The 2020 Election Wasn’t Stolen: All The Key Facts Debunking The Big Lie

Recounts and court cases determined the 2020 election was not stolen. The only attempt to steal the election came from Donald Trump. Here are the facts in one place.
Before the siege: Protestors in the US Capitol Grounds East Plaza, Washington DC on Wednesday morning, January 6, 2021. (Elvert Barnes Photography from Silver Spring MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Before the siege: Protestors in the US Capitol Grounds East Plaza, Washington DC on Wednesday morning, January 6, 2021. (Elvert Barnes Photography from Silver Spring MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

This article presents seventeen arguments why the 2020 election was not stolen, and why the whole Stop the Steal effort is actually Trump’s Big Lie. Some of these points are “just the facts”, evidence strong enough for a jury to reach a guilty verdict. The remaining arguments are based on “reason” which the Britannica defines as, “the faculty or process of drawing logical conclusions.” They may not be direct enough for a jury in a criminal case to reach a guilty verdict, but they would certainly add to the jury’s conviction that the guilty verdict fit the crime.

This article summarizes evidence and reasoning that should convince any thinking person that there was no big steal. You can close your eyes to the evidence, but you cannot look at it and find a “Big Steal”. Further, there is no common ground between Big Steal and Big Lie. Reject the Big Steal, what’s left is the Big Lie, Mr. Trump’s biggest lie.

Today’s whimsical quest: present evidence and logic that would cause a “Trump won” supporter to at least question Trump’s claim, made many times, well before votes were even cast, that “The only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged, remember that.”

Trump probably believes this fundamentally undemocratic statement as much as he believed anything. Of course, any opportunity to accuse, slander, and libel the opposition for what he was himself doing was worth doing. It’s gaslighting projection, and Trump is a master gaslighter.

We are asked to believe that there is a vast conspiracy involving: campaign operatives; election workers, election officials, Governors and Secretaries of State in multiple states from both parties; journalists, editors, and major news sources they work for that depend on long-term credibility; election machine manufacturers and software engineers; judges, appellate court judges, and Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justices; and migrants – but no one on the inside of this conspiracy gives it away, gives evidence of the conspiracy to the world.

It is the measure of Mr. Trump’s gaslighting and the decadence of his enablers that so many people accept this conspiratorial thinking. Of course, there are some corrupt political figures, judges, journalists, and perhaps even Justices. I argue that it is impossible to have the kind of conspiracy necessary to steal a US national election, and no one on the inside, no one involved in making the conspiracy, gives it away. Critical thinking is necessary both to see malfeasance when it occurs, and to avoid believing claims of malfeasance that are ridiculous.

As we’ve seen laid out by the January 6 Committee, the only effort to steal the election came from Trump and his allies. While the 2020 election was certainly not stolen, election deniers have used this Big Lie to justify tactics that would enable them to get away with what Trump himself tried to do. That’s why it’s important to debunk the lie itself. Let’s dive in.

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NO voter fraud affected the 2020 Presidential Race in any State: the evidence

1. Voting systems and their administration were the best in US history. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Agency, an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, signed into law by President Trump in 2018, and directed by a Trump appointee Chris Krebs, a self-described lifetime Republican, issued a report on November 12, 2020, beginning with, “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.” Ten experts in cybersecurity and voting, the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) – whose reputations would be on the line – cosigned with Krebs. On November 17, Trump fired Chris Krebs, claiming Krebs was wrong. Trump provided no evidence.

2. Recounts overwhelmingly confirmed votes and results. Joe Biden’s margin of victory in two of these five states was small. These were the main Trump recount targets, court challenges, and efforts to have votes disqualified.

