Unpopular Opinion #256 – “The Upcoming Era of Contested Elections” – Show Notes

Hey, smarty pants! You must be here to read the notes and links from the latest episode of Unpopular Opinion! You know, the one about upcoming midterm elections and if we’ll ever see delayed elections in this country! If you’re in the mood to listen again while you read, feel free to do that right here.

Anyway, we’re already kinda living in an era of contested elections. It went mainstream in 2000 with the Bush/Gore election and we’ve been living in the shadow of that ever since. Our confidence in one of our most sacred American institutions was shaken to its core. We did almost nothing about it aside from throw a few eggs at Bush’s limo on inauguration day.

Now we’re heading into our first election that’s definitively set in the “fake news” era. And both sides seem like they’re gearing up to claim malfeasance is afoot if their side loses.

So, let’s talk about a few ways every side will probably sorta be right.

An Infamous Republican Survey

Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/08/poll-republicans/536472/

There was a survey that happened last year that, at least according to headlines, proved more than half of Republicans would support delaying elections in 2020.

The story was initially met with horror, and then the left did what we do best by immediately reassuring everyone this was a bunch of nothing to worry about it.

I vehemently disagree. For starters, if you read that article, all of their reasoning for discounting this is that the people who responded were first asked a series of questions meant to put them in the proper headspace to want to vouch for some authoritarian shit.

Well, yeah, that’s what’s literally happening to Trump supporters IRL (in real life) right now (RN).

They also argue that things that happen in surveys rarely happen in real life. Sure, but that’s olden time politics. As Harvard lecturer Yascha Mounk pointed out in this article about Trump from simpler times when smart people still somehow believed Trump could never win…

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/10/trump-american-democracy-could-break-down-214383

“…polls suggest the American public has never been as skeptical of democracy or as open to authoritarian alternatives like military rule as it is right now.” You can read an entire article about that polling and research right here.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/08/yes-millennials-really-are-surprisingly-approving-of-dictators/?utm_term=.a0f610324f54

That article specifically calls out millennials as being especially prone to follow an authoritarian leader at the expense of democracy, but the tendency toward being okay with giving up on democracy has increased across several different age groups in the United States over the years.

So those rebuttals to that survey don’t make me feel a whole lot better.

Wisconsin Republicans Already Tried It

Source links:

https://www.thenation.com/article/scott-walker-is-literally-preventing-wisconsinites-from-voting/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-wisconsin/wisconsin-governor-scott-walker-sued-for-not-calling-special-elections-idUSKCN1GB07E

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/27/gov-scott-walker-goes-court-get-more-time-cancel-two-special-elections/461545002/

https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/28/senate-republicans-hold-hearing-race-block-court-order-special-elections-wisconsin/465333002/

Wisconsin has been a test case for all sorts of voter suppression related nastiness since the year 2010 lowkey destroyed the country. The apex of attempted tyranny happened earlier this year when Governor Scott Walked attempted to cancel special elections that Wisconsin law dictated were required to happen. He was eventually taken to court over it and lost, but still, tell me more about how Republicans agreeing to delay elections is rigged opinion poll fanfic.

Smartphone Voting!

https://www.wired.com/story/smartphone-voting-is-happening-west-virginia/

This sure as shit doesn’t either. It was recently announced the West Virginia military members serving abroad would be the first to cast their votes in United States elections via smartphones. A Boston-based startup called Voatz is handling the voting process, which means nothing because, as that article points out, literally no one has figured out how to make online voting safe. It’s prone to all the other security risks as anything else that happens on the internet.

That said, they did put a lot of security measures in place to ensure there’s no funny business. Which is all the more reason I want no part of it. Voting requires you to submit a fingerprint and video selfie. I don’t want to send the government any of that shit. Not right now, and not ever.

Russian Penetration

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/09/politics/bill-nelson-florida-voter-registration-russia/index.html

Who wants to finance a porn? I just came up with a decent name for one. Anyway, now there are Democratic senators getting in on the election-questioning game. Specifically, Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson.

“They have already penetrated certain counties in the state and they now have free reign to move about.” That’s a quote! But so far he’s provided no actual evidence and the Florida Department of State has rebuked his claims.

I don’t trust Florida OR this guy, so who knows.

And The Whole Point Is…

It barely matters if there really is any sort of wrongdoing during the upcoming midterms or the 2020 presidential election. What matters is that we’ve entered that phase of authoritarianism where the outcome of any election will always sorta be in dispute from one side or the other. At that point it’s up to us to demand that voting in this country be a completely transparent thing that we can have complete and total faith in. But we won’t. We’ve had 18 years to start that fight.

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