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Just My Opinion...

 I’m writing a lot of essays these days. That’s ok. I love writing and if I can challenge a few people to see things a little differently in the process these words are worth the effort they took to create. 
 
Today I want to address something. Lots of people think it is not possible that Joe Biden won the election. They seem sure the election was conducted unfairly. After all, our president, Donald J. Trump, is telling us that there was widespread fraud. This is a serious claim. Those damn Democrats are trying to steal this election! 

 Ok. Now that I have your attention. Before we go much deeper here. You need to accept one really big truth before we can move forward. Democrats are not your enemy. If you catch a progressive person looking at you with a befuddled look on their face it's because we cannot figure out why you’re so mad at us. You guys are out there crying REVOLUTION and saying some violent things, While Democrats are just trying to figure out a way to give you better healthcare and give your kids a great education. What a bunch of jerks we must be! Oh, we know you think we are a bunch of godless baby killers because you don’t take the time to understand the nuances of a woman’s reproductive rights and you don’t consider many of us go to church more than Trump does. 

 How can your perception of Biden, Harris, and Liberals be so threatening? Why do we think Trump, Pence, and some of you Conservatives are so misguided about what you believe? Try this fun little exercise. Maybe at Thanksgiving (please gather safely people!) This is the perfect fun family pre turkey activity you can do. Each of you gets out your smartphones and goes to YouTube. Have the most Liberal person in the room type in Biden, Trump, healthcare… any topic you like. Then have the most conservative person do the same searches…You might be surprised to find you will all get shockingly different results. The same computer formula that wants you to stay clicking merrily away on just about any social media learns who you are and starts to feed you things it thinks you will enjoy. Not news. Not the truth. Just what it thinks will keep your attention. The Liberal is going to get stories on how Trump is a narcissist emperor wannabe who is ruining the country. The Conservative is going to get stories touting Trump as a successful businessman this country has always needed to shake up the status quo in Washington. Two identical searches reveal two completely different results. This happens on all social media platforms and it's just reinforced if you also choose to get your “news” from politically leaning media outlets. And the truth is not helped when the president himself spends most of his time trying to discredit well established, award-winning, news organizations as “fake news” when the vast majority of the time the mainstream news media gets it right.  

 And that is how we got to this point where we are all so sure that we are in the right when the truth these days is something we need to seek out from multiple unassociated news sources. And that takes a little work. And who has the time for that? Well that, is precisely why we are where we are today.  

 But the realization that media bubbles exist is the first step towards breaking those bubbles. Are you brave enough to seek the truth? Not just opinions. Can you look at the media bubble we just showed you and admit that you might have been fed falsehoods, not truths? Maybe this sheds a little light as to how fellow Americans ended up divided into two very separate camps. This is partially why you might have expected such different results from the election. 
 
Choosing the right map for the wrong job. This is a big problem that has confused a lot of people on election night (and for the week or so later). You would not use a tape measure to pour an accurate gallon of water, right? So why do election night newscasts use maps that show regions to explain how people are voting? How is it possible that you can look at the electoral map and see the entire middle of the country showing red and only the edges of the country showing blue? Of course, it only takes a moment to understand that land does not get a vote. People do. Using a map that traditionally shows borders, rivers, and roads is not necessarily a good way to depict concentrations of population. And for every square acre of rural land that might have a farm family, there are hundreds, and likely thousands, of people who live in that same amount of space in a city. A great example of this is Nevada. There were only two small counties in Nevada that went blue while the entire rest of the state went red. That looks impressive to Republicans on an election map but it is not the best way to demonstrate that most people in Nevada live in Reno and Las Vegas. Hardly anyone lives in the rest of the state. Famously our government tests nuclear weapons and secret aircraft in these wide-open unpopulated spaces specifically because of the lack of people. Coyotes and snakes are not allowed to vote. This same principle applies wherever there are large sections of rural areas versus densely populated urban centers. The fact of the matter is and always will be that the same space that might hold a farm family or maybe even a small town in middle America does not even come close to having the populations of cities. Thus there are many more voters in our nation’s urban areas. Millions more. 
 
