The Election

Wrong again

By Cal Thomas

Tribune Content Agency

The pollsters got it wrong again. Some claimed going into Tuesday’s election that Joe Biden had an unbeatable margin of 17 points in some states. Pundits claimed Republicans would lose between five and 15 seats in the House. It appears they’ve picked up a few. And because final results will not be known until states count mail-in votes and end their extended vote-counting processes, Republicans could pick up a few more.

Why do some continue to employ these pollsters who miss the “silent majority,” or in this case “shy” Trump voters, many of whom refused to speak with or hung up on their robocalls? Some conservatives believe it is part of an effort by the Left to discourage conservative voters so they will give up and not bother to vote. Instead, they showed up in person and in huge numbers at polling places across the country.

Then there’s the bad practice of calling races with a fraction of the vote counted. On Fox News Tuesday night one of the members on their “decision desk” was interviewed after Arizona was called for Biden with a small percentage of the votes counted, prompting howls from the Trump campaign and anger from some viewers. Why is this necessary? Some would argue, credibly, that the result can be to drive down voter turnout by discouraging people who might think Trump lost.

There’s a golden oldies song and a movie with the same title that featured a fortune teller and potion mixer. The song and film were called “Love Potion Number 9.” The fortune teller was named Madame Rue. I think I’ll consult her before the next election. Her predictions might be more reliable than the ones by these failed pollsters.

This is — because it isn’t over — another multi-billion-dollar election. Remember campaign finance reform? Gone with the wind. In Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Kentucky election victory, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, nearly $100 million was contributed and spent. Much of the money came from people outside the state.

It was the same in South Carolina where incumbent Lindsey Graham won re-election in a hotly contested race. Graham joked that the $107 million contributed to his opponent, Jaime Harrison, was a “bad investment.”

A pipe break in Fulton County, Georgia, delayed voting. Could this be the “hanging chads” of the 2000 election in Florida? Will ballots be water damaged, making some of them unreadable, or questionable?

We need to reform the election process. Campaigning should be made shorter as they do in the United Kingdom. Their election season usually takes weeks, not years like ours. On Tuesday night, some anchors were already speculating who might run for president in 2024. Ridiculous.

The paper ballot — even those scanned by machines when they work — is a relic of the past. We live in a digital age. Why can’t we vote digitally in a manner that would instantly confirm our votes and send them to a secure database? Having to wait days and possibly weeks to determine the next president reduces the credibility of our election process and makes us a laughingstock in the eyes of the rest of the world.

It would be a shame if this election winds up in the Supreme Court, widening the divide in our already fractured country. Many were hoping for a decisive outcome, whichever candidate won. It looks like we are not going to get it and the rancor, name-calling and demonstrations will continue.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Who will step forward and call for meaningful reforms? I’m going to ask Madame Rue.

(Readers may email Cal Thomas at [email protected]. Look for Cal Thomas’ new book “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan). Readers may email Cal Thomas at [email protected].

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