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Republicans Take In Results Of The 2020 Election


What do Republicans make now of how their party performed this week - a president 4 million votes behind his challenger, but victories in the House and Senate? If Donald Trump is defeated, does he still remain the most powerful force in the Republican Party?

Tim Alberta is a keen surveyor of politics, especially Republicans. He's Politico Magazine's chief political correspondent. Thanks very much for being with us, Mr. Alberta.

TIM ALBERTA: Sure. Thanks for having me.

SIMON: As you point out in a story I read this morning, the conundrum is, it is hard for Republicans to charge massive vote fraud in the race for president when they did so well in the House, Senate and state legislature races, isn't it?

ALBERTA: Yeah, that's right. You know, some of the largest increases that we saw as far as turnout, as far as vote share, they happened in red counties, in red districts. There was a clear sign of an increased voter presence that benefited Republicans. And I emphasize that, Scott, because what we've been hearing from Republican officials for the last 72 hours is that there are all of these suspicious patterns in the data to show that Democrats somehow were discovering all of these votes that don't - you know, that don't line up.

And not only is that not true, but it's actually the opposite of that. The only, sort of, unusual spikes that we've seen in the data have been on the Republican side. And again, that's not to say that those votes are illegitimate. This is - this was a high-turnout, high-intensity election. And the fact of the matter is that in many places, Republicans were the beneficiary of that. And so there's just very little in any of these numbers that you look at, especially in the battleground states that are being contested by the Trump campaign, to suggest anything irregular whatsoever.

SIMON: What do you make of top-name Republicans who've now called out the president for criticizing the integrity of the vote?

ALBERTA: Well, look; I think two things are very clear right now, and we should be very clear about them. The first thing is that as of yet, we have no evidence to show that there was any sort of voter fraud in this election - none as of yet. And the second thing is that we do have lots of evidence and growing evidence that some of the most powerful and prominent Republicans in the country are lying to the public, that they are giving the public bad information, disputed information, debunked information to suggest that there has been foul play, that people aren't following the rules, that poll watchers were being thrown out of vote counting centers. It's just not true. And there has been a lot of reporting on the ground. There has been testimonials from Republicans. There have been testimonials from Fox News reporters who have been in these rooms.

The allegations being leveled by people like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham and the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, they're just not true. The chairwoman herself was in her home state of Michigan yesterday, leveling some, sort of, very vague and sinister allegations about certain irregularities. And a little while after she was done, a very prominent local Republican clerk in Oakland County, Mich., she came out and published a video statement really taking the chairwoman to the woodshed and rebuking her for these insinuations that were just not rooted in any sort of fact. And that's a Republican county clerk.

So again, if there is evidence of voter fraud, the American people need to see it. But there has been no evidence whatsoever brought forward as of yet - just a lot of very vague allegations and insinuations.

SIMON: Mr. Alberta, what - President Trump, at the moment, 4 million popular votes behind Joe Biden. Do Republicans feel that they were misled in the White House, or do they feel rewarded for it, given - despite the racist rhetoric around Charlottesville of the president and the death of Black people in political custody, he appears to have an increase in support among Black and Latino male voters?

ALBERTA: It's a good question. The one thing I can tell you for certain is that people around the president, when they see these results come in and they realize that he's going to lose by such narrow margins and they see some of these gains with certain communities and certain demographic groups, it makes them feel all the more tortured that he couldn't have, sort of, reined in some of the extraneous stuff that was driving so many voters away. You know, why was he always compelled to be on Twitter at 6:00 in the morning blasting out messages that were doing nothing to drive any, sort of, a political message that was proving attractive to some of these voters?

In other words, they look back on this, and they see a lot of missed opportunities. They - frankly, most of the people around the president have spent the last four or five months believing that this was getting less and less competitive by the day. And in recent weeks, there was a real sense that the president could lose in a landslide. So when they see that he's losing by just, you know, a few thousand votes here, a few thousand votes there, and that this was very much within their grasp, it does have them pulling their hair out, wondering, you know, what could have been done differently at the margins when this president has, you know, committed so many self-inflicted, unforced errors.

SIMON: Tim Alberta of Politico, thanks very much for being with us. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.