The Both Sides Fallacy
by Tyler Davis
Traditionally, the 2020 election would be in the bag by now. America would be transitioning to a new administration. Joe Biden secured 51.4% of the national vote to Donald Trump’s 46.9% garnering Joe Biden’s 306 electoral votes to Donald Trump’s 232. The keyword here is traditionally.
Trump and his allies have been screaming voter fraud well before November 3. Trump even telegraphed the plans ahead of the election by saying he would be ahead on election night and then magically lose by the next morning. The faithful were listening.
Trump is not a prophet. He and the GOP manufactured an election to live up to the promise of the prediction by not allowing certain states to count mail-in ballots until the polls closed. There was no secret that democrats were voting largely by a mail-in vote instead of in-person voting due to the coronavirus. States count in-person voting before tabulating mail-in-votes. Counting the votes this way gave Trump the illusion he had been predicting.
Part of the GOP establishment’s argument has been, “The Democrats didn’t accept the 2016 election. Why should we?” This both sides argument has been thrown out as a precursor argument to suggest that since the Democrats did it, why shouldn’t the GOP? There is a glaring problem with this argument; it’s just not true.
Hillary Clinton conceded her campaign 48 hours after the election, with smaller margins than Trump’s loss. There was no discussion of overriding the voters, instituting a state legislature electoral vote. There were not 60 plus lawsuits. There was discussion of overriding the electoral vote in Congress. Furthermore, the argument wasn’t that the vote was fraudulent but was instead influenced.
The DNC did not accuse governors, secretaries of state, or poll workers working in conjunction with the GOP to steal an election. The sentiment indeed was Russia interfered with our elections. The GOP Senate panel agreed that Russia did influence the election, but by how much could not be calculated.
Both side’s argument states that Democrats could not accept the election results. Yet, a peaceful transfer of power took place as Trump thanked both Barack and Michelle Obama. This courtesy will not be extended to Joe and Jill from Donald nor Melania.
While it is true the Democrats fought back against Trump, where they could, the election was accepted and handled in proper formats. Fighting against the incoming administration has become the norm. We need to look no further than 2008 when McConnell and then-House Speaker John Boehner became “Nobama” supporters before Obama was sworn into office. Mitch McConnell refused to seat any Obama judicial appointments after retaking the Senate, something no other Senate had done to a sitting president.
January 6, 2021, a group of Senators, led by freshman Senator Josh Hawley, and over one hundred House Reps will stand and vote to not certify the election. Not confirming the vote has never happened in my lifetime of following politics. Not approving the election did not occur in 2016 and is not a both sides issue.
The Trump campaign has had two months to bring their cases before the courts. The entirety of their defense has been shut down by the courts, including Trump-appointed judges, as having no merit. Hand counts have verified computer results. Signature verification was done in Georgia, certifying the results. The courts have universally rejected every affidavit of wrongdoing.
As we head into the rest of January, leading up to the Biden inauguration, none of the actions taken have been on both sides. The actions taken by the GOP are singular in our lifetime. These are actions that are incongruous with our constitution and harm our confidence in elections. Condemning these actions should be a both sides argument.
Tyler Davis is the author of the Best of Books 2020 book, New America: Awakenings.