One final thought on the whole Sad/Rabid Puppies and Hugo affair.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion of new Voter ID laws being pushed in the states, including my home of WI. The reasons certain politicians introduce the laws are simple and obvious attempts to disenfranchise voting blocks such as poor, minority, elderly, and college students that tend to vote for the other party. However, if you talk to the people on the ground who support these laws, they deny the actual motivations and cling to the active delusion that they are protecting the integrity of the election process from the scourge of in-person voter fraud plaguing the country.
The only trouble is, there is no fraud. The number of actual confirmed cases is so small as to be statistically insignificant, unlike the estimated millions of people nationwide who will be barred from voting as a result of these new restrictions. But you can’t convince Voter ID supporters of this objective fact.
In Wisconsin, the only documented case of voter fraud in the last election cycle was actually a Scott Walker supporter, the Governor who signed the Voter ID law, because he was convinced that he had to “balance out” all of the minority voters who were going back to the polls like they had a revolving door.
They believe the lies that voter fraud is endemic, with millions of votes being cast by dead people, duplications, etc. Enough votes to sway entire elections, even at the national level. They believe that the only reason their side loses is because, naturally, everyone else must be cheating, not because an actual majority of the country disapproves of their policies and candidates. It’s the only explanation that they are willing to accept, instead of facing the reality that times really have changed on topics like gay marriage, healthcare, drug legalization, immigration, and a host of other issues they hold such inflexible attitudes about.
The whole SP/RP phenomenon is a microcosm of this inability to recognize and cope with shifting attitudes and preferences within the fandom community. They simply refuse to believe that the silent majority really has moved on to new things, so they concocted a narrative to explain their failures where some secret cabal is somehow stacking the deck against them. How this is accomplished, considering both the nomination and voting processes are done through public ballot, is never clearly explained.
And much like the Wisconsin voter fraud case above, the Puppy slate voting was a coordinated attack (although within the rules of the award at the time) meant to counterbalance the SJW conspiracy locking them out of the nomination process. But just like the WI case, there was no conspiracy. There was no attempt to lock them out. They just weren’t that popular among the people who follow, vote for, and attend the Hugos. They thought they’d awaken a sleeping populist dragon that would swoop down and defeat the small clique of elitists holding them back. But the beast they awoke turned on them instead.
That’s a tough pill for anyone to swallow, but the ensuing results should make it very clear where the sympathies of the actual silent majority of modern fandom lay. Now, the question is, will the SP/RP’s take the time to do some self-reflection and learn from this lesson, or will they double down and comfort themselves with even more extreme conspiracy theories? Only time will tell.