Against all sense of reason, Donald Trump insisted on holding dangerous, tightly packed rallies of his maskless supporters in numerous swing states in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century, theorizing that the energy that the gatherings would generate would inspire enthusiasm and a robust turnout among GOP voters and deliver him the victory that he so craved.
Now, a new post-mortem of the election results by NBC News reveals that the rallies may have actually been a major factor in ensuring Trump’s defeat.
According to the NBC News report:
“Comparing Trump campaign stops over the last two weeks of the race to election results shows that in the overwhelming majority of cases, Trump underperformed his 2016 margins in the counties he visited, in some cases by large amounts.”
Trump conducted an epic 30 campaign stops in the last two weeks before the election, but in 25 of the counties that the president visited “his margins of victory got smaller, his margin of defeat grew or the county flipped Democratic,” NBC‘s analysis of voter tallies reveals.
The report suggests that while the crowds at Trump’s rallies may have been more visible to the media, the negative publicity surrounding the COVID-19 superspreader events being held to boost the president’s re-election bid may have had an even bigger impact on Trump’s detractors than had been previously suspected.
Here are a few of the findings that NBC News uncovered:
“In Michigan, Trump held five events in the last two weeks of the campaign and in every one of those counties, his 2020 margins were worse than they were in 2016.”
“…The pattern was similar in Pennsylvania. Trump held seven events in the state in the last two weeks of the campaign and in every county Trump visited he did slightly worse than he did in 2016.”
The only positive response to Trump rallies to be found in the post-election analysis comes in Florida’s Miami-Dade County where, while he still lost the county as a whole, he improved on his 2016 performance by a suspicious 22 points that he remarkably failed to include in his many subsequent claims of election fraud after his loss to Biden became apparent to everyone but himself.
NBC News cautions about reading too much into the results of its voting pattern analysis and tagged its article with this disclaimer:
“To be clear, none of this is provable. These are correlations, not one-for-one causal relationships. Trump’s rallies may have helped him, even in the places where he underperformed in 2020. Maybe they prevented him from doing worse.”
Still, the analysis does conclude that the margins of loss in the counties where he held his counter-productive rallies contributed to his defeat in the swing states that he lost by a relatively small number of votes.
If it turns out that Trump’s ego-gratification events were the source of his ultimate repudiation, the irony would be so sweet.
Original reporting by Dante Chinni at NBC News.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.