Today’s press conference with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (his second) was yet another catastrophe in what is sure to be a lengthy series of train wrecks. In just days Spicer has become famous for pushing obvious falsehoods through official government press conferences alongside the serial lies of President Donald Trump and his shameless devotee and spokesperson Kellyanne Conway.
Trump is unable to cope with the humiliation of having lost the popular vote by around 3 million votes, the largest margin in presidential history. As per usual, Trump expresses his desperation by telling absurd lies. He claims that he actually did win the popular vote, but the real tally was obscured by the 3 to 5 million illegal votes cast. This is patently false. There is no evidence to suggest that there was any voter fraud, much less on that scale.
When Spicer was confronted by reporters during today’s White House press conference about Trump’s outrageous allegations, and he had the audacity to defend Trump’s lies through an official government channel. “The President does believe that, I think he’s stated that before, and stated his concern of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have brought to him” said Spicer.
When Spicer claimed that Trump’s belief about millions of illegal voters is “based on studies and evidence,” he was only able to cite a single study – the sole study Trump has used for “evidence” for his outlandish claims throughout the campaign, a 2012 Pew Research study was published in 2012 and mostly about the 2008 election. It talked about making the voter registration more efficient and less costly. It said nothing about voter fraud or illegal votes being cast.
The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law has been working tirelessly for years to debunk the myth of widespread, endemic voter fraud. Federal Courts agree that there is no reason to think there is significant voter fraud in America. In other words, we have free, fair, and accurate elections.
The author of the 2012 Pew study has recently came forward to confirm that the report said absolutely nothing of the sort. He also pointed out that voter lists are much more accurate now, so the Trump team’s attempt to abuse the study to analyze results of the 2016 election is doubly wrong.
As I've noted before, voting integrity better in this election than ever before. Zero evidence of fraud. https://t.co/BBS8NVcACB
— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) January 24, 2017
We found millions of out of date registration records due to people moving or dying, but found no evidence that voter fraud resulted.
— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) November 28, 2016
Voter lists are much more accurate now than when we issued that study in 2012, thanks to the 20 states sharing data through @ericstates_info
— David Becker (@beckerdavidj) November 28, 2016
There is no reason to think that Americans who move and register to vote in their state are even aware that they remain registered in their previous state, much less that they go to the significant effort of voting in both. The Brennan Center for Justice also notes that many cases of alleged double-registration or dead people voting are the result of lazy journalism that conflates two individuals share the same name. The minuscule numbers of vote irregularities in the U.S. are nearly always traced back to a clerical error and amended. In any case, they irregularities are far too small to influence overall election results.
Trump’s lies about winning the popular vote are a dangerous attempt to distort the truth to shore up his own ego. When a reporter asked Spicer, “Wouldn’t millions voting illegally be an astronomical, historic scandal demanding investigation?” he responded meekly, “He [Trump] won fairly.” (It might be worth noting that along with the fraudulent claim that millions voted illegally, Trump also makes the baseless claim that these illegal votes were all cast for rival Hillary Clinton. What if they were all cast for Clinton and Trump actually lost by 6 to 9 million votes?)
Trump’s lack of motivation to actually investigate the scale of voter fraud he alleges is telling. He is inventing a democratic crisis that could undermine our entire system of government, but is not willing to look into it officially because he knows he is lying and will be proven wrong. Despite the obvious inconsistencies, he persists. Trump is playing a dangerous game, and the legitimacy of our future elections hangs in the balance. If lying about millions of votes becomes the norm, what will our country’s future look like?
The most dangerous part about this whole affair is the words Spicer used, over and over: Trump believes that this is true. He’s so delusional that he’s convinced himself of his own conspiracy theories.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.