Paul L. Caron
Dean




Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Organ: A Data-Based Counternarrative To 'The Big Lie'

Prologue
Twelve months ago, on December 29, 2020, I posted a blog analyzing voting patterns in Congressional Districts in five of the six swing states that former President Trump lost.  The analysis demonstrated that Trump lost largely because significant numbers of voters who voted for Republican Congressional candidates in those five states did not vote for Trump.

I published that blog hoping to provide a data-based argument to put to rest some of the unfounded assertions about election fraud that have become known as “the big lie.”  Little did I think at the time, that “the big lie” would continue to be believed by a not insignificant percentage of our electorate a year later.  But several days after my blog posting, on January 6, 2021, then-President Trump, trumpeting “the big lie,” instigated some of his followers to storm the Capitol in an unsuccessful effort to stop Congressional validation of the Electoral College tally affirming President Biden as the lawfully elected President of the United States.

The former President has spent the better part of the last year refusing to recognize the validity of the November 2020 presidential election and continuing to assert “the big lie” — that the only way he could have lost the election was if there was ballot-rigging or some type of election fraud in all six of the swing states that he lost to President Biden — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  (But only ballot-rigging or election fraud with respect to the Presidential election.  No claims have ever been made that ballot-rigging or election fraud tarnished any of the other elections in the six swing states Trump lost on November 3, 2020.)

As indicated in my blog posting of December 29, 2020, an alternative explanation for Trump’s loss, an explanation that the former President does not or perhaps literally cannot acknowledge, is that large numbers of voters who voted for Republican Congressional candidates made a decision not to vote for him and instead to vote for President Biden or some other Presidential candidate.  Perhaps these Republican voters had finally found Trump's boorish behavior to be too much, or perhaps they were sufficiently concerned about his disregard for the rule of law, or perhaps they had concluded that he had grossly mismanaged the Covid-19 pandemic, or perhaps they had grown weary of his continuous efforts to polarize our society rather than work to bring people together, or perhaps some combination of these factors.

While I recognize that my effort to provide another data-based argument to put to rest “the big lie” is unlikely to be acknowledged by those who continue to believe “the big lie,” I feel compelled, as we recognize the first anniversary of the January 6 insurrection, to present once again a data-based counternarrative.

1. Analyzing Voting Patterns Across Congressional Districts in Ten "Swing" States
Is there concrete evidence that profoundly contradicts the claims of “the big lie”?  I believe there is such evidence.  For “the big lie” to have any evidentiary grounding, there should be patterns of voting in the six swing states that are almost unique — that are different in meaningful ways from patterns of voting in other similar states such as the four swing states that Trump won — Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

Accordingly, I looked at voting records by Congressional District across not only the six swing states President Biden won, but also the four other large population swing states that Trump won that also were somewhat narrowly contested — Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas — to see whether voting patterns were similar or different.  The conclusion is that voting patterns across Congressional Districts in the six swing states Biden won closely align with voting patterns across Congressional Districts in the four swing states that Trump won — Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas — providing irrefutable evidence that there was nothing unusual happening in the six swing states President Biden won to support claims of voter fraud or election-rigging.

Let’s start with what the election data can tell us about how Republicans voted in the November 2020 presidential election in these ten states.  Is there evidence to suggest that Trump lost the November 2020 election because a large number of Republican voters chose not to vote for him for President and may have instead voted for President Biden?  Is there a way to evaluate the election tallies that can shed light on whether some significant number of Republican voters failed to support Trump?  There is such evidence, and it is compelling.

To answer the question whether Republican voters chose not to vote for Trump, one needs to look at voting in the Presidential election by Congressional District.  This allows one to compare the voting patterns for the Republican and Democratic Congressional candidates in a given Congressional District with the corresponding votes for Trump and President Biden in the same districts to determine whether Trump and President Biden received more or fewer votes than the congressional candidate affiliated with their respective political parties.

I have compiled this data for not just the six swing states that President Biden won – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — but for four other relatively closely contested states that Trump won — Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

Across these ten states there are 158 Congressional Districts for which data are available to make a comparison between voting in the Congressional race and the Presidential race.  In 92 of these districts the Republican Congressional candidate won and in 91 of those districts, Trump won more votes than President Biden.  In 66 of these districts the Democratic Congressional candidate won and in 64 of those districts President Biden won more votes than Trump.  Thus, Trump lost one district won by a Republican Congressional candidate, while President Biden lost two districts in which the Democratic Congressional candidate had been successful.

