This post has been updated.
A lingering question when it comes to Donald Trump's baseless claims of massive voter fraud has been whether it could call into question his 2016 win. After all, if it's possible that 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cast, as Trump alleges, isn't it possible that such massive fraud could have also helped him? He won by about 80,00 votes in the three states that mattered.
No, says Trump. In fact, zero illegal votes were cast for him, he told ABC News's David Muir in an interview airing Wednesday night.
“Of those votes cast, none of 'em come to me. None of 'em come to me. They would all be for the other side. None of 'em come to me,” Trump said.
He added later: “Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn't vote for me. I don't believe I got one. Okay, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton."
It stands to reason that Trump's version of illegal voting would very likely accrue to Clinton's benefit. Trump has alleged that many of the votes were cast by illegal immigrants, and given Trump's harsh rhetoric on illegal immigration, it's doubtful a large percentage of such votes would have been cast for him.
But Trump — both before and during Wednesday night's interview — also cited voters who were registered in two different states.
“You have people registered in two states,” Trump said. “They're registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice.”
There is precious little evidence of such a thing actually happening — both in 2016 and in previous elections. While millions of people are registered in two or more states, according to a Pew report, evidence of those people actually voting twice — which is what would be illegal — is very, very rare. Double-registration is common; double-voting is almost nonexistent.
In fact, as The Post's Philip Bump reported in early December, of the four published cases of apparent double-voting at the time, one of them was for Trump and another was from someone who claimed to be an employee of Trump's campaign. A third was a Republican.
And for evidence that double-registrations don't mean double-voting, look no further than those close to Trump. It has come to light over the past 24-plus hours that Trump's chief White House strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, and daughter Tiffany were both registered to vote in two states. The same goes for Trump's nominee to be treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin.
Those cases highlight how common this kind of thing is, but those who allege voter fraud have often pointed to double-registrants. White House press secretary Sean Spicer did so this week while trying to substantiate his boss's claim, pointing to the Pew study. And Trump himself highlighted this twice on Wednesday.
Trump is at once basing his claims of millions of illegal votes being cast for Clinton on anecdotes and refusing to acknowledge anecdotal evidence of the same brand of voter fraud benefiting him. You can't have it both ways.
Trump defenders will argue that he's using hyperbole here and that he's not actually alleging that 3 out of 3 million or 5 out of 5 million illegal votes were all cast for Clinton. But even if he's being hyperbolic — we're trying to take him seriously, after all, and not literally — his belief that basically all of these votes were cast for Clinton is entirely too convenient. If voter fraud is possible on a massive scale like that, you can't really foreclose anything.