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THE POLITICS Of ALTERNATE REALITIES: When Do Objective Facts Matter?

When Hilary Clinton won the “popular” vote with 2.87 million more ballots in 2016, Donald Trump boasted that his overwhelming number of Electoral College Votes demonstrated his political mandate: 304 to 227. He famously argued that he had the overwhelming electoral support of the country but that millions of undocumented immigrants had voted illegally for their Democratic patrons. Although the Trump Administration convened a special investigative commission that examined electoral fraud in exhaustive detail in 2017-18, it did not find ANY evidence of voting “irregularities.”

Similarly, President Trump declared that attendance at his inauguration ceremony was the largest in US history, far exceeding the size of the crowd of his predecessor, Barak Obama, in 2013. He pressured the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, to present alternate realities of the two ceremonies through truncated and augmented photos of the 2013 and 2017 inauguration crowds. Yet, National Park Service photos documented a far different empirical reality that has defined the Trump Presidency since its very first day. That is, whenever President Trump dislikes an unfavorable event or outcome, he simply dismisses it as “fake news” while his enablers refer to “alternate facts.” Presidential Campaign manager and Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway was the maestro of creating alternative political realities.

Today, during the 2020 Presidential campaign, “truth” has become accepted as a partisan distortion rather than an objective reality. Trump versus Biden “fake” news, Republican versus Democratic “facts,” CNN versus FOX reports. The duality of previously objective “facts” has become shaped by the partisan political lens that it is viewed from. For example, the COVID-19 or “Chinese Flu” pandemic. Supporters of the President contend that his Administration did the best it could under the extraordinary circumstances. Critics of the President assert that he lied to the American people about the serious of the virus (“when Spring comes, it will miraculously disappear!”) in order to focus public attention on the strength of the US economy that would bolster his re-election campaign. When confronted with soaring COVID infection rates, the President dismissed these empirical facts as simply the outcome of increased testing or fake CNN news.

BUT, inevitably, competing facts collide with empirical reality. With a record number of over 151 million ballots cast for the 46th President of the United States, more than 77 million Americans (50.8%) voted for Joe Biden—over 5 million more votes than Donald Trump (47.4%). This is comparable to Barak Obama’s 51.1% of the vote during his “landslide” victory against Mitt Romney with 47.2% of the popular vote in 2012; the Electoral College votes were 332 (Obama) to 206 (Romney).

Now, with Biden leading in two states (Arizona, Georgia) with a total of 27 Electoral votes, the challenger leads in the Electoral College: 279 to 217. If Biden wins both states that he is currently leading (with larger vote majorities than Trump’s wins over Hillary Clinton in the battleground states), then he wins 306 to 232. A decisive victory by contemporary standards. If Trump wins all three of these remaining states (North Carolina has 15 Electoral votes), then Biden wins 279 to 259. So, regardless of the outcome of the specious legal suits filed by Republican lawyers over election “irregularities,” it is GAME OVER for TRUMP. The collision of Facts Trumps the “truth” of the Republican electoral arguments. Time for the orderly transition and process of transfer of power to President-Elect Joe Biden.

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