Former president Donald Trump, like a tone-deaf musician, used the anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot last week to once again allege, without evidence, that the 2020 election was rigged. “Look at the numbers,” he told his followers, “they speak for themselves.”
He’s right, they do: They conclusively show his fraud allegations are bogus. For proof, let’s take a deep dive into Pennsylvania’s results.
Trump won the Keystone State in 2016 by less than a point and lost it in 2020 by a bit more than a point. As a result of that, supposed misdeeds in the state have loomed large in the MAGA crowd’s fraud narrative. Trump and others have alleged that Democrats directly stuffed ballot boxes during the counting in Democrat-controlled cities such as Philadelphia, or did so indirectly through fraudulently cast mail-in ballots.
Millions of people, mainly Republicans, believe these claims, even though there is no specific evidence to support them. They watched Democrats mercilessly assail Trump for years, and have become used to rallying around him in response. Media declarations that the election was legitimate don’t stick. Worse, they tend not to support their defense of the election with clear evidence, making it a “he said, she said” argument. The sides talk past one another without engaging the facts.
That’s why it’s worth looking at Pennsylvania in detail. The state is one of the few that did not allow no-excuse mail voting in 2016, but then changed the law to permit it for 2020. Democrats also controlled the counting mechanism in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in both years. That makes it the perfect place to test whether fraud occurred. [Continue reading…]