Of the many disservices lame-duck President Donald Trump has done to the country, claiming “massive fraud” in elections is in the top five.
Trump is ending his term without a flicker of recognition or interest in a pandemic that’s straining hospitals and creating demand for makeshift morgues. His false claims of a stolen election will make it harder for President-elect Joe Biden to heal an ailing country.
None of the complaining and phony outrage are new for Trump.
In 2016, after Trump won the presidency but lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, he claimed he’d been robbed.
“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,” Trump wrote on Twitter four years ago.
His camp claimed “busloads” of voters from Massachusetts rolled into New Hampshire to vote for Clinton. Cheating that occurred only in Trump’s fertile imagination enabled Clinton to carry both those states.
Trump also said “serious voter fraud” occurred in California in 2016. He claimed America’s most populous state had handed a million or so illegal votes to Clinton. As for evidence, Trump had none.
His empty harangues continue, though his tone is now that of a bitter loser instead of a sore winner.
Trump’s false claims this time center mostly on the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic region.
Philadelphia, Detroit and Milwaukee ran a rigged system, he says. Against all law and reason, he hopes his flimsy statements will strip Biden of victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
As for Trump’s definition of “landslide,” he’s forgotten it.
Biden received as many votes in the Electoral College this year as Trump did in 2016.
Biden also bested Trump by more than 6 million popular votes while running up the highest overall total in history. Trump isn’t concerning himself with that statistic, figuring he should worry about somehow finagling more favorable totals in the Electoral College.
Trump’s crack legal team has even dragged New Mexico into its storyline of a crooked election.
Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, claimed election fraud occurred in New Mexico last month. Giuliani’s statement amounted to a throwaway line delivered for shock value.
But Giuliani’s charge excited a few Trump supporters in New Mexico, such as state Republican Chairman Steve Pearce.
For purposes of self-preservation, Pearce was glad Trump and Giuliani offered him an alibi for the weak showing by Republicans in New Mexico.
“Just as President Trump is seeing comfortable leads evaporate in key states without having access allowed by law, several key races in New Mexico now hinge on a few ballots being certified without Republicans being allowed access,” Pearce said.
But this time, unlike 2018, no complaints were made by Pearce’s protégée, Yvette Herrell.
Herrell claimed fraud cost her the election two years ago in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.
Herrell’s real humiliation was easier to identify. She declared herself the winner in 2018 while thousands of votes remained to be counted.
Democrat Xochitl Torres Small ended up defeating Herrell by 3,700 votes. Herrell said Democrats cheated her. But Herrell didn’t contest the election. She had no evidence to overturn it.
This time, Herrell won a rematch with Torres Small. And not a discouraging word has been spoken by Herrell since.
Funny how that works. Win and all is well. Lose and corruption had to be the reason.
Pearce and at least one other state Republican have floated trial balloons about election malfeasance.
Ricky Little of Chaparral is still trailing in a tight race against state Rep. Willie Madrid in District 53.
Little told me he’s worried about voter fraud costing him the seat. He offered no evidence to support his suspicion.
In Little’s case, he gets an automatic recount based on margin. Madrid leads by 36 votes of almost 6,692 cast. That leaves Little within 1 percent of Madrid, making a recount mandatory under state law.
Only a couple of votes typically change in state legislative recounts. Little knows this, but he has every opportunity to test the accuracy of his election.
Except for Herrell’s win, Pearce had a terrible year as GOP state chairman.
Republicans lost the open U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico and they remain the minority by wide margins in the state Senate and state House of Representatives.
This might be why Pearce and his party have gone to bat for their leader.
“Donate to President Trump’s legal fund to help him fight voter fraud and win this election,” they said in a statement.
That’s the spirit. If reading the scoreboard is too painful, resort to the old trick of blaming the umpire.