The Great Tragedy of the 2016 US Elections

Scott Adams, of Dilbert fame, has emerged as an unapologetic conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter. There is absolutely nothing wrong with him supporting Trump — but, I do take issue with the paper-thin logical arguments he is building to support Trump’s wild assertions about a rigged election. To see what I’m talking about, visit his Periscope account. The daily videos he posts there will take you down a rabbit hole.

To see election rigging at scale, you had to visit parts of India in elections past. Entire voting booths would be taken over by goons who would force people to vote for a particular party — or simply cast the votes themselves. Much of that was eliminated by the use of voter lists, ID cards and machines that make it hard to stuff ballots. It still happens though — in college elections around the country. 

A case can also be made to replace the multitude of electronic voting machines in the US with the kind of hardware used in India — almost un-hackable because most of the work is done as hardware rather than software.

But, I think the greatest lesson to be learned from the elections carried out in the largest democracy in the world (at a scale that will send politicians of all stripes in the US scurrying for cover) is that assertions of rigging are always accompanied with statements of the greatest respect for the voter. Which is why I find the general narrative around how the voter doesn’t matter, how the voter’s vote doesn’t matter, truly unfortunate. More harm is done by that than good. And that people like Scott Adams are not only repeating this canard, but building on this argument using innuendo, conspiracy and a little wink at the worst instincts in humanity — that right there is the great tragedy.

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