Investigative Reporter Greg Palast: GOP Stole 2016 Election Using Voter Suppression, Purging Ploys

Donald Trump on election night with Vice President-elect Mike Pence (right) and Reince Priebus, then-chair of the Republican National Committee (center). Investigative reporter Greg Palast questions the validity of the voting results that led to Trump’s win. (Julie Jacobson / AP)

Editor’s note: On Thursday, Truthdig will be sitting down with Greg Palast to discuss the 2016 election — tune in here.

Americans who think the 2016 presidential election was far too reminiscent of the 2000 edition might be on to something. What’s more, like a busted clock, President-elect Donald Trump could actually be right twice: that the “swamp” of Washington, D.C., needs draining, and that U.S. elections can be stolen. In fact, investigative reporter Greg Palast thinks Trump and his party may have just made off with this one.

In the turbulent days since last Tuesday’s shocker brought roiling national tensions and divisions out in the open, politicians and pundits have lurched about in an effort to explain the results. Everything from woefully flawed polling models to a complacent electorate, intolerable nominees and third-party “spoiler” candidates has been trotted out in explanation, amounting to a confusing and jumbled picture. What for some constituted an earth-shattering national disaster appeared to others as the dawn of a welcome new era. As anyone with a social media account knows, there hasn’t been much gray area in between. (Among many other things, this campaign season was marred by extremes.)

For Palast, all that speculation misses the point. According to his research, which he’s been conducting since the last time Florida hogged the spotlight on Election Day, there are many ways in which the U.S. voting apparatus can be manipulated to produce a desired result.

In other words, in Palast’s view, Trump was right about the system being “rigged.” Or at least that’s what the president-elect vigorously insisted — until he won.

READ: From White Sheets to Spreadsheets

Back in 2012, Palast helpfully boiled down his data to warn citizens about the imminent failure of the American democratic experiment, and he included that data in his book, “Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps.” (Watch this clip for a comprehensive rundown.) Since then, the list of steps has grown because of the Supreme Court’s catastrophic gutting in 2013 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The 2013 decision removed crucial safeguards that had prevented balloting practices from being gamed in ways that would discriminate against minority voters.

But the stakes were jacked up even higher by the introduction in 2014 of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program. That scheme was spearheaded by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (whose name has been floated as a short-list possibility for Trump’s administration), and involves the cooperation of his counterparts in 27 other states. Their stated mission is to remedy a nationwide epidemic of voter fraud that some analysts say doesn’t actually exist. (Click here to read and watch Truthdig’s earlier interview with Palast about the Crosscheck program.)

What they’ve really accomplished, according to Palast’s calculations, is the systematic purging of tens of thousands of voters from the rolls in this latest presidential election. Many of them are people of color, who have been deemed more likely to cast ballots for Democrats — and scores of them live in the swing states that Trump claimed by razor-thin margins on Election Day.

In short, Palast believes Americans have just witnessed a hugely consequential heist on a national scale. He’s been on the trail of alleged voter suppressors and election poachers for years; he landed a cover story in Rolling Stone’s September issue; and he released a documentary this fall, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits.” But he says the fix was in on Nov. 8 despite all these efforts.

Palast talked with Truthdig’s Kasia Anderson just after the election to offer his take on how the voting tallies added up as they did.

Editor’s note: Interview transcript was edited for clarity.

Greg Palast: I want to follow up on key things—obviously, you saw the report on Democracy Now! from Ohio. And even more important, of course, our film spends a lot of time in North Carolina. But here’s the story … My film talks, and my book talks, about 10 ways to steal the vote.– basically, 10 methods of voter suppression. The number one thing to remember: This is the very first election, presidential election, following the gutting of the Voting Rights Act.

Kasia Anderson: Right.

Greg Palast: … by The Supreme Court. That has made an intense difference, believe me. Let me just give you some numbers here. So what we have is, for example, we have a Trump margin of victory in Michigan of 13,107. The crosscheck purge list in Michigan was 449,922. Now, I want to be careful — when you go through that list, there’s a lot of people who have actually moved or something … in fact, most people on this list were not removed. I figure about, from my experience, the absolute minimum number of removals is only about 12 percent. But only 12 percent of 449-450,000 — you’re talking 50,000 people [removed from the Michigan voter rolls], almost all voters of color, overwhelmingly.