  • Arizona. Biden won by 10,457. The Republican majority Arizona Senate ordered on March 31, 2021, an investigation of the votes in one county, Maricopa, by Cyber Ninjas, a company with no previous election experience, run by Trump supporters. One might suspect some irregularity in that setup. Cyber Ninjas delivered their report September 23, 2021 increasing Joe Biden‘s victory margin by 360, while claiming all sorts of other findings that ended up zero. With six months to dig, they found nothing that showed fraud. The Cyber Ninjas cost was almost $9 million. The cost is noted to highlight the scam nature of much of “Stop the Steal”.
  • Georgia. Biden won by 11,779 votes. Secretary of State Raffensperger (R) conducted two full recounts which confirmed Biden’s win. Biden’s lead over Trump was reduced by 891, from 12,670 to 11,779. The total number of votes cast was 4,997,716.
  • Michigan. Biden won by 154,188 votes. Joe Biden won with 2,804,040 votes to Trump’s 2,649,852, a 2.8% margin. Total votes cast were 5,539,302.
  • Pennsylvania. Biden won by 80,555 votes. The election was certified after all 67 counties confirmed their votes.
  • Wisconsin. Biden won by 20,682 votes. The Trump campaign paid for recounts in Wisconsin’s two most populous counties – increasing Biden’s lead by 87 votes
  • Post-2020 verification of election results involved recounts of ballots in physical possession of the election agency, comparing paper ballots totals for the candidates to machine-reported totals, statistical audits, investigation of alleged irregularities as well as a lot of nonsense. Essentially, all of this confirmed the outcomes. In Arizona, after the train-wreck Cyber Ninja audit, Biden’s margin increased by about 360 votes. In Georgia, as noted above, Biden’s lead was reduced by 891 votes – which did not change the result. Pennsylvania conducted a Risk-Limiting Audit across 63 counties and reported that results mirrored the presidential election results within a fraction of a percentage point.

Conclusion: Fraud by voters, election officers, or outside actors was practically non-existent in the 2020 election.

3. Court challenges to the 2020 Presidential election, filed by Trump lawyers, failed. They were rejected 61 out of 62 times: Trump’s team won 1.6% of the cases they brought. There were more than 1.6% of judges who voted with Trump as a thorough Brookings review shows; some judges were in the minority on multi-judge panels. At the same time, most Republican-appointed judges, including Trump-appointed judges, voted against Trump in all these cases. (Brookings’ analysis of changes enacted or proposed in various state legislatures could change how state judges are elected, for example enabling voters to choose judges who commit to “judicial activism” in state elections, and thus could lead to very different outcomes in future election challenges – outcomes not dependent on evidence or the will of the people.)

4. Independent review by distinguished Republicans found no fraud. A group of distinguished Republicans have presented a 72-page review of virtually all allegations about the integrity of the election and found there is nothing there. No evidence-based proof of even minimal fraud, let alone massive fraud, has been presented before or in the twenty-two months since the 2020 election. Claims have been made by Donald Trump, and the disgraced likes of Rudi Giuliani, the MyPillow Guy, and lawyer Sydney Powell – of which none have been proven. The authors, as dedicated Republicans, urge their party and its supporters to 1) realize they lost, 2) they were not cheated, and 3) need to move on to working to respond to this country’s challenges. They write in their introduction:

“But there is absolutely no evidence of fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election on the magnitude necessary to shift the result in any state, let alone the nation as a whole. In fact, there was no fraud that changed the outcome in even a single precinct. It is wrong, and bad for our country, for people to propagate baseless claims that President Biden’s election was not legitimate.”

Let’s chew on that: There was no fraud that changed the outcome in even a single precinct.

5. State election officials say the elections were fair. Very conservative Republican election officials in Georgia and Arizona confirm and stand by their count and recounts despite enormous and threatening pressure from Trump and others. There were extensive recounts in key battleground states – Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin generally implemented by Republicans – none of which found any fraud beyond a vote here or there. No results were changed.

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NO vote fraud affected the 2020 Presidential Race in any State: reasoned argument

6. Only Biden-Trump was changed? If Democrats fraudulently altered the Presidential race, wouldn’t they have given Biden better margins in the House and Senate? Does one believe Democrats would have a great system for fraud but only use it in the Presidential race? Is that believable? (Hint: the answer is: No, it’s not believable. Personally, I don’t believe they would do such fraud at all, but if they did, and then not do it for better House and Senate control? Nah.)

7. Donald Trump personally tried to overturn the 2020 election. He was involved personally and directly in attempting to corruptly or delusionally overturn the election results. New information continues, almost two years since the election, to be learned and documented day by day. His “fingerprints” are all over these examples:

