Although there is literally no evidence of the widespread voter fraud claimed by Donald Trump — and by extension, our government — people who understand how the voting process actually works in America are now in the awkward position of having to argue against it. To argue, bluntly, against the existence of something that clearly doesn’t exist.
It’s sort of obvious that the reason Trump is claiming fraudulent voting took place — despite occupying the White House via a clear Electoral College win — is that he lost the popular vote. By a large margin. A margin of about 3 million votes, which is strangely and coincidentally the exact number of “illegitimate” votes Trump whines about. In fact, it’s been widely reported that Trump has been sitting around his house — again, the White House — at night stewing over his own feelings of inadequacy. Sad!
But what kind of voter fraud does he say is happening, exactly? He’s suggested several things, wildly flouncing to-and-fro in an attempt to cover his bases, since he doesn’t seem to actually know how anything works. He’s suggested that people are registered in two states and so they “vote twice.” There’s no reason to believe that if the first part of the claim is accurate — the fact that people can be registered in two places, such as Steve Bannon and Tiffany Trump — that the second part must be accurate as well (the double voting).
And of course, he has said that people vote “illegally,” meaning that people who do not have the right to vote — Trump points directly to non-US citizens — do vote.
Again: There’s no evidence to suggest any of this is happening, so proving it’s not happening is a weird test. There is, however, plenty of real diligence done on ballots across the nation.
There’s no evidence to suggest any of this is happening, so proving it’s not happening is a weird test.
What’s interesting about both assertions — that people vote in two states or that they vote when they’re not legally entitled — is the assumption that people in the United States want to vote really fucking badly. And there is no evidence of that. In fact, there’s evidence to the contrary. Only 58 percent of eligible voters turned out for the 2016 election. There are another 100 million or so eligible (read: actual people) who do not vote when they could. Why would we assume — with no evidence — that people would travel to two different states or vote illegally just to get a politician elected? Who would work this hard for someone? Certainly no one in the US.
The reality is that if people wanted to throw an election one way or another in the US with individual votes, they wouldn’t need to do so by encouraging people to commit felonies, as Trump suggests. They would simply need to convince an enormously apathetic populace that voting is worth their time. They would mobilize the millions of people who, rather than vote on Election Day, simply sat out. Exactly how Trump thinks he knows all the illegal votes went to Hillary, causing him to lose the popular vote falsely, is beside the point, though it’s also really funny.
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
The important takeaway here is that Donald Trump’s belief — and he does seem to actually believe that “millions” of illegitimate votes were cast for Hillary Clinton — is rooted in a companion belief: that millions of illegal immigrants voted when they didn’t have the right to. In fact, the source that Trump is now citing as evidence for voter fraud is working for a Tea Party-backed group formed in 2012 with the explicit and overt purpose of disenfranchising and investigating people of color and immigrants in the voting process. He believes these “others” voted for Clinton. He thinks they committed felonies to do so. And it’s not hard for him to believe this: He already believes that immigrants — especially those from Mexico — are criminals. He already believes people of color are not to be trusted, as the systematic racism — discovered and litigated by our government — in his businesses proves. He believes this despite all evidence to the contrary, because he is a bigoted, racist person to whom facts do not matter.