So, the Trump margin of victory — any application of the crosscheck list whatsoever — that’s it, that’s the margin of victory in Michigan. Arizona: 85,000 is his margin — 85,257. The crosscheck list: 270,000.

Crosscheck purge list is — I’m looking at … the 2014 summary from crosscheck itself, and then we apply … Obviously, in Michigan you’re talking a crosscheck list of 449,922 suspected double-voters or double-registered [voters], conservatively based on the Virginia purge, which is a very … it’s the most conservative method of all. There’s a competitor to crosscheck called ERIC [Electronic Registration Information Center], and that pretty much cleaned up the people who have moved.

So, a lot of states only use crosscheck or use crosscheck first, and their crosscheck eliminations are much bigger. But I want to take out the ones that ERIC did, because the ERIC list, I’d say, is 90 percent reliable. I mean, they take out people that shouldn’t be taken out, but they’re fairly reliable. So, if you’ve cleaned out the people who are on the ERIC list … [If] crosscheck has someone on the list that wasn’t on ERIC, they’re not a double-voter – they haven’t moved. Then you’re getting into the pure first-name, last-name match.

Now, you’ve seen the movie and heard this a couple times, so you know that the crosscheck list is basically a match of people with [the same] first and last names, and they purge those people. Or, they send them postcards, and those who don’t return those postcards can be purged, either in one election cycle or in the second election cycle.

Kasia Anderson: Right.

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Greg Palast: So, in Virginia we were looking at one single cycle. This was very conservative. So, with Michigan, crosscheck basically handed Trump a victory. Arizona — I would not say that crosscheck handed the victory to Trump. What handed it to him was crosscheck plus citizen voter requirements, plus ID. … The problem I have with a lot of the material is you have to make a tremendous number of estimates. Plus, normally, for example, when I wrote the book “Billionaires and Ballot Bandits,” I gave a very exact, quite exacting number of the votes that were shifted away from Obama in 2008. What I had was the advantage of the states’ numbers and the EAC — the Elections Assistance Commission — numbers for provisional ballots, spoiled ballots, absentee ballots, rejected ballots of various types.

Unlike the rest of the world, the U.S. and the [local] sites are not swift at all to publish the votes that never get counted or the votes that they rejected. It’s huge — the number of provisional ballots in this election will number in the several million … the number of rejected absentee ballots will number in the several million.

Keep in mind that chance of your vote spoiling — that is, you cast it but it doesn’t get tallied — is 900 percent higher if you’re black then if you’re white. And that’s the [U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’] statistical analysis.

So, in that case, we’re looking at… from the experience of looking at the Arizona numbers, previously — and I can go back, there are other purge numbers, and provisional ballots — there is little doubt that Arizona is basically decided not by votes but by votes not counted, or the people turned away from the polls or purged from the voter rolls.

Same with North Carolina. Michigan. North Carolina … without question Michigan, without question Arizona, without question Florida. Probably — I don’t want to go out, because I’m looking at preliminary numbers — I would say probably North Carolina, and possibly Ohio. And of course, we haven’t looked at Minnesota yet. But I don’t think there’s any question in these states. Pennsylvania.

And the problem is, one of the big things that happened is that in 2000 … Over the past four years, you’ve had two major shifts. Two major shifts are: the demolition of the Voting Rights Act; and the second major shift is that the voting officials, the number of Republican voting officials taking office absolutely surged. One of the reasons Obama is president, is that in 2008 there’s a Democrat secretary of state in Ohio, and black people did not have a problem voting. For example, there were several early, you know there were lots of early voting stations. People didn’t wait in line five hours, six hours. You know, that’s just the truth of it, and … so you … definitely had these major shifts in who’s controlling these voting offices.

Interestingly, by the way, in fact to show how powerful that shift is in terms of who controls the vote: The … one swing state that swung to Hillary was Virginia, and that’s because Democrats took over the voting apparatus.

Kasia Anderson: Was that attributable in some way to [Virginia] Gov. [Terry] McAuliffe and other people down the chain?

