After repeatedly claiming that the US election was going to be rigged, and that he would refuse to accept the result unless he won, Donald Trump might now be starting to regret making such a big deal about it.
Because, according to reports coming out of the States, experts are starting to believe that the election was indeed rigged – but in Trump’s favour, rather than his bitter enemy Hillary Clinton.
As a result, a fortnight after Election Day, many academics are encouraging Hillary Clinton’s campaign to demand that votes in three key states -Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – are recounted.
A source "with knowledge of the request" told CNN that the experts believe vote totals in those states have been "manipulated or hacked."
Clinton led Trump consistently in polls for months in three crucial midwestern states – Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, but ended up losing the first two, with the latter’s result still not declared.
However, a group of experts from various areas – journalism, professors of cybersecurity, Democrats and more – have noticed ‘unusual’ voting patterns in certain areas.
Reportedly, Hillary received 7% fewer votes that expected in counties that primarily used electronic voting machines in Wisconsin, which could potentially have lost her 30,000 votes – in a state she lost by 27,000.
Hema Abedin, the sister of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest aide, wrote on Facebook that, “A shift of just 55,000 Trump votes to Hillary in PA, MI & WI is all that is needed to win,” before urging people to call the justice department to request an audit, in the belief that electronic machines could have been vulnerable to hacking, or outside influence.
However, before Hillary supporters get too carried away imagining a toppling of Trump before he’s even got his feet under the Oval Office desk, there are some dissenting voices. Polling expert Nate Silver, writing on Twitter, suggested that the pattern disappeared once you had controlled from race and education levels. Additionally, many Democrats are wary of complaining for fear of being seen as bad losers, and pounced upon further by Trump’s acid rhetoric.
To follow: some *very* quick analysis which suggests the claim here of rigged results in Wisconsin is probably BS: https://t.co/SYlE76bnmQ— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 23, 2016
Run a regression on Wisc. counties with >=50K people, and you find that Clinton improved more in counties with only paper ballots. HOWEVER: pic.twitter.com/4swuU70NaY— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 23, 2016
...the effect COMPLETELY DISAPPEARS once you control for race and education levels, the key factors in predicting vote shifts this year. pic.twitter.com/NYOINx9lEz— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 23, 2016
Maybe a more complicated analysis would reveal something, but usually bad news when a finding can't survive a basic sanity check like this.— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 23, 2016
Nothing in Pennsylvania, either, whether or not you control for demographics. pic.twitter.com/25moBhv3Zm— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) November 23, 2016
Nonetheless, with concerns during the campaign over Trump’s praise for Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, there is an undeniable belief that there could have been foreign influence in the election.
Alexandra Chalupa, a former DNC consultant who investigated links between Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Russia, said, “The person who received the most votes free from interference or tampering needs to be in the White House. It may well be Donald Trump, but further due diligence is required to ensure that American democracy is not threatened.”
An open letter to congressional leaders from dozens of professors of cybersecurity, defence and elections read, “Our country needs a thorough, public congressional investigation into the role that foreign powers played in the months leading up to November.”