Commentary: This is What Everyone Was Worried About

By David M. Greenwald

When the media kept asking whether Trump would accept the results of the election, this is what people worried about probably most.  There was a slight chance that he would tried to use extralegal means to accomplish this and a good chance that he would deploy legal tactics in court.

The former was always unlikely, the latter is frankly acceptable and appropriate, but the middle course in here is more insidious and dangerous to the fabric of this nation.  Nothing is more important to a functioning democracy than the legitimacy of the process and now the President making a campaign speech from the White House itself has blatantly undermined it.

He said, “If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us. If you count the votes that came in late, we’re looking to them very strongly, but a lot of votes came in late.”

He kept going…  On and on.

Later he would say, “We were winning in all the key locations by a lot, actually, and then our numbers started miraculously getting whittled away in secret…”

The reaction by Republicans has been mixed.  Rick Santorum a former Senator from Pennsylvania, now an analyst on CNN called the claim of election cheating, “dangerous.”

“No Republican elected official is going to stand behind that statement. None of them will,” Santorum said.  He acknowledged that much of his statement was “not factual and was at times incendiary and not something a president of the United States should say.”

“I know there’s a lot of people who think this election’s stolen, a lot of people think there’s fraud,” he said. “There may be fraud, we don’t know that right now. For the president to go out there and claim that without any evidence of that is, is dangerous.

“I just would say to the president, there may be some validity in some of the things that you believe but to go out there and suggest that this is rigged … no.”

But some Republicans stood behind his comments.  Lindsey Graham and Kevin McCarthy backed him up.

“Every American should stand up. Whatever they see … tell us if they see something that’s incorrect out there,” McCarthy said. He later added, “Do not be silent about this. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes.”

Senator Cruz and Senator Graham called on the Pennsylvania legislature to invalidate the delegates selected by the state voters – the leader of the Pennsylvania legislature quickly clarified that under state law, the winner of the voters select the electors.

Newly Elected Senator Tommy Tuberville in Alabama called on them to stop counting the ballots, “The election results are out of control. It’s like the whistle has blown, the game is over and the players have gone home, but the referees are suddenly adding touchdowns to the other team’s side of the scoreboard.”

The problem here is that there is a sizable percentage of people who will simply believe whatever Trump says.  And he is being backed right now by leaders in the Republican Party – at least some of them.

A lot of people do not seem to understand why the vote count is proceeding the way it is – understandable perhaps for members of the public, but for political leaders and the President from the White House, that is unacceptable.

There are a lot of people pointing their fingers at the polling – and I think without defending it necessarily, we should understand two critical things.  First, until all of the ballots are counted, we really cannot reach conclusions.  I suspect, if things go as they are right now, we will actually see the polls did reasonably well.

Second, polls are only as good as our ability to model and anticipate voter turnout and as we see already, we have record shattering turnout.  Given that, I think it is natural that the polls would have been off by some.

People need to understand some basic dynamics as well.

First, in most states, the majority – heavy majority of the early voters were Democrats.  Democrats were attempting to avoid problems with the mail and attempting to avoid concerns about voter suppression and of course attempting to avoid concerns about COVID.

But Trump discouraged his voters from voting early and most of them voted on Election Day at the polls.

So in order to make sense of the returns – we had to understand several important things – (1) who voted – Democrat, Republican, Independent; (2) where were they voting – there are red and blue counties within states, and (3) how did they vote – mail in, early voting or on Election Day.

Each mechanism was different.  The early mail-ins and early voting heavily tilted Democrat, the later mail-ins were often more Republican (which is why Trump is closing the gap in Arizona) and the Election Day voting was often overwhelmingly Republican.

Watching the returns in places like Texas and Ohio – they counted the early votes first, which is why Biden started out in the lead, but ended up losing by healthy margins.

What we saw in Wisconsin, Michigan, and now Georgia and Pennsylvania was the opposite.  The remarkable thing about Pennsylvania and to some extent Georgia is that those early ballots even in very red counties, were heavily Democratic.  That’s why – as I write this – Biden now leads in both states and will likely win.

There is nothing nefarious there.  In the end, it’s going to be hard to challenge five or six states and claim that there was massive fraud.  But by Trump doing so, in the minds of his supporters, they will believe it and that is a problem.

The idea that we shouldn’t count these votes is absurd – if they have real evidence of fraud, by all means, challenge it in a court of law.  What they have filed so far has been quickly dismissed except for on a technical issue in Pennsylvania in terms of monitoring.  We need transparency, but even Republican officials in Pennsylvania have not seen much to alarm them.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

Support our work – to become a sustaining at $5 – $10- $25 per month hit the link:

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

Related posts


  1. Keith Olsen

    If it was a totally fair process why did Detroit cover the windows to keep election observers from watching the vote count? Can everyone at least admit that this gives the appearance of some improprieties? There’s many photos, videos and instances of this sort of thing occurring. 

