The “Stolen Election” Hoax, Revisited


A little over three years ago, I wrote a piece in which I made the claim that, not only DID I not believe the idea that the 2020 election was stolen, but that based on the things I had learned over the course of 60-plus years of living, as well as both the utter implausibility of such an undertaking and the dearth of solid evidence to its effect, I COULD not believe it, because to do so, I would have to reject many things I (and many others, almost certainly including a fair percentage of those who buy into the “stolen election”) have come to understand about basic human nature. In that piece, I raised six questions, most or all of which would need to be addressed in some satisfactory way, before I could get to the place where I could even consider it as a possibility. Before I get into the many subsequent issues that serve to strengthen the case I made then, allow me to briefly list those six reasons, along with a few words of explanation:

1. The sheer magnitude of the conspiracy – Any attempt to steal a national election would involve an enormous number of people, involving various officials, elected and otherwise, at any number of levels of responsibility, and across a number of different states, and representing both major parties. It’s likely that the sheer number of people who’d be needed to pull off something like this–and willing to risk conviction of various felonies resulting in prison time–would number well into the thousands. Does it seem plausible that a conspiracy of this sheer size and makeup could be constructed such that a national election could actually be stolen?
2. The question of motive – Anyone believing that the first question might somehow not be an insurmountable hurdle on its own is still left with one glaring question: why? Many of the participants in this “conspiracy” would have to be Republicans, most of whom would have voted for (and some of whom would have contributed financially to) Donald Trump. One such person is Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger; he supported Trump financially and politically, and there were many others. For what reason would these who supported Trump suddenly take part in a conspiracy to deprive their favored candidate an earned win, and instead throw the election for Joe Biden?
3. The unlikelihood of 100% sign-on – Did every single person approached about throwing the election sign on to the nefarious plot? I’d assume that not even the most diehard supporters of the “stolen election” would agree that this is unlikely to the point of impossible. If that’s the case, why have we heard from none of them? Why has no one come forward and said, “I was approached about being involved in throwing the election, but I chose not to”? Is it even in the ballpark of “reasonable” that this is the case?
4. The march of time – When I wrote the original piece three years ago, nearly six months had elapsed since the “stolen election”; at that time, nobody had cracked; not a single co-conspirator had broken down under pressure. Not a soul had done a “tell-all”. Neither Fox News nor any even nuttier news organizations had done an expose on “how it all happened”. If our 2020 election had truly been stolen, I argued, getting the scoop on how it happened would be literally one of the hottest stories of all time…and yet, at that time, not even a reasonable attempt had been made.
5. The massive dysfunctionality of Washington – This point relies simply upon the idea that Washington is a massively dysfunctional place, and that doing something like stealing a national election is beyond the capacity of people in our government to pull off.
6. The overwhelming disbelief of Republican congresspeople – Despite the incredible cowardice of the vast majority of Republicans in Congress, there are reliable sources who bear witness that the Republican caucus–almost to a man (or woman)–were willing to privately admit that the “stolen election” was preposterous. Publicly? Their fear of the Republican masses made most all of them gutless. Sure, there are the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the Republican world who might actually believe it, but they are, from reports, few and far between, probably in single digits of congressmen (not to mention, not the kind of company that any semi-serious Congress member would want to keep).

One person, to her credit, made an attempt at answering two or three of them, but admitted that she had no guess as to how to answer the first couple of the questions (which were arguably the most weighty ones, by the way). Other than this, no one even tried to answer my substantive questions. And some of the questions I raise have only gotten more substantive through the ensuing years, being time-related as they are (see below).

Because here’s the issue: it’s one thing to say, “I believe the election was stolen”, but it’s quite another to be able to give a plausible explanation for the means by which such an incredible feat might have been accomplished. To say the first, with no concern for or ability to identify some way that this could happen, is simply to engage in speculation and conspiracy-mongering, wishful thinking and fantasy. Now, I don’t think that people who believe that the election was stolen are “bad people” or are intentionally engaging in dishonesty; many of them are decent, hard-working people who (rightly) are suspicious of a lot of what goes on in our government.

But this doesn’t make them right, and it doesn’t give this stolen-election idea even a smidgen more credibility. In this case, I think that they have adopted an explanation more in line with their political desires than with anything remotely provable under ordinary rules of evidence. Did these folks allow the evidence to come out, proving that the election was stolen as more and more facts were brought to bear, until the case for a stolen election became not only plausible, but likely and/or clear? Or did they instead agree (essentially immediately) with the claims made by President Trump, claims which were presaged before Election Day, claims made on the basis of many now-discredited “proofs” that there was malfeasance going on in various states? And do they not now rely upon these debunked claims to cobble together their continued support for the “stolen election”? The answer seems abundantly clear to me. Also clear to me is that, had the exact same set of “proofs” been offered by Hillary Clinton, had she the temerity to allege that the 2016 election had been stolen, the very same people who take Trump’s claims seriously would have laughed her to scorn, and then some. But enough of that; let’s get to my further points.

