Thoughts on the Wing: More U.S. Midterm Musings (With Even More — and More — Updates!)

Predictably, the day after the midterms, Republican voters are divided on the meaning of the results. Hardcore Trump cultists are following their lord and master in calling this loss of the House of Representatives a great victory, since at least the GOP held the Senate. The all-night social media “conservative movement” types are in the depths of despair, as they were just sure they felt a red wave coming — because they live and think in an echo chamber at least as mentally limiting as the one they accuse west- and east-coast progressives of living in: They only talk to themselves, listen to their cheerleading radio hosts, and watch Fox News, which Mark Levin used to mock as “the pom-poms,” before he accepted a job there and became just another Trump sycophant.

Post-election, Trump held a news conference during which, as usual, he took the opportunity to make himself the headline, by berating and arguing with the “fake news” reporters in the room, and by extension the mainstream (i.e., non-Fox) media everywhere. 

And his fans go wild: “Great to see him not taking any crap from reporters!” they growl gleefully into their beer.

Very tough on reporters, yes. Not so tough on dictators, Democrats (except when he’s mocking them for laughs, which we all know is all show), alt-right white nationalist types (yes, the Dems are exploiting that in ugly ways, but Trump really has toyed with those people way too much from day one), deficits, socialized medicine, and gun-grabbers. Not so tough, in other words, on people and issues that will actually determine whether the United States survives — or rather revives — as a free republic.

But yes, he’s great at shouting at the television. If he were your grumpy uncle, you might think he was fun to have around, for about ten minutes once a month or so. As your president, well, I think you might consider whether the guy in that position ought to be attending to slightly more substantial concerns, rather than moronically declaring victory after a loss, not to mention taking credit for it.

Headline: “Trump openly MOCKED Republicans who distanced themselves from him and LOST.”

Yes, he did. In fact, during his press conference after the election, he actually, in typical Trumpolini-style (that’s Trump + Mussolini, for those who haven’t already noticed the resemblance), singled out specific losing GOP candidates by name, and ridiculed them.

Here’s a direct quote (I won’t embed the video because I refuse to sully Limbo with that illiterate orangutan’s face, in its desperate search for ten comprehensible words, today):

Mike Coffman: Too bad Mike. Mia Love: I saw Mia Love, she called me all the time to help her with a hostage [struggles to find and pronounce a big four-syllable word] situation — being held hostage in [looking at his notes] Venezuela — but Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that Mia.

He’s talking about Republican candidates who just lost a major election yesterday, a very important and undoubtedly painful disappointment in their lives, not to mention a loss of seats (i.e., votes) for “his” own party. And his response is to mock them and say, in effect, “See, if you’d aligned yourself with me, you would have won, losers.”

When I read the headline, “Trump openly MOCKED Republicans who distanced themselves from him and LOST,” I have to say my reaction was simple and immediate:

“And Daren openly mocks, dismisses, and disdains Republicans, and I mean any Republicans, who actively courted Trump’s favor and sidled up to him in order to win.”

You don’t have to condemn this hopeless excuse for a man openly during your campaign, but kissing the ring for votes? Begging him to fly in for a rally in exchange for promising to support him on any and every issue? Is that the price of winning? That’s a Pyrrhic victory at best.

Earlier in this series of musings, I commented that I would not post the video clip of Trump mocking Republicans who lost because, as he sees it, they didn’t embrace him with sufficient reverence. The reason I gave was that “I refuse to sully Limbo with that illiterate orangutan’s face, in its desperate search for ten comprehensible words, today.” Several hours have passed, and I am beginning to wonder whether there might not be some conversational value, after all, in letting Trump rise up through the several rungs of hell separating him from us here in Limbo, albeit only for a few moments. 

So here goes. Sorry to all who were counting on me to keep my word on this one.

I succumbed to the dark side, tempting you to watch this latest performance by the most powerful man on the planet, in order to ask you a question.

