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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Columns

Jayne: Trump lost; just get over it

By Greg Jayne, Columbian Opinion Page Editor
Published: October 3, 2021, 6:02am

It’s like “Alice in Wonderland,” with Clark County residents falling down a rabbit hole and wandering around a fanciful world that bears little resemblance to reality.

And after a while, you half expect the people demanding a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election to start quoting Mock Turtle: “Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.’”

That’s how much sense this all makes.

Still, Clark County is one of three Washington counties recently sued over the results of the November 2020 election. And still, plenty of people have filled County Auditor Greg Kimsey’s email to “request” or “demand” an audit of those results or to implore Kimsey to “uphold” his “duty.”

As an aside, Kimsey is much more polite than I would be. Following a public records request, he shared 177 emails he had received or sent related to calls for an audit in the six days after the filing of the lawsuit. His responses patiently explain the election process and invite citizens to observe that process.

The rest of us? Well, we have lost patience with this lunacy that is undermining our democracy. And we have lost patience with having to persistently explain why claims of election fraud are as authentic as a Cheshire Cat.

The genesis of those claims, of course, is twice-impeached President Donald Trump’s infantile refusal to admit that he was rejected by the American public. It has become the lie that won’t die, calling for us to hold our nose and repeat some facts.

You know, such as the fact Trump and his allies filed some 60 lawsuits related to the election; each was rejected, including dozens that came before Trump-appointed judges.

And an audit of votes in Arizona’s largest county, conducted by a sham company run by an outspoken Trump supporter, found that Joe Biden won the election there by 360 more votes than originally counted.

And in a deposition that came out last week, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said: “I read some stuff — I think it was maybe on Facebook — I laid it out to the public as what we knew to be the facts, and no, I had no idea if it was true or not. I didn’t even try to check. Why would I try to check? You wouldn’t have a story then.”

So, we have American democracy depending on what somebody reads on Facebook. It’s one thing if your Aunt Gertrude spreads falsehoods; it’s another if the president’s lawyer does it.

And in response to a defamation lawsuit, lawyer Sidney Powell — who filed lawsuits on Trump’s behalf — said, “No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”

Judging by the emails sent to Kimsey, there are plenty of unreasonable people out there. Which again reminds us of Alice: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Among the frequent tropes is a claim that has gained traction on conservative websites that Clark County (and others) had more votes than voters. Kimsey responded: “For the 2020 General Election, Clark County received 277,013 ballots. As of Nov. 3, 2020, (date of general election) in Clark County there were 327,355 active registered voters.”

Among the other frequent tropes is a call for an audit using “kinematic artifact detection.” Which might be a problem because the founder of the Center for Election Innovation and Research called the process “totally made up.” An earlier invention by the founder of “kinematic artifact detection” was ranked by PC World as one of the “25 worst tech products of all time.”

Credibility, however, is no factor when it comes to claims of election fraud. Neither, apparently, is logic — considering that Washington has a national reputation for election security and Biden beat Trump here by 785,000 votes.

All of which makes this curiouser and curiouser. But as Lewis Carroll wrote, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war with reality.”