Donald Trump never loses anything. If he does lose, it can only be because someone cheated. That’s why he continually claims that there were “millions” of fraudulent votes cast for Hillary Clinton, to explain why she got three million more votes than he did in the 2016 election. And he constantly lies through his teeth about it, of course, as he did on Meet the Press on Sunday.
Host Chuck Todd asked Trump if he is bothered by the fact that he lost the popular vote in 2016. Trump responded: “Well, I think it was a — I mean, I’ll say something that, again, is controversial. There were a lot of votes cast that I don’t believe. I look at California.”
He continued: “Take a look at Judicial Watch, take a look at their settlement where California admitted to a million votes. They admitted to a million votes.”
And now, reality:
Facts First: California made no such admission. And there is no evidence that there was widespread voter fraud in California in 2016.
In January, the conservative group Judicial Watch announced that it had settled its 2017 lawsuit against the state of California and the county of Los Angeles. The settlement required the county to remove the names of inactive voters from its voter lists, and it required the state to direct other counties to remove inactive voters from their own lists.Trump got the “1 million” figure from Judicial Watch: the group said that as many as 1.5 million registrations would have to be removed in Los Angeles County as a result of the settlement.
But there was no evidence that any of these inactive people voted illegally; Judicial Watch itself said most of them are simply “voters who have moved to another county or state or have passed away.”
Now, if Judicial Watch had any integrity they would issue a public statement correcting what Trump said and making sure everyone knew that he was distorting the findings of the suit. But they won’t, because they’re a bunch of right-wing partisan hacks. And Trump will continue to tell this lie no matter how many times it’s debunked because it suits his purposes and fees his preferred narrative. He could not possibly care any less whether it’s true or not.
Nor will he be alone. This has been the strategy of Republicans for a very long time, to look for any anomalies or inconsistencies in the Qualified Voter File and automatically convert them all into illegal votes. In reality, they are almost always just some sort of simple clerical error — a mistyped name or address, a missing middle initial, a name that has changed due to marriage, a missing apartment number, and so forth. There is no evidence at all that even one person with such an anomoly ever actually cast a double vote.