Voter Hysteria

Will you vote if your sanity depended on it?

Another pandemic is beginning to sweep the country: voter hysteria. From Arizona to Pennsylvania, the point of all this paranormal silliness is a malign attempt to dissuade the American public from voting. And if this strategy does not work, then “plan B” is to reduce the tallying of the votes to a computer dysfunction. The outcome is the same: to ensure that the only election result can be a Republican win. Any other scenario, a close call or a swing in favor of the Democrats — which, by the way, is happening to the former Republican stronghold, white suburbs— is evidence of election fraud, or ‘something like election-fraud-yet-to-be-uncovered.’ If you will, a “steal.”

Republicans don’t lose elections, they are cheated from winning.

“Everyone knows, Arizona has always been Republican.”

-exit interview of Arizona voter who voted for Trump, November, 2020; MSNBC

Take note: the speaker didn’t mention voting.

By invoking the existential “always been,” the speaker avoids the messiness of ambiguity: in the name of certainty — “everyone knows” — confidently proclaimed.

Theory of mind describes the facility to ascribe states of mind or intentions to both oneself and to everyone else… This cognizance that others perceive, think, feel, and even lie just as we do lends itself to a sense of objective reality assumed by each individual but tacitly agreed upon by all. (Aja Raden, The Truth About Lies)

These sentiments proffered by the Arizona voter — and these are precisely what they are, ‘sentiments’— reverberated once again recently with the Newsom Recall. ‘Fraud’ is for the taking: on the act of voting, on the tallying of the votes.

How can we be sure?

According to Aja Raden, we can question certainty because we accept ‘certainty:’

‘Theory of mind’ leads us to assume we’re all experiencing the same reality, made up of objectively true facts that we all experience the same way. And that’s an advantage in itself: we need a sense of shared reality to function, even if it’s only a tacit agreement. The problem with this very necessary (and successful) belief in shared objective reality is that it can be subverted just by breaking the agreement, by frequently lying about what is objectively true. This allows for a better adapted individual to exploit agreed-upon-reality, first by being aware of it (honesty bias), then by being aware everyone else is aware and agrees on it (theory of mind), and then finally by making the cognitive leap that one can subvert the whole system by lying. Because of the communally dependent nature of distinctions between what is true and false in human society, an outrageous lie, if presented as true, will be accepted as such.

-p. 39, The Truth about Lies, 2021, St.Martin’s Press

Cause and effect become muddled.

What, we ask, is this? Incredulity? Stupidity? Ignorance? Or conversely, belief, enlightenment, wisdom?

Endemic of the voter hysteria is this replay of blaming the opposition for all that you are guilty of: cheating, suspending belief in a fair outcome. ‘Republicans’ have been at this for years — 2000 Florida election, gerrymandering, Jim Crow.

What most Democrats and some Republicans ignore is the sanctity of victimhood. It’s a safe place to be. Hold onto the outrageous or face ambiguity.

That we believe makes us vulnerable to the ‘Big Lie.’

Here are the signifiers of the current ‘Big Lie,’ dissected like episodes worthy of a cable “B” Netflix Original Series. Note how each “episode” makes more outrageous the lie:

1.The smear.

2.The threat.

3.The ‘fraud.’

4.The ‘steal.’

5.The ‘insurrection’

No one likes to lose, so its okay to cheat in order to win.

The ‘election fraud victim con:’

‘Everybody does it.’

‘Democrats (or fill in the blank) would do it if they had the opportunity.’

Therefore, ‘It’s fair to do it.’

Once a party to the election victim con, one abets the cover-up by following the prescriptions of the fraudsters. One participates in being beholden to those pulling the strings; indeed, one demonstrates fealty to the perpetrator, for ‘your loyalty is needed and therefore you feel needed.’

The overriding delusion of liberal mainstream political analysts is that a public “verdict,” aka vote, will alter social and institutional behavior: “Votes have consequences.” Perhaps, short-term. Long-term, not so much. Here, we need to lean into political and historical experience, not into the aspirations of elites.

September 21

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Rodney Clough

Rodney Clough

Refuses to nap. Septuagenarian. Cliche’ raker. Writes weekly.