If you watched that video clip, and listened carefully to Trump’s intonation, grammar, difficulty with simple words, need to look at his notes to remember whom he was talking about; and furthermore observed his facial and vocal mannerisms — the way he holds his mouth to give portent to the empty spaces as he struggles to find the next word, and how he over-enunciates words with more than one syllable, as if desperate to prove he can really speak all the best English — then I challenge you with the following:

Take a moment to recollect all your personal interactions with adult human beings, in any context, over the past week — heck, let’s make it the past month. Now I ask you, in all seriousness, without an ounce of irony or flippancy: Of all the people you’ve heard speak in the past month, can you honestly say with certainty that even one of those people was clearly less intelligent than Donald J. Trump?

I’m not saying it’s impossible. Maybe you can think of one. But the reason I ask is that I honestly can’t. I know some really annoyingly stupid people, as I’m sure do most of you. But I don’t believe even the dumbest of them ever sounds as inarticulate, as lacking in intellectual substance, as verbally immature, as Trump sounds in that clip. And of course that clip is not a bad day; it is quintessential Trump. (The proof of this is that his fans are lapping up his performance at that very press conference as exemplary of their hero at his best.)

William F. Buckley famously said he “should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”

I wonder how Buckley would feel if we changed the offer to the dumbest two thousand people in the Boston telephone directory.

Two days after the polls closed, an infamous Florida county is still failing to report its results, or even to disclose how many ballots it has left to count, as they slowly release new totals that predictably bring the gubernatorial race closer and closer to a dead heat, to the benefit of the losing Democrat. 

Not only is this not a surprise, but rather it would have been a surprise had it not happened.

Here are the only two conceivable explanations for Florida’s repeated inefficiency and apparent ineptitude in a simple act of counting things:

1. The people doing the counting have basic intelligence and mathematical skills below the level of a normal six-year-old.

2. The people doing the counting are under instructions not to finish the counting process promptly, while the officials in charge decide whether the numbers they are seeing, if registered, would be good enough to ensure the Democratic candidate wins.

Either way, Florida and America are in a heap of trouble. But then we already knew that.

Is there another advanced country on Earth that holds popular votes and fails to tally and register the results within 24 hours?

I know there can be weird anomalies anywhere, due to natural disasters or human error, but this problem happens in multiple locations in every U.S. election. And virtually every time, the late results show a remarkable disproportion of votes for one party in a very close race, which would seem to defy the laws of probability if these were truly random accidents.

Perhaps it’s time for legislation mandating that all election results be tallied and officially submitted within 24 hours of the polls closing, with allowance for late submissions only if the county in question applies through the courts for permission to submit late, based on legal arguments justifying the tardiness, a very high standard for judicial approval (ongoing hurricanes, sudden death of local electoral officer, etc.), and the automatic assignment of a citizens’ committee to oversee or take control of the late counting, rather than leaving it in the hands of the people who were unable to tally their ballots promptly.

Just to complete that last observation, I suggest a little homework assignment for someone more electorally-obsessed and less numerically-challenged than I:

  1. Pull up all the close federal or gubernatorial races in this election, and, say, the past two or three elections, in which there have been significant influxes of late ballots “found,” meaning ballots that were not counted on election night, but somehow remained outstanding more than twenty-four hours later.
  2. Analyze the difference, in each of those races with late uncounted ballots, between the officially-reported vote count twenty-four hours after the polls closed and the vote count twenty-four, forty-eight, and seventy-two hours later, with a view to determining which way the late vote count was trending, i.e., toward the Democrat or toward the Republican.
  3. Calculate the percentage of these close races with late ballot counts in which the tally after the first twenty-four hour period shifted consistently toward the Democrat or Republican side.
  4. Draw conclusions based on the results of this analysis and your common sense, common sense applying, whatever the media and political powers that be would like you to believe, to matters of the “Oh, c’mon” sort every bit as much as to any other matter.


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