      1. Keith Olsen

        You didn’t answer the question.

        In Philadelphia poll watchers were denied access to polling sites, even though they showed their credentials.  Here’s a pic of the poll watcher showing his credentials but being turned away.  There’s also a video of this exchange.  The poll workers had no valid reason to deny him other than they just didn’t want him in there. 

        1. David Greenwald

          Your question holds no standing with me.

          But I will present a little data:

          Now let’s look at some data.

          Biden won Detroit 95-5 this year. Red flag? Not really. Hillary won 97-3, so Trump actually did better in Detroit than he did 4 years ago. Which tells you that Detroit is not what won it for Biden in Michigan. So let’s use logic and reason, not reckless allegations.

          1. David Greenwald

            Bottom line: if there is actual evidence of fraud, file it in court and let a judge decide.

          2. David Greenwald

            And there is this: “These challenges are not going to impact the outcome because none of them are going after the actual vote casts, they are all process challenges.” That’s from a Republican lawyer in Pennsylvania.

        2. Matt Williams

          Hours after President Donald Trump levied new complaints against Pennsylvania’s election system, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar called the latest salvo bogus Wednesday.

          During a chaotic debate Tuesday night with Democratic challenger Joe Biden, Trump claimed that poll watchers were wrongly turned away from election offices in Philadelphia earlier that day. The city opened satellite election offices to handle voter requests, and officials acting on behalf of Trump’s campaign were denied access to the buildings.
          Boockvar dismissed Trump’s claims, calling it “disinformation” in a Zoom news conference. Certified poll watchers are allowed to observe polling places on Election Day, she said, but nothing allows them to hang around election offices where residents are registering to vote or request a mail-in ballot.

          Link to Source

        3. Bill Marshall

          Good pic… and illustrative…

          Person, un-masked, in a ‘set-up’ (?) photo, confronting… no visible signs of being ready to ‘sign-in’ as an “observer”… we had one ‘agent-provacateur’ @ our VAC Tuesday… no mask, offerred a mask (refused) and not willing to do ‘social distancing’… arse…

          But, the pic is lacking a narrative… was the ‘observer’ eventually allowed to ‘observe’?

          We had several observers @ our VAC… all were masked, all were polite/non-conforntational… at least 2 were Republican… we did have one ‘arse’… flaming ‘red’… we processed him, his vote was counted, and he complained… un-masked, refused mask, refused social distsncing (after all, Covid is a false fact, right?  He even cited that the CA Sec of State said “he didn’t have to”… drove off in a truck, flying a Trump banner…

          Yeah… and result that does not re-elect Trump is clearly bogus, rigged, ‘fake results’, etc., etc., etc.

    1. Matt Williams

      Keith, have you ever been involved in a focused detailed physical and mental exercise over a prolonged period of time?  I worked for a year as a line-worker in a timing chain assembly factory in Ithaca, New York.  The surefire way to have the assembly process go awry was to get distracted.  When you read the article below it is pretty clear that the people inside the windows were proactively attempting to limit the distraction being caused by the people outside the windows.  There were 227 credentialed Republican “challengers” inside the windows.  My personal belief is that the people outside the windows were simply trying to be disruptive.

      Republican challengers have described being escorted out of the room and implied this is because of their party affiliation, rather than any rules about the number of people allowed in the area. They are also saying not enough Republican challengers are being allowed to watch the counts as they happen.

      Democrat challengers, however, have told local media they are facing the same restrictions as Republicans, and some of them are being kept out of the area too.

      Other video from the center shows Trump supporters chanting “let us in” outside the windows being covered by officials as police arrive on the scene. Another from inside the room shows people gathering around a table and chanting, “stop the count.” Similar chants can be heard outside the center.

      LINK to Source

      With that said, do you have a fence on your property between you and your neighbors?

      And another question … when you receive your credit card statement are there valid charges for the month that you made but the process of the merchant getting the transaction to the bank causes the charge amount to arrive after the bill print date? What happens to those charges? Are they counted by the credit card company? Do you have to pay those charges?

    2. Tia Will

      f it was a totally fair process why did Detroit cover the windows to keep election observers from watching the vote count? Can everyone at least admit that this gives the appearance of some improprieties?”

