FEC Head Tells Trump To Knock Off The 'Voter Fraud' Bullsh*t
With Donald Trump on yet another tear about how he only lost the 2016 popular vote because they're all out to get him, the chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) asked him to please stop undermining Americans' faith in the fairness of our elections. Haha, like that's going to happen! In the past week, Trump has lied about nonexistent election fraud in New Hampshire, griped that California and other states sabotaged his fraudulent voter commission to cover up "proof" of voter fraud, and has floated a bizarre conspiracy theory about Google unfairly manipulating election results with its search algorithms somehow. The guy who insisted in 2016 the election would be "rigged" because he thought he'd lose is certainly not going to start becoming a fan of reality now.
FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub went on CNN last night to make the quaint suggestion that the "president" of the USA shouldn't casually toss around suggestions that widespread voter fraud is a thing.
"There is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in 2016," says FEC chair Ellen Weintraub. "To be suggesting to people… https://t.co/PaKBH4oN0d— New Day (@New Day)1566215696.0
Facts matter, and people of America need to be able to believe what their leaders tell them. It is damaging to our democracy to spread information that [...] is baseless. There is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in 2016, or really in any previous election.
OK, fine, but what about if you genuinely want to believe there's rampant voter fraud, and it makes Trump supporters really mad at all the illegal voting Fox News tells them happens all the time? You and your "facts!"
Last week, Weintraub wrote to Trump asking him to please put up or shut up when he once again insisted he'd only lost New Hampshire because illegitimate voters were bused in from somewhere else -- just another item on the hit parade of Trump lies. And then over the weekend, Trump said his fake voter fraud commission only disbanded because states like California wouldn't let Kris Kobach paw through all their voter data, and that proves the fix was in!
Forty-four states and the District of Columbia -- including California -- refused to provide certain types of voter information to the election integrity commission, according to a CNN inquiry to all 50 states in July 2017.
"And the reason they weren't giving up information is because they were guilty. They were guilty of it. And they know they're guilty of it. Many, many people voted that shouldn't have been voted. Some people voted many times," [Trump] told reporters on a tarmac in New Jersey before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington.
Mind you, Kris Kobach wouldn't let Kris Kobach paw through Kansas's voter data, either. Not that Trump mentioned that.
Weintraub said on CNN Monday that if Trump has evidence of fraud, it sure would be useful if he'd send it along to law enforcement and to her agency, which he has not. Otherwise, maybe it would be good for democracy in America (it's a Republic!) if the head of the government would please not undermine elections.
To be suggesting to people ... that if the candidate they choose doesn't win that it is because of fraud, that undermines our democracy. It undermines people's faith, and once that faith is broken, it is very hard to build up again[.]
Yeah, but it might also be really useful in explaining election outcomes the "president" and his party doesn't like, and why is Weintraub, a Democrat, unwilling to accept that very important consideration?
In the interview, Weintraub didn't address Trump's latest batshit claim that he was robbed of a huge majority, which he advanced in a tweet that badly mangled a segment on Fox Business yesterday. Trump claimed, completely incorrectly, that a "Report Just Out!" showed that Google had "manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election!" But even the author of the report -- published in 2017 -- says Trump got pretty much everything about his research wrong. And the paper itself, even in its actual form, is very, very iffy, according to other researchers.
For starters, the 2017 paper by psychologist Robert Epstein -- a former editor of Psychology Today who says he voted for Clinton in 2016 -- doesn't claim that Google "manipulated" anything at all. Instead, Epstein believes he found possible bias in search results and suggests that maybe as many as 2.6 million to 10.4 million voters (not 16 million) might have chosen Clinton as a result. But Epstein's paper wasn't peer reviewed, and multiple aspects of his methodology have been critiqued as seriously flawed.
Epstein told CNN and the New York Times Trump had mischaracterized the research, and that he in no way suggested that Google manipulated the election. Even the "bias" he claimed to have found in search results may have been the result of unintended factors in Google's search algorithm.
Other researchers said there's a hell of a lot wrong with Epstein's methods, particularly the sample size (search results from 95 participants, with only 21 saying they were undecided), to his characterizations of "bias" (Breitbart was given equal weight as legitimate media reports, for instance) to his assumptions about what weight online searches might have in an individual voter's decision at the polls. We won't go into the details here, but both CNN and the Times offer detailed critiques of Epstein's paper. As did Hillary Clinton her own bad self:
The debunked study you’re referring to was based on 21 undecided voters. For context that’s about half the number o… https://t.co/XgRi1nn3NX— Hillary Clinton (@Hillary Clinton)1566242844.0
In other words, Tump referred to a garbage paper, lied about even the garbage claims in it, and now it will be an Established Fact that Google changed people's votes. We're not holding out any hope that a stern lecture from the head of the FEC will get him to drop that nugget of bullshit, either.
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