Bill Barr can take the heat, and on Tuesday the stalwart U.S. attorney general guaranteed he’ll get it when he said “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
Barr told the Associated Press that allegations of “particularized” fraud, with some that “potentially cover a few thousand votes,” are being explored. But President Donald Trump is down by 150,000 votes in Michigan, 80,000 in Pennsylvania, and 20,000 in Wisconsin. As for the idea that voting machines were compromised, Barr said the feds “have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”
As specific claims of fraud get knocked down, however, the broader tale of election theft takes on the nature of the unfalsifiable. Many of the theories floating around don’t withstand scrutiny.
• “Ballot dumps”: It’s being painted as suspicious that big batches of votes were reported in the early hours of Nov. 4. To take Wisconsin: Trump complained in a tweet that Joe Biden got “a dump of 143,379 votes at 3:42AM.” But the explanation is prosaic: Contemporaneous reporting says this is when Milwaukee’s central counting location finished with roughly 170,000 mail ballots. They included votes for both candidates but broke heavily for Biden.
The timing is unfortunate, but Wisconsin law doesn’t let counties process absentee ballots until Election Day, unlike states that reported early, including Florida. The same goes for Michigan, which reported a similar batch of ballots in the wee hours of Nov. 4.
• Vote totals: “I got 74 million votes, the largest in the history of a sitting president,” Trump said Sunday. It’s 11 million more than in 2016. Yet he lost to Biden, who Trump said “did not get 16 million more votes than Barack Hussein Obama.”
What’s unbelievable? The electorate grows. Since 2012, the voting-eligible population has risen by 17 million, according to estimates by the U.S. Elections Project. Turnout in 2020 was historic, helped by expanded absentee voting. If enthusiasm was also high, perhaps it’s because Trump has been a polarizing president and drove Democratic as well as Republican turnout.
• Poll watchers: Judges have dismissed affidavits submitted by the Trump camp as “rife with speculation and guesswork” and “inadmissible as hearsay.” Other claims made in public circulate largely without being tested.
• Dominion: On Sunday, Trump called Dominion voting systems, used in dozens of states, “garbage machinery.” But the totals from Georgia’s hand recount closely matched the results from its scanners.
We’re open to evidence of major fraud, but we haven’t seen claims that are credible. Now comes Barr, who has no reason to join a coverup. He likes his job. He wanted Trump to win. As the election timetable closes, Trump should focus on preserving his legacy rather than diminishing it by alleging fraud he can’t prove.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL