If you’ve been paying attention to any of the major news outlets, you know that Trump made a claim that seems to be lacking the facts to back it up. President-elect Trump made the controversial statement on Sunday via his Twitter account.
He claims that if you discount the “millions” of votes cast illegally, he would have also won the popular vote in the presidential election.
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
Those in the media were quick to harshly criticize Trump for his “unfounded” assertion. The headlines have been particularly rough. CNN said “Trump falsely claims ‘millions of people who voted illegally’ cost him popular vote” Or the Times’ headline: “‘Serious Voter Fraud’? Um, No”
While it may be a stretch to say his popular vote deficit could be erased by deducting the illegally cast ballots, voting fraud is certainly a real thing. The Washington Times published an article on the subject of voter fraud and gave actual accounts of it taking place.
“A study by the watchdog Public Interest Legal Foundation found in just eight Virginia counties, 1,046 alien non-citizens successfully registered to vote.”
The piece goes on to give several other real examples of voter fraud. So to suggest that Trump is a conspiracy theorist for saying Clinton was aided by voter fraud is wrong.
President-elect Trump should not have tried to quantify the amount of illegal votes. There’s no way to know yet how many ballots were actually cast illegally, and who they were cast for. But bringing up the issue of voter fraud is not something he should be attacked for.
There is an argument to be made that if there was a large number of people who voted illegally, that they probably aren’t Trump supporters. Illegal immigrants, for example, would be very unlikely to vote for Trump.
In phone call with reporters Monday, Trump’s spokesman Jason Miller said pointed to some evidence that may help to add some legitimacy to Trump’s tweet.
“In particular, I’d point to the 2014 Washington Post study that indicated more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and in 2010 elections indicated they were registered to vote.”
While this doesn’t support the notion that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election, it does lend some credence to the idea. After all, the amount of non-citizens since 2010 has only increased, so one could presume that the amount of non-citizens registered to vote has increased as well.
So in conclusion, Trumps claims are at the very least irresponsible and premature. We do not have the data that could support his assertion, so his tweet was entirely speculative. While such speculative assertions may not be appropriate for a president-elect to make, Donald Trump has defied the traditional model of a president since beginning his campaign. We shouldn’t expect that to end now that he’s been elected.