Fraudsters

A One Act Play

Scene: Biden HQ, a smoke filled room deep in the swamp this past summer.

Mikey: Hey Frank.

Frank: What’s that, Mikey?

Mikey: Do you think we could do a fraud?

Frank: A what?

Mikey: A fraud. You know, on the election!

Frank: Funny you should mention that. I was just thinking it wouldn’t be that hard with all these mail-in ballots!

Mikey: Right! The polls for Joe look great, and some of the polling shows Texas might go blue, why not give it is a push!

Frank: Come on, man! Don’t get greedy. I say that we pick a more reasonable map and then drag out the count for over a week! Then no one would suspect!

Mikey: Smart thinking, pal. But we should go ahead and make sure the Donkeys win the Senate, right? Everyone will believe it if Maine kicks out Collins and Iowa gives Ernst the boot!

Frank: Again with the greedy, pal.

Mikey: Alright, alright, I see your point. But we could surely give our guys a boost in the House?

Frank: Geez, man, If the Dems lose a few in the House it will help cover us stealing the election for Biden! Think, man, think!

Mikey: I guess you’re right. You always are. Ok, I will get the boys working on the fake ballots. I suppose we could just flip MI, WI, and PA and that’d do it?

Frank: Tell you what, throw AZ in, but make it close. Astronauts are cool, and the press will be able to talk more about John McCain!

Mikey: Got it! But can I please throw in GA? It would just be so funny!

Frank: Alright, GA. But that’s it? Understood?

Mikey: Understood.

Frank [writing notes, making a list]: So, a reasonable map, House seat loss, Republican majority in the Senate.

[Rips paper off pad and hands it to Mikey]

See! That’s how you do a fraud! Drag it out and give your opponents some wins too, so they don’t feel too bad. I sure would have hated to see Mitch McConnell cry!

[And….scene]

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, 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. CSK says:

    This is pretty much exactly what the Trump Fan Club thinks happened.

    5
  2. drj says:

    Sure, it is bullshit.

    But it’s not like someone like Lindsey Graham will ever be able to admit that.

    Or RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel:

    “It’s been rigged from the beginning,” McDaniel told Hannity, “rigged from the laws that were being passed in the name of COVID to create a porous election, rigged in the sense that they kicked Republicans out of poll watching and observing… and now you have a media that’s rigging it again by saying we’re not going to even listen to these stories.”

    “That’s why the RNC is going to pursue this to the very end,” McDaniel continued. “We can never let this happen again…. These men and women matter their voices will be heard.”

    You can’t back down from claims like this. They have painted themselves into a corner and there is no reasonable escape now.

    The only way forward is to further radicalize their followers.

    7
  3. Scott F. says:

    I see what you’re trying to do here, Steven, but the Republican rank & file? They don’t go to the theater. And they don’t understand analogy.

    They don’t question their assumptions. They don’t reflect on their motivations. They don’t empathize with Others. They don’t recognize hypocrisy. They don’t acknowledge privilege or advantage.

    And Republican leaders? They fear the Republican rank & file, so they give them what they want. As the inestimable Lindsey Graham says, “We win because of our ideas, we lose elections because they cheat us.” For otherwise, loss would be due to the unpopularity of the ideas. And we just can’t have that!

    2
  4. DeD says:

    @Scott F.: I think you underestimate the Republican rank & file. We have the reflexive tendency to evoke the image of Jethro Bodine when discussing Republicans, but you can’t convince yourself or me that pre-2012 Dr. James Joyner was ever Bodine-like.

    I believe the majority of White Protestant and Catholic Christian voters engage critical thinking and rational reasoning to support their ideals. No matter how irrationally they react and act out publicly, they make the rational choice that their beliefs are correct. Just imagine a pre-2012 James Joyner, PhD, professor and department head at the MC Command and Staff College, and the search isn’t long or hard to find elite Republicans who, though they appear irrational, are very calculating in their political decisions.

    1
  5. DeD says:

    @DeD:
    *Meant regular Republicans, not elite.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    @DeD:

    You may want to add tribal identity to why people vote they way they do along with social influences. But you are right, most Rs are good people that on much in life you would find little to disagree with.

    Frankly, I follow the rule around friends to not talk about politics or religion. I will talk about issues with them, as it is easier to stick to the facts and not to the emotions.

    2
  7. DeD says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I didn’t want to directly touch that hot button. And yes, those topics among friends and family are lightning rods of discord.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DeD: I believe the majority of White Protestant and Catholic Christian voters engage critical thinking and rational reasoning to support their ideals.

