Saturday, November 13, 2004

Paranoid Past the Fringe

Jonathan Chait
Paranoid Past the Fringe
LA Times
November 12, 2004
Are conservatives crazier than liberals? I think so. Just consider the behavior of both on one topic: election fraud.
You may have seen e-mails circulating among liberals charging that President Bush won the election through skulduggery. Like most conspiracy theories, these begin with indisputable facts — a voting machine in Ohio that erroneously awarded Bush 4,000 votes; the manufacturer of touch-screens pledging to help Bush; counties in Florida whose tallies for Bush vastly exceeded GOP registration — and then careen off into implausible conclusions.
This sort of paranoia, of course, can be found on both edges of the ideological spectrum. But here's the difference: Mainstream liberals have thoroughly rejected it. Even magazines like the Nation and websites like, which represent the party's left, have unequivocally declared that these pieces of evidence do not add up to a fraudulent election.
Mainstream conservatives, by contrast, wallowed in just this sort of paranoid speculation four years ago when the election was still up in the air....