“Statistical analyses used to detect fraud in elections held in 3rd-world nations (such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran) have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor. The primary analytical tool used was Benford’s Law and can be readily reproduced.”
Speaking as someone who knows more about the process of making statistical claims than I ever, ever wanted to, I can attest that this is truly a breakthrough moment for statisticians. Since the dawn of the field, experts have had to wait for data to actually be collected before running complex statistical analyses; now, thanks to the breakthrough efforts of Larry Fking Elder’s campaign team, you can “detect” trends without any data at all! Give these folks all the Nobels, nothing will ever top the discovery of statistical precognition.
Or it’s all a pre-planned hoax, and Elder’s less-than-graceful Republican campaign doesn’t particularly care if the rest of the country knows it. The point is to declare that if a Republican candidate wins, it is because they have a broad mandate from the American public, and if a Republican loses, it is because of “fraud.”
Making the claim a bit more complex: There are approximately eleventy billion Republican candidates for governor on the California recall ballot. They can’t all win. So if Elder by some miracle scrapes out a win, will all the others claim that Larry Elder is the one defrauding them? Yes! Absolutely! It’ll be a free-for-all in which every Republican candidate issues their own press releases blaming the candidate three chairs to the left of being behind a massive worldwide conspiracy to steal their votes!
The Larry Elder position is a hoax. It is a fascist hoax, one now being strategically deployed before Republican election losses to assert that the actual results of the election don’t matter, the Republican always either wins or was cheated. It is meant to so diminish faith in democracy, among their frothing and increasingly violence-minded base, that their base becomes willing to take more and more drastic steps to overturn their election losses. It may take the form of new limits on who can vote, when they can vote, and how many hoops they must jump through before they do. It may take the form of supporting new laws giving Republican lawmakers extraordinary powers to take over local election efforts if the reported results are not Republican enough for their tastes.
Or it may take the form of protests that began in Arizona and would soon spread to the hallways of the U.S. Capitol, protests organized by fringe far-right figures, escalated by Republican Party officials, and goaded into violence or near-violence when they arrive on the scene.
That Republicans never bothered to wait for the election’s results to roll in before claiming they had “statistical” evidence of “3rd-world” fraud is not surprising, because the party is now fully devoted to spreading false propaganda in an effort to overturn democracy.
None of the participants care that these are astonishingly dangerous claims which, if truly believed, would all but necessitate domestic terrorism by their supporters. It is a sociopathic and fascist movement; as Trump showed on January 6, if stoking violence will boost the party’s chances of holding power, then it will be done. Larry Elder is a pro-Trump, self-promoting gadfly with a strong crackpot streak, a Limbaugh looking for a higher personal perch than radio blubbering can provide him. He will assuredly milk the dangerous hoax for all it is worth in the coming months.