Promptly after winning the 2016 presidential election, President Donald Trump resumed his favorite pastime other than golf – lying. Specifically, he laid down a whopper about the number of illegal immigrants responsible for former Secretary Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote.
Keep in mind that the president, unlike many defending him, did not say that the popular vote didn’t matter – but that the alleged voter fraud was behind it.
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
Voter fraud is the subject of much debate and remains a cherished right-wing talking point, even though it doesn’t really happen. According to the Huffington Post, recently, an ACLU voting rights lawyer embarrassed one of Trump’s “experts” on the matter.
“Von Spakovsky admitted that he was not aware of a single election in which noncitizen votes determined the outcome. He also conceded that his research into voter fraud had not been subjected to the same kind of rigorous peer review that academic work would face. … Pressed later by Ho, [Von Spakovsky] was unable to name any voting restriction in the United States that he believed to be a burden to voters.”
Spakovsky is serving as an expert witness for Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, who is hearing an ACLU case from people who were not allowed to vote during the 2016 election. According to HuffPo, the showdown has implications outside of Kansas because of ACLU’s lawyer, Dale Ho:
“…Was able to show that allegations of widespread voter fraud can often be based on incomplete information derived using unscientific methods.”
Voter fraud has always been a battleground issue, and typically brings with it misconceptions and assumptions about how often it is committed and who does it. Comedian John Oliver ripped into former Texas Governor Rick Perry for hysterics about voter fraud, even though there were only four confirmed cases of voter impersonation in the last decade.
This, combined with the fact that no credible source seemed capable of verifying the president’s claim, caused some to be wary of his intent in continuing on with it. It should continue to trouble them, as the president has not made any indication that, even though substantively proved otherwise, he no longer believes the claim.