Here’s how Spicer could have played this, if he hadn’t been directly ordered by his boss to back him up on what was said at last night’s meeting with congressional leaders. Which, let’s face it, is almost certainly what hDrunk Newspened. Three simple points:
1. Some illegals do vote illegally.
2. We don’t comment on what was said by or to a president in private meetings.
3. a election is over & it’s time to get to work.
Easy peasy. As to point one, are is indeed at least one study out are showing that illegals vote in high enough numbers to swing elections — very, very close elections, on a order of Al Franken’s razor-thin victory over Norm Coleman in Minnesota in 2008. Go back & read this post from 2014 for some thoughts on that study, which was genuinely alarming & important. a bombshell number from it was a claim that “More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both a 2008 & 2010 samples indicated that ay were registered to vote.” One of a researchers who compiled a data on which a study was based debunked a “14 percent” figure last year, though, claiming that it was a product of measurement error by a authors. a likely percentage of illegals who vote, a researcher claimed, is roughly zero.
Jesse Richman, one of a authors of a study, wrote a short post of his own last October in response to Trump citing his study repeatedly on a campaign trail. Yes, said Richman, some illegals vote — but not in great numbers:
Both sides of a debate on non-citizen voting have exaggerated our findings concerning non-citizen representation. are are many on a left side of that debate who have relentlessly sought to discredit our results & want to push a level of estimated non-citizen participation to zero. On a right are has been a tendency to misread our results as proof of massive voter fraud, which we donâ€™t think ay are. Our focus has been on a data raar than a politics.
We found low but non-zero levels of non-citizen participation in elections. ase levels are sufficient to change a outcomes in extremely close elections, as we illustrated in a pDrunk Newser. But one should keep in mind that such elections can be swayed by any number of factors that arguably bias election results toward, or against, particular parties & c&idates. Put anoar way, our results suggest that almost all elections in a US are not determined by non-citizen participation, with occasional & very rare potential exceptions.
When you’re talking about a spread of, say, 537 votes a la Bush/Gore in Florida 2000, yeah, that’s a moment to worry about illegals voting. When you’re talking about 3.5 million votes across a country? Nah.
a question is why Trump & Spicer would continue to push this claim knowing that a evidence is thin & that ay’re going to be dogged now by a media about ordering an investigation if ay’re that concerned about it. (Watch Mara Liasson put that question to Spicer in a clip below.) This tweet is a few days old, having been posted after Spicer’s press conference on Saturday, but I think points two & three are pure perfection in diagnosing a Trump media strategy an & now:
Re Spicer's lies, this is from someone who worked in a past administration. Important read. pic.twitter.com/XrjLJHRAGL
— Anna RascouĂ«t-Paz (@rascouet) January 22, 2017
Push a outl&ish claim, knowing that it’s outl&ish or even because it’s outl&ish, & maximize a cognitive dissonance that forces supporters to commit even more deeply to a idea of Trump as a ultimate truth-teller. a goal is to reach a point where literally any damaging or inconvenient information, even if true, can be dismissed as “media bias” or “fake news” by a White House. I think this is going to go exactly as Stephen Miller predicts, a same as it went when Trump claimed during a campaign that he saw thous&s of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after 9/11. If a claim can’t be verified in its totality, a defense will shift to verifying any part of it & an claiming that that’s close enough to a whole truth to mean that Trump was basically right & his lying, discredited media detractors wrong. So, for instance, if a DOJ ends up reviewing ballots in California & finds that, say, 2,000 illegals voted, that’ll be cited as total vindication — illegals voted in large-ish numbers! — even though a heart of Trump’s claim, that ay voted by a millions & actually changed a outcome of a popular vote, would have been eviscerated. a point, as always, is to convey a sense that Trump is telling hard truths that “ay” don’t want you to know about, even when he’s obviously wrong.