Yes, The Donald went there.
He not only mentioned the likelihood that illegal votes were cast in the presidential election.
He went further than that, and claimed outright that he actually won the popular vote, if the illegal votes are discounted.
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Now, let’s pause for a Western skeptical-empiricism moment. No one can say for sure how many illegal votes there may have been. Based on empirical evidence, the reasonable person would assume there were some – because there have been documented cases of illegal voting and illegal votes in the past; because all the same opportunities are still there; because in this 2016 cycle, there have been reports of ballot tampering at the polls, of the dead still populating voter rolls, and non-citizens being registered illegally to vote, and dozens of vote-by-mail ballots being sent to single addresses.
Without voter ID requirements in a lot of states, and with motor-voter registration in states where illegals are allowed to get driver licenses, and with illegals and other non-citizens having reported in surveys that they do, in fact, vote in U.S. elections, there is no way to argue that illegal voting doesn’t happen. The strongest likelihood, in 2016, is that it did.
But we don’t know how much of it happened in the 8 November election. Nor do we have documentation of which candidate(s) were voted for illegally.
So it is unquestionably premature to say with certainty that enough illegal votes were cast to invalidate Hillary’s Clinton’s lead in the popular vote. I happily stipulate that up front.
The thing about Trump truth, however, is that it keeps trumping the skeptical empiricism that we scions of the Enlightenment prize as a bulwark against hasty assumptions and bias.
In some ways, we must observe, invoking skeptical empiricism has become a refuge for unquestioned assumptions and bias. So the whole thing is very interesting to think about. But we can leave that for another time. The point here is that I smell another Trump truth triumph coming.
Trump truth has prevailed quite a number of times now, such as when Trump called Obama the founder of ISIS, and when Trump said he had seen the ransom money being delivered to Iran in January 2016, on video.
The way Trump truth prevails is only sometimes by being later “proven” correct. Often, proof one way or the other is impossible, by the strictest empirical standard. (That’s certainly the case with the proposition that Obama “founded” ISIS.)
But mostly, Trump truth prevails by breaking the media narrative and the biased structure of mental expectations it is based on.
In the case of the illegal vote, the media narrative – equally embraced by many politicians and right-wing pundits – isn’t what you may think it is. The narrative is not that “there was no illegal voting.”
That would be too easy to impugn with evidence. The narrative, rather, is that “it is irresponsible and destabilizing to talk about the likelihood of illegal voting.” For the left, the narrative really ends there. (Except, naturally, for the point that it is also “racist” to talk about illegal voting.)
If the left needs to talk about problems with the integrity of the vote, it will devise thrilling stories about Russians in dark alleys bombarding our voting machines with trons.
For like-minded right-wing pundits, the narrative may be extended. “It is irresponsible and destabilizing to talk about the likelihood of illegal voting, unless and until you have vats overflowing with direct, specific evidence, and you can say exactly how much of the vote was affected, because we have to assume that some tiny percentage of it is always in question anyway.”
That sounds very judicious and defensible. It suits our Western-minded expectations right down to the ground.
The problem: we have reason to believe today that a growing election-integrity problem has been hiding itself in the gray space protected by those same judicious, defensible sentiments. And the criteria for breaking a politically incorrect problem out of the gray space have been set so stringently that it’s like saying we can’t investigate the lump until the cancer has killed us.
This dynamic, right here, is the one that makes Twitter “righteous,” in the eyes of the old consensus, to censor True the Vote when it comes out and agrees that Gregg Phillips and his organization VoteStand have identified three million illegal voters who participated on 8 November. (H/t: Michael Dorstewitz at BicPacReview)
(Donald Trump tweet here — based on Phillips’s tweet.)
— True the Vote (@TrueTheVote) November 28, 2016
The latter part of the careful pundits’ Western-empirical narrative, the one about waiting for evidence that no one can impugn for any reason, has been the haven of political correctness for a long time now.
But the function of Trump truth is to smash the front part of the narrative. What has silenced public discussion is not a lack of evidence for illegal voting. It’s the proposition that “it is irresponsible and destabilizing to talk about the likelihood of illegal voting.” That’s not actually a statement about empiricism. It’s a judgment call about priorities and political decorum. That’s the interstice in which Trump truth has been having so much success.
For a specific election, and for official actions to overturn it, it is certainly necessary to have specific evidence. We have yet to see what Gregg Phillips thinks he’s got, and so must reserve judgment.
But Trump truth about illegal voting isn’t going to be “about” the outcome of the 2016 election. What it will be about is freeing the public dialogue, for a long time to come, from the clamp of the MSM narrative.
No matter what the MSM news outlets say, no matter what MSNBC’s talking heads say, no matter what George Will or Lindsey Graham or Karl Rove says, the tide will turn. The people will know themselves freed to speak of what we have every reason to believe is true: that illegal voting of multiple types is a problem in our elections, and that the problem is growing, as it has to, with the influx of unassimilated migrants, whether they immigrate through the front door or merely migrate through the back.
Moreover, my bet is that we will see reasonable evidence – evidence the people will find convincing – that there was illegal voting in 2016, and on a larger scale than anyone in our old-consensus elite would acknowledge. The allegation of illegal voting will go from being beyond the pale to being accepted wisdom.
Trump truth will ultimately break the power of the “voter ID is racism” narrative. None of these prejudicial narratives will go down without a fight, of course. But Trump has found a way to charge at them that the narratives don’t own the high ground on. Don’t bet against Trump truth. It may be couched in an unexpected and sometimes goofy form, but its track record is remarkable.