    Speaking as an atheist, I have a hard time reconciling religious belief with rational thinking. Mind you, we all have our little irrationalities, and if believing that the omniscient and omnipotent sky man listens to one’s every prayer makes life a little more bearable for a person, I have no real objection. But to pretend that this all powerful God who is kind and merciful bears no responsibility at all for their child’s untreatable cancer and that it is all part of some great plan of his…

    I understand why people do this, but it’s not rational.

    1
  9. Scott F. says:

    @DeD:
    I wasn’t going for a Jethro characterization and it’s on me that you took it that way. I wouldn’t ascribe any of the mindsets I listed as terra incognito for GOP rank & file to intelligence and reason. Introspection, empathy, humility, honesty, and fear sit somewhere else in the human psyche.

    Your example bolsters my point. It took some reflection and introspection for the James Joyner of 2012 to become the James Joyner of 2016 – 2020. Long time readers have watched it take shape here at OTB. He’s looked at what has become of the Republican Party in the age of Trump and, without really compromising his rational views on policy and governance, he decided the absurdity, disingenuousness, incoherence, and norm-busting that is the current GOP could no longer be squared in his political calculations with what his introspection and honor told him was most important to him. I admire him for that.

    I stand by my assertion that other ‘regular’ Republicans who have decided to stay with the GOP rank & file in 2020 are refusing to do the psychic work James has done. When the disagreements were over interpretations of facts and not the facts themselves, when the white nationalism was dog-whistles from the shadows and not tweets from the WH & Congress, then you would have been able to convince me that regular Republicans were decent folk making their political decisions with their rationales.

    But, if we are in a “battle for the soul of the nation” (and evidence would suggest we are), then the side you choose in that battle is going to tell us a great deal about who you are, how you think, and what you value.

    1
  10. Mikey says:

    Mikey: Do you think we could do a fraud?

    HEY WAIT A MINUTE

    Frank: Funny you should mention that. I was just thinking it wouldn’t be that hard with all these mail-in ballots!

    My dad’s name was Frank!

    1
  11. Loviatar says:

    @DeD:

    We have the reflexive tendency to evoke the image of Jethro Bodine when discussing Republicans, but you can’t convince yourself or me that pre-2012 Dr. James Joyner was ever Bodine-like.

    pre-2012 James Joyner, PhD, professor and department head at the MC Command and Staff College

    DeD, Why do you give people like James Joyner either the benefit of the doubt or unearned forgiveness?

    James Joyner despite his education and credentials supported a party that regularly trafficked in racism, misogyny, homophobia, etc to achieve their policy goals. While he may not support Trump’s blunt outspoken version of republicanism, by his own admission he still supports orthodox Republicans and their ideas and causes. Who as a reminder, used racist, misogynist and homophobic dog-whistles and whispers to advance their ideology.

    My point is you don’t have to talk like Jethro Bodine to think like Jethro Bodine. Some of the vilest things I’ve read and heard were written and said by an Oxford educated white man with a posh British accent. Also, Mike Pompeo graduated at the top of his West Point Class.

    1
  12. DeD says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Speaking as an atheist, I have a hard time reconciling religious belief with rational thinking.

    Indeed, O. I’m atheist also and agree. What I meant by beliefs was their “earthly” beliefs, if you will, such as abortion, homosexuality, miscegenation, etc. Their reconciliation of these with their religion is a rational calculation. They’ve used a calculus that If A then B, and if I go along with A which causes B, then C consequences for me.

    But, no, I don’t think faith is a rational way to live. Reconciling all that bullshyt with their faith, though, I think is them being rational actors.

  13. DeD says:

    @Scott F.:
    “. . . then you would have been able to convince me that regular Republicans were decent folk making their political decisions with their rationales.”

    Evening, Scott. Well, I never ascribed the word “decency” to them. I meant only that we (myself included) are quick to conjure up the hillbilly and yokel with the southern drawl. And I still assert that they are rational actors, in that they thoughtfully reconcile their beliefs about abortion, homosexuality, interracial relationships, Evil Demoncrats, and all that other dumb stuff with their world view. The way they see the world may be irrational, but the decisions they make in squaring their lived lives with that world view is a rational decision.

    That’s my welfare two cents, anyway. At the end of the day, really, what the hell do I know about it?

    2
  14. Scott F. says:

    @DeD:
    Good evening to you as well.

    I think we’re seeing this the same way. Rational vs. rationalized. Reason vs reasoning. Thinking it through logic vs. thinking up the logic to square what they are willing to see with what they have come to believe.

    I don’t think the 70M who voted for Trump are all yokels and I don’t think they’re all evil and I don’t think they’re all stupid. But, I don’t understand how they can hold to the dumb stuff in their worldview at all.

    2