  • Pressuring Georgia’s Secretary of State. On January 2, 2021, Donald Trump called and spoke with Brad Raffensberger, Georgia Secretary of State, for more than an hour, suggesting, pleading, and threatening the conservative Republican to find him 11,779 votes, while alleging hundreds of thousands of votes were corrupted, and to overturn the election. Multiple challenges and recounts verified the State’s count. There was no evidence that thousands or even hundreds or even dozens of votes were corrupted.
  • Multiple legal suits are noted in point 3 above. The relevance is that Mr. Trump approved of pursuing these 62 fraudulent lawsuits. Time and again, the lawyers presented suits with no evidence of wrongdoing, or completely bizarre interpretations of benign incidents – such as the Atlanta, Georgia “suitcase” event, when a normal ballot process was videoed and went viral with a claim of election fraud.
  • Pressuring Mike Pence. Donald Trump orchestrated, directed and personally participated in pressuring Vice President Pence to disqualify duly authorized electors and ask those battleground states to select new electors. This was pushed by Trump’s lawyer John Eastman, who told Trump this plan was illegal. The Vice President did not bend to the pressure that he saw as clearly illegal, unconstitutional, and disregarding the will of the voters. In the midst of the violent insurrection at the Capitol, Mr. Trump tweeted, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done,” making the Vice President a target of the mob.
  • The January 6 Hearings uncovered and reported on the scope of Mr. Trump’s plan to overturn the results of the 2020 election. including that he knew he lost, and set about overturning the results anyway. Here are key findings of the Committee:
    • Trump intended to declare victory on election night regardless of the outcome.
    • Trump watched the attack on the Capitol from the private dining room off the Oval House and steadfastly rejected entreaties to either call off the mob, or to activate the national guard to defend the Capitol and the Senators, Congresspeople, Vice President, Capitol police, etc. from the mob – for more than three hours. As Rep. Adam Kinzinger said, “He did not fail to act. He chose not to act.”
    • Trump called his supporters to come to Washington. Mr. Trump activated potential violence against election workers across the country.
    • Trump and his allies coordinated with extremist groups.
    • Trump pressured the Justice Department to seize voting machines around, which the Department refused to do.
    • Trump pressured State voting officials in Georgia to say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to him and his Republican Congressmen.
    • Trump demanded that armed supporters be allowed into secured areas – after all, they were not a threat to him.
  • Jeffrey Clark proposed alternate slates of Electors in Georgia. Jeffrey Clark was the Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. Donald Trump intended to fire Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, just days after appointing him, and appoint Clark in his place. Rosen refused to use the Justice Department to validate false election claims, as did his predecessor William Barr. Clark wrote a memo, which caught Trump’s attention, outlining a path to overturning the 2020 election. Trump backed off when threatened with a mass resignation of virtually all senior Department of Justice officials if he replaced Rosen with Clark.
  • Pressuring the Acting Attorney General. Donald Trump appointed Jeffrey Rosen as Acting Attorney General effective December 24, 2020. President Trump called on Rosen almost daily to file Justice Department briefs alleging voter fraud, to speak against the election results, to investigate allegations, investigate Hunter Biden, and to agree to send a letter to the Georgia legislature to convene a special session because of fraud in the election for the “purpose of considering issues pertaining to the appointment of Presidential Electors.” In each case Jeffrey Rosen, based on the evidence, refused.
  • Promoting the fraud excuse long before the election. NPR outlines Mr. Trump’s claims, for months before the election, that there would be fraud. April 7, 2020 he said “mail-in ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters.” July 19, Mr. Trump refused, unlike every previous President, to say he would accept the election results.
  • “We’re never leaving,” Trump told aides, he was not leaving the White House, “I won. Why should I leave?”
Trump insurrectionists launch a terrorist attack on the Capitol building – January 6, 2021. (Tyler Merbler from USA/Creative Commons)

Trump insurrectionists launch a terrorist attack on the Capitol building – January 6, 2021. (Tyler Merbler from USA/Creative Commons)

Trump’s refusal to accept the election results is consistent with his personal history, his psychopathy, his authoritarian aspirations, his corruption, and his “warnings” that he would not accept defeat. Here are further examples:

8. Trump always claims he was cheated. Trump losing anything always comes back to him saying there was fraud against him. If a friend or Trump functionary loses, then he shouts they are a victim of fraud. He’s well-practiced in it. The following examples stretch back to 1973:

