Saturday, November 14, 2020


I haven't read an article since Wednesday, though I have seen some headlines. What I know, then, is based on information from past elections, the players involved, plus a few shreds of the current news.

There are a lot of small irregularities of varying believability.  Precinct managers who allowed a hundred questionable votes; mailed-in or otherwise vulnerable votes that may hit some thousands in total which break 2-1 for Biden and thus bear investigation; harvested votes from nursing homes, shelters, and poor neighborhoods at a hundred or two each, maybe even thousands in the hands of a real pro; directly paid votes for down-ticket elections in corrupt cities that added to the Biden votes as a throw-in, which is every election in Atlanta; intimidation that is hard to measure; physical harm to Republican turnout, such as the tire-slashing in Milwaukee for rides-to-the-polls vans.  Wisconsin was stolen by Kerry in 2004, after all. Look it up. Vote fraud is real, and ongoing.  But that doesn't mean that there are big swings in many states likely to happen.

So, a thousand incidents of a hundred votes each, or a hundred incidents of a thousand votes each.  Like always.  I don't buy the argument that this must be that much worse this time.  Just because the people pulling these stunts hate Trump twice as much as they hated Romney or McCain, it doesn't mean they can do twice as much damage.  Wanting to doesn't make it happen. Also, they are much more likely to occur in places where there is cover, where there is 90-10 advantage for Democrats anyway.  Places where it doesn't much affect the local race, which folks might care about, but can be used to pad the state total. Philadelphia is supposed to be ground zero for this.  Unsurprising.  Philadelphia has been ground zero before.  Skilled labor there.

Then there are the possible big-ticket items, the technological or systematic manipulations which can move a stack of 10,000 votes at a time, or even worse, 1% of the votes gradually or invisibly. Of necessity, most of these would have to be in places with good cover as well. I read that the Trump campaign has suggested that there is an enormous amount of votes nationwide because of software glitches, and this deserves to be looked into.  Well, it should be looked into, yes.  It's not likely to result in much, because if it moved that many votes it would probably have been heard of before.  Okay, maybe this is new and we need to nip it in the bud.  That's fine.  But if this is nationwide, then the national totals of fraudulent votes  don't mean much - not this time - as most of the cheating would of necessity have been in places that turned out not to need it.  We had it narrowed down to about ten battleground states, but no one knew which were going to be super-hot and come down to very few votes and which were only close in a relative sense.

Could this software issue really have resulted in 2 million fraudulent votes, 200,000 in Pennsylvania or a couple of other places?  Sure it could.  Not very likely, but it's possible.  There are plenty of folks out there who would do such a thing if they had the power.  But do they have the power?  A new method comes on the scene in this cycle and first time out it flips three states?  Unlikely. Still, not impossible.  Deserves a look. Conspiracies are common, but successful conspiracies are rare.

Forced recounts are nice.  It's like a report card on how honest and competent your state was going in. New Hampshire had a crazy close Senatorial election in the mid 70s, and the recount was very close to the original count.  Nice to see. 

I am catching downwind that Democrats are in a tizzy that Trump is contesting results for any reason whatsoever.  This will include, of course, Democrats who know nothing about voting procedures, or election law in any of the states in question.  Also, people who forget how long the recount in 2000 took. All very predictable. Anything that is uncovered will be ignored. Evidence will be demanded, but any evidence that comes in will be regarded as a creature from another planet. So we just ignore all that noise and keep investigating and recounting.

Update: So looking it up just now, despite my strong doubt that tens of thousands of  votes could be moved, Richard Baris's Big Data Poll notices that Biden underperformed Hillary everywhere except for four cities.  I mentioned three of the four above as particularly well-known examples of corrupt voting locations for decades. I missed Detroit.  Proves nothing, but maybe concentrating on a few cities where you control a lot of the observation is a better strategy than a little here, a little there.


Boxty said...

I was talking to three of my foreign friends. One is French Canadian and two are Dutch. I explained to them the concept of bellwether counties and how they've gone almost 100% to the winner of the Presidential race for the past twenty years and about 70 to 80% margin in the half century before that. I then told them that Biden won only 12% of the bellwethers this year and two of my friends agreed it was shady as hell. The third is an avowed Marxist and didn't want to talk about it any more. :)

Scott Adams has increased his slaughter meter up to 96% chance of Trump winning. So I'm clinging to that shred of hope but I do think he's just trying to manage his audience's expectations.

Christopher B said...

Boxty, you maybe thinking of a chart in this post from Steve Hayward

About half way through. 19 counties across the US have swung between winning Presidential candidates for *40 years*. 18 of the 19 went Trump in 2020. Only 1 for Biden. In Washington state, naturally.

