by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
To call this an uphill battle understates the matter. At the moment, presumptive President-elect Biden is computed to be ahead in the electoral vote, 290 to 214. Three states have not yet been “called” …: Georgia (16 electoral votes) leaning Biden, and North Carolina (15) and Alaska (three) leaning Trump. That is a probable final “call” of 306 to 232 — ironically, as many have observed, the same total the president won by in 2016. Contrary to what he has claimed ever since, that is no landslide. It is, however, a commanding lead. He would need to flip Pennsylvania, where Biden leads by about 46,000 votes, plus at least two other states — the plausible candidates would seem to be Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin, where Trump is currently behind by less than one percent — respectively, 10,000, 17,000, and 20,000. The Trump camp also complains about voter fraud in Michigan, but he trails by over two percent (146,000) there. …
… Human error and at least some cheating occur in every election of any size — and it looks like, when the dust settles, approximately 150 million Americans (a record) will have voted in the 2020 election. So the issue with claims of election fraud and other impropriety is always: Did it make a difference — i.e., if whatever improprieties had not occurred, would the outcome have been different?
For the president, that is a steep mountain to climb. Even with the election having been close, we are talking about the need to shift tens of thousands of votes — I’d estimate at least 80,000, and probably more, spread in the right quantities over three states — before the outcome would arguably be in doubt.
That means that if the president is determined to mount a challenge, the Trump team has no alternative but to allege and try to prove systemic fraud and/or illegality.