      That is quite an assumption you are making about motivation. Have you ever tried to count or reconcile ballots? If so you will know it requires intense concentration. What if the real reason was to keep the workers from being distracted by the crowd outside? No, I do not believe it gives the appearance of improprieties when you realize there are trained and officially confirmed observers from both parties in the rooms where the counting is done.

  2. Robb Davis

    Except that there were actual Republican, Democrat, and Independent observers INSIDE this boarded up (apparently) room:

    At his last count, Lawrence Garcia, the city of Detroit’s corporation counsel and an election commissioner, said there were about 225 Republican, 250 Democrat and around 70 independent challengers, though he said some of the partisan members had been obtaining independent credentials to enter. (Detroit News Wednesday).


  3. Robb Davis

    Philadelphia poll watchers WERE NOT denied entry.  Trump filed suit and the judge asked if there were people representing his candidate in the room and his attorney said “yes” the judge then asked why they were there.


    1. David Greenwald

      Something else to keep in mind…

      Biden has taken the lead in Pennsylvania without them touching yet the provisional ballots and Nate Cohn on the NYT believes that will swing the election another two points for Biden
      And they haven’t even touched the late-arriving ballots

      In the end, Pennsylvania could end up being about 200,000 votes in Biden’s direction.

  4. Keith Olsen

    insidious and dangerous to the fabric of this nation

    You mean like fake Russian collusion charges using a Clinton paid for fake Russian dossier and trying to unseat a president with sham impeachment proceedings?

  5. Robb Davis

    I don’t get what your photographs are meant to prove Keith.  What David wrote above is critical—the only votes being counted in PA—and the only votes being counted everywhere else are votes received on or before election day.  Unless you have actual evidence of fraud—and it would have to be massive across many states and places—then you just need to give it a rest.

    You are impugning election office officials in places you have never been to.  How would you feel if some outsider came into Yolo County and gratuitously started impugning the character and honesty of Jesse Salinas and the elections’ office here?  The notion is ridiculous and it needs to stop.

  6. Don Shor

    Biden is going to have over 300 Electoral College votes and is defeating Trump by more than 4 million votes. He will be the next President. Everything Trump does from this point forward will do damage to his own reputation, such as it is, and do damage to the reputation of the Republican party.

    I can’t remember how many times we got told in 2016 to “get over it.” I won’t say that. I just suggest you all go watch John McCain’s concession speech from 2008 to see how a real American responds to electoral defeat.

  7. Alan Miller

    When the media kept asking whether Trump would accept the results of the election, this is what people worried about probably most.  There was a slight chance that he would tried to use extralegal means to accomplish this and a good chance that he would deploy legal tactics in court.

    THIS was totally predictable and very, very Trump.  My bet is still open for five for $50, and that’s the idea that if he loses, he doesn’t leave the White House in January.  A completely different animal.

    Isn’t all this FUN?

    1. Eric Gelber

      Isn’t all this FUN?

      No. It is not. Regardless of the inevitable outcome, by denying without evidence, and refusing to accept the results of a legitimate election, this sad excuse for a president is, quite literally, threatening a coup. Sorry, but I fail to see the humor in that.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Gore challenged the 2000 election.  Did you all cry foul then?

        After the Georgia and Pennsylvania results Trump is toast, but he’s allowed his legal challenges just like Gore.

        1. Eric Gelber

          He’s entitled to legitimate legal challenge. There’s no evidence whatsoever of the legitimacy of any of his claims. To the contrary, they are based on outright misrepresentations, slanders, and lies.

        2. Keith Olsen

          There’s no evidence whatsoever of the legitimacy of any of his claims.

          You have no way of knowing that for sure.  It might end up playing out in the courts.

        3. Tia Will

          I think it is important to recognize the differences between Gore’s challenge and Trump’s. Gore’s call was for a recount in one state where there were many problems with the ballots themselves. Trump’s challenge is to the integrity of our entire election process. I would support Trump’s challenge if it were for irregularities in a single state in an election in which he had won the popular vote.

        4. David Greenwald

          Gore’s was to continue to count the votes.  Bush v. Gore decision shutdown the counting.  I don’t have a problem with Trump filing legal challenges, the court can sort them out.  That’s how it should work.  I have a problem with him gaslighting the country with no evidence.

        5. Bill Marshall

          Any time result are ~ 1 % or less, recounts are a ‘no-brainer’… one re-count… only one…

          However, Trump goes far beyond that… at various points he has indicated that VBM ballots, post-marked before closing of polls (yeah, look at his appointee to USPS, and his record of being a Trump supporter) but received later, should not count… he has indicated all/most VBM’s shouldn’t count, regardless… provisional/conditional votes should not be counted after 8 PM, election day…

          Whatever it takes to keep a meglomaniac/narcissitic guy in office… and if that doesn’t work, there are the 3  SCOTUS judges he appointed, to ensure “victory”…

        1. Alan Miller

          I see still no one is taking you up on your bet.

