I was going to write a post like this. But I’m glad someone else has done it better than I could (see this diary up at Daily Kos). In the wake of the stunning results out of New Hampshire on Tuesday night, I’ve gotten more emails than I care to admit claiming that the only reasonable explanation for the discrepancy between the polls and the results is that the voting machines were ‘hacked’.
There is so much screwed up about this reaction that it’s difficult to know what part of the perversity to grab on to. (For a discussion of the factual and logical errors behind the claims of hacking, see the post I linked to above.) First is the notion that public opinion surveys and even exit poll data is so reliable that any substantial discrepancy between those numbers and the official result is prima facie evidence of tampering. That is simply absurd.
There is also something perverse about the quick knee-jerk reaction to assume that any election that dramatically doesn’t go your way was stolen. It stems from the same fidelity to assumption and desire over fact that so many of us have excoriated in the present administration. There is a sullen childishness at work in this thinking that no robust political movement can ever be built on.
Now, before you write in, I too think that electronic voting machines with no paper trail are a big problem because they’re too insecure and they make confirmatory recounts impossible. But the possibility or danger of tampering is not a license to assume it or imagine it — in the absence of any evidence — any time the vote doesn’t go how we’d like.