Tuesday, November 20, 2018


Earlier today I read Dov Fischer's American Spectator piece about the midterms, and I debated whether to write a post about it because, hey, it's The American Spectator -- who's paid attention to The American Spectator since the Bill Clinton years? But now I see that the cockamamie theory advanced in the piece is spreading.

According to Fischer, Democrats focused all of America's attention on elections in Florida and Georgia (and did so, of course, by cheating) -- and then, when nobody was looking, stole several House seats in California.

No, really:
Do you remember three-card monte, that wonderful street card game with two black cards and a red card, where a huckster has your eyes focused on “the red card,” and you find that you are so good at following the red card that you never are wrong in knowing where it is. So you give the guy ten bucks in front of eight other people crowded around, all of whom keep guessing wrong and losing money. And — sonovogun — that bet is the first time you ever get it wrong! You pick the wrong card, lose the ten bucks, and can’t figure out what you missed....

While your eyes were riveted on the electoral red card — the cheating in Florida and Georgia — the street hucksters pulled a fast one on all of youze and swiped a bunch of House seats, from right under your noses, on the other coast. Honest, admit it: you never saw it, did you? ...

So here is what happened. All these Republicans Congressional candidates in Orange County and in other parts of the People’s Democratic Republic of California (PDRC) came out of election night as winners.... And then, each day, as more and more provisional and other ballots kept emerging in the California count, the Republican leads dwindled. But you had your eyes on the red card — the red states of Florida and Georgia....

Every day the Republican leads dwindled in the PDRC — and no one was watching. Whence did all these ballots keep coming?
Whence did all these ballots keep coming? They came via the normal voting process in California. California allows mail-in votes, and ballots are accepted if they're postmarked as late as Election Day. And as George Skelton of the L.A. Times explained last week:
Republicans have a higher propensity for voting. They often vote early by mail, and those ballots are counted right away. The numbers are released soon after the polls close on election night, giving GOP candidates an immediate boost. Democratic voters, however, generally need more prodding and often don’t decide to cast a ballot until late.
So Democratic votes are tabulated late.

Dov Fischer doesn't believe that. He believes Democrats cheated in order to create two tight races in Florida and one in Georgia (all of which they lost, so the cheating didn't seem to be very effective) -- and that created the opportunity for Democrats to cheat in California and win a few House seats (which they actually didn't need, since they already had a House majority). I don't know if Fischer believes that this was all one big plot -- that the cheating in the Southeast was never intended to change the outcome of elections there, but was just an elaborate ruse to flip a few House seats in the West. Alternately, he may believe that the California cheaters just seized an opportunity to cheat when the first cheaters did their cheating.

In any event, it now appears that Rush Limbaugh believes Fischer's scenario. Here's what he said on his show today:
... I noted yesterday that in Orange County every Republican congressman lost. Orange County is one of the last counties in California where Republicans have a chance, and they lost every congressional seat. But I only told you half the story.

Over half of those Republicans won on election night. Some of those Republicans won by eight points — and then counting the undervotes and counting the overvotes and counting the late votes. I mean, we didn’t see what was going on out there because everybody was focused on Florida, the recounts in Florida. But they played games out in Orange County....

... nobody knows this because everybody’s attention was directed toward the Florida recount. That’s the one that was sexy. Most people are no idea what was going on in Orange County until the news was magically reported a couple of days after the election or maybe a week after that....
I bring this up because the average American really has no idea why election results change significantly after Election Day. Americans expect election results to be obvious within hours after the polls close. The mainstream media generally doesn't explain this -- doesn't explain that counting mail-in ballots and provisional ballots can take time, doesn't explain that there are party differences in voting habits, doesn't explain, in other words, that what happened in California is perfectly normal and understandable.

Into this void step people like Rush Limbaugh. He'll explain what happened, and the explanation, of course, is that Democrats are evil people who routinely subvert democracy. He says of Democrats, "Folks, they just never sleep, and they never stop and they do not accept losing. They do not acknowledge it" -- which doesn't explain the 2016 presidential election, or the results of the top races this year in Florida and Georgia (and Texas), or the results of every congressional election between 2010 and 2016.

The theories of Republican conspiratorialists are in wide circulation -- Limbaugh has millions of listeners. The truth isn't nearly as well known.

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