“‘Donald Trump and his supporters had their day in court and failed to produce substantive evidence to make their case.’”
That’s an excerpt from a 72-page report titled “Lost, Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden Won the 2020 Presidential Election,” just out from a blue-ribbon panel of American conservatives.
The report sets out to analyze the many fraud claims that the Republican former president, Donald Trump, and his allies have offered to explain Trump’s loss by 7 million–plus votes (306-232 in the Electoral College) to Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Among the noted figured behind the report are retired federal appeals court judges Thomas B. Griffith, J. Michael Luttig and Michael W. McConnell; former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who served under former President George W. Bush; former senators John Danforth and Gordon Smith; longtime Republican election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg; and veteran Republican congressional chief of staff David Hoppe. Each one has been elected as a Republican, been appointed to their office by a Republican, or is otherwise associated with the GOP.
“Once they had lost, Trump and his supporters had an obligation to recognize that the election debate was over,” the report states. “Questions of election legality must be resolved dispassionately in courts of law, not through rallies and demonstrations.”
Weeks after Biden’s win — called by major-media decision desks on Nov. 7, 2020, four days after Election Day, and affirmed by the Electoral College on Dec. 14 — Trump supporters infiltrated the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6, 2021, immediately following a Trump rally near the White House dubbed “Stop the Steal” and, crucially, as Congress was meeting to certify Biden’s electoral victory. The attack on the Capitol complex disrupted for hours that bedrock democratic process and led to millions of dollars’ worth of damages and more than 140 injuries along with five deaths. The incident is being investigated by a bipartisan House committee, which has been holding public hearings over the past several weeks.
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The “Lost, Not Stolen” report highlights Nevada, a state that Biden won in 2020, as one notable site of baseless fraud claims.
According to the report, Trump and his legal team called Nevada “the big treasure trove of illegal balloting,” but were not able to produce evidence to support such a claim. The Nevada secretary of state, a Republican, highlighted just 100 cases of potential fraud out of the 1.4 million votes cast in Nevada during the 2020 election. Biden won Nevada by more than 33,000 votes.
Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud have continued to be aired as recent as this week, when he sought to cast new doubt on the Wisconsin result, appearing to believe that a state court’s ruling restricting the use of ballot drop boxes could, and should, be applied retroactively — notwithstanding, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel observed, that Trump’s 2016 win in the state over Democrat Hillary Clinton would also be placed in jeopardy.
Biden beat Trump in the Badger State by some 20,600 votes in 2020, while Trump outpolled Clinton by just under 22,750 votes four years earlier, when Gary Johnson and Jill Stein combined to draw about 140,000 votes.
Trump is not alone in believing, or professing to believe, the 2020 election was not legitimately conducted. In polls cited by Politifact, a majority of self-identifying Republicans have said they do not think Biden was “legitimately elected.” One Quinnipiac poll conducted six months after the election found as much as two-thirds of Republicans agreeing with the claim that Biden’s election to the presidency was not legitimate.
The “Lost, Not Stolen” report comes as Biden’s overall approval rating has fallen from percentages in the mid-50s in April 2021 to below 40% of late, adding credence to what many self-identifying Republicans have described as a gut feeling that Biden could not have won 81.3 million votes (to Trump’s 74.2 million). Biden’s average favorable rating, at 42.2%, is also underwater.
Not helping is a persistently high inflation rate, which the Federal Reserve, echoed by the Biden White House, had expected to be “transitory” and to have moved well lower by this summer. Instead, according to June data, inflation, as measured by the consumer-price index, has climbed to a 41-year high of 9.1%.