The Dallas Morning News

Trade-offs

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Re: “‘How much fraud is OK?’ — Dems still struggling for effective counterarg­ument to GOP claims,” Monday news story.

Sen. Bryan Hughes’ question is just a rhetorical trick, one that both sides of the aisle love to deploy in support of their positions and struggle to address when in opposition.

It may not be easy to answer such absolutist arguments in practice, but it should be. In real life, we accept some bad results because 100% security necessitat­es infringeme­nt of freedoms. Even those making these arguments don’t believe in 100% accuracy.

We accept a large number of deaths from alcohol rather than going back to Prohibitio­n. We accept a large number of auto fatalities rather than imposing more stringent safety provisions. So, in theory, why not accept some level of voter fraud (too small to affect the election results) rather than making it too hard for many to vote?

That sort of absolutist argument is, unfortunat­ely, popular and effective. It’s easier than the hard work of deciding where to draw the line. That’s our fault as citizens. If we did a better job admitting there are trade-offs and paying attention to nuanced balancing arguments rather than just bumper sticker slogans and sound bites, maybe we would get better government decisions, by both parties. Better, not perfect.

Bob Probasco, Dallas

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