          I need to taunt them more:  “Neener Neener.  Whatsa matter, can’t put up $50 to put your money where your mouth is?  Neener Neener”

          Full disclosure:  I just lost $50 (assuming the election goes as it is trending) – but in fairness (to me) I made the bet pre-Covid, and the person wouldn’t take me up on cancelling on a ‘pandemic exception’, which is fair, as we had agreed that the bet would continue regardless of circumstances, and no one (except those that planted the virus so as to defeat Trump) saw that coming.

          I also lost $50 to our esteemed moderator, though I have no memory of what the bet was – I think it was local, not national.

          Anyway, I’m 0-2, so five of you taking me up on this might be worth the risk – oh, except you didn’t actually believe your own claims.  Neener neener.

  8. Eric Gelber

    Trump’s “press conference” yesterday was a sad and dangerous attempt by a sitting president to undermine the integrity of the cornerstone of American democracy. He spewed lie after lie after lie without a shred of meaningful evidence. Those Republicans, including Graham and Cruz, who attempt to defend or justify the president’s shameful and infantile rant have forever tainted their own credibility and reputations and should be embarrassed.

    1. Keith Olsen

      Another take on what you wrote:

      The Democrat’s fake Russian Collusion and sham impeachment investigations were a dangerous attempt by a sitting Congress to undermine the integrity of the cornerstone of American democracy. They spewed lie after lie after lie without a shred of meaningful evidence. Those Democrats, including Pelosi and Schiff, who attempted to unseat a sitting Presdient have forever tainted their own credibility and reputations and should be embarrassed.

          1. David Greenwald

            Actually you are defending Trump’s statement by failing to even acknowledge it. The rest is just subterfuge to dodge accountability. It’s disgraceful.

        1. Alan Miller

          It’s disgraceful.

          Not acknowledging the stated hypocrisy is disgraceful as well.  But it’s OK, when confronted with an uncomfortable truth, just declare it ‘off topic’.

    2. Alan Miller

      yesterday was a sad and dangerous attempt by a sitting president to undermine the integrity of the cornerstone of American democracy.

      Actually, it’s just gonna show that a blowhard like Trump can’t undermine the integrity of the cornerstone of American democracy.

  9. David Greenwald

    Last five presidential elections of results in Philly:

    2020 Biden 80% Trump 19%

    2016 Clinton 83% Trump 16%

    2012 Obama 85% Romney 14%

    2008 Obama 80% McCain 16%

    2004 Kerry 80% Bush 19%

    Pretty consistent.

    1. Alan Miller

      Why so cruel?   We should respect a member of the local political minority who dares to speak up.  Imagine how our Davisite hearts would bleed for the lone, bullied Biden supporter in South Dakota who dared speak up in the Sturgis Vanguard?

  10. David Greenwald

    So the Republican Senator is basically disagreeing with the President…

    “I saw the president’s speech last night and it was very hard to watch ― the president’s allegations of large-scale fraud and theft of the election are just not substantiated,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who is retiring in 2022, told the “Today” show on Friday. “I’m not aware of any significant wrongdoing here.”

    1. Eric Gelber

      Right. Which is exactly what is being done. Problem is, Trump defines “legal votes” as excluding mailed ballots and votes cast in predominantly Black cities, like Detroit and Philadelphia.

    2. Tia Will


      Your shouting the word “legal” is not changing anyone’s mind. We all agree that only legally cast votes should be counted. What we do not seem to agree on is that Trump should be the sole arbiter of what is a legally cast vote.

      1. David Greenwald

        Keith also fails to understand legal standards here – they are not going to throw out votes based on procedural issues and in fact, they will err on the side of allowing versus not allowing a vote to count. That makes the threshold very high.

  11. Tia Will

    Why is this comment from John Hobbs allowed on the Vanguard?”

    My take having reread the Vanguard policy with regard to admissible speech about two weeks ago with regard to another issue is the following:

    A post cannot make an ad hominem attack, slander, use obscenities against or threaten any individual. While I find John Hobbs’ comment personally offensive ( as an opponent of the death penalty under any circumstances), I do not see stating an action is “practical” breeches any of those standards, any more than if you recommended the death penalty for a murderer.


  12. David Greenwald

    The entire problem with the fraud hypothesis aside from lack of evidence is if you do a county by county look at results – in blue counties, Biden is either on par with or slightly under performing Clinton from 2016.  So how did he win?  He performed better in red counties.  Fraud isn’t going to happen in red counties because they don’t have the machinery.  So the evidence is just not there.  Keith doesn’t seem to want to engage on this kind of level, but that’s what the data suggest.

