Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Alternative Facts

Brooklyn Bridge courtesy of Wikipedia
President Trump says three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 Presidential election.  This explains his 2.8 million vote loss of the popular vote, and now he's launching a "major investigation" into voter fraud.  For those of you who believe this "major investigation" will bear fruit, Buzz is getting out his deed to the Brooklyn Bridge.  He picked it up cheap a few years ago, and he says he's willing to sell it at a loss.

After raising this issue in a tweet late last year, the President, on his own accord, repeated this allegation when meeting with Congressional leaders on Monday.  Perhaps the President misspoke on Monday, so we all waited for the Baghdad Bob of the administration to set us straight at his Tuesday Press Briefing.

Here's what White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.

“The president does believe that. He has stated that before. I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign,” Spicer said. “He continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence that people have presented to him.”

When pressed further, Spicer cited some studies which have been thoroughly debunked.  According to, one of the studies cited (Old Dominion University) has even been debunked by its authors, who said their "extrapolation to specific state-level or district-level election outcomes is fraught with substantial uncertainty." 

Now, this morning, the President has announced he will continue "tilting at windmills" with a "major investigation" into voter fraud.

Perhaps the President bases his conclusion on those "alternative facts" to which Kellyanne Conway referred to on Sunday's "Meet the Press."  

This is a major problem.  The late New York Senator Patrick Moynihan famously said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  If we cannot agree on the facts, we cannot engage in any useful discussion.

Many supporters of the President will believe almost anything he says, and this is unfortunate.  The tall tales of his campaign are proof of this.  The problem arises when everyone else, including some members of his own party, question the President's veracity.

Senator Lyndsey Graham (R-SC)  said.  "To continue to suggest that the 2016 election was conducted in a fashion that millions of people voted illegally undermines faith in our democracy,  It's not coming from a candidate for the office, it's coming from the man who holds the office. So I am begging the president, share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it."

Some will dismiss Senator Graham as not a true believer in the Trump Revolution, but you cannot dismiss everyone who criticizes you because eventually you will alienate many people you need.  The Republicans only have a 52-48 majority in the Senate, so Trump can't afford to lose but a few Republican Senators.

Facts DO matter.  They are not debatable.  White is white.  Black is black.  Up is up and down is down.  It is the duty and obligation of a free press to call "bullshit" when the President or any elected figure plays fast and loose with the facts.  It is also the duty and obligation of Republicans to call the President out when he uses "alternative facts," even if those alternative facts further the party line.

Let's hope that the next four years is not a 24/7 "Bullshit" call.