In 2012, I used to be a moderator for quite a lot of Libertarian boards on Fb. Again in these far-off, pre-COVID days, there have been a slew of supposedly “satirical” information web sites — “supposedly” in that, for those who dug deep sufficient into their “About Us” pages, they’d submit some authorized boilerplate declaring their content material to be fictional and “satirical” to restrict authorized legal responsibility. The tone and content material, nevertheless, didn’t attempt to be humorous or particularly outlandish in any respect. Consequently, when certainly one of these websites printed one thing which confirmed what some Fb person knew have to be true, the article would get shared, generally in one of many teams I moderated.

Like clockwork, certainly one of these websites would submit one thing about Ron Paul. Like clockwork, it will get posted in one of many boards I moderated. Like clockwork, I must clarify within the feedback the way it was pretend information (and, as an apart, how Ron Paul had been a Republican and never a Libertarian for over a decade). Like clockwork, the poster would argue with me in regards to the legitimacy of “mainstream information” and the way this web site they only discovered, which was telling them precisely what they needed to listen to, was telling the true fact. 

I grew to become very expert at discovering the authorized boilerplate that served as fig leaves towards libel on these websites. Demonstrating its existence was regularly the one manner to assist anybody see motive.

One notably egregious instance I bear in mind was somebody who, after Ron Paul in the end misplaced the 2012 major, stored posting “information” articles a few lawsuit which, as soon as it wound its manner by way of the courts, would show as soon as and for all that Ron Paul was the one candidate constitutionally licensed to run for president. In accordance with these articles, each Mitt Romney and Barack Obama had dedicated some crimes that by some means rendered them ineligible to function president. Since Ron Paul had not dedicated these crimes, he was, by a really incomplete strategy of elimination which apparently failed to incorporate Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, John Wolfe Jr., and each third-party and non-partisan presidential candidate, the one candidate legally able to being elected President of the US.

Naturally, there was a donation web page to assist this “lawsuit,” in addition to a YouTube channel which purported to explain the most recent progress of the “lawsuit” every week.

Although this was an particularly egregious instance, I used to be already nicely acquainted with the election fraud industrial donation complicated by that time, primarily as a result of I had been receiving emails like this for years:

I additionally acquired this name for motion from 2011:

Extra just lately, right here’s an excerpt from an electronic mail blast I acquired from the Nevada Republican Occasion in 2013:

AB440 handed, by the best way.

Likelihood is, for those who ask anyone who’s been even barely energetic in conservative or conservative-adjacent politics in Nevada, they’ve acquired comparable emails and been a part of comparable conversations for many years, too. When Sharron Angle misplaced to Harry Reid in 2010, I knew individuals who swore up and down the loss may solely be defined by way of rampant voter fraud. I’ve even met supporters of failed Republican major candidates who swore “institution Republicans” (a phrase that, loosely outlined, meant “Republicans they didn’t like or didn’t vote for”) used election fraud to defeat them. Discover a former Ron Paul delegate and ask them in regards to the time the lights had been turned off — they’ll fortunately end the remainder of the story for you, don’t fear.

These are individuals who, to an individual, both snort or scowl on the insularity which produced Pauline Kael’s quote about she solely knew one one that voted for Nixon in 1972 (Nixon gained in a landslide). But, after they can solely discover one Biden, Reid, Romney or Sandoval voter (you’d be amazed what number of Republicans hated our final Republican governor) of their world, they don’t assume they reside in an insular bubble of their very own. As a substitute, they assume that seemingly anomalous voter by some means dedicated mass electoral fraud towards them and their pals — and so they need revenge.

That is the vein — an previous, deep, nicely explored vein — Trump and his supporters have been exploiting for the previous few months, each in Nevada and all through the nation. 

After I say exploit, I exploit the phrase actually. As Reuters revealed on Veteran’s Day, most donations to Trump’s “Official Election Protection Fund” aren’t going to any election-related authorized charges in any respect — as a substitute, most of them are being cut up between the Republican Nationwide Committee and a Trump-affiliated PAC. This places Trump’s fundraising and lawsuits on comparable footing as Jill Stein’s fundraising to “pursue” recounts in swing states after 2016 — a grift which netted the previous Inexperienced Occasion presidential candidate thousands and thousands of {dollars} and efficiently paid for roughly zero recounts.

Like every good con man, nevertheless, it’s laborious to inform whether or not Trump is definitely in on the con or not. Does he really imagine thousands and thousands of votes had been deleted from digital voting programs? Does he sincerely imagine he gained Pennsylvania? Is he utterly surrounded by sycophants who understand their gravy practice will finish in January in the event that they don’t discover some method to goad him into overturning the election by some means? Or is he trolling the US, its folks, and its establishments — together with Nevada’s court docket system — to see what he and his pals can get away with? 

Sooner or later, it truthfully doesn’t matter. He’s leaving the White Home in January both manner and he’s apparently going to do his Downfall parody impression on his manner out. The one query remaining is who’s going to most convincingly peddle his Dolchstoßlegende, each regionally and nationally, to curry favor with the bottom he constructed after he leaves?

After we look again upon the previous 4 years, one factor we are going to all must reckon with is how President Donald J. Trump shined mild on corners of the conservative political panorama Republicans fastidiously stored hidden in the dead of night, each from themselves and the remainder of the nation, for many years. The concept that widespread voter fraud is each widespread and the one potential rationalization for electoral defeat is simply the most recent in a protracted sequence of such unlucky corners.

As we reckon with this, nevertheless, we are able to’t afford to idiot ourselves. Trump didn’t create these corners. He was simply the primary president to refuse to be ashamed of them. 

David Colborne has been energetic within the Libertarian Occasion for 20 years. Throughout that point, he has blogged intermittently on his private weblog, in addition to the Libertarian Occasion of Nevada weblog, and ran for workplace twice as a Libertarian candidate. He serves on the Govt Committee for each his state and county Libertarian Occasion chapters. He’s the daddy of two sons and an IT skilled. You’ll be able to comply with him on Twitter @DavidColborne or electronic mail him at [email protected]