Greg Palast: It took him a while. McAuliffe is not — and you can quote me on this — he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. And I met with McAuliffe on voter suppression issues a few years ago, and he didn’t appear to understand the issue at all. But he did appoint — it took him about a year to take over … the office of the State Elections Board was switched to an African-American Democrat, and that changed the entire voting structure of Virginia. Now, I don’t want to say both parties… for those saying, well, that means Democrats are stealing it, well basically the … advantage that Democrats have is they simply let people vote. Now, you could say that they’re allowing people to vote a second time from another state, or aliens, etc. but we haven’t seen — you know, again, where are the arrests for these crimes?

So, Trump laid out a clear path about how they’re gonna basically shoplift this election. It’s always the same way. Whenever you hear someone yell “The vote’s rigged! Aliens are voting … people are voting twice,” etc., Trump said … [it] got mushed, because the same day that he that the tape came out about him groping women was the day that he said, in my opinion, something more important, which is that he claimed that … Mexicans were crossing the border to vote for Hillary. …

That got lost, but whenever someone says … you have what in the film we call the “hysteria factory,” that’s always a cover. Every time that there’s a claim of fraud, what you have is then a solution to stop the fraud — in the case of Arizona to stop …

Kasia Anderson: That enables Republicans to put more restrictions …

Greg Palast: Right, so you have more restrictions, and one of the devastating things that happened also is that the head of the … the executive of the Elections Assistance Commission who was appointed this year was a protégé of Kris Kobach’s — Trump’s … what I call the “Purge-on General.” The guy who put together crosscheck, the guy who wrote SB 1070, the guy who wrote the laws for Alabama, Arizona and Kansas saying you have to prove your citizenship to vote. The vote suppression—you know, we use the term vote suppression and it’s a clean, it’s a legalistic term – but when someone steals your car, you don’t say “someone suppressed my car!” Suppression is a funny word. They take the vote. They knock people off the voter rolls.

There is also, and this is very, very important … I’m a numbers guy. By the way, you might consider this a positive imprimatur or not, but I did … I was a professor of statistics at Indiana University, so numbers are my thing, and so I like to work from numbers, which is why I do the kind of reporting I do — it’s all kind of numbers-based and statistics- and probability-based, too. And so, for example, this latest — you know, the pundits were all wrong, right? …

Kasia Anderson: Yes, that was going to be my question for you: Based on your statistical background, what is your take on how wrong all these polls and all the punditry was?

Greg Palast: They were wrong.

Kasia Anderson: Yeah. But, why … how did we get in this?

Greg Palast: Let me tell you something. Here’s the thing that’s going on: The polls, okay, the polls … moving into the election polls were wrong, okay, they were erroneous, because the number one adjustment factor that they make, which they must make – it’s not incorrect — but the number one adjustment factor they make is that they have to determine who is likely to vote. And they underestimated the likeliness of the vote for … the likeliness of the vote for Trump. In other words, they said … they would ask, for example, did you vote in 2012? If someone said no, they put them down as less likely to vote in this election. But a lot of the white middle America simply wouldn’t vote for Romney or Obama. They came out to vote this time.

Okay, so that was an error in the polls leading up to the election. What about exit polls? Now, exit polls are used, are the gold standard of measuring whether an election’s been fixed. And suddenly there’s a brand-new trope out there that explains away difference between the exit polls and and the final count. Now, as we know, we also have a big, big problem, that the number-one exit polling company, Edison … conforms data — that is, the final exit poll always conforms to the count, which is terrible, because how do you measure – we need to know the difference between the exit polls and the count, because that’s the margin of steel — everyone’s accepted that for decades. Okay, so now we don’t do that because the exit polls are supposedly wrong in Ohio in 2004, wrong in Florida in 2000, but they were right — and what is the difference?

