Hillary Clinton has a new excuse for her 2016 loss to now-President Donald Trump: voters in places like Wisconsin, which she notoriously did not visit, were disenfranchised by voter identification laws and prevented from casting ballots in her favor.
Clinton told an audience at George Washington University that she’s been counseling 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, according to The Hill, and among her pearls of wisdom is a warning to watch out for Republican “voter suppression,” which she believes comes in the form of laws requiring a photo ID to vote.
Clinton specifically blames Republican voter suppression for Stacey Abrams losing the election for Georgia governor, but, for the first time, extrapolated the problem to the 2016 presidential election, claiming that around 200,000 voters in Wisconsin were turned away from the polls because of that state’s voter ID requirement (Clinton, of course, lost Wisconsin in a brutal swing state defeat, despite what she claims were internal polls showing her far ahead of Trump)
Hillary Clinton: “You can run the best campaign. You can have the best plans. You can get the nomination. You can win the popular vote. And you can lose the Electoral College and therefore the election for these 4 reasons. Number One: Voter suppression.”
Via The Hill pic.twitter.com/Ks4S6tDdfI
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 17, 2019
“You can run the best campaign, you can have the best plans, you can get the nomination, you can win the popular vote. And you can lose the Electoral College and therefore the election for these four reasons. Number one, voter suppression,” Clinton told the crowd of around 300.
“We saw what happened in Georgia where Stacey Abrams should be governor of that state,” Clinton continued.
“Registered voters were kept off the rolls. Their registrations just piled up in some back office with no intention to ever enroll them so that they could actually vote. We also saw what happened in 2016. Experts estimate that anywhere from 27,000 to 200,000 Wisconsin citizen voters, predominantly in Milwaukee, were turned away from the polls. That’s a lot of potential voters.”
Abrams lost by more than 50,000 votes, and early claims of “voter suppression” turned out to be largely false. Brian Kemp, who defeated Abrams, did purge thousands of voters from the rolls over the course of his tenure — under a massive database cleanup project — but subsequent investigations showed those voter profiles featured information mismatches or had long gone dormant.
But Stacey Abrams’ claim of voter suppression in Georgia is far more solid than Clinton’s claim of voter suppression in Wisconsin. Clinton’s “200,000” number actually appears to be a misquote of a “300,000” number that originated in a tweet shortly following Clinton’s Wisconsin loss. The tweet claimed “300,000 voters were turned away by the states strict Voter ID law,” thereby offering proof that the election had been “rigged” for Donald Trump, ostensibly by the Russians. The number also, it seems, appeared in a New York Times article post-election.
Even Snopes, which is undeniably a left-leaning “fact checker” organization, didn’t buy the claim. Upon a cursory investigation, Snopes discovered that the “300,000” number originated with a court finding striking down a Wisconsin voter ID law that the court claimed may have disenfranchised 300,000 voters — but that the exact number of people prevented from voting by the law was unknown.
By the time Clinton ran for President in 2016, the legislature had already changed the law, so even if 300,000 people were actively prevented from voting by the law as it existed in 2014, when the court analyzed it — something even the court itself doubts — the number was certainly outdated by November of 2016.
But, as Clinton has proven time and again in the wake of her loss, the facts matter little. Clinton lost Wisconsin not because voters were kept from the polls, but because she failed to overcome Donald Trump’s message of economic populism in a purple state, where moderate Democrats — and particularly union workers — don’t find themselves beholden to their party leadership. Clinton never made her case to Wisconsin voters, so they voted for the other guy.
That would mean, of course, that certain Trump voters aren’t racist, and that’s a reality Clinton can’t accept.
“We are witnessing a deliberate and ongoing effort to undermine the integrity of our elections and silence millions of Americans … particularly women, the elderly and people of color,” Clinton said at the end of her speech. “It’s no accident. It’s in service to their larger goals of obtaining and keeping power.”