The Washington Post reports: Angered by demands for a recount in the three states that gave him an electoral college victory, President-elect Donald Trump made a bold but unsubstantiated assertion in a tweet — that “millions of people” voted illegally in the presidential election. He suggested they voted for his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, who now leads in the popular vote by 2.2 million votes, and thus he actually also won the popular vote.
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Winning the electoral college is all that counts in the presidential race. But losing the popular vote by such a substantial margin apparently gnaws at Trump. Is there any basis for his claim?
The simple answer is no. This is a bogus claim with no documented proof.
Our colleagues at Snopes.com and PundiFact have already examined this claim, back when it was hot in the right-wing blogosphere, not a statement made by a future U.S. president. The whole thing started with a few tweets by Gregg Phillips, a self-described conservative voter fraud specialist. [Continue reading…]
Politico adds: Election law experts quickly rejected Trump’s claims as farfetched.
“There’s no reason to believe this is true,” said Rick Hasen, a professor specializing in election law at the University of California, Irvine. “The level of fraud in US elections is quite low.”
Hasen added, “The problem of non-citizen voting is quite small — like we’re talking claims in the dozens, we’re not talking voting in the millions, or the thousands, or even the hundreds.”
David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research and a former senior trial attorney in the Voting Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, agreed that widespread fraud was unlikely.
“We know historically that this almost never happens,” he said. “You’re more likely to get eaten by a shark that simultaneously gets hit by lightning than to find a non-citizen voting.” [Continue reading…]
Ezra Klein writes: This tweet is an example of Trump’s most dangerous quality: his tendency to mobilize against a threatening, sometimes imaginary Other whenever he himself is under siege. There is no evidence of significant voter fraud from this election. But Trump is telling his supporters that voting fraud did in fact happen, and that they should therefore worry that their political power will be overwhelmed by illegal voters.
The nightmare scenario in 2016 was that Trump would refuse to accept the outcome of the election when he was a mere candidate. Imagine if he were to refuse to accept the outcome of the next election once he is the president, and after he has appointed loyalists to control America’s security apparatus.
Imagine this tendency of Trump’s emerging after a domestic terrorist attack. George W. Bush worked hard in the aftermath of 9/11 to tamp down Islamophobia in America — to ensure it was al-Qaeda (and, eventually, Saddam Hussein) who was blamed, not American Muslims. Who would Trump blame in the aftermath of a terrorist attack? How quick would he be to turn Americans against each other, to find an enemy who could absorb the public anger that might normally attach itself to him?
I’ve noticed a lot of people on Twitter seem to think Trump’s tweet is scary because it’s false, but the actually scary interpretation is that he believes it’s true, which he probably does. It seems likely that Trump got his “information” from conspiracy theorist site InfoWars.com, or someone else retweeting or rewriting InfoWars — a lot of weird things Trump says later prove to emerged in the pro-Trump, conspiracy theory-corners of the internet. The problem with Trump isn’t the lies he tells as much as it’s the information he chooses to believe. [Continue reading…]
In this regard, Trump is no different from his supporters and many of his opponents: the information he seeks out is information that is limited to that which appears to confirm his existing beliefs.
This is the trap that locks the majority of political opinion in self-reinforcing loops that inhibit the evolution of thought and the integration of new information.
Where thinking loses its capacity to adapt, it is reduced to mere repetition.