And so to these as-yet-unaddressed questions I raised previously, the passage of time has added others, further strengthening my contention that the entire notion of a stolen election is, in the most realistic sense of the word, unbelievable. I submit that people truly interested in the truth–with regard not only to this issue but any other, for that matter–need to face honest questions and real objections, to wrestle with them and at least attempt to provide plausible answers, at least if they expect to be taken seriously and to maintain credibility as honest brokers. Of course, if they want to merely engage in fanciful speculation…well, I’ve covered that already.

Consider then the following additional
FoxNews settled a lawsuit by paying over 3/4 of a billion dollars to Dominion Voting Systems, which alleged that Fox defamed the company by reporting that it had been involved in the stealing of the 2020 electiond; Smartmatic reached a settlement of a similar lawsuit brought against One America News, though the details of the settlement were undisclosed. If FoxNews had any proof at all that Dominion was guilty, why did it pay this enormous settlement? Can you provide a plausible answer for their giving away nearly $800 million, absent an admission of guilt?
– We now know that Trump floated the idea in Iowa vis a vis Ted Cruz stealing the Iowa caucuses win in 2016. In other words, the 2020 election was not the first for which Trump considered making these claims. There is some evidence to suggest he made plans to claim that Hillary Clinton had stolen the election, had she won; he certainly claimed that there were millions of votes “stolen”, denying him a popular-vote victory. Does this give you any pause at all to consider the possibility that, rather than an evidentiary claim, his claim that the election was stolen was a calculated ploy that had been considered more than once previously?
– Perhaps the most “serious” attempt to explain the apparatus enabling the stealing of the election was the film “2000 Mules”, by filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza. It postulated that approximately 2000 people frequented ballot drop boxes–ostensibly to “stuff the boxes” with Biden votes–to a degree that these could be the “smoking gun”. Except that 2000 Mules has been thoroughly debunked…have you read this? Or this? Or any of a number of other sites that fact-checked the dubious claims made by the film? Add to this the recent admission by “True the Vote”, the organization whose claims D’Souza used as the basis of his film, that it had no evidence to back up its assertions. Also, is it possible that D’Souza’s making of the film was simply a quid pro quo for Trump pardoning him?
– Since I wrote, many more former Trump officials have testified to the falsehoods implicit in the stolen election claims. Some of the so-called “fake electors” have also admitted to its falsehood. Are all of these people who served alongside President Trump lying? Are the “fake electors” also lying now? Do you really believe that this is likely?
– There has still been no person who has “turned state’s evidence”, who has admitted to being part of some plot to steal the election. You don’t believe a single collaborator, three-and-a-half years after the election was alleged to have been “stolen”, would have had an attack of conscience…or be found out…or be the subject of a news expose?
– There has still been no grand expose by a right-wing news outlet–or any news outlet, of course, for that matter–which purports to have a “grand explanation” for the means of the stealing of the election. To my knowledge, none has even been attempted. In fact, what we’ve seen is certain news outlets (FoxNews, NewsMax, likely others) backtracking from “stolen election” claims.
– Did you give any credence to Stacey Abrams’ claim that the 2018 Georgia governor’s race was stolen from her? Me either; I was a Georgian at that time and found her claims to be little more than sour grapes. But do you realize that accomplishing what she alleged happened–stealing a gubernatorial election in a moderately-sized state–is several orders of magnitude easier than stealing a national election? Question is, if you believe that Trump was cheated out of the presidency, but think that Stacey Abrams’ claim is bogus and gave it no serious consideration, is your belief based on the consideration of this reality, and of real evidence, or could it be pure partisanship on your part? By the way, note that both Brad Raffensperger and Brian Kemp appear in this article debunking Ms. Abrams’ claims…just as they debunked President Trump’s. Irony, huh?

Why do I care about this? As I wrote nearly three years ago, I care about the truth, about the witness of professing Christians to the gospel, and about the advance of conservative principles of government (in that order). I believe that continuing to advance these specious claims does damage to all three: the cause of truth suffers when falsehoods are widely believed, the witness of Jesus Christ is harmed when Christians advance things that aren’t true (and many of those supporting these false election claims purport to be followers of Christ), and the cause of conservative governance (on its deathbed for other reasons) is further diminished. I will always care about these things (and always in this order, as well). The idea that the 2020 election was stolen does violence to all three…but if you disagree, please, by all means, try to answer the questions I have laid out (or else, admit that your belief is untethered to any factual basis).

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