Once again, struggling Bitterroot columnists, the Carlsons, try to write a cohesive, factual column (Missoulian, Nov. 10) and unfortunately, fail.
They are disappointed at Donald Trump’s defeat on Nov. 3, and blame deficiencies in the election process. They assert that “the election makes clear that the American voter no longer determines the outcome of presidential elections.” (Despite over 76 million voters having done so.)
This, they claim, is because the "pollsters, news media, pundits and political hacks tell us what the outcome should be before we vote, and ultimately, before all the legal ballots have been counted. And if either of these groups don’t like the factual outcome, they see to it that the final result will be manipulated to their advantage.” They offer no evidence supporting this ridiculous claim.
They criticize the media’s reporting of the election: “News outlets called the winners of battleground states before the majority of votes were tallied and before the polls were closed in those states.” This claim is patently false. In truth, no votes were ever reported for any state until the polls in that state were closed. Then, as the states themselves released the count as it progressed, media outlets reported the developing results. When a media’s “decision desk” determined that a candidate had achieved an insurmountable lead, they “called” that race for the apparent winner of the state involved, including a tally of the electoral votes gained. Running totals were reliably displayed on their screens for both candidates. This has been standard election reporting for many years, but the Carlsons claim it is corrupt, because their candidate lost.
Then the Carlsons make wholly erroneous claims about how winners are reported, asking regarding the media: “who are they to make such a determination? It is the responsibility of each state legislature to verify the final count of each election…. Then and only then, is each secretary of state supposed to proclaim the winners of each election.” Not true; various officials announce results, depending on the state, but not state legislatures.
The Carlsons don’t like that some states’ results get reported before the entire country’s polls are closed: “Too often, once voting concludes on the East Coast, the media begins to announce potential winners. This has an impact on those who haven’t voted yet and may even dissuade them from voting at all.” Nonsense! Probably 99.9% of all western ballots have already been cast by the time we begin to hear parts of the East Coast count. They paranoiacally complain, “Those of us in the West should not be placed at a disadvantage just because the media outlets are primarily based on the East Coast.” Sorry, guys, but the reporting order, progressing from east to west, is not based on media locations — it evolves naturally from the fact that there are different time zones in the United States.
The Carlsons close with their worst assumptions: Admitting they “reluctantly stand in the wake” of the 2020 election, they imply that it must have been corrupt (because their candidate lost), asserting, “The corruption, mismanagement and inept manner in which our elections have currently evolved, cry out for change.” And “after a fair and free election, America has always been able to peacefully transfer power from one president to another.” They blithely make this statement a full week after our fair and free election, while Trump still refuses to acknowledge his loss, and resists the transfer of power to the rightful winner.
The Carlsons ignore real issues, like Republican vote suppression, mailed votes and coronavirus complications for voting. The Missoulian should consider renewing its search for qualified conservative columnists.
Bill Boughton is a retired veteran and business owner in Missoula.
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