Saturday, January 28, 2017

Trump's chance of being right about 3M fraudulent votes is as good as a monkey randomly writing the US Constitution


aLfrEdo tRifF

I. Let's start with these facts:
1- Poll workers are sometimes overseen by election officials, to make sure they are not depriving anyone of a fair vote or allowing people who are not on the rolls to cast their ballots. 2- The voting lists are public record, and members of each campaign are invited to observe the voters being checked off the lists to ensure a fair process.3- Two-thirds of states request or require that voters provide some form of identification before they are allowed to vote at the polls. 4- Observers are on guard to prevent voter intimidation. The Department of Justice sends attorneys from its Civil Rights Division to observe 28 precincts and ensure they are complying with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 5- Poll workers hired to work at the voting place on election often represent both major political parties. 6- Federal Authorities are not involved in the tabulation and certification of election results. 7- The vote counting process in the United States is highly decentralized, which serves to compartmentalize the election process so that the effects of inadvertent errors or mismanagement are contained. In addition, decentralization limits the opportunities for fraud or corruption, by making it extremely difficult to accomplish on a scale grand enough to be decisive without being detected. 
Ladies and Gents, we're faced with a weird claim, coming from none other than POTUS:



Many have already questioned the reasonableness of this bombast. Whether its being true would amount to a constitutional crisis of enormous proportions for our democracy, or the more mundane detail of a needless battle for president trying to build public trust in his first week in office.  


Trump is not merely suggesting a significant fraud, say, 50,000 illegal votes? which would constitute a first in the history of American elections! No, he wants an absolute unequivocal victory, even if it means to erase Hillary Clinton's 2.9M advantage in the popular vote!

II. This week, in a meeting with congressional leaders POTUS repeated his averment. When confronted by journalists, WH press secretary Sean Spicer stated:
The president... is concerned [about] voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign, and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.
What studies? 

According to the Washington Post, 
Trump’s fixation with this apparently started with a few tweets by Gregg Phillips, a self-described conservative voter fraud specialist, who started making claims even before data on voter history was actually available in most jurisdictions. (It had not even been determined which provisional ballots were valid and would be counted.) These claims were then picked up by such purveyors of false facts as Infowars.com, a conspiracy-minded website, even though Phillips declined to provide any evidence to back it up. 
On the other hand, we have this article from NYTimes' Michael Wines, which brings to bear the general consensus of scholars in this matter:
Are fraudulent voters undermining U.S. elections? The simple answer is no. Rather, the threat comes from the myth of voter fraud used to justify rules that restrict full and equal voting rights. 
Then there is thisand thisand thisand thisand thisand this

The overwhelming consensus? Trump's claim is false.


The president has no choice but to cling to Gregg Phillips like a mussel to its shell.

III. I need to digress: Justification is a process of negotiating and carefully accommodating our beliefs to the best available evidence. Generally, the more informed by the evidence, the better our justification becomes. Better, firmer, evidence brings us closer to the truth. Regarding the fraud All we have thus far is consensus and no evidence to the contrary. Although the consensus, by itself doesn't yield truth, the more reliable the consensus, the closer we get to truth of the matter. 

Trump is fighting the general consensus with no reliable evidence. Wishful thinking doesn't yield truth.

If a John Doe believed that there were 3M illegal votes in the last elections, we wouldn't have this discussion. Nobody would care. On the other hand, people hold all sort of far-out beliefs (Flat Earth SocietyMoon-landing conspiracyPaul McCartney is deadProtocols of the Elders of Zion, etc).

Yeah, we wouldn't be entertaining this outlandishness if POTUS didn't believe it.

Epistemologists talk about how a belief or set of beliefs is justifiably held when the belief coheres with other beliefs. As our belief system is directly related to behavior production, one can follow why a prejudiced set of beliefs can produce this bigot.

Why would Trump believe what he believes?

I cannot answer that question. But better yet,

Do you believe Donald Trump can simply subvert the seven guidelines presented above + the best expert consensus and produce 3-5M fraudulent votes?

Good luck.

Trump's chances of producing the evidence are as good as a monkey randomly writing the US Constitution.

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