  • Trump accused the federal government of Gestapo-like interrogation and pressure tactics when Trump Management was sued for housing discrimination in 1973. When the Trumps signed a consent agreement – which is essentially admitting guilt – Trump claimed victory.
  • Trump wants an Emmy. A 2016 Washington Post article reported that Donald Trump thinks many things are slanted against him, noting his failure to win an Emmy, and a classmate, decades earlier, doing better on a chemistry test. Hillary Clinton said, during their 3rd debate, “There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him.”
  • Trump claimed fraud against him when Ted Cruz came in first in the 2016 GOP Iowa caucuses. “Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.”
  • Trump bankruptcies. The Trump Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy, paid federal fines, and admitted to “willfully violated reporting and record-keeping requirements under the federal Bank Secrecy Act from 2010 to 2012.” Mr. Trump claimed not to be involved for many years and had great timing (he did everything right) when the bankrupt casino-hotel was sold off.
  • Voting machines cheat… When Trump still supported Mitt Romney (2012), Trump tweeted that voting machines switched Romney votes to Obama.
  • Even after winning the Presidency in 2016 he claimed he was cheated. After winning the 2016 election Trump claimed “millions of FRAUD votes” in Virginia, New Hampshire and California. That is, he claimed that he really won the popular vote too. He didn’t. There was never any evidence of fraud in those elections.
  • Some more corruption claims. He claimed there was “electoral corruption” in 2018 Senate contests in Arizona and Florida and a Governor’s race in Georgia.
  • If his candidate loses by 3 to 1, Trumps says they really won. This was true of the 2022 California recall election, and the Georgia Governor’s 2022 primary
  • Find enough votes. In 2018, Trump called on Senator Bill Nelson (D) to concede his loss to Rick Scott (R), saying, “The characters running Broward and Palm Beach voting will not be able to ‘find’ enough votes, too much spotlight on them now!” Of course, in 2020 it was Trump telling the Georgia Secretary of State to “find enough votes” to give him the state.
  • Trump cheated out of a Nobel Prize. Politico reported in 2019, “Trump asserted he ‘would get a Nobel Prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t.’”
  • Trump even cheats at golf.

You can’t make this stuff up. Oh – unless you’re Donald Trump.

9. Trump’s psychopathy. Tony Schwartz, who ghostwrote “author” Donald Trump’s Art of the Deal, calling on research and his experience from hundreds of hours working directly with Trump, writes about Trump in The Psychopath in Chief. Otherwise mostly good people, as most of us are, might still support and believe Trump because, as Schwartz writes, “Trump’s behavior is so far from our own inner experience,” that we have trouble seeing what it is and what he is. It takes that level of psychopathy to lie about a national election, plot to overthrow it, be willing to orchestrate the demise of our democracy, and have no concern but one’s own outcome. Psychologist Mary Trump, Donald Trump’s niece, admits being prejudiced against her uncle, but she argues and documents in her book Too Much and Never Enough Trump’s pathology.

10. Trump’s corruption. As background, please see my article 100+ Examples of Donald Trump’s Corruption. It was written before the November 2020 election. Trump has accomplished a near miracle, by significantly increasing the incidents of corruption since the election. Maybe another article?

The overwhelming and visible reality is that Mr. Trump has warned us he would not accept the vote if he lost, and that he would do anything he might think he could get away with to get what he wanted despite the will of the people. All these examples are simply Trump being Trump. As Tony Schwartz wrote, much of his criminality is possible because most of us can’t grasp the level of narcissism and psychopathology that is his normal. Other reasons that people cannot grasp his narcissistic criminality, of course, may be feeling hopeless, too often disappointed, and inattention.

11. Trump wins money, attention, controlling the base, and revenge by keeping up the charade. These are all historically important to him. His MO has always been money, attention, and revenge. He is a grievance junkie – and proud of it. Think of “controlling his base” as “playing the suckers”, it’s a trifecta. (My apologies to any reader who feels personally insulted. I’m amazed and respectful you got this far in the article.) His fundraising machine to fight The Big Steal has raked in more than $500 million! This is virtually uncontrolled or purposed income. He should be paying his lawyers – but, oh well, he usually doesn’t. They may not deserve pay, of course; Trump knows what he is hiring. His newest lawyer, Chris Kise, demanded $3 million in advance. The lawyers are learning. The Save America PAC is paying – saving America by paying lawyers to defend Trump’s theft of highly classified documents from the government.

12. Other Trumpish authoritarians also win money, controlling the base, power, and race power by keeping up the charade. It’s not just about Trump. Donald Trump has been the most effective force in decades, perhaps in US history, for liberating anger, meanness, bravado, fear and hatred of immigrants, migrants, “liberals”, etc. Others talk about the threat of immigrants, libs, radical libs, the Great Replacement, pedophiles, etc. Trump showed the way. Mr. Trump is happy with all these acolytes so long as they do not contest his preeminence. They are megaphones that augment his megaphone.

