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Reply #22: As one who has certainly been called a NAYSAYER [View All]

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Febble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-15-05 05:54 AM
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22. As one who has certainly been called a NAYSAYER
frequently on DU, here is a response:

What I see as the flaw in your "totality of the evidence" argument is that the pieces of evidence that make up a Totality are not necessarily independent. Some depend on each other, and when this is the case, if one of those parts is brought into question, so are the others. When it is not the case, the Totality argument is valid.

For example:

1. Each piece of voter suppression evidence stands alone - it also adds up to a Big Picture of and unfair election in which Democrats were systematically disenfranchised, particularly in Ohio, but elsewhere as well. If any one piece of this evidence is falsified or cast in doubt, it does not seriously erode the Totality of the voter suppression case.

2. Many of the pieces of evidence for corruptible and malfunctioning software stand alone, and also add up to a Big Picture of an electoral system that needs radical reform and transparency.

3. The evidence for massive vote-switching theft of the popular vote (or even for the theft of Ohio by this means) depends rather heavily on the evidence of the exit poll discrepancy. And before we knew more, this, combined with 2 above, contributed to a Totality of evidence for theft of the entire election, popular vote and all. It was why, far from being a NAYSAYER, I hunted round the internet for data I could check out (being a data nerd) to see whether this could be uncovered. I found some interesting stuff. I found a complex and contradictory picture in Florida. I found evidence of large scale and systematic Democratic disenfranchisment in Franklin County; and I found evidence that DREs were associated with undervotes in predominantly Hispanic and African American precincts in New Mexico. But I found that the exit poll evidence, far from supporting the hypothesis that the discrepancy was due to massive fraud, tended much more strongly to support the hypothesis that it was due to bias in the poll - and indeed, my current view is that when the Totality of the exit poll evidence is considered, it is difficult to reconcile with massive vote-switching fraud (note the adjectives carefully).

And point 3 has a knock-on effect on point 2. It does not undermine the electronic vote-switching evidence - but it puts fairly severe constraints on the likely magnitude of its effect on the popular vote, and even, I would argue, on the magnitude of its effect on the vote in Ohio.

So I would argue that the Totality of the Evidence at present adds up to this:

1. The election was corrupt.
2. Democrats were the net losers from the corruption.
3. Voter (and vote) suppression remains a key problem, and may have cost Kerry Ohio.
4. Kerry probably lost the popular vote.
5. But we do not know for sure who actually won either the popular or the electoral vote, and this insupportable.

And a final point about "naysayers"

Three have been mentioned over the past few days: me, OTOH and Hertsgaard. All three of us have stated, in some form of other that at the very least the election was unfair. We have also stated, in some form or other, that Ohio stinks, and as Ohio was the key state in handing Bush the presidency, it would appear that all three of us have grave doubts about whether the truly elected candidate was sworn into office. Whether those doubts are justified or not, the fact that we can actually have those doubts is in itself the greatest scandal of the election. The choice of a democracy should not be in doubt.

So enough of the circular firing squad. Let each of us concentrate on what we do best, whether it be polemic, finding data, assembling telling arguments for the prosecution, or sifting the bad arguments from the good. All of these activities can contribute to the cause of electoral reform, and are perfectly compatible as long as their purpose is not misunderstood.

And it's worth noting that if some typewriter nerd had been a NAYSAYER around the time of Rathergate, Kerry might be president now. The Totality argument doesn't work when one piece of evidence appears to undermine the rest.
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