Trump calls for voter fraud investigation

President Donald Trump has responded to strong criticism and rebuttal of his claims of massive levels of voter fraud by calling for “major investigation” into voter fraud.

There is no solid evidence to back up his claims. This appears to be a massive ego exercise, with Trump seemingly determined to prove he deserved to win the popular vote in the presidential election. The actual vote count:

  • Hillary Clinton 65,844,954 (48.2%)
  • Donald Trump 62,979,879 (46.1%)

Yesterday the New York Times reported: Spicer confirms from podium that yes, Trump believes millions voted illegally

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, confirmed on Tuesday that President Trump has long believed that millions of undocumented immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 election.

“He said 3 to 5 million people could have voted illegally, based on the studies that he’s seen,” Mr. Spicer told stunned reporters, acknowledging a statement that Mr. Trump made privately in a meeting with congressional leaders on Monday afternoon.

Mr. Trump and his aides repeatedly suggested during the transition period that “irregularities” contributed to his popular-vote loss by nearly 3 million ballots to Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump won the Electoral College, but his 2-percentage-point popular vote loss to Mrs. Clinton was the largest for a winning presidential candidate since the disputed election of 1876.

Democrats and some Republicans have pointed to that margin to claim that Mr. Trump is an illegitimate president. Such assertions have rankled Mr. Trump deeply.

Trump clearly won the election via the US Electoral College system, but that’s not enough for him, he seems obsessed with ratings and overall voting levels.

A November 2016 blog post on Infowars, the conspiracy theory-focused website run by radio host Alex Jones, posited the idea that roughly 3 million people voted illegally. Mr. Jones has hosted Mr. Trump on his radio show in the past.

The assertion was based on tweets from a self-proclaimed voter expert, who claimed to have a study. However, there’s no evidence of the study. And officials in swing states where Mr. Trump secured victory, many of which are governed by Republicans, say that there is no evidence of such fraud.

Mr. Spicer also made vague reference to another Pew Research Center study that supposedly backed up Mr. Trump, but the author of the study in question, David Becker, now executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, tweeted again that no such fraud happened.

The voter fraud claims are false or at least unsubstantiated claims – some could call it fake news.

When a reporter pointed out to Mr. Spicer that such widespread fraud would be one of the biggest scandals in American electoral history and asked why the administration isn’t investigating, the press secretary said, “Maybe we will.”

It looks like they will investigate. Politico reports: Trump calls for ‘major investigation’ into alleged voter fraud

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he will call for a “major investigation” into voter fraud, which he believes led to millions of illegally cast ballots in last year’s presidential election despite no evidence to support that conclusion.

“I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning, breaking his message up into multiple posts.

The claims are backed by nothing or no one credible.

In a statement released Tuesday, the National Association of Secretaries of State said “we are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump, but we are open to learning more about the administration’s concerns.”

Voting systems are run by US states, many of them under Republican administrations.

So this looks like little more than another exercise in narcissist behaviour by Trump – albeit a potentially expensive one.

And what if a major investigation doesn’t find 3 million fraudulent votes?

An investigation is a big risk for Trump – if it doesn’t substantiate his claims it will not only highlight false claims but it will also put more spotlight on him having trailed Clinton substantially in the popular vote.

This seems to be a no [-win situation for Trump. He has already won the election.  And the risks are far greater than the outside chance he can prove he was the most popular candidate.

Trump claims he won popular vote

At his first meeting with congressional leaders today President Trump repeated claims that he only lost the popular vote because of major voter fraud, of which there is no evidence.

He seems to have an obsession with being seen as the best and most popular president, and he’s only been in the job for three days.

He won the electoral college vote, which is the one that counts (it wasn’t a landslide as he claims) but was nearly 3 million votes overall behind Hillary Clinton. The final vote count:

  • Hillary Clinton 65,844,954 (48.2%)
  • Donald Trump 62,979,879 (46.1%)

That is irrelevant except for bragging rights, something Trump seems to desperately want.

Politico: Trump repeats debunked voter fraud claim at meeting with Hill leaders

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) confirmed that Trump made the voter fraud claim, but added, “I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. I was ready to move onto some policy issues. I didn’t anticipate that discussion.”

It’s further evidence of Trump’s fixation with his narrow victory, in which he won the Electoral College handily despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes. Nearly three weeks after his Election Day victory, as late California returns drove up Clinton’s popular vote margin, Trump tweeted incorrectly about the size of his victory.

“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,” he wrote.

He’s provided no evidence to back up that claim, and multiple fact checks and investigations have called the assertion false.

Politico cited ‘multiple sources’, an example of a new level of care from some of the media.

It’s bizarre that Trump is paying so much attention to the number of people who attended his inauguration and his popular vote deficit.

There has been claims from the right for years that there is widespread voter fraud, and that it all works against them, but evidence indicates that the level of fraud is negligible.

Trump has to learn to focus on things that actually matter. He needs to switch from campaign mode, when he could be excused for continually talking himself up, to president mode where what his administration does and what it intends to do is what should be important.

Irrelevant election numbers

A lot has been said about US election numbers like this:

cz4_zpxuaaajnix

That equates to:

  • Hillary Clinton 48.3%
  • Donald Trump 46.2%

(Poll averages on the overall vote weren’t too far off the mark).

It’s of interest, to an extent. For one thing it demonstrates how Hillary Clinton’s campaign failed where it mattered – she won the overall vote, but lost the election war.

But those numbers are irrelevant in the archaic US democratic system.

The numbers that matter:

  • Donald Trump 302
  • Hillary Clinton 232

And:

  • Donald Trump 1 (president-elect)
  • Hillary Clinton 0 (political history)

Regardless of electoral college disparities, leaked emails, alleged Russian interference and Trump ludicrosity, in about a month’s time the US will have President Trump and they and the world will have to accept that and get used to it for probably at least four years.

US popular vote

If the Green Party challenge is unsuccessful Donald Trump has won where it counts in the Electoral College, but the current vote tally has Clinton ahead by more than 2 million votes overall.

uspopularvote

However Trump has the highest vote ever for a Republican candidate.

The current numbers:

  • Clinton 64,418,125 (48.1%)
  • Trump 62,314,184 (46.5%
  • Others 7,168,364 (5.4%)

http://cookpolitical.com/story/10174

Politico reports on the possible challenge:

Among the potential steps to challenge the results on Wednesday was an announcement from Stein, often a strident Clinton critic, that she would seek to challenge the results in all three of the states if she raised the $2 million necessary to do so.

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are traditionally Democrats states that fell into Trump’s column on Nov. 8, and Michigan’s story is similar, though it has yet to be officially called for Trump.

As of Thursday morning, Stein’s campaign had raised at least $2.5 million, according to multiple news reports.

But even if Stein were to raise enough money for the challenge before the states’ looming deadlines, it’s still a stretch: Clinton would need to win all three states in order to flip the Electoral College vote.

Stein’s call came shortly after the report that the group of experts had told Podesta and Elias they saw evidence that Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in Wisconsin counties that used electronic machines instead of paper ballots or optical scanners.

I think that Clinton is only about 70,000 votes short but would have to reverse the result in all three states to win the presidency. I think it ain’t going to happen.

There’s also talk that some of the Electoral Votes may be cast contrary to the state results but it would take quite a few to swap sides. And it would create an uproar, and potentially a political crisis.