Enough with the conspiracy theories. Where’s the evidence?

There are not 74.2 million Americans who are willing to march in the streets to overturn the outcome of this year’s presidential election. Many Americans are disappointed, even angry, about Joe Biden being elected the 46th president of the U.S. But only a small number of them are still going to Trump rallies (that are supposed to be about people who still have a chance of winning an election but end up being all about him, naturally). A few have turned to domestic terrorism. But mostly people have gone back to just wanting to be left alone when it comes to government.

There’s always been a lunatic fringe. Media coverage of conspiracy theories and other silliness used to be pretty sporadic, reflecting their value as topics worth serious discussion. You could listen to Coast to Coast AM overnight on many radio stations, with Art Bell, George Noury, and others spending hours discussing paranormal phenomenon, imaginary government cover-ups, and more. Occasionally, a best seller would come out purporting to have the inside scoop on the Kennedy assassination or the secret workings of the world financial markets and mainstream media would discuss it, usually with a wink to the camera. Once in a while, you’d have a congressperson or two make a fuss over something that was pretty obviously false, but they were usually shut down by their colleagues before people started thinking the whole group was crazy.

Right now, though, there’s an entire political party that’s devoted itself to trying to get enough of us to believe that the recently-concluded election was so rife with fraud, illegal ballots, and other shenanigans that the only solution is to make the person who lost the election into the winner. If true, their claims would mean that our elections are vulnerable to all kinds of interference and malfeasance and that results can’t be trusted.

There’s only one problem: There’s no evidence that any of their stories are true. In every one of the court cases brought by the Trump campaign so far, in every public appearance (like Rudy Giuliani’s in Michigan last week), in every friendly media opportunity, no facts are offered. No evidence is presented. Because there isn’t any. To believe the election fraud story that Trump is selling requires believing in the biggest, widest-reaching conspiracy of all time, one that reaches into every large city and small town in America and involves members of both political parties, even people like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a dependable Trump lackey (at least until Nov. 3).

I voted for Biden, but if there was any evidence, I’d want it to be heard in a court of law, using our time-tested legal standards and procedures. If there was proof that the Biden campaign (or anyone else) had interfered with the election results or attempted to fraudulently affect the outcome, I’d be outraged. But there’s no evidence of that at all. Only increasingly incredulous stories that would be crazy even on an AM radio station at three in the morning.

This is lunacy, but it’s no longer on the fringe in the nation’s capital. It’s standard operating procedure among Republicans right now. The Washington Post asked every GOP member of Congress (249 in all) whether they agreed that Biden had won the presidency. Only 27 said yes. Two said they were sure Trump was the winner, despite there being no evidence that’s true. The other 220 either didn’t reply or said they weren’t sure yet.

This is the desperate flailing of a party that has seen the demographics of the country moving against them for a generation. They could have tried to be more inclusive, as their 2012 election post-mortem suggested. (The party’s chair at that time, Reince Priebus, called the report a chance for “growth and opportunity” for the GOP, but when that didn’t happen, he was willing to serve as Trump’s chief of staff for the first six months until he, like everyone who’s ever come into Trump’s orbit, was dismissed for being insufficiently “loyal.”) Instead, they doubled- and tripled-down on the kind of “Make America White Again” rhetoric that has always existed but just didn’t get said out loud very often.

When you can’t win a fair contest, you have two choices: 1) concede gracefully and move on to the next election, as candidates have done for nearly 250 years in America; or 2) lie, cheat, and steal. Nearly every Republican at the national level has chosen #2. When they lose – and they have already – these GOP enablers will try very hard to distract you from their part in this fiasco. Don’t let that happen. Remember who was responsible for this dark time in our history. This is not a time for national reconciliation, because there’s no reconciling when one side refuses to acknowledge facts. It’s past time for a national reckoning, where we push the lunatics back to the fringe and make those who gave credibility to this nonsense pay for the damage they’ve done to this country – to us! – over the past four years.