OK let me … it’s very simple. We have a massive non-count in America. A massive non-count. So for example, if you’re given a provisional ballot, and you come out and you talk to an exit pollster, they say, “Who’d you vote for?” So if you say, “Well, I voted for Hillary,” the exit pollster does not know, and they never ask — for reasons I don’t understand they don’t ask, “Were you given a provisional ballot?” Right? And so, with millions of provisional ballots, millions — and overwhelmingly those are given to voters of color — that is, Hillary voters, so you have voters … [interview momentarily disrupted after phone disconnects]… Anyway, so you have the problem that votes spoil, you don’t … When someone says, “I voted for Hillary,” they don’t know if their vote was counted. This is very important. The non-count of votes in America is huge and vital and determinative in at least two elections we know of – ‘04 and 2000 – and by the way, don’t forget, in 2000, no one doubted if you counted every single ballot, you know, that … on the recount that Gore won. It’s just that they said if you go by the Florida rule, you know there’s this discussion about, well, what happened in that recount.

And in that review by the media people — I was there, I was part of it — the ballots thrown out … there were 179,000 ballots spoiled. I’m not talking about my whole story of the felon voters who weren’t allowed to vote, because they didn’t have provisional ballots at the time. 179,000 ballots were spoiled, and again, 900 percent … the chance that they were black was 900 percent higher than for a white voter. So just that — the spoilers — forget my story of the felon count. The spoiler factor was determinative there. And the same in Ohio. What people don’t realize in Ohio in 2004 is that … they were still using punch-card machines. Hanging chads actually had more to do with that election than … these people run around saying it was the electronic voting machines.

Kasia Anderson: Right.

Greg Palast: I’m not going to piss on the people who say it was the electronic voting machines. All they have is a smell, not a hard piece of evidence for me to say I can look at the amount of votes that were thrown in the spoilage bin — and we know where they came from, they came from the inner cities and punch-cards.

So, what’s happening now? We have massive spoilage, and we know where that goes. We have this … huge purge issues, including, in particular, this brand-new crosscheck system, which has totally slipped under the radar except for my reporting. I’m sure it will be looked back — just like my reports of the felon purges of Florida were not picked up in the U.S. press for four years, okay. This is the same type of story …

Kasia Anderson: Why isn’t it being picked up? Because, I mean, it seems like there’s a lot of interest in examining what happened, and there’s a …

Greg Palast: No there isn’t! I disagree — there’s no interest at all. In fact, just the opposite – there is a trope that, how dare anyone challenge the idea that American elections are anything but the envy of the world?

Kasia Anderson: Well, there’s a petition going around about [how] the electoral college could still vote Hillary as the winner, come December — there’s a whole petition running for that.

Greg Palast: Yeah but that’s hardly something that has become mainstream news. I mean Truthdig — I love you guys, but because you are not mainstream, okay?

Kasia Anderson: Right. No, I’m not saying it’s mainstream – I’m saying there seems to be, on social media and through other channels …

Greg Palast: Now look, not that my story is being ignored, it was the cover story of Rolling Stone. But that’s — and I was just on Democracy Now! on election morning. And, you know, so within the non … and of course, this year’s the first year I’m not directly reporting for BBC and the Guardian — and you know, so I am mainstream, just in the rest of the world which doesn’t ignore it. I’m just saying it doesn’t become part of The New York Times parlance or The Washington Post. All my stuff — for years, it takes years to drip in, just like ‘04 in Ohio. So, you know, and one of the things I really always resent is when people say, “Well, if your story was legit, how come it’s not in The New York Times? And my answer is always the same: It will be.

Kasia Anderson: So, why can’t you get their interest now, do you think? I have my ideas, but I want to know from your experience.

Greg Palast: Well there’s tropes … in fact, when we got cut off I didn’t finish something. The liberal media is beating itself up, the liberal mainstream, with a false, false line. I went back to the idea that exit polls are the gold standard. And the raw exit polls — they were saying, “Gee, the exit polls showed Hillary Clinton winning.” Now, the exit polls are always the gold standard of how people thought they voted. It doesn’t tell you if their vote got counted, it tells you if they thought they voted. And those exit polls are shockingly accurate — if you correct for the monkey business in Ohio and Florida, those exit polls are shockingly accurate. And for good reason – you just told someone how did you vote a few minutes ago — you don’t have to guess whether they voted, because they just told you. What they don’t know is if their vote counted. Now, what happened here? There’s a brand-new trope that says, oh, people told pollsters that people are afraid to say that they voted for Donald Trump …

Kasia Anderson: Right, the leaners, right?

