My conversation with Trump supporters and election deniers – Perspectives by Simon Ateba

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During the just concluded United States presidential election won by President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, many people would write me and ask: “Simon, what’s going on?”

Many of them were Donald Trump supporters.

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I would tell them, Joe Biden is winning or has won. They would try to disagree by pointing to the electoral votes. I would tell them he’s also won the electoral votes.

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When Biden and Harris were projected as the winners after crossing 270 electoral votes needed to win, these Trump supporters would ask me “what about the Supreme court? The court cases and so on?” I would tell them it’s like chasing shadows, a pipe dream.

With fewer options left, these Trump supporters would ask me, but wasn’t the election stolen? Where did the mail-in ballots come from?

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I would tell them because of COVID-19, states allowed most people to vote by mail, that is, to receive their ballots, fill them, mail them and track them online until they are counted. Trump discouraged his supporters from voting by mail, mainly because he was trying to downplay COVID-19 under his leadership. Biden and the Democrats urged their voters to vote by mail and protect themselves from COVID-19.

As a result, most Democrats voted by mail and most Republicans and Trump supporters voted in person on election day.

I would tell them in-person votes were counted first in several states and Trump appeared to be leading, but when mail-in ballots were counted, he either lost or won with a narrow margin.

Then the Trump supporters would ask me….but why did it take many days to count votes in Pennsylvania if there was no cheating or stealing?

I would tell them because the Republicans there passed a law that did not allow election officials to count early votes before election day. It was only after election day was over that they began to count millions of votes. This means; sorting them, checking those with errors, adjudicating if there was need, scanning them, counting them and adding them to the tally.

I would tell them in each of the voting sites, there were Republicans and Democrats all watching. I would tell them in Georgia for instance where Biden is winning, Republicans are in charge of the election and could not rig it against their own party and interests.

These Trump supporters would then tell me, but, but, Trump says there was rigging. Why would he say that if there wasn’t?

I would tell them, all election officials, all election watchers said there was no rigging. I would tell them the election was a week ago, there is still no evidence, no proof, no video, nothing, and the little things flying online have all been debunked.

You see, human beings have their minds made up. They often want things to go the way they want them to go. They expose themselves to sources that reinforce their beliefs, they run away from those who contradict their beliefs, they watch TV stations that agree with them and skip those that do not, they look for excuses, try to silence opposing voices, fight those who tell them what they don’t agree with, argue only to reinforce what they believe in. It’s hard, if not impossible, to change people’s mindsets with logic!

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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