Thursday, September 16, 2021


I'll acknowledge that Republican critics of "voter fraud" trutherism are somewhat more reality-based than their Trumpian party-mates...
Recall candidate Larry Elder – with an assist from former President Donald Trump – depressed GOP turnout in California’s recall race by raising the prospect of voter fraud before the election, a Republican consultant said Wednesday....

Ron Nehring, a former chair of the California GOP ... pointed to a page on Elder’s website that, prior to the election, presumed that Newsom won the recall because of an influx of voter fraud.... Nehring said such a suggestion was “astonishing” and discouraged Republicans from voting....

“We can’t have an evidence-based party if we are bull-----ing people in advance that this election was stolen when it was not,” Nehring said Wednesday. “One way not to have Republicans win is by telling Republican voters that their votes don’t matter.... Lying to Republicans claiming an election was stolen, before a single vote or result had been published, is grossly irresponsible.”
It's nice that Nehring doesn't believe elections are routinely stolen by Democrats, but both he and the people crying "Fraud!" are arriving at the same conclusion: Newsom didn't really win. The Trump/Elder contingent thinks millions of ballots were cast illegally. People like Nehring think the recall vote would have been significantly tighter -- and might even have been a defeat for the governor, rather than a lansdlide victory -- if the Trumpers hadn't suggests that GOP votes are worthless. Both sides are downplaying Newsom's big win.

I'm a skeptic about the suppression theory. In California's 2018 gubernatorial race, 12,464,235 votes were cast. NBC News says that in the recall election, 9,193,157 votes have been counted -- 71% of the expected total, which NBC estimates will be 13,000,000, slightly more than were cast in 2018. The New York Times has a vote total of 9,223,250 and says it's 74% of the expected total -- which means the Times expects 12,463,851 votes to be cast, about the same number as in 2018.

If the recall turnout is nearly as high as the turnout in the last regularly scheduled California gubernatorial election, where are all the GOP voters who would have voted but concluded that the election was rigged, so they stayed home?

The myth of massive, widespread Democratic voter fraud now gives Republicans two ways of downplaying Democratic victories. One way is saner than the other. But I don't believe either one.

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