The latest twist and turn in the presidential election are the constant tweets by @realDonaldTrump that our election system is rigged, and there is “large scale voter fraud.”
Now there is little doubt the mainstream media has for years demonstrated a left ward bent. Those who question that fact only have to look to the rise of Fox News and talk radio as the public looked for a balance in reporting – further proof that free markets work.
But Mr. Trump’s assertions, however, go beyond media bias. The Clinton News Network can’t “rig” the election. They do not cast our ballots for us. Yet Mr. Trump is pushing the notion that the election will be stolen from him. So let us examine that line of thinking and who the co-conspirators will have to be.
First, elections are controlled at the state level. There is no federal department of electioneering where federal bureaucrats are tabulating our votes. It is each state’s Secretary of State that is responsible for overseeing and safe guarding the election process.
Republicans are the Secretary of State in 28 states. These states comprise 278 presidential electoral votes. If Mr. Trump won all of them, he’d be the 45th President. Lets look a little closer at those 28 states and the 9 of them that he is losing.
Electoral Votes of States with a Republican Secretary of State
29 Florida – losing (possible to win – Bush carried)
18 Ohio – losing (possible to win – Bush carried
16 Michigan – losing (never likely to win – but he said he was going to put in play)
14 New Jersey – losing (never likely to win)
12 Washington – losing (never likely to win)
10 Maryland – losing (never likely to win)
9 Colorado – losing (possible to win – Bush carried)
9 South Carolina
6 Nevada – losing (possible to win – Bush carried)
5 New Mexico – losing (possible to win – Bush carried)
3 North Dakota
3 South Dakota
278 Enough electoral votes to win.
As Secretaries of State are elected locally, and often in the off years, there are five states where for one local reason or another there is a Democrat elected Secretary of State where Mr. Trump has a substantial lead in current polls. If the election were held today, Mr. Trump would carry these states raising his electoral count to a possible 307.
5 West Virginia
307 Electoral votes
Again, all politics being local, there are three states from the top chart that have a Republican Secretary of State where Mr. Trump never stood a chance of winning – totaling 36 electoral votes that we should subtract from our target list.
-14 New Jersey
271 Electoral votes – still enough to win.
These 30 states totaling 271 electoral votes were all part of Bush’s 286 electoral votes in 2004, and remarkably similar to Bush’s 271 vote win in 2000 (swapping Iowa and New Mexico for New Hampshire and North Carolina).
This could be Mr. Trump’s path through the electoral college if he is truly concerned about a rigged election. However he is currently losing in five of those states that President Bush carried on his road to the White House. Oddly, rather than try to win those states where he has a Republican watching over the ballot box, Mr. Trump is campaigning in Pennsylvania and Maine, which last cast their votes for a Republican in 1988.
If Mr. Trump loses the election, there will, no doubt, be much finger pointing – but the election result will NOT be rigged. In particular, the finger should not be pointed at the 28 Republican Secretaries of State. Mr. Trump would do well to remember the lesson we all learned in elementary school – when you point your finger at someone, you have more fingers pointed back at you.
This column appeared in the Oct 18th DesMoines Register