And here is something that a lot of Conservatives might have a problem swallowing. People in urban settings tend to be Democrats. Why? Because when you are compressed closer to your neighbors, even neighbors who seem vastly different, you learn to get along. It’s not perfect. But you are less likely to buy Trump’s claims that most Mexicans are murderers, most Muslims are terrorists, and gays are all degenerates when the two gay couples in your child’s playgroup have become dear friends, the Mexican family across the hall helped you move into the building and the Muslim community center down the street opens its doors for after school programs where kids can go to play basketball until neighborhood parents can get home from work. The point is, those of us who live in cities do not live in fear of these things that Trump wants you to fear. So a lot of his jargon does not play in big cities where most of the voters are.  

 It’s laughable that many things Trump told his supporters were probably the things that led to his undoing in this election.   

 For example, Trump had every opportunity to encourage his supporters to vote by mail. There is a pandemic going on, after all. But instead, he spent the entire last few months of the campaign ranting about how fraught mail-in voting was for fraud, even though he and Melania both vote by mail themselves as do most of his adult children. The vote was close in some states. Trump may give the impression that mail-in voting was a problem that caused a real conundrum for lots of elderly voters. Elderly white voters tend to vote Republican. Knowing that Democrats would do the smart thing during a pandemic; vote early and vote by mail, it might have been a real mistake for Trump to discourage his people from doing the same thing.  
 
Which brings up the question now on the other end of the election, why is Trump suing to STOP COUNTING mail-in ballots in states where he has a small lead yet he is also suing to KEEP COUNTING ballots in states where Trump is behind. If it’s specifically the process of mail-in voting that is corrupt, why is he all for it in some states but against it in others? It’s a rhetorical question. It’s the act of a desperate giant orange baby who cares more about himself than the obvious decision of the American people.   

 Yeh, it is obvious.  

 Biden won the popular vote by millions in an election that had the highest voter turnout in modern American history. Yes, it was close in several states. But Biden won both the popular vote by a wider measure than Clinton beat Trump in 2016 and he won the electoral college vote by the same margin that Trump won in 2016. And it should be noted that Hillary did not pout, stamp her feet, and whine about it for weeks. She graciously conceded.  This how the transition of power in America traditionally works. Again, It is important to note that the 2020 election had the biggest voter turnout in modern US history. That's important because that means Biden won when much more of the American people chose to be heard. Meanwhile, Trump lost the popular election in 2016, the election with the lowest voter turn out in modern American history. He could not win the popular vote in the worst voted election. Think about that. Trump may have loud enthusiastic supporters but that never meant he ever won over the majority of the American people. Never once in his four years did he exceed a 49% approval rating from the American people. Never once. Yet it’s undeniable. Trump did well in this election. I admit it. If anyone should have a reason to check the numbers it should be Democrats. It’s disturbing that this election was as close as it was with Trump's overt racism and the long string of unfulfilled promises (the border wall, new better healthcare, and the botching of the Pandemic).  

 The risk Trump is running by demanding recounts, court cases and fraud is that his name is not the only name on the ballot. Republicans won some very tough fought close Senate races in this election and if those votes for Trump are to be questioned, every name on those ballots will be subjected to questioning too. Trump’s tantrum could well disrupt seats that seem to already be decided in the favor of Republicans in the Senate.   

 This begs the question if Democrats were so clever to somehow manipulate the outcome of this election, why on earth would we give the Senate back to the Republicans? Why would we put that turtle sock puppet, Mitch McConnell, back into any government job?
   
For the record, the mail-in, absentee voting process is meticulously well monitored and secure. I know. I voted by mail this year and I did my research and experienced it for myself. First, you have to apply for a ballot to be sent to you. In my case, my request was compared to my existing voter information. If not, I would have to register all over again. My information had to match what is on record from the last time I voted. My driver's license and my social security number were used to confirm residency. It was also checked against my address and identity on record. A ballot was then sent to that confirmed address. The outer envelope of my ballot needed to have the same confirmation information on it and my ballot had to be placed in a plain brown security envelope to hide my choices before my ballot could be officially counted. When my ballot arrived at the election office it was again confirmed against my voting records and my previous recorded signature from my voter registration information. My choices on the ballot remained concealed until voting could begin. But I could confirm my ballot was accepted by checking via entering my identifying information on the state website. So I know the ballot I sent in matched the one they got.
  
