Worthwhile Goals. For Christmas I was given a book by David Brooks. The title is How to Know a Person.
David is a well-known writer and conservative columnist for the New York Times. Please note — conservative and New York Times is not an oxymoron.
The book is well-written and in our world of contentious relationships has a good message worth reading.
One particular paragraph caught my attention. “The greatest thing a person does is take the lessons of life, the hard knocks of life, the surprises of life, and the mundane realities of life and refine their own consciousness so that they can gradually come to see the world with more understanding, more wisdom, more humanity, more grace. George Bernard Shaw got it right ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.’”
He is addressing life from a secular view. I would say the goals he sets out are worthwhile, however I believe the greatest thing a person does is have a faith walk, His goals are worthy and certainly appropriate within that journey.
Some would argue faith is necessary to meet those goals. Whatever you believe, certainly our world would be a better place with more understanding, more wisdom, more humanity and more grace.
Inviting Civil Discourse. David Brooks’ book is one of several events that are encouraging me in the direction of civil discourse. I believe engaging in civil discourse is particularly important in this election year.
Having said that, I want to raise an issue and invite discourse to help me understand a view that differs from mine. My concern has political implications but as a psychologist I am more interested in the different ways people form reality.
In the Iowa caucus, a CNN entrance poll found over 60% of the voters did not believe Joe Biden legitimately won the last election. That thinking does not make sense to me, not because of any political support but because of my view of reality. I firmly believe Joe Biden legitimately won the last election.
If I am wrong, I will admit it, but I need evidence to change my thinking.
In order to understand my reality, let me share some thoughts: In the 2016 election Hillary Clinton got 65, 844,610 votes and Donald Trump got 62,979,635. That means over 2.85 million voters preferred Clinton over Trump. In the electoral college, Trump won 30 states and got 1 of 3 split votes in Maine. He won the presidency in the electoral college despite not winning the popular vote. No one challenged the peaceful transition of power.
In the popular vote in the 2020 election Joe Biden received 81,283,361 and Donald Trump got 74,222,960 votes. Biden won the popular vote by over 7 million votes. In my reality, I cannot comprehend 7 million fraudulent votes not being discovered in some manner. With all the people trying to prove fraud surely a fraud of that size would have been detected. There can be no question Biden won the popular vote by a substantial margin.
In the electoral college, Biden got 306 votes to 232 for Trump. A smaller number of fraudulent votes would be needed to affecting the electoral college. Just enough to change the vote in a few key states.
In the electoral college, Trump got the electoral votes in both the 2016 and in the 2020 elections from the states of Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, West Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
In Maine, he got one of three electoral votes both elections.
He lost five states in 2020 that he won in 2016 (Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.) Someone might argue there was fraud in states he lost both times, but almost all of the claims of fraud are in the states he won in 2016 and lost in 2020.
In order for Trump to have won, he would have to show evidence of fraud that would change 36 votes. Arizona has 11, Georgia 10. Michigan 16, Pennsylvania 20, and Wisconsin 10 electoral college votes. If evidence were available in Pennsylvania and Michigan that would be enough. Otherwise, evidence of fraud is needed in at least three states. By my calculations, any combination for change would require evidence of over 150,000 fraudulent votes and evidence that fraud occurred in more than one state.
Thus far, no state has produced evidence of fraud sufficient to overturn the vote in that state,
Thus far, the most significant evidence I have seen of voter error was in Virginia. A Republican led investigation found voter-tape errors that led to Biden not getting credit for 4000 votes he received. The mistake is thought to be an error and not fraud.
I have looked and looked for solid evidence of fraud or errors and could find none. Therefore, I have a hard time understanding the reality of the over 60% of Iowa voters believing the last election was stolen. I invite discourse and dialog to help me understand the difference between my reality and the over 60% percent who see the last election in a very different way.
Evidence. I want to be clear about my view of evidence, I do not consider a former or current president’s opinion, a commentator’s opinion, or a documentary’s opinion to be evidence.
In my reality, I need pictures, tapes, confessions, hard copies or something physical to be evidence. Innuendo, imagination and possibility are not solid evidence.
I have heard and read several claims of fraud. In all cases thus far, I do not see solid evidence of fraud.
Let me give an example using a report by Reuters. They report one documentary claims to reveal the potential existence of 380,000 overall fraudulent ballots. This is a claim without evidence. But even the claim fails under scrutiny.
Again, as reported by Reuters, 1) You would need a falsified ballot with a unique bar code, printed on special paper, and a special envelope. 2) You would need to successfully forge the voter’s signature. 3) You would need to deposit the envelope and have it validated by a local official.
If you complete those three steps, besides committing a felony, you have now cast one and only one fraudulent ballot. Now you would need to figure out how to do that process thousands of times, in different jurisdictions, with different ballot styles and different voting materials.
Christopher B. Mann, Associate Professor of Political Science at Skidmore College, told Reuters: “If there are 400,000 people who had their ballot collected and returned for nefarious reasons, there should be significant numbers of people willing to tell their story. It is hard for two people to keep a secret. Asserting that 400,000 people are keeping a secret is beyond credibility.
Lawsuit after lawsuit claiming fraud have failed because of the lack of evidence. Some claims have backfired to the great financial loss of the people making false claims. Rudy Guliani’s claims about two election workers and some Fox commentators and Mike Lindell’s claims about voting machines are examples.
Until I see counter-evidence, I will hold to my reality that Joe Biden won the last election, both by over 8 million votes in the popular election and by 306 to 232 in the electoral college, but again I welcome discourse on the topic.
Preaching Alert. I am preaching Sunday, January 28, at 9:15. You can watch on Facebook at the Providence Presbyterian Church Mobile, Alabama page.