    Because, as we all know, jet fuel can’t melt steel girders — that’s just science man. Toss in a bit of both-sides (the NeoLiberals are just as bad as the rest of them!) and sprinkle with a Trump isn’t a traditional Republican, and you have a blossoming Trumper.

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  37. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT: Does it? Why loons and not sparrows, badgers or elk?

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  38. Joe says:

    @Gustopher: Without the benefit of any research, I would surmise that calling a person a loon is a confluence “lunacy” and “bird brained” handily embodied by the bird called a “loon.” The cackle cements the connection.

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  39. Michael Cain says:

    @Gustopher: English is a large language, people like short simple words, so there will inevitably be collisions in vocabulary. And silly things: why were/are all soft drinks in the South called “coke”? Do you know how strange I thought it was the first time I heard a server ask “What kind of coke?” and someone told them “Dr. Pepper”?

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  40. just nutha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yeah, I’ve heard that before–the whole “gibbering like a loon” idea. It’s too bad the birds have a peculiar call.

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  41. just nutha says:

    @DrDaveT: If you’re going to play “feed the troll” with me, you’ll need to do better than simply assert that is does punctuated as a question. Show me your evidence like you would with JKB or some other nutball. I can be as deliberately obtuse as anyone on this site (and probably have been, too).

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  42. just nutha says:

    @Gustopher: EXACTLY!!!!

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  43. just nutha says:

    @Joe: I don’t recall lunacy being about the birds, but rather about moonlight having deleterious effects on people. The cackle is another thing, though, but I don’t live in an area where loons are native, so I have to take people’s word on that.

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  44. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    In Mexico, children go through a rite of passage where they are taught disposable tissues are not called Kleenex.

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  45. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I’ve been a little surprised that Coca Cola hasn’t launched a campaign to get people to stop using coke in a generic way, the way some other companies have done to protect their trademarks.

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  46. Hal_10000 says:

    This will not persuade anyone. Trump and Ward are already out there claiming the audit proves he won the election because it makes garbage claims about how a bunch of fraudulent votes “might” exist.

    This is a religion.

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  47. keef says:
  48. Kurtz says:

    @inhumans99:

    I can see some GOP members of Congress sending these folks down the memory hole, someone asks a question to a Senator regarding their expressing solidarity with these folks several months back and now the Senator will say, Barbara, you have it all wrong, I may have said that folks (not just the STS folks) deserve to be heard and if there is something to their concerns we should investigate but I never claimed to a member of the stop the steal group, next question please.

    Like I said, if members of Congress are smart they will use this report to memory hole these loons and move on.

    MTG is busy mocking up a new poster board with Scooby Doo. But it shouldn’t take as long as the first one–the only change: “Green New Deal” replaced by “Cyber Ninjas.” Clearly the firm was a double agent from the start.

    They’re probably the ones who replaced the real issue of The Honolulu Advertiser with a fake one that added Obama’s birth announcement to make it look like the Kenyan was born in Hawaii.

    Yes, the only people who think that’s ridiculous are sheeple or paid by Soros.

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  49. Joe says:

    @Kylopod: In the ’70s or ’80s, Coke mounted a famous campaign to sue bars and restaurants that used their trademark as a generic term for soda. They would send their people into bars that served Pepsi or something else and have them ask for a Rum & Coke. If the wait staff did not correct them, the bar would get a sternly worded letter if not a complaint. Largely as a result, where I live, if you order a “Coke” from a bar that sells “Pepsi,” the wait staff will immediately ask if Pepsi is ok.

    @just nutha:
    I am not suggesting that lunacy is about birds. It’s clearly about the moon. But it just so happens that the word “lunatic” can be shortened to “lune” or “loon,” which also happens to the name of a breed of bird that is known for its cackling call. I am suggesting that coincidence sealed an alternate meaning for “loon.”

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  50. mattb says:

    I love it when an area man, so tired of winning, has to rely on a Z-list conservative commentator for “I am a galaxy brain” wack-off material that is too loony for *checks notes* the Daily Caller or Fox New’s News Department?

    What’s next? Citing Dinesh D’Souza on history? Mike Lindell on legal practice?

    BTW, what’s the record on actual victories for the Trump campaign–like ones that matter-my dude?

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  51. Kylopod says:

    @mattb: Biden is the first Democrat in a quarter century to win Arizona. And the second, third, fourth….

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  52. Kathy says:

    @Joe:

    I’d never heard that one before.

    In Vegas I often ask for diet Coke, so does one of the people I often meet there. In many places, the server asks “Is diet Pepsi ok?” My friend usually says “No, but I’ll take it anyway.”

    I assumed we’re asked this because many people can tell Coke and Pepsi apart, and often prefer one to the other.

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  53. Matt says:

    @Michael Cain: I moved to the deep south many years ago. I still remember the first time I went to a fast food place and used the drive through. “yeah I’d like a number 2 with a coke” *what kind of coke?* “coke? not diet?”.. Thus my introduction to using coke as a catch all for soda/pop… Still not used to it 12 years later.

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  54. wr says:

    @keef: “Good to see OTB continues its biased and dishonest ways”

    Pathetic.