On the subject of how many votes need to swing to elect Trump, it's surprisingly few for almost 145 million votes cast nationwide. 2nd chart down in the same post, roughly 39K (6K in GA, 10K in WI, and 23K in PA) would make Trump the EC winner. Somewhat ironically, this is almost exactly the same amount and same places where Hillary lost to Trump. Biden's popular vote margin over Trump is accounted for by the lopsided results in California and New York.

Christopher B said...

Related, later thought.

The fraud machine was set to HIGH this time not so much to keep Trump from winning but to make sure he didn't also win the popular vote if he really broke out near the end. That the election wound up being close enough for it to make a real difference was an unexpected side benefit.

There was plenty of fraud in 2016 but as the Jill Stein requested recounts showed, little of it was directed at the Presidential race, and recounting MI and PA were likely to expose just how dirty those elections were. That stopped Hillary in 2016 but it won't stop Trump in 2020 even if the outcome doesn't change.

Zachriel said...

Assistant Village Idiot: Richard Baris's Big Data Poll notices that Biden underperformed Hillary everywhere except for four cities.

This one's been bouncing around the right-wing echosphere, but we have yet to find an original source. We'd like to look at the data as city data is not normally granular enough to make such claims.

GraniteDad said...

Biden didn’t beat Trump in the cities. He beat him in the suburbs. Which have much lower likelihood of party machines causing mass votes and fraud. It’s partially Trump losing those voters, and partially the shift in the two parties. Trump performed better in many cities and with minorities (especially males) than 4 years ago. But there aren’t enough minority votes to make up for what he lost in white votes.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

That may be where votes changed, but not where votes are. The cities remain Democratic strongholds, with Philadelphia being 90% Democratic, for example.

Christopher B said...

While not 'everywhere' these quotes from various NYT county-by-county analysis of various states do tend to point in the same direction. (initial story, you can access other states from there)

"Mr. Biden’s gains, however, were not enough to make up for votes he lost in populous Miami-Dade County, relative to Hillary Clinton’s returns four years ago. Mr. Biden underperformed in many precincts with a majority Hispanic population, particularly those in the Cuban-American communities of Miami-Dade County, which overwhelmingly supported Mr. Trump."

"Republicans have traditionally depended on big margins among white voters to overwhelm the large share of Democratic Black voters across the state (Georgia). But Mr. Biden made gains in counties that are predominantly white and in those where most white residents have no college degrees."

"Increased turnout in Detroit and its wealthy suburbs as well as shrinking support for President Trump among middle-class voters helped to propel Joseph R. Biden Jr. to victory in Michigan, a historically Democratic Midwestern battleground. Mr. Biden gained support in most of the counties won by Hillary Clinton. And about two-thirds of the counties that voted for Mr. Trump in 2016 swung left in 2020. These predominantly white counties saw voters shift their support to Mr. Biden — even as Mr. Trump won most of them."

"Mr. Biden’s largest vote margins were in dense population centers, including Philadelphia and its suburbs, and Allegheny County, which is home to Pittsburgh. The tally of absentee ballots in parts of those counties delayed the results, keeping news organizations from calling Pennsylvania for several days."

"Over all, Mr. Trump fared better in Philadelphia than he did in 2016, probably the result of further shifts to the right among white voters, but also shifts in his favor in neighborhoods where Hispanic people make up a majority of the population. Another possible factor: While Mr. Trump beat his 2016 vote totals, Mr. Biden appeared to garner fewer overall votes in Philadelphia than Mrs. Clinton did in 2016. With almost 11,000 mail ballots left to count Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Biden had received about 14,000 fewer votes than Mrs. Clinton’s final tally in the city of 584,025."

"A North Carolina victory was critical to President Trump’s re-election, and he fought to keep it red. Though the race was still too close to call on election night, results showed that many counties shifted right, including some predominantly Black and solidly Democratic ones. Mr. Trump appears to have gained traction in counties with a significant share of Black residents, a core group of supporters that Joseph R. Biden Jr. desperately needed to flip the state."

"The presidential race in Arizona remained too close to call on Tuesday evening, but Joseph R. Biden Jr. held a lead in the state’s biggest city. Phoenix and its suburbs swung to the left, making it possible that Mr. Biden wins Arizona, even as other areas shifted to President Trump. Within Maricopa County, Mr. Biden won in most precincts with a majority Hispanic population, though often with smaller margins than Democrats saw in 2016."

"Demographic changes and a suburban backlash did not stop President Trump from taking the Lone Star State, though he did so with a smaller margin than in 2016. Even as urban and suburban areas moved in large numbers toward Democrats, many Hispanic voters in the south abruptly exited the Democratic coalition. The Rio Grande Valley shifted decisively toward Mr. Trump, as heavily Hispanic areas along the border with Mexico, including Hidalgo, home to McAllen, delivered enough votes to help cancel the impact of white voters in urban and suburban areas."

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Thank you.