2. Trump Garnered Fewer Votes than the Republican Congressional Candidate in 75% of the Republican Congressional Districts in These Ten States
But what happened beneath the surface is more telling.  Across the 92 Congressional Districts in these ten states in which the Republican Congressional candidate was successful, Trump garnered fewer votes than the Republican Congressional candidate in 69 districts.  That is, Trump lost votes relative to the Republican Congressional candidate in 75% of the districts in these ten states that one might label as Republican Congressional districts

Indeed, across these 69 districts Trump garnered nearly 590,000 fewer votes than the corresponding Republican candidates — an average of over 8,500 fewer votes per district.  And in one district in Texas, the decline for Trump and increase for President Biden relative to the Democratic Congressional candidate resulted in President Biden having more votes than Trump in the district.

3. Trump Lost Margin Relative to the Republican Congressional Candidate in 18% of the Republican Congressional Districts in These Ten States
In another 17 Congressional Districts in which the Republican Congressional candidate was successful, Trump gained some votes relative to the Republican Congressional candidate, but Biden gained even more votes relative to the Democratic Congressional candidate, for a net gain for President Biden.  That is, in these 17 Republican Congressional Districts, President Biden’s margin over the Democratic Congressional candidate exceeded Trump’s margin over the Republican Congressional candidate, such that the difference between Trump and President Biden in these districts was narrower than the difference between the Republican Congressional candidate and the Democratic Congressional candidate.

4. Trump Underperformed Republican Congressional Candidates in Nearly 94% of Republican Congressional Districts Across These Ten States
This means that in 86 of the 92 “Republican” Congressional Districts in these ten states —  nearly 94% of the “Republican” Congressional Districts — Trump “underperformed” — either garnering fewer votes than the Republican Congressional candidate (69 districts) or garnering a smaller percentage of votes than the Republican Congressional candidate (17 districts).

In the remaining six Republican Congressional Districts, Trump either gained votes relative to the Republican Congressional candidate (two districts in Florida) while President Biden lost votes relative to the Democratic Congressional candidate or gained more votes relative to the Republican Congressional candidate than President Biden gained relative to the Democratic Congressional candidate (two districts in North Carolina, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Georgia).

5. Similar Dynamic, Although Much Attenuated, with Democratic Congressional Districts
Interestingly, a similar dynamic was evident in the 66 districts in which Democratic Congressional candidates defeated the Republican Congressional candidates, although to a much lesser extent.  Across the 66 Congressional Districts in which the Democratic Congressional candidate was successful, President Biden garnered fewer votes than the Democratic Congressional candidate in 22 districts — one-third of the districts. Across these 22 districts, President Biden garnered over 153,000 fewer votes — an average of nearly 7,000 fewer votes per district.  And in two districts, one in Michigan and one in Wisconsin, the decline for President Biden and increase for Trump resulted in Trump having more votes than President Biden in those two districts.

In another 13 Congressional Districts in which the Democratic Congressional candidate was successful, President Biden gained some votes relative to the Democratic Congressional candidate, but Trump gained even more votes relative to the Republican Congressional candidate, for a net gain for Trump.  That is, in these 13 Congressional Districts, Trump’s margin over the Republic Congressional candidate exceeded President Biden’s margin over the Democratic Congressional candidate, such that the difference between President Biden and Trump in these districts was narrower than the difference between the Democratic Congressional candidate and the Republican Congressional candidate.

This means that in 35 of the 66 “Democratic” Congressional Districts in these ten states, roughly 53% of the “Democratic” Congressional Districts — President Biden “underperformed” — either garnering fewer votes than the Democratic Congressional candidate (22 districts) or garnering a smaller percentage of votes than the Democratic Congressional candidate (13 districts).

In the remaining 31 districts, however, President Biden either gained votes relative to the Democratic Congressional candidate while Trump lost votes relative to the Republican Congressional candidate (16 districts) or gained more votes relative to the Democratic Congressional candidate than Trump gained relative to the Republican Congressional candidate (15 districts).

Thus, across these ten states, while Trump outperformed President Biden in only roughly 6% of what might be considered the “Republican” Congressional Districts, President Biden outperformed Trump in nearly 47% of what might be considered the “Democratic” Congressional districts.

6. Remarkably Similar Voting Patterns in Six Swing States President Biden Won and in Four Swing States Trump Won.
Moreover, when voting patterns in the six swing states that President Biden won are compared with voting patterns in the four states that Trump won (Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas), one sees remarkably similar results.

