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They Can't Count Even in Vegas Now? Transcript from "America This Week"
"If they counted money the way they’re counting ballots, those people would be in Lake Mead tied to a cinder block," says Walter Kirn, on the Nevada elections
Late this week, the Clark County Registrar in Nevada, Joe Gloria, gave one of the more confusing recent press conferences, saying 50,000 votes still needed to be counted, but that he would likely need until Monday to “get them into the system.” Below is a five-box of MSNBC talking heads straining, for minutes, to make sense of his explanation:
We can argue about why this is happening — the conventional explanation is a new influx of mail-in ballots, which take longer to count, with both parties blaming each other for why — but editorializing on the subject has been bizarre for another reason. Commercial media both before (see here, here, here, and here) and after (see here, here, here, and here) the midterms has been packed with stories about how it’s totally fine that it now takes forever to count votes in America. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre even declared, “That’s how this is supposed to work.”
On the other hand, if counting votes quickly is so essential to instilling confidence in democracy, and “democracy itself” is famously in trouble, why aren’t we trying harder to fix this? Especially in Nevada, a state famous for its counting, the new tolerance for sloth hits the ear like an oar.
Here’s Walter Kirn, broadcasting from Clark County Friday, on the seeming inability of Americans to count things, even in a state where reaching an accurate count every night is a matter of life or death:
Walter Kirn: This is a town in which umpteen-million quarters are dumped into slot machines every night and counted within hours. This is a town that counts for a living. If you’ve seen Casino, you know how it works. A few of those dollars may go into some people’s pockets, or they used to, at least before MGM…
Matt Taibbi: But if you’re off by a couple bucks, you end up in a hole a couple of miles north of the city, don’t you?
Walter Kirn: Exactly. If they counted money the way they’re counting ballots, those people would be in Lake Mead tied to a cinder block. So it’s increasingly hard for me, as at a certain level I’m just the average person, and the average person should not need to have a Jesuitical, theologically precise insight into all the different types of ballots, and all the ways in which they’re delivered, and all the stages at which they’re tabulated. The outsider, the American citizen, has every right to feel that these processes are simple, objective and rapid, and that they can’t have that confidence in that suggests to me that there is a lot to be a dissident about in this country.
The inability to get buy-in from voters, and especially from the losers of these elections, who must have the confidence that they lost fairly, is a systemic and spiritual failure. It can’t be addressed simply by criminalizing complaints or calling people names. It has to be addressed at the root. And there seems to be little prospect that it will be. So who wins and who loses now has become, to me, a secondary consideration. The real consideration is how do they maintain faith in a system that really would not suffice in a grocery store at the end of the day, when they open the till.
For those interested in hearing the full audio of Walter Kirn and Matt Taibbi discussing the midterms on America This Week, click here. More transcripts to come!