Since claims that the 2020 election was rigged have proved to be very persistent, as well as the larger issue of election security, there should be a thread dedicated to it.
By way of introducing the topic I'll give a little background. The foundation for claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged began being laid during the 2020 campaign when Trump claimed in July that the election would be rigged against him and that he might not accept the outcome. It was already known on election night, November 3, that Trump had lost the popular vote by a substantial margin. Biden eventually tallyed 81,268,924 votes to Trump's 74,216,154, a margin of about 7 million votes, or in percentage terms 51.3% to 46.9%, a margin of 4.4 percentage points.
But the election was close in some states, and it took about a week before it was clear that Trump had also lost in the electoral college 306 votes to 232, the same tally by which he had won four years earlier.
Trump never conceded the election, and suggestions that the election had in fact actually been rigged began about two weeks later when Trump blamed his loss on fraud, tweeting, "He won because the Election was Rigged." Trump's efforts to overturn the election results where foreshadowed when he tweeted, "I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go."
Trump followed up with a series of lawsuits and arm twisting efforts. Most of the lawsuits charged fraud, and he lost all but one, most being laughed out of court. The sole win was a suit demanding poll observers be allowed to stand closer to where the work of counting votes was being conducted. Some lawyers were sanctioned for filing frivolous lawsuits, and Rudy Giuliani's license to practice law was suspended in New York State.
Trump's arm twisting efforts included encouraging state legislatures to nominate competing slates of electors for the electoral college, and contacting election officials in various states, most notoriously Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger because the phone call was recorded and made public.
But while these efforts failed they did succeed in persuading a substantial proportion of the country that the election had been rigged and that Biden is not the duly elected president of the United States. One-third of Americans and two-thirds of Republicans believe Biden won because of widespread voter fraud and election rigging.
So convinced of cheating were some Americans that they gathered for a rally in the capital on January 6, 2021. Impassioned speeches and pleas by Trump and his supporters (Trump Jr., Giuliani and ten others) resulted in the storming and breaching of the capitol building, halting the counting of the votes of the electoral college until very late that night.
Republican legislatures in many states were also convinced that the election had been stolen and reacted by enacting laws that they publicly claimed were to increase election security but that will actually have the effect of suppressing voting by constituencies that tend to vote Democratic. For example, Georgia attempted to enact a law eliminating Sunday voting because of a tradition in black churches of designating one October Sunday as "souls to the polls," but after substantial criticism and the resulting bad publicity finally allowing voting on two designated Sundays and one Saturday, less than before but more than nothing.
So today we live in a political climate where in the absence of any evidence whatsoever of widespread voter fraud or election rigging Republicans believe that if they win then the election was fair, and if they lose then the election was rigged. They don't care about logic or reason or propriety or integrity or honesty or truth. With Trump's bullhorn behind them they're doing this because they can.
I can see one obvious correction. Most of the lawsuits did NOT allege fraud (Giuliani said as much in one case). They might mention the accusations of fraud but it wasn’t formally alleged. Most lawsuits were attempts to throw out votes on the grounds that the (local) election rules were defective (often on grounds which involved a new and dubious interpretation of the Constitution). But only where Biden got a majority.
The court’s attitude was in general that such complaints should be made before the election. (The “Doctrine of Laches”).
The cases were a pretty obvious attempt to steal the election.
Most of the lawsuits did NOT allege fraud (Giuliani said as much in one case). They might mention the accusations of fraud but it wasn’t formally alleged.
This is true. When speaking publicly and in verbal opening remarks the lawsuits were about fraud, but in written briefs and when speaking before a judge the lawsuits were about minor issues, sometimes even nothing, for instance alleging irregularities while submitting no evidence. It was the public face of the lawsuits Trump was interested in, not any truth about election connivance, and it convinced Trump supporters that something nefarious had taken place.
Something else worth mentioning: According to news reports at the time and in more detail in the Woodward book Peril Trump came "this close" to deciding to push for giving Sidney Powell a special counsel role to investigate the election. The idea was to keep the role inside the White House in order to avoid involvement of William Barr's Justice Department (is it just me, or does the name "Justice Department" take on Orwellian irony when used in a Trumpian context).
Speaking of Barr, one has to wonder how he feels about Trump now and whether he understands the damage he's done to the country. Did Trump's false allegations of election fraud finally wake him up to the true nature of the man, or does he still support Trump? Or did he never really support Trump the man but just saw him as a means to an end, namely implementation of an even more imperial presidency? I wonder if he still stands by his handling of the release of the Mueller report. I assume he does, but now that he knows the true nature of the man, or at least he has sufficient information to know the true nature of the man whether he's chosen to process it or not, does he at least realize that Trump's behavior raised, even though he was president, serious questions about whether there had been obstruction of justice.
Barr really only stood up to Trump once, when he said there was no evidence of sufficiently widespread election problems to effect a change in the outcome, and it effectively ended his term as Attorney General though he didn't resign until a month later.
I'm a lawyer. I work in real estate. I have spent my career exposed to the people who make fortunes out of real estate development. A good proportion (though not all) of them are vile, amoral pieces of lying excrement.
Trump personifies those amoral horrors. Lying, for him, is nothing if it gets him what he wants. Hell, it's nothing for him in any event.
It would be nice to think he'll have his comeuppance but experience suggests otherwise, sadly.
Could there be any greater conceit, than for someone to believe that the universe has to be simple enough for them to be able to understand it ?