Other leaders on the right attempting to follow Trump’s playbook with varying degrees of success include Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor Green, Kevin McCarthy, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, Lauren Boebert, Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, Elise Stefanik, Scott Perry – and dozens more who have discovered their anger running for office across the country. Ever more evil language gets toyed with and then amplified. We are seeing now more racist language, and even anti-Semitism being mainstreamed.

13. Sabotage of the electoral system and disenfranchisement of voters as a Republican victory strategy predates Trump. Political parties play rough. Ideological differences may present as being about core values, though “Power” often decides whose interests – core values, wealth, power, respect, perks – are satisfied. Navigating these conflicts at the national level has sometimes been cordial, or at least civil, based on overriding shared interests: national security, surviving existential threats, and recognition that the national vulnerability of a deeply divided citizenry makes everyone more vulnerable; appreciation that our system creates economic wealth even if inequitably distributed; respect for constitutional government, democracy, the rule of law; etc. Of course, too, the power people are also “playing the game.” Many relished the game and entered the contest with the other side enthusiastically. At the end of the day they could have a martini together. That aspect has mostly disappeared.

Abraham Lincoln, in the Lyceum Address, 23 years before he was President, said, “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”

When narrow ideology or extreme wealth-power is ascendant, then the country will suffer: economic stagnation, paralysis, and deteriorating livelihoods; infrastructure and delivery of services failure; vulnerability to threats such as climate change and pandemic; even civil war. That’s a long wind-up to saying we are particularly vulnerable now.

Democrats also play rough, but the current attack on the Constitution, particularly the Capitol insurrection, Trump’s Big Lie and its abettors, undermining confidence in the vote, the attempt to disenfranchise voters, whipping up culture war fervor, is a particularly Republican enterprise that Trump did not create but that he has taken to new and more awful levels. Democrats are culpable for gerrymandering – which is a rot in a democracy – but there is nothing comparable on the Democratic side to the following examples of tactics over decades that made the Big Lie possible. Recognizing this is just – reasonable. Here are examples:

  • McCarthyism. Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) claimed widespread communist influence in the US government. His discredited claims cost many lives, damaged US security, and led to his censure by the Senate in 1954. He was a Republican – but Republicans in Congress and the Republican President Dwight Eisenhower repudiated him.
  • Mr. Speaker. Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the US House of Representatives 1995-1999. Gingrich is widely credited with vastly increasing the polarization of American politics. In demonizing Democrats, hateful speech about political adversaries, refusal to cooperate, he made bipartisan seeking of solutions difficult and often impossible. He is more responsible than any other figure for the fracture of American politics to the point that civil war is now discussed.
  • Bush v Gore. How should recounting votes in a very close race happen? Option 1: All votes in question are recounted. Option 2: Use statistical methods to check votes; Option 3: Stop the vote at a point in the process when your side leads. In Florida in 2000, an orchestrated riot of young conservative males stopped the recount in Miami-Dade County, where the trend line suggested Gore votes in Florida might surpass Bush votes. That recount might have resulted in electing Al Gore, rather than George Bush, to the Presidency. That recount was never resumed. Republicans went to the Supreme Court to stop the count, when a few more days could have settled the question fairly. The Supreme Court stopped the count when George Bush was ahead by 537 votes. It remains unknown who would have won had the recount been completed. Republican efforts to stop the recount meant capturing the Presidency. Dirty tricks (the riot) and misuse of sadly partisan advantage (the Supreme Court) decided the Presidency.
  • Voting Rights Act gutted. In Shelby County vs. Holder, 570 U.S. 529 (2013) the Supreme Court found Section 4(b) unconstitutional effectively dismantling key aspects of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Purging of voter rolls, new voter ID laws, and reduction of voting locations all impacted minority voting, and were enacted mainly by Republicans in 25 states 2013-2019.
  • Mitch McConnell used his power as Majority Leader of the Senate, in an unprecedented fashion, to deny a fair hearing and confirmation vote to President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court in 2016 because it was an election year, and then pushed through President Trump’s Supreme Court choice in 2020, only days before an actual election. McConnell brought to fruition a decades-long effort to stack the courts.
  • Voter disenfranchisement / suppression. Making voting more difficult is a Republican project. Fair access to voting is denied by:
    • Stoking claims of voter fraud,
    • Demanding endless recounts in prior elections,
    • Opposing a fair recount in Bush v Gore,
    • Clearing voters from voting rolls with little justification,
    • Racially gerrymandered congressional and State legislature districts,
    • Reducing voting hours,
    • Reducing early voting days,
    • Disenfranchising felons, though they have served their time,
    • Eliminating Sunday voting days (which particularly targets Black churchgoers),
    • Eliminating conveniently located ballot drop boxes,
    • Disallowing 3rd parties to witness or pick up the votes of elder and disabled voters,
    • Making voting sites more available in wealthier or whiter precincts than in poorer precincts,
    • Misinformation robocalls, telling voters a false voting day or polling place,
    • Obstacles to absentee voting,
    • Difficult locations for voter registration,
    • Exact signature match requirements,
    • Deregistering voters if not voted in some number of recent elections,
    • Employing or deploying threatening poll monitors,
    • Billboards in minority areas threatening prison for fraudulent voting, scaring voters from voting who may believe they can be unfairly targeted,
    • Making voting more difficult usually claims that voter fraud threatens the integrity of elections. Rather it affects the ability of poor, minority and elderly to vote.
    • Neutering the Voting Rights Act
    • This is not a complete list.
  • DeSantis and friends. This point #13 starts with how Republican voter suppression predates Trump. Let’s complete the point on how the successors try to outdo Trump in their banality of depravity. Take Ron DeSantis. He has weaponized public attacks on formerly incarcerated Floridians who just wanted to vote and were told they could by their local election offices. He has defied a Florida ballot initiative that mandates fair drawing of Congressional districts, and produced the most gerrymandered map – possibly enough to deliver control of the US House to Republicans.
  • And for a look at where this is going – comic if it weren’t so serious – consider what is happening in Nevada in 2022.