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  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: It may be even money as to whether the damage to brand or name recognition in all sodas (and particularly Pepsico competitors?) going by “Coke” is more important. Just guessing on this, tho.

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  56. grumpy realist says:

    @wr: I figure “bored troll, pissed off because he lost the last round of whatever video game he’s addicted to, wanting to see if he can poke any activity from possible targets.”

    (Why is it that all trolls sound like narcissistic 14-year old boys?)

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  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    (Why is it that all trolls sound like narcissistic 14-year old boys?)

    Arrested development? (As to why it happens, I passed on taking that class.)

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  58. Michael Reynolds says:

    There are plenty of crazies on the Left, people who believe in crystals, people terrified of various foods, hypochondriacs, hot yoga fans, plenty of nuts. Here’s the thing. 1) They’re crazy but harmless – unlike MAGAts. 2) They aren’t driving the bus – unlike MAGAts – because the rest of us don’t let them.

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  59. @keef: From the piece you linked:

    “What has been found is both encouraging and alarming,” the report summary reads. “On the positive side there were no substantial differences between the hand count of the ballots provided and the official canvass results for the County.”

    Emphasis mine.

    The rest of it is just the typical What If? style of “analysis.”

    Every challenge ends up the same, even one engaged in by allies to your cause.

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  60. Modulo Myself says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The discussion is about politics and we’re talking about why left-wing cranks don’t seem to get a foothold whereas right-wing cranks are running the party. All I’m saying is that most left-wing crankdom comes from personal life and often trauma and rarely is an act of political power against others. Whereas right-wing crankdom is about asserting oneself against others and about hurting other people.

    It’s like saying that someone overzealous and annoying about mask-wearing is exactly the same as someone who’s like f— you I’m not wearing a mask in order to cause discomfort.

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  61. @Modulo Myself: First, my fundamental point, which we have gotten away from, is that elite signals have profound effects on mass behavior and beliefs.

    If Biden and Harris (and MSNBC and others) had told everyone that the “Trump vaccine” was too rushed, a lot of Dems would be avoiding the vaccine. Not all (but, again, not all Reps have rejected the vaccine). I know this is all a counter-factual, but I think it is worthy of consideration.

    One can see some of this behavior now: Dems are simply more likely to mask, even if the odds of needing the mask aren’t that high (that is, science alone is not motivating their behavior). There is definitely some identity-driven behavior going on there.

    I would caution everyone that when we start trying to argue that “our” kooks really are fringe and/or harmless or “our” side is just more rational, that that is a sign of motivated thinking.

    There is nothing in history that says they lefty kooks are less dangerous than righty ones in the main, or that one broad ideological classification is inherently more rational than the other.

    This is a broad observation not intended to suggest anything about some specific behavior (for example, yes, being an asshole about other people wearing masks is being an asshole–I am not defending that at all). I am not, as I think some people think I am, engaging in bothsiderism.

    I am trying to explain and understand mass behavior and as well as to underscore the role leadership plays in all of this.

    I think some of the tension (or confusion) that emerges in these interchanges is that I am trying to talk about all of this stuff as a social scientist and not as a partisan pundit, and people would prefer that I just criticize the other side and be done with it.

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  62. @Kylopod:

    But aren’t the ideological elites a reflection of what people in their camp, in general, tend to think?

    Not necessarily (especially in a system like ours that allows relatively small numbers of voters to determine who the the leaders are).

    There is a synergy between elites and masses and while in a democracy the elites are supposed to be appealing to the masses for support, that doesn’t stop the elites from having profound influence over the mass.

    We have seen it before our eyes as allegedly free-trading Reps started to like tariffs and trade wars under Trump.

    And a lot of the Russia love on the right started with people like Franklin Graham.

    Or, more recently, do you think that Rod Dreher, Tucker Carlson, and now CPAC, all started liking Hungary because the rank-and-file got excited about it, or is it the other way around?

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  63. Modulo Myself says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My point is that not all kooks are built the same, and I don’t believe that is partisan thinking on my part. The American right has long been linked with what Hofstadter called the Paranoid Style, and the Paranoid Style is not the same as being overtly-cautious with masks or having a few bits of motivated reasoning. It’s arguably what we’re seeing now in the Republican Party and what we will never see in the Democrats.

    What’s puzzling is that your argument doesn’t take any of this into account. You aren’t even trying to argue against American history. It’s just a blank.

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  64. Tim Higgins says:

    @Scott O:
    I hope you’re kidding about the German’s bombing Pearl Harbour???

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  65. @Tim Higgins: It’s a reference.

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  66. @Modulo Myself:

    What’s puzzling is that your argument doesn’t take any of this into account. You aren’t even trying to argue against American history. It’s just a blank.

    I feel like this is asking me to be doing something far more comprehensive than I was doing.

    Also, while Hofstadter was writing about right-wing politics at the time, I do not recall that the “paranoid style” was defined as being a solely right-wing phenonmon, or am I misremembering?

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  67. I suppose what vexes me in these conversations is the notion that the right is somehow uniquely susceptible to motivated reasoning and rationalization. Maybe this is so, but I am not sure that there is evidence to back the claim.

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