There were 58 Congressional Districts that Republican Congressional candidates won in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.  Trump lost votes or lost margin in 54 (93%).

There were 34 Congressional Districts that Republican Congressional candidates won in the six swing states.  Trump lost votes or lost margin in 32 (94%).

Overall, across these ten states, Trump garnered 99.4% of the votes that Republican Congressional candidates received in these states.  Somewhat interestingly, however, in the six swing states that President Biden won, Trump did “better” than in the four states Trump won, averaging 99.6% of the votes that Republican Congressional candidates received in the six swing states President Biden won compared to an average of 99.2% of the votes that Republican Congressional candidates received in the four swing states Trump won.

These data reflecting voting patterns by Congressional District across these ten states do not provide any basis to believe something untoward happened in the Presidential voting in the six swing states that President Biden won.  The voting patterns across Republican Congressional Districts in the six swing states President Biden won and the four states Trump won (Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas) are nearly identical, with Trump actually slightly out-performing relative to Republican Congressional candidates in the six swing states President Biden won compared with the four swing states Trump won.

In fact, Trump almost certainly received even slightly lower percentages of the total votes cast for Republican Congressional candidates across these ten states than is reflected in the previous paragraphs.  The presidential race in these ten states generated 1,143,387 more votes than were cast in the contested Congressional races in these ten states.  Let’s assume that these voters who voted only in the Presidential election and not in the Congressional election, split between Trump and President Biden at the same rate of the overall voting for Trump and President Biden across these ten states.  Trump garnered 51.17 percent of the votes in these ten states compared to 48.83 percent of the votes for President Biden.  If we subtract these tallies from the total vote in the Presidential election in these ten states, then Trump garnered only 97.4% of the votes cast for Republican Congressional candidates across these ten states.

CONCLUSION — When One Compares Voting Patterns in the Six Swing States Won by President Biden and the Four Swing States Won by Trump There is Absolutely No Evidence to Support the Claims of "The Big Lie"

In the 14 months since the election, no meaningful evidence has been offered to support Trump’s argument about ballot rigging and election fraud.  Over 60 courts decided that these claims could not be brought or were not supported by evidence resulting in dismissals of the cases.  Indeed, a number of attorneys representing the Trump campaign in many of these cases have been sanctioned or are now facing sanctions for failing to comply with ethical rules associated with filing lawsuits without confirming that there is a factual basis to support their allegations.

In addition, election officials in every contested state have engaged in detailed analyses of their election records to confirm the validity of the vote tallies in their states — including recounts in a number of states and sampling of ballots to look for evidence of fraud with no meaningful indications that the election was tarnished in any way by fraud.  Notably, these election officials in a number of contested states were Republicans, who consistent with the rule of law, fulfilled their duties to assure free and fair elections in spite of bullying by Trump and his surrogates to violate their oath of office and lie about the results.  This includes a partisan recount in Arizona that confirmed that President Biden won Arizona.

Trump and those supporters of his who continue to assert “the big lie” essentially claim that across multiple states the thousands of paid and volunteer non-partisan election officials trying to assure the accurate tally of each legally submitted vote at the precinct, county and state level somehow were engaged in a vast conspiracy to defeat Trump, although not a single election worker in any state has come forward to claim that he or she was part of such a conspiracy.  Surely by this time, nearly fourteen months after the election, someone involved in such a conspiracy would have acknowledged the effort or would have been outed by someone on social media (as many of those involved in the January 6 insurrection have outed themselves or been outed).

There is no meaningful evidence to support “the big lie” or the concept of a conspiracy to commit election fraud just in the voting for President of the United States across the six swing states that Trump lost.

There is, however, significant, irrefutable evidence that voting patterns among Republicans in the six swing states that Trump lost are no different than voting patterns among Republicans in the four “swing” states that Trump won (Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas).

Because the voting patterns of Republican voters in the six swing states Trump lost align almost identically with the voting patterns of Republican voters in the four swing states Trump won, there is only one conclusion that can be reached.

There was nothing unusual in the voting patterns in the six swing states Trump lost to suggest that any voter fraud or election-rigging took place.  Trump lost the election because some Republican voters in the six swing states Trump lost (in proportions remarkably similar to Republican voters in the four swing states Trump won) decided not to vote for Trump for President.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2022/01/a-data-based-counternarrative-to-the-big-lie.html

Jerry Organ, Legal Education, News, Political News | Permalink