    1. Eric Gelber

      Data shmayta. There’s no  evidence of voter fraud of any significance anywhere. All there is are bald assertions without any proof or evidence of truth. Trump and his minions should put up or shut up.

    2. David Greenwald

      I looked at Wisconsin… 72 total counties

      38 of then he got a lower percentage of votes than Clinton – of those Biden won 3 of them

      He did better than Clinton in 34 counties
      In 22 of the 34 counties – Trump won the vote

      The ten most improved counties he gained between 3.7 and 8.8 percent
      of those counties, he lost four of them

      The biggest county Milwaukee, he improved just 3.1 percent from Dem 36.9 to Dem 40
      The largest gap was Biden +8.8 in Menominee county but that county has about 4500 people.
      Dane County did improve by 5.3 points from plus 47.3 to +53

      Overall though, he won because improved his votes over Hillary’s in 22 counties that were red, a lot of them by narrow magins.

      He only improved in five counties by more than 5 percent and two of them he lost.

        1. Keith Olsen

          Godwin’s Law

          “As a discussion on the Internet grows longer, the likelihood of a comparison of a person’s being compared to Hitler or another Nazi reference, increases.”

          It looks like this discussion was long enough.

          1. David Greenwald

            You don’t seem to understand – you made a claim and I countered that claim with a relevant comparison. The point is that your argument is not valid. The fact that Jews voted for Hitler is in fact relevant to point you made. I did not compare Trump to Hitler, only used the point to illustrate the fallacious reasoning you employed. We’re way off topic now.

          2. David Greenwald

            Anyway, I now dispute overall the notion that the data we have is meaningful…

            BTW, I’m not sure how conclusive this is…


            in 2016 8 percent Black vote, now 12 percent
            in 2016 28 percent Hispanic, now 32 percent
            in 2016 29 percent Asian, now 31 percent

            Which leads to several problems:

            A. not outside of the margin of error
            B. harder to get an accurate exit poll
            C. if they only exit polled people at the polls, that’s a more right leaning sample to begin with

            Not sure I would conclude anything from these data

        2. Ron Glick

          The big take away is the repudiation of Bernie Sanders style socialism. When Bernie was looking good before the South Carolina Primary I said Trump would run a 24/7 loop of Bernie saying Fidel wasn’t all bad in Florida. Bernie wasn’t the candidate but Trump ran against socialism anyway and latinos in Florida with heritage in Cuba or Venezuela went big for Trump.

          On the other hand Trump’s wall and caging of children cost him Arizona.

          The take away is that the interests of latinos are varied in different states but they are a voting block to be reckoned with and will be more so in the future.

        3. Alan Miller

          The fact that Jews voted for Hitler is in fact relevant to point you made.

          Not so much.  And bringing up Hitler in any sense is exactly what Godwin’s Law is about.  It derails the conversation so you don’t have to factually respond to the argument being made.  It’s basically flipping the Monopoly board.

        4. Alan Miller

          I did not compare Trump to Hitler.

          Godwin’s Law also refers to any Nazi reference, so no points for you.

          We’re way off topic now.

          Miller’s Law:  “When the going gets tough, DG declares the conversation ‘off topic’.”

          1. David Greenwald

            I disagree that the going got tough, but the going definitely got far afield. I’m sorry but I stand by my analogy. Defending Trump’s votes by minorities as evidence he is not a racist is refuted legitimately by a Hitler analogy. Notice that Keith never could counter the actual argument, he simply labeled it as a dodge. Notice that Keith also never responded to my counter-point questioning his conclusions. Sorry but, the going didn’t get tough, the going got off topic.

        5. Ron Glick

          But what if the analogy is relevant? Deriding the argument because it invokes something related to Hitler only derails the argument with distraction. The point both David and I were making is that getting some votes from certain groups doesn’t absolve someone, especially when that someone is President of the United States, from responsibility for racist, bigoted or xenophobic behavior.

          The good news is that while Trump picked up some votes who bought his rhetoric about the economy or socialism he lost more ground in the suburbs from people who, in my own unsubstantiated opinion, want a leader who doesn’t present as so full of hatred.

      1. Alan Miller

        So what? Lots of people ignore lots of racism.

        So what?  Seriously?  Srsly?  That is THE story of this election – and you pass that off by demeaning those people of color who voted for Trump as ‘ignoring racism’ ?  Perhaps a better question is a serious look at “WHY?”.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
Sign up for