14. Voter fraud is extremely rare in the United States. (Sadly, we cannot say that of voter suppression.) The “Stop the Steal” cry claims massive voter fraud at all levels. It has never been proven. Indeed, government, distinguished commissions, academic studies, major nonprofit organizations all confirm that voter fraud in the United States is, in relation to the number of votes cast, virtually non-existent.

  • President Trump appointed the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in 2017 to investigate voter fraud in US elections, and appointed Mike Pence as chair, and Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, as its operating head. The controversial Commission collapsed before it could issue a report.
  • The Heritage Foundation, a very conservative Republican think tank, has invested heavily in tracking and recording voter fraud. The Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Initiative is directed by Hans von Spakovsky, who, among other activities, sent an email saying that Democrats and mainstream Republicans should not be appointed to President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election integrity. He is a voter fraud true believer and has not been a neutral player. The Election Law Initiative compiled a thorough database of alleged voter fraud in all fifty states. Alleged is used in the legal sense of when an indictment is issued, not necessarily a conviction. Here is the alleged voter fraud over as many as the last 28 years in the states that were the main focus of Trump challenges to the 2020 election:
    • Arizona. Four Arizonans have been convicted of voter fraud in the 2020 election. One of them, Tracey McKee, a Republican, submitted her deceased mother’s absentee ballot. Of these four (4 – no zeroes behind the number!) Arizonans, election safeguards prevented their extra votes from being counted. Their cases were so serious (sarcasm here) that they received small financial penalties and probation. The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database lists 29 cases of voter fraud conviction in Arizona – since 2009! These are individuals using a recently deceased parent’s absentee ballot, or voting twice (once by mail once in person), or collecting ballots in personal contact from others and filling them in – nothing of significant numbers. County officials have identified less than 200 possible cases of voter fraud – not charged – subject to decision to prosecute and go to trial. In Pima County, some 120 people voted twice. However, the County Attorney found this mix of Republican, Democratic, and independent voters were generally confused, as for example: had they forgotten they sent a mail-in ballot and then went to vote in person; did they try to vote in two different precincts, not knowing which was the right one, etc. The County Attorney decided these were reasonable mishaps and there were no grounds for any prosecution in these cases.
    • Georgia. The Heritage Foundation’s Database finds no 2020 Georgia election fraud convictions during 2020, 2021, or 2022.; there’ve been twelve convictions and civil penalties since 1998.
    • Michigan. The Election Fraud Database lists 14 election fraud convictions statewide since 2007, only three associated with the 2020 elections. Of these three one was for a child, another for a grandchild, and the other for requesting absentee ballots at an assisted living facility. The formidable Post-Election Audit Report demonstrates how Michigan can report, “After the most extensive audits in state history, no evidence of intentional misconduct or fraud by election officials was discovered.”
    • Pennsylvania. Criminal voting fraud convictions since 1994: 33, of which five were during the 2020 election. Of the five, three cases were Republicans. All involved voting for one or two other deceased or not present individuals.
    • Wisconsin. Wisconsin election officials found just 27 cases of potential voter fraud from the 2020 election. Wisconsin has 24 voter fraud convictions since 2004, of which four are for the 2020 election: one casting a vote for a dead mate, two attempting to vote though being convicted felons, and one for providing a false address. So – the only convictions are for people who just wanted to vote.
  • There are no instances of massive fraud events. The Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Initiative is, essentially, charged to discover widespread and egregious voter fraud and so to make the case for controls that generally reduce voter access – the actual voter fraud found is virtually nothing.

