“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 Trump, 12:30 pm 11/27/2016 via Twitter.
Really, Mr. Trump? Care to provide any evidence of this rather extraordinary claim? No? Why am I not surprised?
The source for the latest ‘Chicken-Little-says-the-election-was-rigged’ disinformation looks to be a Tweet by someone named Gregg Phillips, who on November 11 Tweeted,
“Completed analysis of database of 180 million voter registrations. Number of non-citizen votes exceeds 3 million. Consulting legal team.”
When asked for the evidence and how the data was analyzed, Phillips refused, saying on the 15th,
“No. We will release it in open form to the American people. We won’t allow the media to spin this first. Sorry.”
It’s now the 27th, Trump has finally seen it and, as is his wont with things he’s “seen” or “heard” people talk about, he’s jumped on this band-wagon-of-the-minute.
Phillips, in the meantime, has not provided any evidence to back up his claims. Which is not surprising, since in the last decade or so, almost every case of illegal voting activity or manipulation that’s been uncovered has had a Republican at it’s core. (Don’t believe me? Google it.)
We have the most robust, clean, and transparent election process in the world, but there are plenty of people willing to cast doubt to further their own political and financial schemes. The voting itself is the most secure and trusted on the planet, Chicago’s reputation not withstanding. What is true is that Russia and Russian sponsored actors hacked the DNC (and probably others), and spread false information leavened with just enough factual evidence to let the tabloid media (whether print or online) spout their nonsense, usually unchallenged by those who soak it up with an uncritical eye. I can’t count how many nonsensical and outright lying “news” stories I’ve seen scroll by on my Facebook and Twitter feeds this election cycle.
Rather than being a resource that instantly puts the world’s collective knowledge at our fingertips to make us all smarter citizens, the Internet has been overrun with nonsense and easily disproven drivel. Too many are unwilling to check the facts, while accusing others of being “low information” voters.
President-elect Trump has, for some time now, been guilty of reposting nonsense. Even when easily disproven, it doesn’t seem to matter. Whatever suits him for the moment, whatever serves his narrative of the day, gets put out there.
Now he repeats the claim that “millions” voted illegally. Not a shred of proof, not a bit of reasoning, not an iota of truth. It doesn’t matter, because like Nixon’s “if the President does it, it’s not illegal”, and now Trump’s “the President can’t have a conflict of interest”, whatever the Internet says must be true. As long as it serves your purposes.
It’s going to be a long four years.