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CNN host Michael Smerconish practically guaranteed during a Friday segment that Democrats were going to pick up votes after polls close Nov. 3, potentially overcoming President Donald Trump’s election day majorities in key battleground states and leading to him questioning the results.
“Say it’s Election Night 2020, the presidential race all coming down to who wins Pennsylvania in order to win the Electoral College,” he began, reminding viewers that Trump defeated his 2016 Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton in the state by about 45,000 votes.
“That’s the narrowest margin in 176 years,” Smerconish continued. “So, let’s imagine that on Election Night it’s even closer, that he’s winning by…20,000 votes. The Associated Press, the cable networks like ours have not yet declared a winner because they’ve learned the hard way how numbers can shift before the final certification of the election results.”
The host recalled the 2000 election when Democratic contender and Vice President Al Gore was initially declared the winner, but then “Florida’s results changed and he lost,” a reference to the weeks-long recounts that were ended with a narrow George W. Bush victory after the U.S. Supreme Court intervened to stop them.
“So, in our scenario, both candidates end the night without claiming victory or conceding defeat,” Smerconish said, asking his audience to imagine Trump’s lead “slipping away” as more votes are tallied.
“It could well happen due to the phenomenon known as the ‘blue shift,’” he said, “the fact that since 2000, votes counted after Election Day have predominantly skewed Democratic.”
Smerconish pointed out that following election night, Trump’s margin of victory in Pennsylvania was nearly 68,000 votes, but after all ballots had been counted, Clinton gained more than 23,000 votes, “and that wasn’t a fluke.”
He noted further that Democratic candidates gained more than 22,000 votes after polls closed in the three previous presidential elections beginning in 2004.
“So, back to our hypothetical: What might the president do if his margin keeps dropping? Well, look at the 2018 Senate race in Arizona,” he said.
At the end of the night, GOP contender Martha McSally was ahead of Democratic challenger Kyrsten Sinema by more than 15,000 votes. But by the time the rally vote tally was certified, Sinema had gained more than 71,000 votes to win by nearly 56,000 ballots.
“The president got involved, he noted this. He tweeted the claim of electoral corruption,” Smerconish said while showing a graphic of the Trump tweet below:
Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON’T MATCH. Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018
“Then there’s Florida in 2018 where Republicans Ron DeSantis and Rick Scott won the governor and Senate races respectively, but after Election Day, their leads began to dwindle,” said Smerconish, “and the president again tweeted.”
His tweet read:
The Florida Election should be called in favor of Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis in that large numbers of new ballots showed up out of nowhere, and many ballots are missing or forged. An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected. Must go with Election Night!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 12, 2018
In fact, recounts in Florida following the 2018 elections yielded 3,000 missing votes, machine malfunctions, and 80,000 “new” votes in Left-leaning Broward County alone, which has a history of election scandal.
“So, what if we go to bed on Nov. 3 with one candidate projected as winning but another candidate later certified as victor?” Smerconish asked. “Will Americans accept an election result that comes after a blue shift?”
The liberal host’s ‘hypothetical’ appears to align with claims made by Democrats for weeks that Trump won’t leave office if he loses.
But Smerconish’s hypothetical scenario is also likely to feed into conservatives’ longstanding, and justified, concerns about alleged Democratic post-election day vote tampering.
As for CNN, the network has been pushing fears of a “post-election crisis” stemming from a number of things including charges that Trump won’t concede a loss to Joe Biden and that there will be widespread ballot delivery problems and delays thanks to the Postal Service — all of which undermines voters’ trust in the system.
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