One of the reasons Trump expected to lose the popular vote was fierce opposition within the Republican party. Many Republicans found Trump unacceptable and said so publicly. An entire movement (#nevertrump) and even a candidate (McMullen) were part of the Republican effort to stop Donald Trump.
How, then, did Trump receive as many or more votes than DUHbya, McCain, or Romney? The explanation from the people who were wrong every step of the campaign is that Republicans “came home.” Do you believe Romney “came home”? How about Colin Powell?
I’m not saying #nevertrump Republicans voted for Clinton, though some surely did. I can believe some voted for Johnson (especially in NM) and some didn’t vote. How did Trump get as many votes as he did without the usual united Republican support, especially in crucial states that were in doubt?
Prior to the election, Trump claimed there would be vote tampering. Even on Election Day, he repeated lies about vote switching from Trump to Clinton. Clearly, he was laying groundwork for a refusal to accept the results he expected. However, everyone rushed to assure the electorate that a hack is impossible. Did those people fall into a trap?
Imagine a voting precinct with 10 voters. Six are registered Republicans; the others are independents or Democrats. In a normal year, the Republican candidate gets 6 votes. This year, he gets 5 votes.
Ballots in this hypothetical precinct are scanned and correctly tallied. However, before results are reported, a subroutine compares totals to registrations. It counts 6 votes for Trump. Who would know? How would you know? By comparing the ballots to the totals.
The example is designed for simplicity. The larger the number, the easier to hide the hack. Is this hack more than theoretical? Americans are paranoid but naïve about technology. Remember that massive Internet slowdown a month before the election? (A denial of service, DNS, attack.) Many thought it was a test or a precursor. What if it was an actual assault? Who would notice?
What can we do about this? Pick strategic precincts where the vote affected the electoral outcome. Throw in a few random precincts. Audit the voting software — compare the software in-use with a gold archival copy. Quick and easy.
Next, do a hand count and compare the results to those reported. Isn’t it worth the time and effort to certify the results, to reassure the electorate that the results are valid, despite even the “winner’s” disbelief?