Election 2016

Pushing conspiracy theories

Donald Trump claims millions voted illegally — without evidence to back it up

Trump claims millions voted illegally — without evidence to back it up

President-elect Donald Trump followed up a weekend of tweeting about the Green Party’s vote recounts, now joined by Hillary Clinton, by going one step further Sunday evening. Trump claimed that he had, in fact, won the popular vote and that millions of people voted illegally — without providing any evidence to back it up.

Clinton’s lead in the popular vote surpassed two million last week.

Trump’s claims made front-page news on many of Monday’s newspapers; The New York Times called them “baseless,” while the Washington Post painted them as a “conspiracy theory.”

Reports of at three least million undocumented immigrants voting in the election are floating around pro-Trump and conspiracy theory websites, including an article published on Infowars — a site that infamously calls Sandy Hook was a hoax — on Nov. 14.

Infowars cites a pair of tweets by Gregg Phillips, the founder of VoteStand which calls itself “America’s first online fraud reporting app.” While Phillips has yet to release evidence for the claims, PolitiFact investigated the report and concluded that it was false. Snopes also debunked it last week.

A link on conservative news aggregation site, The Drudge Report, helped the Infowars’ story’s reach, and Trump has used Infowars as a source before, according to the New Yorker.

Trump’s latest Twitter outburst came just hours after he criticized the call for recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, calling it a “Green Party scam” before going on to criticize Hillary Clinton for joining the campaign for a recount. Stein filed a formal request Friday for the recount in Wisconsin.

Despite Trump’s huge Twitter following, the vast majority of responses and retweets pointed out the danger of the president-elect making such comments.

Some, like Professor Tom Nichols of the U.S. Naval War College, see Trump’s tweets as a way of distracting the public from some other controversy:

But others, including Olivia Nuzzi, who has covered the Trump campaign for the Daily Beast, says this is just Trump being Trump:

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt pointed out the power which Trump will soon have:

In a 15-message tweetstorm, investigative news organization ProPublica points out that while there are lots of issues with the American voting system, there’s no evidence that electoral fraud is one of them:

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