Setting a “Backfire”: No Running Totals on Election Night (11/3)

SUNDAY, September 20, 2020

In yesterday’s post, I pointed out that the election will be “decided” by Trump exploiting the vote totals announced by mass media during the last hour of Tuesday, November 3. At 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, November 4th, Trump will declare victory on Twitter.

The only way to defeat this strategy is for all media to refuse to announce running totals. No report of a state’s vote should be announced until at least 90 percent of its precincts have reported.

NO EXIT POLLS WHATSOEVER.

THE RULE SHOULD BE THAT A MINIMUM OF 90 PERCENT OF A STATE’S PRECINCTS MUST REPORT THEIR TABULATIONS BEFORE ANY NUMBERS FROM THAT STATE ARE RELEASED.

If mailed-in ballots are still being counted — and they will still being counted well into the next day — then the state’s results cannot be announced. No state can be called until then.

Trump can hardly declare victory if he has only the final (over 90 percent) results of a dozen lightly populated states by 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 4th. The only way to mute his microphone is to refuse to give it misleading information about the vote.

If there is some other way to prevent Trump from fomenting civil war, I would be happy to hear of your proposal.

I can easily imagine, of course, that Trump’s supporters will say that I am proposing exactly what I criticized Trump for yesterday: vote report suppression. On one level, yes. Trump is an arsonist intent on burning down the fragile compact of our political infrastructure. The only way to fight this fire is with a backfire.

On another level, however, the delay in reporting votes that I propose is hardly suppression. I want votes counted. Trump doesn’t. I assume you can see the difference.

Post-Script: As my readers probably know, the West Coast has been enduring over a week of wildfires that have ravaged air quality beyond anything that our lungs can long tolerate. Our health in general has deteriorated the past six months as we have found ourselves unable to engage in the usual levels of exercise. The economy is in tatters. President Trump’s callous comments that the “blue states” are responsible for making his management of the covid-19 pandemic look inept made even a former Republican governor of Pennsylvania wince. “It’s so unworthy of a president. It’s beyond despicable. It’s soulless….. “It’s almost unspeakable in the middle of the pandemic to try to divide the country on a political basis when Covid-19 is really bipartisan.” — Tom Ridge. “Despicable…. soulless …. unspeakable.” These are not the words of a left-wing radical, but a mainstream Republican.

And then The news of Justice Ginsburg’s untimely death arrived. An ideological influenza is about to break loose that will quite possible lead this country into a calamitous war, both with itself and with those who have the capacity to bankrupt what little is left of its moral fibre.