Straw Men Distract from the Real Corruption Around Us

Having absorbed a lot of the election data, I believe substantial evidence shows the election was stolen. Many facts and reasonable inferences support this: the dramatic enthusiasm gap; Trump getting millions more votes as an incumbent but somehow still losing; Republicans somehow gaining a dozen seats in the House of Representatives; the Democrats’ track record as ballot-stuffers in certain urban precincts; the anomalous Trump gains in traditional Democratic areas; Trump’s victory in bellwether states such as Florida and Ohio, while losing places he won last time, along with many other well-documented irregularities

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like any of this will matter, at least to the legal process. 

Trump and his campaign appear not to have addressed the growing indications of a latent plan in the voting rule changes in the weeks and months before the election. They hired the wrong legal team at the last minute. And their strategy since Election Day has been disorganized.  

The Dominion Dead End

One of the stranger episodes in this caper was Sidney Powell’s lurid tales of the election being stolen through sophisticated electronic hacking. Is this possible? Yes. Didn’t we hear for the last four years how the Russians “hacked” the 2016 election? Of course, that “hacking” consisted of some Facebook ads. Even so, when computers are involved, there is always the possibility of such intrusion. But the mere possibility doesn’t mean it actually happened. 

Powell’s stories became more dramatic as time went on, even extending blame to Georgia’s Republican governor. But nothing materialized. Her defenders pointed to some affidavits, but these were abstract, concerning activities that took place many years ago, in other countries, using different equipment. Even figures in the right-wing press—Tucker Carlson and the Washington Examiner—lost patience, as she refused to explain herself. In the end, the Trump legal team publicly distanced themselves from her

I don’t know Sidney Powell at all. So I had no reason to give her claims any particular weight based on her reputation. One wonders if her criminal law specialty—she was Lt. General Michael Flynn’s lawyer—may condition her to kick up a lot of dust in the hope of raising reasonable doubt. But the center of gravity for much of the post-election campaign is public opinion. The official results, such as they are, have “rebuttable presumption” until proven otherwise.  

To withhold evidence, play coy, or, worse, make things up in the hope that something will materialize is really stupid and unfortunate. This is especially the case when there is real evidence of fraud, both anecdotal and statistical. I suspect the Democrats stole the presidency the old-fashioned way—stuffing ballot boxes, double voting, pre-filled ballots, and the like—all of which was augmented by the lack of oversight inherent in the widespread use of mail-in ballots. 

The Dominion fraud theory appears to be sustained only by Powell’s impassioned, fact-free pronouncements. It unfortunately discredits Trump’s post-election fight and crowds out the more factually persuasive accounts of election fraud available to Trump’s legal team.

Propping Up Straw Men Helps Our Opponents

As in other instances, the straw man of “electronic” election fraud serves our opponents well. By discrediting and repeating the one unproven and speculative portion of the election fraud story, the entire position is rendered suspect and gauche. In other words, telling tall tales that are soon discredited hurts the cause and demoralizes the troops.

We have seen similar episodes. 

Consider the Comet Pizza nonsense. Mentioned in John Podesta’s leaked emails, a Washington D.C. pizzeria was supposedly the center of an international child sex trafficking conspiracy. One nut job even went there to settle the score. The “evidence” was incredibly thin and required the pilings of inference upon inference to reach the conclusion. This story, unfortunately, sucked up a lot of right-wing energy that could have been spent elsewhere. 

Pizzagate is related to the so-called QAnon conspiracy. The unverifiable and cryptic internet oracle (or oracles) claim that every apparent setback in Trump’s presidency is happening as part of a master plan, where Trump will roll up his corrupt opponents in the deep state in a day of reckoning. No need to worry, engage in activism, or get terribly concerned with what seems to be the steady erosion of Trump’s power over the government. Supporters need only “Trust the Plan.” Since anyone can pretend to be whomever they want on the internet, it’s rather surprising this particular story has persisted so long. 

Incidentally, both Pizzagate and QAnon distract from real and verified scandals. Jeffrey Epstein was a real person, protected by a U.S. attorney, who cavorted with VIPs, including a member of the British royal family, Alan Dershowitz, and former President Bill Clinton. He had enormous wealth that no one can explain, other than as the fruits of a massive blackmail operation. 

When Epstein was arrested, he soon died under mysterious circumstances. His mistress, Ghislaine Maxwell, remains in prison. The scale and depravity of their crimes is only partially known, as is the extent to which they influenced and blackmailed people in power. But this true story does remind us that many of the ruling class are decadent, selfish, lawless, and evil people. That’s the bottom line. Though instead of having that factual reality verified and amplified in public life, straw men like Pizzagate are brought up to wave them off. Who killed Epstein and why became diffused as a popular joke: Epstein didn’t kill himself. 

Similarly, far from trusting the plan, the reality is that we have seen a deep state that spied on a president using the most sensitive tools in spying tradecraft, entrapped individuals in his campaign, lied to courts and the public about what they were doing, hamstrung his presidency for several years in the form of a misbegotten special counsel investigation, and pursued an impeachment for a nonexistent offense through a cabal of intelligence agencies operatives. 

That this operation was known to and controlled by the former president and vice president is a real story of corruption and abuse, showing a cavernous gap between the America of the movies and the one we actually inhabit. 

Live Not By Lies

In a world of lies and propaganda, intellectual integrity is vital for those on the Right. As with Soviet dissidents, it’s our strongest weapon. It is particularly important to be on one’s guard when the story being told is one that one would like to believe. 

Here, all of the tools of one’s critical thinking should be deployed. The truth can handle being tested. It is refined in the crucible of criticism and testing, whereas lies and myths dissipate. There’s a reason the Left so often resorts to censorship and name-calling: their entire worldview is a dishonest mask designed to conceal a quest for power driven by envy and hate.

What happened to Donald Trump, from #TheResistance in 2016 to his stolen 2020 victory, is the real national scandal. It should be remembered. The wound should not heal if Joe Biden assumes the presidency, which seems increasingly likely. Biden deserves little deference and should not enjoy the mantle of legitimacy. He is, after all, merely the avatar of the ruling elite, who considered Trump an enemy to be disposed of by any means necessary. They preferred Biden to his opponents because he was feeble-minded and in their debt. 

As we learn the full depth of how Biden got to where he is, there is no reason to indulge in theories about electronic voting fraud. The partisan Democratic election workers know how to stuff ballot boxes just fine, and this time felt like they were on the side of the angels because of four years of media gaslighting about Trump, the Russians, and other assorted calumnies. 

The real story of the 2020 election is the same one that we saw played out over the last four years: the establishment will never allow the Right to accrue any real political power through elections.  

About Christopher Roach

Christopher Roach is an attorney in private practice based in Florida. He is a double graduate of the University of Chicago and has previously been published by The Federalist, Takimag, The Journal of Property Rights in Transition, the Washington Legal Foundation, the Marine Corps Gazette, and the Orlando Sentinel. The views presented are solely his own.

Photo: Fanatic Studio/Gary Waters/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

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