More fascinating is what the sluggish melting of Trump’s glacial insistence that he didn’t lose is revealing elsewhere. Pundits who largely hew to the Trump line are left to determine the path ahead with out steerage from the president. Some stay insistent that he’ll by some means triumph. Others — together with, surprisingly, Fox News’s Laura Ingraham — are resigned to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
And then there’s Tucker Carlson. The Fox News host has lengthy stood out as being sycophancy-adjacent quite than completely immersed in the MAGAverse. He understands that Trump shares a lot of his core philosophies, like preserving institutional energy for White Americans, and has successfully managed to align his desired outcomes with Trump’s political power.
Given that, it’s not shocking to see that Carlson’s response to Trump’s loss is much less a protection of Trump than an try and indict the system that disadvantages their mutual allies and targets.
During his opening section Monday evening, Carlson outlined a three-part response to Biden’s win. Despite it probably not serving as a protection of Trump, the president shared the section on social media, amplifying what Carlson proposes occur as the transition will get underway.
After bashing digital voting (“electronic voting is not as secure as traditional hand counting, period,” he stated), Carlson made his first proposal: a prolonged probe of the election.
“Going forward, we need to find out exactly what happened in this month’s presidential election,” he stated. “We need to find out, no matter how long it takes the investigation to unfold or how much it costs.”
One reference right here, pretty clearly, is to the investigation that plagued Trump himself throughout his first a number of years in workplace. To this present day, Trump stays annoyed that his 2016 election was overshadowed by questions on Russia’s efforts to intervene in the outcomes and varied investigations into folks related together with his marketing campaign. As he is pushed to carry off Biden’s win, a lot of his allies have argued that muddying the waters after Election Day is truthful play given the investigations Trump himself needed to endure.
There are essential variations, in fact. One is that the investigations into Russian interference started nicely earlier than the 2016 election concluded and targeted on a number of people with demonstrated ties to Russia. Had Trump merely embraced the probe of interference broadly as a technique to defend the vote, it wouldn’t have grow to be the pall that it did. But, once more, Trump was desperate to current himself as a winner, and the concept that Russia may need influenced the end result was subsequently anathema.
The different distinction between the 2016 election probe and the one Carlson suggests is that in that case there was good purpose to suspect malfeasance on the a part of folks related to Trump’s marketing campaign. One adviser traveled to Moscow in July 2016. Another was instructed that Russia had obtained emails that have been apparently the ones finally leaked by WikiLeaks. Another — Trump’s marketing campaign chairman — had labored instantly for pro-Russian pursuits and, it seems, shared marketing campaign knowledge with a person linked to Russian intelligence.
By distinction, there isn’t any proof that something untoward occurred with digital voting in 2020. There are loads of allegations, definitely, although even Carlson needed to admit final week that Trump’s marketing campaign couldn’t present evidence to help these allegations. As with most elections, there have been definitely errors and flaws that need to be probed to stop them from taking place once more in the future. Perhaps these investigations will flip one thing up. But what Carlson proposes is clearly a fishing expedition, one thing that will bear political fruit however must be understood in that context.
Anyway, Carlson already is aware of what it’ll discover.
“Once we get answers from that investigation,” he continued, “we ought to revert immediately to the traditional system of voting, the one that served our democracy for hundreds of years. What we’re doing now is not working. That’s an understatement.”
His proof to that impact was the prolonged delay in vote-counting in New York, which is, in truth, weird and pointless. It can also be a perform of expanded mail-in voting, which is what Carlson is objecting to. He is arguing that there’s something essentially suspect and dangerous about that growth, as Trump had completed for months earlier than the election itself.
There is not, in fact. Many states managed to increase mail-in voting with out equal delays or any demonstrated hazard of fraud. Some states, like Pennsylvania, have been prevented from implementing methods to rely votes extra quickly, one thing that could possibly be ameliorated if legislators desired. Broadly, although, there isn’t any proof in any respect that mail ballots led to rampant fraud — and even something greater than remoted incidents by which fraud occurred.
The objection to mail-in balloting isn’t actually about fraud or effectivity. It’s about making it simpler to vote. Republicans like Carlson have lengthy pushed again towards efforts to increase entry to voting, recognizing that doing so posed a danger of accelerating Democratic turnout. It’s not essentially the case that Biden received this yr as a result of it was simpler for extra folks to vote, however way more folks did vote and Biden did win.
Notice, too, how Carlson’s objections battle. He desires “traditional hand-counting,” which is slower than digital voting, whilst he complains that mail-in voting is simply too sluggish. He insists that the “traditional system” has been used for lots of of years, neglecting the level that mail-in votes have lengthy been a part of that system.
Carlson then will get to the third a part of his post-election playbook.
“We shouldn’t let our focus on voting machines distract us from all that happened earlier this month. The 2020 presidential election was not fair. No honest person would claim that it was fair,” Carlson insisted. “On many levels the system was rigged against one candidate and in favor of another, and it was rigged in ways that were not hidden from view. We all saw it happen.”
How? Well, for one factor, Carlson says that the media allowed Biden to “refuse to explain what they would do if they were elected.”
This, as The Post’s Dave Weigel has pointed out, is ridiculous. Perhaps there wasn’t protection of Biden’s agenda on Fox News, however it’s not possible to argue that he didn’t provide detailed proposals of what his presidency would entail. Those proposals typically struggled to be heard over the quantity of Trump’s chatter, however they existed.
The candidate who explicitly had no post-election proposals was Trump. There was no section on his web site outlining any plans, only a delineation of his self-described accomplishments. The Republican Party broadly acknowledged that there was no use in creating a platform, reverting to a broad “whatever Trump wants” clarification.
Carlson’s different examples of issues being rigged towards Trump have been equally shaky. He argued that Trump supporters have been prevented from gathering whereas left-wing protesters have been allowed to take action. (This may come as a shock to the hundreds of attendees at Trump’s late-election rallies.) He lamented the growth of mail-in voting, implying that Democrats benefited as a result of it was “less secure” (wink wink wink). He objected to authorized probes of the National Rifle Association, arguing that this sidelined an essential pro-Republican group whereas ignoring the reasons these probes existed.
He spent the most time claiming that know-how corporations have been arrayed towards Trump, which might be a number of the purpose Trump shared the section. Carlson claimed that corporations like Facebook, Google and Twitter “controlled how people voted” by way of their censorship.
This has been a standard chorus for months now, as efforts to work the referees (which have been quite successful) have advanced into conspiracy theories about censorship. Many of these allegations derive from frustration about the corporations’ efforts to stamp out poisonous conduct. The available evidence nonetheless means that Facebook particularly offers a large platform for pro-Trump voices. There isn’t any strong proof that voter preferences are influenced by Google searches, for instance, or that these searches are inherently biased towards the political left.
Regardless, all of that is what Carlson proposes to occur now that Trump has misplaced. Continue to strain social media and search corporations towards giving conservatives extra latitude. Insist that the system is rigged in favor of the left. Reform voting methods to limit entry. And examine, examine, examine on the off probability that one thing severe turns up.
It received’t make Trump president in January, however all of this may increasingly make it simpler as well Biden in 2024 — as Carlson nicely is aware of.