Greg Palast: This is one thing that’s been pushed by Joe Scarborough – he’s the number-one promoter that everyone has repeated — oh people are afraid to tell pollsters! And his line was this: They’re told every day that Donald Trump is a freak and a racist and a sexist and a bad guy who doesn’t like Muslims, right? And so they’re afraid to say that they’re voting for Trump. I’m sorry — how many people watch Joe Scarborough? How many people read The New York Times as opposed to, okay let’s look – the number of people who watch MSNBC — you have as few as 32,000 people watching Rachel Maddow, okay? You have five million people — five million people — listening to Alex Jones.

Kasia Anderson: Right.

Greg Palast: And you’re telling me that Alex Jones’ listener is afraid to say that they’re voting for Trump. Yes, if you’re at a cocktail party in Martha’s Vineyard, it’s hard to say you’re voting for Trump. But I was … I’m sorry, these people never leave the fucking coast – they are in Los Angeles, they’re in Washington and they’re in New York, and they think that that’s America. Okay, this has been the problem. And by the way, I will say that that’s also Hillary Clinton’s problem. It shouldn’t have been close enough to steal, okay — I said this about Gore, I said this about Kerry. I haven’t talked about how the elections were stolen, but why the hell were these candidates [making elections] close enough to steal?

So in the case of Trump, I was just in Ohio. You walk outside, okay, I went with the … when I was in Dayton, I went to the black churches where of course they’re scared of Trump, they’re scared of Trump, and they all voted overwhelmingly [against him]. And if you’re a black person, in where I went in the [inaudible] Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton, and you stood up and said, “I’m voting Trump,” you would’ve gotten pretty razzed by the other people there. By the way, you would not have been attacked, you would’ve been just — they would’ve made fun of you.

I also went to — what was not in my Democracy Now! report — is I went to the white churches. The big megachurches. The giant megachurches just outside Dayton. They are filled, they are filled — you walk in and it’s nothing but Republican Party propaganda. The black churches, by the way, don’t have the political propaganda. But everyone knows how they’re voting.

Kasia Anderson: Right.

Greg Palast: In the white churches … because of the SpeechNOW and other directives of the Supreme Court which allow basically churches to be political now, this is covered with Republican propaganda. If you voted, if you said you’re voting for Hillary and you were in the megachurches and the evangelical churches in the suburbs of Dayton, in the suburbs of Toledo if you said you voted for Hillary Clinton, you would be ostracized, damned, people would be spitting on you. They’re not afraid to say they’re voting for Trump! There are literally afraid to say they’re voting for Hillary I actually thought that there was a hidden vote for Hillary among women who don’t like that guy because they’ve all had bosses that tried to grab their stuff and then didn’t give them a promotion if they didn’t go along, but I thought there might be a hidden vote for Hillary. There’s not a hidden vote for Trump. Yes, in Silicon Valley, Peter Thiel got a lot of crap for supporting Donald Trump. Okay? But let’s leave San Francisco a minute, okay, let’s leave the coasts. These people are talking about people being afraid that they’re voting for Trump in Idaho, where he won two to one? What are they talking about? I was … when I was in Dayton, and I was with the auto workers who lost their goddamn jobs to NAFTA, there wasn’t a white worker … You know what? The union guys, the labor union guys, I’m telling you right now, and this is worth understanding. The labor union guys were solid for Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. They all said, “I’m voting Sanders — if there’s no Sanders, I’m voting Trump.” Period. They weren’t afraid to tell me that!

The UAW today issued a statement that Donald Trump … we, this union and Donald Trump, see eye-to-eye on trade, and we want to meet with him. And let me tell you, that was determinative in places like Ohio. Places like Pennsylvania. That determined the white vote.

And in fact, while the coastals were all talking about Trump and dissing Muslims, he was talking to the people in the Rust Belt about losing their jobs because of Clinton’s free trade policies. And Hillary Clinton, even though she clearly gave a phony statement — it was so phony it dripped — that she wasn’t going to support TPP … she then … when she said she’s not gonna support TPP because it doesn’t meet her standards, she then gave a long lecture on the wonders of globalization.

