No one questions the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency more than the president himself, judging by the insecurities he displays with his constant promulgation of conspiracy theories about voter fraud.
Despite the definitive failure of his witch-hunting commission to discover a single instance of the type of massive voter fraud by Democrats in the 2016 election, Trump continues to make completely unfounded claims that he actually would have won the popular vote were it not for enormous numbers of non-existant illegal voters.
The limits of reality — and his dismal poll numbers — haven’t stopped Trump from trying out new angles to push the false narrative that he is much more popular than the certified election results may have indicated.
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Today he tweeted out a new approach by blaming Google for having “manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election.”
Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019
Trump refers to a report supposedly published by a Hillary Clinton supporter without providing any references to the source of the report in his tweet, save for a tag for Judicial Watch, “a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation” — an oxymoronic description at best — which supposedly promotes transparency, accountability, and integrity in government, politics and the law.
Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at Media Matters for America, discovered the inspiration for Trump’s tweet which, as typical for the president, appears to have been inspired by his incessant viewing of Fox News channels.
Good morning the president is watching Fox Business.
Left, Fox Business' Varney & Co., 11:45 a.m.
Right, Trump, 11:52 a.m. pic.twitter.com/FP0iDSIk1q
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) August 19, 2019
According to the political website The Hill:
“Trump appears to be referring to the work of Robert Epstein, a researcher with a group based in Vista, Calif., called the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology. Epstein testified in a Senate hearing in June about what he calls the “Search Engine Manipulation Effect” and claimed that his research shows Google’s search results pushed at least 2.6 milllion people to vote for Clinton in 2016.”
One might ask the question of how this is any different from the influence of Fox News and conservative talk radio which surely delivered millions of votes to Trump with coverage that essentially amounted to millions of dollars of free campaign ads for the Republican candidate.
One could also question the extent to which Google search results influence pre-existing political opinions and if that influence actually outweighed the highly targeted Facebook posts generated by Russian bots to the benefit of the Trump campaign.
Google has called Epstein’s study “nothing more than a poorly constructed conspiracy theory,” and Google CEO Sundar Pichai questioned the researcher’s methodology when he testified about it before a House panel last year.
It is not just Google who has refuted the president’s paranoid visions of voter fraud conspiracies against him lurking around every corner. Ellen Weintraub, the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission — growing weary of the president’s unjustified attacks on the integrity of the American electoral system — sent a letter to Trump on Saturday demanding that he put up or shut up and produce the evidence to support his baseless claim that he would have won New Hampshire’s electoral votes in 2016 if not for voter fraud or stop repeating the accusation.
“Facts matter, and people of America need to be able to believe what their leaders tell them,” Weintraub told CNN.
As long as the lying-est president in American history is still in office, the people of America will never be able to believe what he says. The mental capacity of someone so inextricably tied to his TV remote and prone to believing any wild conspiracy theory that appears on his screen makes it even more inadvisable to pay attention to his pitiful bleating.
All the more reason we need to be rid of him as soon as humanly possible.
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Original reporting by Harper Neidig at The Hill.