So keep in mind if someone wanted to mess with my vote, they would have had to know my driver's license number, my home address, and my social security number. Then send off to request a ballot hoping that I lived at this same address when I last voted. Oh, and they would have to confirm that I was voting against their guy otherwise they were stealing a vote that would be negated when I chose to vote for myself anyway. Then they would have to be waiting by my mailbox for weeks for the ballot to arrive, then break into my locked mailbox to steal my ballot, fill it out with my information, match my signature which would be an interesting feat having no possible way of seeing it previously and I have a weird-ass legal signature. They would have had to have stolen all the information I mentioned earlier and sent it in. Plus being an avid voter they would have run the risk of me requesting a ballot too which would have revealed the attempt of stealing my vote and the false vote would have been reported and removed. So all that work for one vote would have been for not. So tell me how this could be done on a mass level, undetected, in a way that could sway an election? And would anyone take all those risks to commit a Federal Crime? Voter fraud is a big deal and would get someone very serious prison time.
  
As I write this, Republican lawyers are claiming dead people voted so that is a sure sign that someone tried to mess with the election. Well, they are right that dead people do vote. They vote every year. But it’s not malicious. It’s a natural product of absentee voting, the certification period, and early voting. People die. Sometimes people die at unfortunate times. People die sometimes after they request a ballot in a mail-in voting scenario. Sometimes they die after voting early but before the actual election. Sometimes people die after the election before specific ballots that might be in question can be confirmed. It just happens. But it does not and has not happened in the tens of thousands that the Republican lawyers are claiming. It happens every year in roughly the same amount. Maybe more this time because of Covid 19, but still in a statistically insignificant way. And voting offices have procedures for screening these votes out of the system. In most states, death certificates are reviewed monthly and dead people are removed from voter rolls. 

 But wait! How is it possible that Sleepy Joe overturned so many Republican stronghold states? That doesn’t seem to be believable. I get it. The optics in traditional Republican strongholds looked impressive. Trump had some well-attended rallies in all these states while Biden chose to not put people at risk, holding smaller safer gatherings where he could address Democrats. Going by that you might be surprised that there were any Progressives at all that would come out to vote. But several things are being ignored in this logic. The very pandemic that kept people away from Democrat rallies is the same thing that changed the minds of many people who might have otherwise voted for Trump. Keep in mind by the end of the election some 220,000 Americans had died from Covid 19 and millions more had contracted the virus including the president himself.

 Trump’s biggest lie was kind of laid bare right before people went to the polls. This was not akin to the flu, this wasn’t something that was just going to magically go away, and while the president might have access to experimental treatments that got him right back on his feet, the rest of us are dealing with the harsh reality that Covid could be a much more dangerous diagnosis. The higher number of cases meant it was no longer something that happened to strangers on the news. By now, most of us have been touched personally. It’s now harshly affecting even rural areas. Trump claims that there’s nothing to worry about and masks are signs of weakness that were beginning to ring a lot less true. It is now undeniable that Trump's handling of the crisis has been a disaster. Pitting Americans against one another when he should have rallied us against a common foe, forcing cities into bidding wars for protective gear and medical devices, discrediting the messaging from the CDC, and his hyping of medical quackery all led to undercutting whatever credibility he might have had in many key demographics. That includes the senior votes he can normally count on. This year a lot of seniors felt betrayed. They were the most at risk and were dying in the largest numbers and Trump started discounting them as a disposable population that would just have to deal with the consequences of pushing to open the economy back up.

 Want to lose someone’s vote? Let them know through your actions that you do not care if they live or die. And that's what Trump did to many of his senior followers.  

 At the time of this writing, all legal cases proposed so far by Trump’s lawyers have been thrown out of court. The government’s own Office of Homeland Security put out a statement that said this has been the safest, most well-run election in United States history. No evidence of fraud. Zero. Nadda. Nothing. Yet Trump is still out there refusing to concede, He is still claiming there was widespread fraud. He is still questioning the outcome of the election. This is so dangerous. This is slowing the process the incoming Biden administration needs to get up to speed on important issues they will have to deal with on Day One of his new presidency. It has been suggested that the slow transition by the Clinton’s to the Bush administration may have led to gaps in communication that led to the attacks on September 11 (although Bush had been in office for more than six months at that point). It is undeniable that the American people deserve a smooth transition of power. The pandemic crisis might require us to set aside differences. We will need to give unprecedented support to Biden so that the Pandemic can be properly addressed as cases are spiking now under Trump’s lack of leadership and the release of a vaccine which might be months away. That's a lot to ask of a country perhaps permanently divided. While Americans are now dying at record rates and people are still suffering from the unaddressed economic crisis, Trump has done nothing but golf. 
 
When it's all laid out like this I am surprised Trump got as many votes as he did. And this is why he lost the election.