Kasia Anderson: Right … I want to be sure that we get all the most important – not that this isn’t important – but the aftermath stuff. Can you…

Greg Palast: Well, I’m gonna tell you right now: [The 2016 election] was stolen in Florida, it was stolen in Arizona, it was stolen in North Carolina, Pennsylvania. Possibly Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. And you can’t discount things like also the massive attack on student voters and the failure … basically the push to and prevention of not only students voting but students registering. This is a big, big deal like in Wisconsin … I can, I’m not want to go with anecdotal stuff normally, but I can tell you that my daughter spent three months fighting to register to vote in Georgia, where she lives and studies. Three months of fighting back-and-forth, and so she said she was the only student at her large school – I don’t want to identify her as to where she lives, but she is in a large school in Georgia with thousands of students, and she says she’s the only one she knows who succeeded in registering to vote.

And to even vote, she had to take an Uber cab off campus even though there are thousands of students there to, you know — it was a hellish job to register and to vote and it’s not minor in this country

Kasia Anderson: So, let’s just say that miraculously mainstream media tuned into this discussion or to one of your articles and decided, okay, we really need to get on the story. Would it be readily … would it be possible for them to follow the same crumb trails you did to arrive at the same conclusions? Would they need you to guide them? Is this something that … you know, obviously you’ve been steeped in this for years and years, but how accessible would this be for another news agency to follow you through it, for example, and verify?

Greg Palast: The one thing … problem I have with my fellow American journalist in most parts is that they’re number-phobic. This is a big problem, that you have to kind of crunch numbers for them. And I’m going to try to do as much of that as I can. And I really wish that they knew how to look at raw numbers and tables and analyze and understand how probabilities work and everything else, and statistics.

Lately there’s been a subgroup of people like 360 and others, and, you know, with [The New York Times’] Charles Blow and others who are statistics-savvy, and I would love them to jump on this, but they’re so busy beating themselves up and saying that their exit polling is all wrong, their polling is wrong — the polling is not wrong; these guys know what they’re doing. Yes, they absolutely made some mistakes in the algorithm on likeliness to vote, no question about it. They did underestimate Trump’s votes, because they’re using an old algorithm.

Other than that, the savvy, the statistics-savvy reporters should be able to repeat everything, because I don’t go by anecdotal, I go by — I’m a numbers guy and I go by lists and numbers. If they understand those numbers, I think that they will come to the same conclusions and stop beating themselves up. It’s just like in 2004, you had these reporters, and in Florida: “Oh, our exit polls are wrong! Our exit polls are wrong! Are exit polls are wrong! How come our exit polls are always wrong?” How about their exit polls are always right?

The Brexit exit polls, for example, were accurate to a hundredth of a percent. How did that happen? The answer is because in Britain, they count every vote. They do it in the open, they open the pieces of paper, everyone sees the vote, and if a vote is spoiled they announce it. When they announce vote totals in Britain they say: “X for Brexit, X against Brexit,” and you know, “726 votes in this precinct were not recorded for the following reasons.” And these are given — a list of reasons. And we don’t get that in the U.S.; we get something called 100 percent reporting, when a hundred percent reporting just means the precincts said, “We’re closed, and here’s our numbers,” you know — it doesn’t tell you what’s counted what’s tallied.

And it’s like in California the night of the June primary, we had almost every poll, almost everyone showed 100 percent precincts reporting, and yet two and a quarter, two million votes were not tallied. And there’s a difference between tallied, counted and reported, you know, these are technical, statistical concepts, but basically … in America we don’t get a full number. I’m trying to get invalid votes right now from each secretary of state — it’s not so easy. They don’t want to give them to you, and it’s not easy to get, but we’ll get them. But I’m telling you, this is all repeatable if anyone understands the statistical information. That’s what they have to go by. It’s not anecdotal. I told you the story of my daughter, but you know, there’s a way to calculate everything, and I just want these pollsters to stop beating themselves up for being right. They’re coming up with, with post hoc, post hoc, bullshit untested theories about why they’re wrong. You know, like people won’t tell us the truth. Why? We have no — zero, zero, zero evidence of people being afraid to tell the truth to pollsters. The one thing you get from polling which they never announced on the air is the number of people who simply won’t talk to you. That’s a big number, okay. A lot of people that exit those polls would say, “Who did you vote for?” “Fuck you!” That’s never reported, and that oughta be, but other than that, these pollsters should stop making up, stop beating themselves up, because the exit polls are accurate and have been accurate for years, and they’re always accurate. Period.

