Now that thousands of local election workers have finished counting and recounting and hundreds of local officials have checked the numbers, it appears Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump in the popular vote for president by around 6 million votes, which translates into 306 electoral votes. That 306 is the same number that gave Trump the presidency in 2016, even though he lost to Hillary Clinton in the popular vote by 3 million.

The math is simple and clear; Biden won the election. But Trump and his followers seem no more inclined to believe in math than they are to believe in science. Rudy Giuliani, head of the shifty and ever-shifting team of Trump lawyers challenging the election results in several states, is, instead, asking the country and the courts to believe there is a vast plot to steal the election driven by financier George Soros, the perennial bogeyman of right-wing conspiracists, and Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, a guy who has actually been dead for several years.

Since the Trump team has exactly zero proof of any voting irregularities, they have fallen back on this bizarre fantasy, which has caused many observers to question Giuliani’s mental state. Trump, himself, has long been eager to latch onto any useful fiction that will advance his interests, like the canard that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Trump’s millions of followers appear just as ready to put their faith in any crazy idea their hero promotes.

Back in the 18th century, when America’s democratic experiment began, men like Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Franklin put their faith in reason. They subscribed to a tamed religion that amounted to a sensible moral code, and believed rationality and science would lead the new country they created into an enlightened future. Now, in the 21st century, the man at the top of the federal government wants Americans to abandon the mathematical process of counting votes. And this is after having urged them to ignore the science of both epidemiology and global climate change.

The frightening thing is that so many people are eager to be led into that dangerous ignorance.

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