Sunday, December 27, 2020


In The New York Times, Jim Rutenberg, Nick Corasaniti, and Alan Feuer declare that Donald Trump's election allegations have been definitively disproven.
President Trump’s baseless and desperate claims of a stolen election over the last seven weeks — the most aggressive promotion of “voter fraud” in American history — failed to get any traction in courts across seven states, or come anywhere close to reversing the loss he suffered to Joseph R. Biden Jr. ...

After bringing some 60 lawsuits, and even offering financial incentive for information about fraud, Mr. Trump and his allies have failed to prove definitively any case of illegal voting on behalf of their opponent in court — not a single case of an undocumented immigrant casting a ballot, a citizen double voting, nor any credible evidence that legions of the voting dead gave Mr. Biden a victory that wasn’t his.
And yet somehow the myth of an election stolen by Biden persists!
The false notions have lived on in Mr. Trump’s Twitter and Facebook feeds; on the television programming of Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network; and in statehouse hearings where Republican leaders have contemplated more restrictive voting laws based on the rejected allegations....

After declaring outright that high levels of voting are bad for Republicans, [Trump] persuaded his base that the election system is rotten with fraud, and to view that fiction as a bedrock party principle. Several recent polls have shown that majorities of Republicans think the election was fraudulent, even as election officials across the country report that it went surprisingly smoothly even in a pandemic, with exceptionally high turnout and no evidence of fraud aside from the usual smattering of lone wolf bad actors or mistakes by well-intentioned voters.
How did Trump manage to do this? He did it by being relentlessly on message for nearly two months, backed up by many surrogates who are also perpetually on message. He did it by giving the public easily absorbed, seemingly detailed examples of fraud -- for instance, the notorious (and debunked) story of the suitcases allegedly full of Biden votes in Georgia, which shows up in a lie-filled Trump video that's been removed from other sites but remains available on Facebook:

But where are the TV and social media ads from Democrats that compellingly rebut these and other allegations? Where are the ads from the Democratic National Committee? Or the Lincoln Project? Do those folks assume -- the way well-educated liberals and moderates so often do -- that everyone in America is fully aware of all the details of all the relevant stories? Do they assume that no one needs to be told why Trump's allegations are (as every mainstream news story puts it, usually with little explanation) "baseless"?

I'll give Rutenberg et al. their due: They provide quite a few details in the second half of their Times story. But these details need to be restated by Democrats and their allies in a punchy, emotionally compelling form on multiple media platforms. It would be helpful in non-conservatives could be posting them to social media, rather than allowing Trumpist conspiratorialists to frame the discussion there. From the Times story:
For instance, in pressing their cases across the country, Republicans have referenced data analyses by a cybersecurity executive and one-time Texas congressional candidate named Russell J. Ramsland Jr. One of his reports alleged that various Michigan counties had vote tallies that exceeded their populations, implying their totals were padded with illegal ballots; the counties in question, it turned out, were in Minnesota, not Michigan.
That's a social media ad right there.
Likewise, several specific accusations that people illegally cast ballots in the names of dead people have been born of amateurish data analysis that later proved faulty.

In a federal case the Trump campaign brought seeking to delay certification of the results in Michigan, the specific mention of a ballot cast by a dead voter was incorrect: No vote was cast through the dead man’s registration. Rather, a man with his same exact name voted legally. (Mr. Trump’s team pulled that case from the docket as Michigan moved forward toward certification.)
That's another one.
In several other instances, the “dead voters” in whose names the Trump campaign said ballots were cast proved very much alive.
That's another one.
This past week in Pennsylvania, authorities did make one arrest based on an accusation the Trump campaign first leveled in November. Delaware County prosecutors said a man named Bruce Bartman cast an absentee ballot in his deceased mother’s name — for Mr. Trump.
That's another one -- and in fact, as Pennsylvania's Democratic lieutenant governor has noted,

Democrats need to be putting this narrative -- the truthful narrative -- before the public in an easily absorbed, compleling way. They need to be pulling the most damning sentence or two out of the rulings in the failed Trump legal cases, especially those decided by judges who are Republican appointees, and getting them before the public. They need to be contrasting the claims of evidence by Trump and his lawyers with the complete absence of evidence in those lawyers' filings.

In addition to ads, every Democratic officeholder who appears in the media needs to make this case in this way.

We have the facts. Why aren't we making full use of them?

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