Social Question

LuckyGuy's avatar

What do you think of this thought experiment?

Asked by LuckyGuy (40161points) November 12th, 2020
18 responses
“Great Question” (6points)

“A thought experiment:

The political scientist Brendan Nyhan has often responded to events during the Trump presidency by asking a question: What would you say if you saw it in another country?

Let’s try that exercise now. Imagine that a president of another country lost an election and refused to concede defeat. Instead, he lied about the vote count. He then filed lawsuits to have ballots thrown out, put pressure on other officials to back him up and used the power of government to prevent a transition of power from starting.

How would you describe this behavior? It’s certainly anti-democratic. It is an attempt to overrule the will of the people, ignore a country’s laws and illegitimately grab political power.

President Trump’s efforts will probably fail, but they are unlike anything that living Americans have experienced. “What we have seen in the last week from the president more closely resembles the tactics of the kind of authoritarian leaders we follow,” Michael Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House, which tracks democracy, told The Times. “I never would have imagined seeing something like this in America.”

It is “one of the gravest threats to democracy” the country has faced, Ryan Enos, a Harvard social scientist, wrote yesterday. He added in an email, “The result is crystal clear and, yet, the incumbent is creating ambiguity by baseless claims.”

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LuckyGuy's avatar

Really. Try the thought experiment. It is interesting.
Try imagining if the other “team” did it.

janbb's avatar

I would think that country was a banana republic.

ragingloli's avatar

This thought experiment only works on people that are not already convinced that “the other side” is cheating. It underestimates the power of tribalism and the ability of people to tune out evidence that contradicts their beliefs.
Like Flat Earthers performing an experiment that proves a round earth, and then discarding the results as “errors”.

canidmajor's avatar

I would think he was attempting a coup.

I have a friend from high school who has lived in Chile for the past 45 years. She recently said to me:” You are living in what is rapidly becoming a banana republic, and remember, I know what that is, having lived through Chile’s version.”

She offered me sanctuary.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, and Happy Birthday, @LuckyGuy!!!

janbb's avatar

^^ Yes. I pm’d but Happy Birthday again, LG! May your day be filled with BTUs!

jca2's avatar

My thoughts exactly @janbb and @canidmajor. I’d expect this from a third world country, maybe.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

If it happened in another country, you wouldn’t have time for any thought experiment. Uncle Sam would find an excuse to be embarking on another war in the name of “freedom”.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Venezuela had a disputed election in 2018. Maduro, the incumbent, proclaimed victory, the opposition did, too. Most countries back the opposition, including the Trump administration which has sanctioned Venezuela and use the ensuing disaster as a bogeyman for “socialism”.

And now Republicans are re-enacting the scenario, with Trump as the authoritarian loser, dragging his country down and appalling the world.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I was just reading about last month’s disputed election in Guinea. The 82 year old Mr Alpha Conde had police surround the house of his rival. Cellou Diallo.
We’ll see if it comes to that .

I see the source of the quote in the details section was missing. I must have messed up the cut and paste. It came from the NYTimes.

(And thank you for the birthday wishes!)

Jaxk's avatar

You don’t have to imagine what it would be like if the other side did this. All you have to do is look back at the 2000 election. Gore held up the count for 20 days. The vote count has not been certified and until it is, there is no reason for trump to concede. If the argument from Trump does not show any evidence of corruption and the count is certified, then you all can complain.

stanleybmanly's avatar

If I weren’t living here, I would look on this as comical while tragic. Tragic that the nation ostensibly first in the world could mount so tasteless a joke. I would also marvel at the good fortune of the the country in that the would be despot is so bungling an idiot that he cannot be taken seriously as a threat to the democratic process. Rather, his antics are more disturbing in what they portend for the possible future of the hapless country. One way or another, the current clown show will soon be at an end. But the precedent is now in place, and we must accept the reality that despite the solemn grandeur and nobility inculcated in all Americans regarding the majesty of their birthright, the people there saw fit to elevate a visible scoundrel and ignorant stooge to the most powerful position on the planet.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

“Gore held up the count for 20 days”

Republicans were the ones swarming the counting sites and yelling “stop the count”.

LostInParadise's avatar

@Jaxk , It is not the same as 2000. The vote margin in Florida was tiny and it triggered an automatic recount. Also, Florida’s vote was critical. Whoever won Florida got the presidency. Link None of this holds in the present situation.

As for the thought experiment, it is something I can imagine happening in a country with an authoritarian government. I could not imagine it happening in Western Europe or Japan or Auatralia.

JLeslie's avatar

I said this when Gore v. Bush wound up with recounts in Bush’s brother’s state, don’t forget Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida. Then the Supreme Court ended it all in favor of Bush, but said that their ruling does not set precedent. That’s is the stuff of the third world.

I don’t have a problem with Trump wanting to challenge a count if it is within the law to do it. I have a problem with the fraud accusations. I think cable news saying the president should be embarrassed about losing, that’s what I heard recently, embarrassed about losing, is a horrible thing to say. They are obsessing about him conceding. Who cares. It will not change that Biden gets sworn in January 20, because I do have faith in our democracy. How does it encourage Trump to help Biden with the transition if everyone is belittling Trump? I’m tired of being down in the dirt.

Trump received almost half the vote of the electorate. If you (not you personally lucky) didn’t hate Trump, you would see him as doing well in the competition. Would we tell our children you should be embarrassed you lost? I think talk about how the laws allow him to challenge within a certain margin and we know our democracy is intact. Give Trump the chance to save face.

My husband, who is Mexican, has said for four years that Trump is just like Mexican presidents, puts his family in office and lines his pockets and the pockets of family and peers. No one was talking about this as an example of the third world. No one! The Democrats missed it. They said Trump out just family in office, and made the rich richer, but didn’t talk directly about how this compares to Latin America. Mexico is a democracy. It’s just there is a lot of corruption in government. This could have changed the conversation from socialist Cuba to corrupt Mexico. Imagine that? Or, corrupt pick a country.

It won’t work for most people. They can’t do it. Their world construct gets interrupted, and their identity. It’s an identity crisis for them to think about it.

They would just decide those other countries are different. They would feel Trump is fighting for democracy not destroying it. Remember, Biden is a puppet for the dictator socialists. Obama is still president indirectly, just like they feared, pushing socialist policies.

I always tell everybody, when you hear an opinion about a political issue, close your eyes and imagine the other political party suggested it. Like breaking apart Facebook and Amazon. Elizabeth Warren has this as part of her platform and the most Republicans had no clue, and just labeled her a socialist liberal. Now, the Republicans are talking about it being a good idea, like it is a new idea.

Cupcake's avatar

@JLeslie Biden is not being allowed access to daily security briefings. If you look up Heather Cox Richardson (American historian and professor) on Facebook, she recently posted that a similar delay in the Gore vs. Bush election could have had a part to play in 9/11. I’m not trying to be an alarmist here, but it’s really not a matter of “who cares”.

JLeslie's avatar

@Cupcake Is there some way to give him clearance to see the information? Is it actually at the discretion of the president?

If the states were still counting he wouldn’t even be the president elect. The votes don’t have to be certified until Dec 8th. Maybe we need to fix this problem for the country for the future.

I guess who cares is too flippant. I care, but if the vote was different right now we might have automatic recounts happening, etc. That’s how the system is set up. From Dec 14th to Jan 20th is an entire month.

doyendroll's avatar

As it’s only an experiment I’d think cis and act fast.

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