2020 election: rebutting “things that make you go hmmm…”

Last week I wrote a post about oddities surrounding the 2020 presidential race that left me wondering if the election had been indeed stolen. I linked to an article in The Spectator from a pollster who look at several elements in support of the case that something was rotten here.

To say out-loud that you find the results of the 2020 presidential election odd is to invite derision. You must be a crank or a conspiracy theorist. Mark me down as a crank, then. I am a pollster and I find this election to be deeply puzzling. I also think that the Trump campaign is still well within its rights to contest the tabulations. Something very strange happened in America’s democracy in the early hours of Wednesday November 4 and the days that followed. It’s reasonable for a lot of Americans to want to find out exactly what.

At the time I had hoped someone would examine Mr. Basham’s contentions point-by-point to either support or refute them. Finally, someone has.

Writing today at the Darwin Catholic blog, “Darwin” has a long essay on the Spectator article and finds it wanting. The short version is that Mr. Basham’s assertions are facile and just wrong. Here’s one example, first quoting Mr. Basham’s piece:

Trump’s vote increased so much because, according to exit polls, he performed far better with many key demographic groups. Ninety-five percent of Republicans voted for him. He did extraordinarily well with rural male working-class whites.

Trump grew his support among black voters by 50 percent over 2016. Nationally, Joe Biden’s black support fell well below 90 percent, the level below which Democratic presidential candidates usually lose.

Then rebutting it:

This conflates something that is true with something that isn’t.

It’s true that Trump improved his performance with black voters, but even with that improvement Trump only got the support of 12% of black voters (19% of black men and 9% of black women). It’s also true that Trump won white working class voters by a large margin — he beat Biden by 35% among white voters with no college degree. But in a sign of trouble for Trump, that was a decline in his core constituency from 2016 when he beat Clinton by 37% among whites with no college degree. Also a significant problem for Trump is that fact that while he won college educated white men by 14% in 2016 he only won that demographic by 3% in 2020, while Biden won among white college educated women by 9% which was actually an increase over Clinton’s win among the demographic of 7%.

So yes, Trump got lots of votes from working class whites, and he increased his support among blacks and Hispanics, but if we look at all the demographics we see a picture of Trump as a candidate who lost more support than he gained in terms of percentages of voters, even though partisanship drove record turnout numbers and thus a record number of ballots cast for both candidates.

There’s more like this, and I recommend you read the whole thing. I still think there was significant fraud in places, but not enough to swing the election. Darwin’s piece reinforces that belief.

On the other hand, I have not changed my belief that Nancy Pelosi and her allies exploited the pandemic to press for voting changes that would make it easier for their side to cheat …er… “win,” as Kim Strassel relates, even if they didn’t swing this particular race. We still need to institute serious reforms in our electoral systems.

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