Yesterday afternoon, I discovered an anti-ballot-counting protest underway, so naturally I had to lean in and learn more.
The protesters efforts seemed to be less about exercising a right than making a scene. The dominant sentiment from the folks I talked with was that:
There is no way Biden could have won Michigan
No one came to his (Biden’s) rallies
There’s something fishy going on
How could this be? Elections have specific processes that involve poll watchers, poll workers, and observers from both public, partisan, nonpartisan, and nonprofit entities.
It’s interesting that protesters in President Trump’s camp firmly believe that the vote count should have stopped at the close of Election Day. Of course, that’s when he (President Trump) was winning.
Based on sentiment of protests nationwide, we can distill down the sentiment to a one-liner: “Mail-in ballots are valid, as long as they’re in favor of our guy.”
Out front, I talked to a few pro-Trump protesters including Karen, a Detroit city resident who had driven downtown to meet-up with a colleague from Lenawee County. They came to protest following receipt of a Super-PAC called the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund which read:
“Biden is leading trump (sic) by 18 votes with 94% of precincts reporting. You read that right, EIGHTEEN VOTES.”
It is unclear where this group got their numbers from and puzzling, at best as mail-in ballots historically favor Democrats in Detroit.
I pointed this out to Karen, who remained adamant that “something fishy” was going on. She questioned the validity of the mail-in ballots, noting that she “got several” unrequested mail-in ballots that she “just threw away.”
“But who’s not throwing them (mail-in ballots) away?,” she asked, once again questioning the integrity of the process which has plenty of safeguards against fraudulent practices like falsifying or submitting multiple ballots.
The fact that Joe Biden was ahead by 61,000 votes in Michigan did not seem to register with Karen, who noted that the crowds came out for President Trump’s rallies, while Biden’s events were sparsely attended. This, of course, lead to even more questions.
We had a robust conversation about truth in journalism, media bias and, of course, COVID-19. Needless to say, there was not a single point of agreement between us.
Despite this, Karen and I parted on good terms, with a promise that she would share some “stuff to check out.”
“Sure, just no QAnon,” I added with a grin. “You know, I have to draw a line somewhere.”
Although I do not agree with Karen, I appreciate the fact that she was willing to engage in a dialogue with me unlike a Redford resident who was more interested in shouting down poll workers, than any communication with a dissenter.
Sure, let’s talk and protest if we must. But, eventually, don’t we have to draw a line somewhere?
Where the die-hard Trump voters draw a line, however, is anyone’s guess.
Battleground states are at risk of becoming literal battlegrounds as right-wing pundits demand that activists storm cities where, as of Thursday morning, ballots are still being counted.
I’ve been following politics fairly closely for almost twenty years, so it was somewhat of a reality check for me to run into both German and French press out front of the convention center.
I never thought I’d ever see America’s democratic process come into question my so many.
Then again, I never thought I’d hear someone tell me earnestly that Rush Limbaugh is a good source for accurate news reporting.
At some point, we need to come back together and engage in more civil dialogue. Karen and I did and so can we all.
Editor’s Note: Nat Zorach is a frequent contributor to TheHUB Detroit. He’s a city planner, community development professional, and MBA candidate at American University’s Kogod School of Business, based in Detroit. The views expressed in this excerpted commentary are his own. To see the full coverage of his experience visit the Handbult City