The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Margin of Theft

Posted on | December 7, 2020 | 2 Comments

During our Election Night coverage on The Other Podcast, my colleague John Hoge kept referring to the reported vote totals in each state as either being inside or outside “the margin of theft.” What happened after Election Night — in the pre-dawn hours of Nov. 4, generally — was that tens of thousands of votes for Joe Biden were “found” (some would say fabricated) that shifted the results in six key states (Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Michigan) with a combined 79 Electoral College votes. In every case, it should be noted, this shift was in one direction, away from Trump and toward Biden. Trump supporters skeptical of these results are accused of “conspiracy theory” thinking, but the circumstantial evidence seems sufficient to inspire doubt.

Let’s take a look at the reported results in those six states:

Georgia (16) …………. 4.9 million votes … margin 11,928 (0.2%)
Arizona (11) ………….. 3.3 million votes … margin 10,457 (0.3%)
Wisconsin (10) ……. 3.2 million votes … margin 20,682 (0.6%)
Pennsylvania (20) … 6.8 million votes … margin 81,874 (1.2%)
Nevada (6) …………… 1.4 million votes … margin 33,596 (2.4%)
Michigan (16) ……… 5.5 million votes … margin 154,188 (2.8%)

According to NBC News, Joe Biden has 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. However, this rests upon three states — Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin — where the reported margin is less than 1%. If those states were flipped, the Electoral College totals would be 271-269.

What is interesting about this — and by “interesting,” I mean too weird to be dismissed as coincidence — is that of the 13 “battleground” states listed by NBC News, Trump reportedly won five, and in none of those states was the margin less than 1%. In the closest state that Trump is acknowledged to have won, North Carolina, his margin was 74,481 votes, 1.3%, which was greater, percentage-wise, than the margin by which Biden (allegedly) won Pennsylvania. In other words, Biden won all four of the four closest states which (coincidentally) gave him just enough Electoral College voters to win the White House. In terms of the Electoral College majority, Nevada and Michigan didn’t matter, if Biden won Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona.

Some more uncanny facts about this election:

Over the past nearly 40 years, presidential elections have observed an intriguing phenomenon: 19 counties in the nation have always voted for the winner, be it Republican or Democrat. They’ve been dubbed “bellwether counties” and until this year, no president since at least Ronald Reagan has missed even one.
In 2020, all but one of the bellwethers picked President Donald Trump by a margin of some 16 points on average. Only one, Clallam County in Washington, went for former Vice President Joe Biden and only by about a 3 point margin.
Yet unofficial vote counts now show Biden in the lead and with enough electoral votes to claim the presidency. Trump is challenging the results in several states, alleging fraud, voter suppression, and illegal restrictions on Republican poll watchers. Two states have announced recounts.
Bellwethers aren’t a crystal ball—their streak was expected to end sooner or later. But what would be striking is for it to end so radically.
There is another bellwether list of 58 counties that has correctly picked each president since 2000. Trump swiped 51 of them by an average margin of nearly 15 points. The ones he lost went to Biden by a margin of about 4 points on average.
And then there’s Vigo County in Indiana — the quintessential bellwether that has correctly picked the winner in all but two elections since 1888. In both of the missteps, the residents wrongly picked the losing Democrat: Williams Jennings Bryan over President William Taft in 1908 and Adlai Stevenson over President Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.
In 2020, Vigo went for Trump by nearly 15 points, roughly the same as in 2016.

What we are expected to believe is that somehow, not only did Biden win without winning either of the ultimate bellwether states (Florida and Ohio) that have gone for every winning presidential candidate since 1960, but he also won while losing nearly every bellwether county. And his Electoral College majority was obtained by barely winning four states by margins smaller than the margin by which Trump won his closest state.

Recall that Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and their media allies) promoted the “Russian hacking” conspiracy theory after the 2016 election as a way to explain her defeat, in which Trump’s populist “America First” message helped him shatter the “Blue Wall” of states that Democrats had won in every election since 1992. Yet what Biden (allegedly) did in the 2020 election was far stranger than Trump’s 2016 victory. Even without any specific evidence of fraud, the circumstances are sufficient to justify skepticism. You don’t need a conspiracy theory to explain this. You don’t need to explain it at all. The rational basis of doubt is self-evident.



2 Responses to “The Margin of Theft”

  1. How to Maintain Your Sanity : The Other McCain
    December 9th, 2020 @ 1:02 pm

    […] commented at all about the legal wrangling over the presidential election. My post on Monday (“The Margin of Theft”) laid out a few points of circumstantial evidence pointing toward fraud in […]

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    December 13th, 2020 @ 11:16 am

    […] you, I say this believing that the elections in Pennsylvania and Georgia and Michigan were dirtier than dried egg on a plate, left in the sink from three days ago. But also remember there is no situation so bad but that you […]