by ProfDave, ©2021
(Jun. 8, 2021) — Anyone can have a narrative. Under post-modernist theory, facts are formed, selected and rejected according to our narratives. The election of 2020, falling in the midst of a deadly pandemic, was one of the most controversial in our history. Its meaning – even its winner – did not depend on reality but upon our points of view. So far, we have looked at monsters and conspiracies. What about the voting itself?
Narrative I – The Left
Election Interference. Using Russian misinformation Trump stole the 2016 election. In 2020, however, he failed to suppress the people’s votes – black and brown votes. The courts saw through his groundless and racist protests. Biden and Harris won in the greatest vote in history despite Russian interference. The nation rejected Trump, but he was unwilling to accept the verdict.
Narrative II – The Right
The Stolen Election. Election laws were twisted and stretched unconstitutionally to allow for massive early and mail-in voting organized by the left. Ballots were sent out blind to registration lists that had not been revised for decades. Voter ID was waived. Voting machines supplied by leftist corporations were programmed to prevent Trump majorities. China, Iran and Ukraine contributed heavily. By midnight on November 3, 2020 Donald Trump was on his way to a landslide victory over Joe Biden, who barely campaigned at all. It was the largest vote ever for an incumbent president and for a Republican. But in the wee hours, hundreds of thousands of votes for Biden magically appeared in strategic jurisdictions controlled by Democrats. It was statistically impossible that Trump could have lost. The cowardly courts refused to look at the evidence.
Narrative III – The Argentinian Historian’s Surmise
We will never know what happened
The Contested Election. Adding the narratives together, the best guess would be that the election was too close to call. Dead people have voted in every election since Washington. Mail-in ballots just made it easier. Without voter ID, there was no guarantee that the voter was actually the citizen on the registration list. The pandemic threw a wrench into everything by a quantum leap in remote voting. Conspiracy? Well-meaning election officials eagerly seeking to accommodate as many locked-down voters as possible mingled with party operatives trying to maximize the turnout of their constituencies and almost certainly bent the rules. Each of these factors tended to favor Biden and Harris more than the under-ticket. Republicans usually do better in low turnout elections because of the deeper commitment of their voters to the process. In-person voting, suppressed by Covid-19, would have given Trump his “landslide.” However, the Democrats were able to phenomenally bring out masses of votes from constituents who normally would not have taken the trouble to vote even without Covid – and did not bother to fill in the under-ticket. The GOP lost the battle of voter turnout. Were all those votes legal? Probably not. But those folks thought they had voted and the courts evidently felt, after the fact, that the question was moot. Were they wrong or cowardly in doing so or did the Trump legal team mishandle the case? We will never know. Could the Senators and the Vice President have constitutionally overturned the result? Perhaps. But it would have caused even more chaos and “insurrection” than actually occurred. The events of January 6 put an end to any such prospects. Constitutional means to contest popular voting totals are not politically practical in modern times.
David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College. He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020). He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.