Kasia Anderson: What do you think about all the talk about Donald Trump — you know, something pundits were saying before the Election Day and during, I guess, was, you know, “Donald Trump hasn’t spent enough money, and he has no ground game.” And this is one of the ideas that they marshaled to prove that Clinton was going to win. But would you say that if some of this crosscheck, etc., was going on, that maybe that kind of resources and spending [weren’t] necessary on his part? That’s speculation but…

Greg Palast: He knew where to put his effort. He knew where the effort goes. There’s not enough white — it’s a simple trope, a simple idea — statistically there’s not enough white guys to elect Donald Trump. And so he has two choices: to win over the non-white-guy vote or make sure those votes don’t count and those people — either those people can’t vote or the votes don’t count. That’s the only way to run this election, I mean, it really didn’t matter if he had more ads. People weren’t undecided. You didn’t have a massive undecided vote. It wasn’t undecided, so there was no, you know, what are you going to do — have literally… Hillary Clinton was hitting people with 200 ads! What was that for? She had all this money, she didn’t spend it — and her so-called get-out-the-vote, by the way, campaign was a fucking joke. She had all these people pretending to get out the vote — it was incredibly ineffective. I didn’t see any of Hillary’s people getting the black vote out in Ohio, or protecting the black vote in Ohio. It didn’t exist. She didn’t have a get-out-the-vote and that’s all baloney — she spent money on organizers and professionals and posters and companies that are supposed to get out the vote but they didn’t get out the vote, okay?

Kasia Anderson: Right.

Greg Palast: It was — and like I say, it shouldn’t have been close enough to steal. But Hillary’s campaign reminded me of her campaign against Barack Obama, which was that — you have a bunch of wannabe people who want to have jobs in the administration, the party hats and payrollers, who actually don’t get off their tuchuses. And [they] say, “Oh I spent all day going and knocking [on] doors,” and they’re basically in a bar playing fucking poker, you know … I saw this when I was in the Democratic machine in Brooklyn. These people don’t get out the vote, that’s all bullshit. She didn’t have a get-out-the-vote operation.

Kasia Anderson: So, what’s next for you with everything you’re doing? What remains to be investigated from this election?

Greg Palast: Well, I want to go — I need to deep dive into the uncounted vote. The invalid spoiled vote, the provisional ballots. And I also resent the fact that she conceded without those votes being counted. They’re not her goddamn votes, are they? Gore did the same thing — he conceded black people’s votes, not his vote! I don’t even know how he had standing. But we need to get the provisional ballot count and how it’s split and where it came from and where the counties it comes from in terms of race. We need to get the spoiled vote, the votes that were never counted. We need to get the absentee vote, which was always tends to be heavily Democratic, and we need to know how many of those votes were not counted and thrown out.

And one of the big problems is that the EAC, which gathers this on a national basis, has been defunded by the Republicans. And so, literally we don’t have the agency which gathers statistics gathering the statistics. And it’s, so, it’s a much harder thing to do — look, I’m a statistician at heart and I’m an investigator. I’m not an investigative reporter, I’m a reporting investigator. I was an investigator long before I was a reporter.

And I’m going to use my statistical abilities to take a deep dive into that data, and that’s what I do — data. And like I say, the pollsters should shut the fuck up, because how many posters tell you, “Oh, here’s our estimate of provisional ballots; here’s our estimate of spoiled ballots; here’s our estimate of the people turned away from the polls because they didn’t have ID?” That should be in their calculations too, and instead they’re just saying, “Oh we got it wrong.” Please, give me a break, you know? Their commentary is stupid — their numbers are correct.

Kasia Anderson
Executive Editor
Dr. Kasia Anderson is Truthdig's executive editor. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1997 with a degree in English literature and sociology, she worked as a Web journalist in San Francisco until…
Kasia Anderson

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