15. Hundreds of polls – Trump Approval and Trump vs. Biden – before the 2020 election predicted Biden’s victory. Polls are factual, gauging interest or intention at a moment in time, but they are not evidence. They are valid predictors of what is likely, but not what is certain. Polling gets unlimited attention between elections but is somewhat overlooked in shining a light on post-election Trump world reality and his “the only way he could lose…” gambit. So, #15 is a logic argument. It shows there was a high likelihood that Trump would lose, it was reasonable, and it did not require machinations with votes to make it happen.

  • Hundreds of polls – Trump approval rating, and Trump vs. Biden – factually happened and overwhelmingly establish that the majority of Americans did not (or said they did not) regard Trump or the job he was doing favorably, and the majority of Americans intended to vote for Joe Biden.
  • If the question we ask is, could Trump have fairly lost – to which Trump says “no” – all these polls say “yes, absolutely.” This was not close. These are facts. If the question is, do these polls prove that Biden won, the answer is no. For that, we go back to the proofs: the verified vote totals, and recounts that proved there was no extensive fraud.
  • Let’s dive into the numbers: 1) Donald Trump’s approval rating through his Presidency, and 2) the 2020 Biden vs. Trump Presidential election.
  • Trump vs. Trump. FiveThirtyEight compiled the data on Trump’s approval rating from multiple sources from January 23, 2017, until January 20, 2021. On January 23, 2017 – two days after his inauguration – Trump’s approval rating was 45.5%, beating his 41.3% disapproval rating. Day 13 of his Presidency, he had an approval-disapproval rating of 44.8% to 44.7%. Day 13 was the last day of the 1461 days of his Presidency that his approval rating surpassed his disapproval rating. Trump’s approval was never over 50%. On the day of the insurrection, his rating was 53.1 disapproval to 42.8 approval. Approval further plummeted by January 20 to 38.6%. There were, for example, 316 polls rating Donald Trump’s approval by the American people during just one year, 2019 – more than 1,000 polls on his performance during his term. While some Presidents had periods of lower approval than Trump – overall, Trump was consistently the least popular president since there has been polling.
  • Trump vs. Biden. Polls don’t tell us who will win an election, but they do tell us who to expect to win, and who to expect to lose. It was not a surprise that Biden won. In 160 polls conducted October 1 to November 3, 2020, by 63 different entities, Trump was favored to win in 2 (only two!) of the polls, Biden in 158 of the polls. For more than a year prior to the 2020 election, national polls predicted that Biden would win by an average of 7.9%.
  • A question for people who believe the election was stolen: how do you explain your man being forecast to lose the election by almost all national polls? Is this also evil geniuses infiltrating and corrupting the data of 160 polls by more than 60 different organizations? Polling on who was expected to win: Biden 158 to 2.
  • The largest percentage (66.7%) of the US population voted since William McKinley was elected President in 1900. Turnout was energized by very strong feelings on both sides.
  • Though he slightly underperformed the popular vote forecasts, Joe Biden won:
    • Electoral vote, total 538: Biden 306 (56.88%) / Trump 232 (43.12%) Margin 13.76%
    • Popular vote: Biden 81,268,924 (51.3%) / Trump 74,216,154 (46.9%) Margin 4.4%

Biden won, as almost ALL polls projected.

