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The election data hints at massive GOP fraud

Summary:
Calm down, I don’t think the GOP committed any election fraud. Instead, I’m going to show that if you were going to look at the data and draw inferences about possible fraud, there’d be all sorts of red flags pointing right at the GOP.Let’s start with the basics. AFAIK everyone admits that fraud is likely to be concentrated in swing states, where moving 100,000 votes might tip a close election. The wide national vote margin, which will likely be around 7 million in favor of Biden, has nothing to do with fraud.So to look for evidence of fraud you’d look for swing states where Trump did suspiciously well given the fact that he lost the national vote by a huge margin. The last estimate I saw from Nate Silver is that Biden will win the national vote by 4.6%, and he’s winning

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Calm down, I don’t think the GOP committed any election fraud. Instead, I’m going to show that if you were going to look at the data and draw inferences about possible fraud, there’d be all sorts of red flags pointing right at the GOP.

Let’s start with the basics. AFAIK everyone admits that fraud is likely to be concentrated in swing states, where moving 100,000 votes might tip a close election. The wide national vote margin, which will likely be around 7 million in favor of Biden, has nothing to do with fraud.

So to look for evidence of fraud you’d look for swing states where Trump did suspiciously well given the fact that he lost the national vote by a huge margin.

The last estimate I saw from Nate Silver is that Biden will win the national vote by 4.6%, and he’s winning the tipping point state (Wisconsin) by 0.6%. That means Trump is outperforming by an astounding 4% in the tipping point state, a huge gap unlike anything I’ve ever seen. (Even the last election saw an unprecedented gap, but it was more like 2.9%. And in 2012, Obama won the tipping point state by 5.4%, even as he won the election by only 3.9%)

Trump is perhaps the luckiest presidential candidate in US history, massively outperforming his national margin in all the key swing states. That’s really, really, really suspicious!

Of course I don’t actually believe that Trump tried to steal the election, because all the experts (including Republican experts like Karl Rove) say it’s virtually impossible to steal an election when the swing states are being won by tens of thousands of votes. Even stealing one of those states would be almost impossible. Three would be almost impossible to the third power. There’s really no point in even trying to steal an election.

I frequently see election fraud claims based on what the Trumpistas view as “fishy election data”. I cannot emphasize enough that all of these claims are false. Whether it be false claims that lots of people only voted for Biden and not for someone else, or false claims of suspicious margins in big Democratic cities, or false claims of a suspiciously high turnout in states like Wisconsin, it’s all lies. I’ve chased every claim down the rabbit hole and they’ve all been lies.

If you actually wished to look for suspicious patterns in the data, the evidence would point overwhelmingly at the GOP, not the Dems. Given Biden’s 7 million vote margin, it’s insane how close Trump came to winning last week’s election. It really does look like the GOP cheated, padding vote totals in swing states, if suspicious election data is your criterion.

Over at Econlog I pointed out how “weird” it is that there’s a high correlation between favoring a losing candidate and believing election fraud took place. One is a normative judgement and one is positive. Why any correlation at all? It’s not rational. In a logical world, the Dems would be the ones screaming about election fraud.

PS. BTW, can we count the &%$*@&$ votes! There are still many millions of votes yet to be counted. The media is full of stories based on “vote margins” which will change once all the votes are counted. It’s been ten days since the election and vote counting is not speeding up; indeed it’s slowing down more and more each day. What’s the problem? If all the votes had been counted within 24 hours, it would have been immediately clear that Biden had won the national vote by a comfortable margin and won the EC by at least three sizable states.

Update: I just realized that Biden will win the EC by 306 to 232, the exact same “landslide” that Trump claimed in 2016. In addition, Trump has implicitly acknowledged that he lost the election, with all his tweets about control of the Senate hanging in the balance in Georgia. So that means Trump now thinks he lost the 2020 election by a landslide.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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