President Donald Trump‘s latest false claim of election fraud in Pennsylvania has Americans sounding off once again on social media. Trump retweeted a graphic late on Friday night, appearing to show a discrepancy between the number of mail-in ballot requests and the number of mail-in votes cast. As it turned out, the graphic mixed up various numbers from the primary election and the general 2020 presidential election.
The information in Trump’s tweet has been thoroughly disproven, as explained in a report by fact-checking site Snopes. It explained that the 1.8 million ballots were reported requested by registered Democrats, and did not include the requests from registered Republicans or unaffiliated voters. Furthermore, the numbers were from Oct. 19, over a week before the deadline for requesting mail-in ballots. In the end, over 3 million ballots were requested in total, and just over 2.6 million were returned in time to be counted in the election.
The 1,126,940 votes were created out of thin air. I won Pennsylvania by a lot, perhaps more than anyone will ever know. The Pennsylvania votes were RIGGED. All other swing states also. The world is watching! https://t.co/zmnk34Ny23
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2020
The fact-checking did nothing to dissuade Trump or his die-hard supporters on social media, however. Many continued to perpetuate conspiracy theories about mass voter fraud and partisan election tampering with no supporting evidence whatsoever.
This new post comes shortly after a Pennsylvania judge threw out the Trump campaign’s appeal against the state’s election results. According to a report by CBS News, Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote: “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
The falsehood of Trump’s tweet only made critics more outraged by its brazenness. Here is a look at the response on social media on Saturday morning.
We can’t stress this enough: he’s comparing mail ballots cast in the general election to mail ballots requested in the primary election. And thinks it’s rigged because there were more in the general. But he’s acting like they’re both the general. https://t.co/7FRFMZpc14
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) November 28, 2020
This is insane and deserves both of the disinformation labels that it earned from Twitter. For anyone who still cares about truth, @Elaijuh pointed out that the data they’re using to claim the election was “rigged” isn’t even from this election. https://t.co/BdRCdNPptC https://t.co/gQ9gcDHJS7
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) November 28, 2020
Many journalists, watchdog groups and other public officials shared the simple explanation for the discrepancy Trump was presenting: he was comparing the number of mail-in ballot requests from different elections. However, even when multiple sources informed Trump that the information was wrong, he did nothing to correct himself or delete the tweet.
Donald Trump’s continued lies about the election constitute what I call “crimes against democracy.”
It’s time for Twitter to stop simply labeling his tweets as false. It’s time to treat him like they would treat any other user. Send him to Twitmo ASAP. We’ll all be better off. pic.twitter.com/gfURy0Q8Y6
— Russell Drew (@RussOnPolitics) November 28, 2020
Trump is either shockingly, dangerously lazy and uninformed or actively trying to destroy our democracy https://t.co/7FRFMZpc14
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) November 28, 2020
Many users want to see Trump banned from Twitter to stop him from spreading misinformation about the election. They fear that his posts will do long-term damage to democracy itself since they shake his followers’ faith in the process, even if they have no tangible impact on this particular election.
Sounds like out of 1,126,040 votes that were created “out of thin air”, you’d be able to find 1 clear cut case of fraud that you could take to court as EVIDENCE, doesn’t it? pic.twitter.com/UIkev7qDCQ
— 𝙳𝚊𝚗 𝚂𝚕𝚘𝚝𝚝 (@DanSlott) November 28, 2020
So where is the evidence and why has. virtually every case (including two in PA) tossed out by the courts?
— Jerry Barmash (@JerryBarmash) November 28, 2020
Many commenters wondered why Trump was sharing this information online and not in court if it was as authentic as he claims. Some even commented that his work in appointing judges should have made these cases easy for him to take on if he had real evidence.
One possibility is that Pennsylvania committed extremely brazen and obvious election fraud, unbeknownst to everyone except the person quoted by the president.
The other possibility is that the president is completely wrong.
It’s the latter. https://t.co/d41Z4ESoac
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) November 28, 2020
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) November 28, 2020
For some users, Trump’s latest claim of election fraud boiled down to two possibilities: either he was lying or the Pennsylvania election officials were. Based on Trump’s track record as president, they felt comfortable assuming that it was the former, not the latter.
Really? Really? This is how you want future generations to remember this time of transition? You come across as the youngest child in the family who lost a board game and is now throwing it all over the living room while shouting it isn’t fair. Sad 😞
— BP (@birgit_palmer) November 28, 2020
Many Americans marveled at Trump’s rhetoric, asking if he understood how these kinds of claims would look in the long-term context of his presidency. Others guessed that he did not think about those kinds of things.
— MURRAY🧢🇺🇸 (@murray_nyc) November 28, 2020
Finally, many commenters were simply shocked at Trump’s insistence on his election fraud claims, going on weeks now with no real evidence. Some feared that this was a part of a strategy to exhaust his detractors until it becomes hard to discern who is right anymore, as fact-checkers grow tired of correcting the same things over and over again.