16. Academic research confirms that the 2020 election was not stolen. Here are a few research reports on the election.

17. Conspiracy thinking.Conspiracy theories attempt to explain events as the secretive plots of powerful people. While conspiracy theories are not typically supported by evidence, this doesn’t stop them from blossoming.” Or more to the point, Voltaire said, “Those who can make people believe absurdities, can make people commit atrocities.” There are lots of conspiracy theories floating around. Some conspiracy theories involve a small number of people, dealing with a realistic “target”, ensuring that the small number of people are paid well enough or threatened convincingly enough to ensure silence for the very long term. Such conspiracies happen.

Open eyes should convince most people that a conspiracy involving a large number of people staying quiet is simply something between impossibly unrealistic and impossible. There is a conspiracy theory that the US Apollo moon landings were faked. This theory still has believers – despite that some 400,000 people (labs, component makers, NASA personnel, the astronauts, astronomers, the arch adversary of the time, the Soviet Union/Russia) who could talk if there was no moon landing – have not. No (NO!) whistleblowers!

The assertion of a conspiracy to steal the election, fomented by Mr. Trump and embraced by Republican officeholders and candidates is particularly the product of a time of deep distrust of institutions and willingness to embrace hateful and authoritarian ideologies and leaders. Yet, like the moon landing, there is no evidence to be found of anything that invalidates the results of the 2020 election. Everything above proves that. QAnon and the willingness to believe fantasies begs for some rebuilding of trust and a return to a respectful and fact-anchored country and politics.


A gallows hangs near the United States Capitol during the January 6, 2021 Trump insurrection. (Tyler Merbler from USA/Creative Commons BY 2.0)

A gallows hangs near the United States Capitol during the January 6, 2021 Trump insurrection. (Tyler Merbler from USA/Creative Commons BY 2.0)

Creating the fraud would have required impossible manipulations. Returning to “the only way Trump could lose is if the other side cheated” is to review all the varying challenges that would have to have been overcome to carry out the cheat – the steal, the biggest steal, the great political crime… It would require voting machines to be altered, paper ballots to have been changed even when the voters were vetted, election officials to cover up, lifelong Republican state officials and election managers and workers to lie and cover up, judges to dismiss evidence or in 61 cases out of 62 court cases to say there was nothing there when there was something there, opinion polls by dozens of different agencies to lie for four years before the 2020 election, print and electronic media to have missed and failed to find the fraud, and on and on.

I write this to offer readers more intellectual ammunition to shake the faith of Big Steal believers. Perhaps it’s a fool’s errand – that I continue to sign up for. “Hope springs eternal….”

For many people who say Trump won, especially those who are willing to violently challenge the election – commit treason or commit stupidity – what many of them really mean is that some peoples’ votes don’t count: people of color, poor people, native peoples, people who can ill-afford taking a day off to vote, people who need government standing up for them – or just people who don’t agree with them. Just conveniently eliminate enough of those votes, and Donald John Trump wins a second term.

Eliminate some categories of voters (or votes), and your side wins. And democracy dies.

There are risks in this kind of power grab, as Citizens learned the hard way in the French Revolution: you may haul out the guillotine for one “enemy of the people”, but before you know it, you may be the enemy of the people. Hatred and delusion metastasize. Honest, decent people – if they have not signed out – will aim for fair law, honest police practices, politics within guardrails of law and civility. Power-hungry sociopaths will promote and pray on anger and greed – and run the guillotines in overtime. You may fight for the sociopath this week and be his victim next week. This is what Donald Trump and the MAGA movement have created. Having lived in a place where this happened, I don’t recommend it.

The Trumpism virus is still virulent. The next wave, whether Trump or another is the carrier, may be a Delta or Gamma or Omicron variant, more infectious, or even more infectious and more lethal. We should be warned.

Trump’s claim that the only way Trump could lose is if Biden cheated was always backwards: The only way Biden could lose was if Trump cheated…. No, that’s not true either. There is no evidence that can guarantee that. The circumstantial evidence such as polling, and the nature of free elections, absolutely proves that Trump could lose and was likely to. It proves that Biden was likely to win. But it cannot prove that Biden losing was impossible. The citizenry finishes casting their votes by an established hour when the polls close on election day. That is still how elections in the United States are decided, democratically, even if this founding idea is under attack.

The votes have been counted and recounted.

Biden won.

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News // 2020 Election / Authoritarianism / Big / Donald Trump / Insurrection / Republican Party