Media goes to war with Trump advisor over math

Thursday, November 12, 2020
Steve Jordahl (

Cortes with white boardA prominent Trump campaign advisor, armed with voting numbers and a whiteboard, claims he is bringing the receipts about vote fraud but skeptics are pushing back and say there is no conspiracy afoot.

Among other post-election claims, such as record votes and Biden-only ballots, Trump campaign advisor Steve Cortes says he is making a “statistical case” that Joe Biden is not president-elect owing to unusually high voter turnout in Democrat strongholds such as Milwaukee and Cleveland. 

In the state of Milwaukee, for example, Cortes says statewide turnout surpassed 90 percent and in Milwaukee County, a turnout of 84 percent  deserves scrutiny for that "stunning" jump over 2016. 

Cortes is among a growing number of number-questioning Trump supporters who are asking how basement-dwelling Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump at the ballot box.  

Democrats who are celebrating President Trump’s expected departure from the White House are predictably dismissing such questions as conspiracy theories but it is true that President Trump appears to have won more votes than Barack Obama, and Biden appears to have won more votes than both of them.

Cortes, for example, has noticed Biden outperformed his former boss in Pennsylvania.

“[Biden] got 313,000 votes in Montgomery County,” Cortes states in a video. “He more than doubled Obama’s margin of victory in Montgomery, County.”

Back in the battleground state of Wisconsin, Cortes is being refuted by numerous media outlets such as The Washington Post, which suggests the Trump advisor has joined the campaign’s “Hail Mary” legal fight.

In a Nov. 11 op-ed, columnist James Surowieki links to a post-election story recalling 2016 turnout was 80% (rounded up from 79.8%) in Milwaukee County, obviously not a huge jump to 84%.

“So the increase to 84 percent, far from defying expectation,” Surowieki writes, “was predictable, given that turnout in Wisconsin as a whole was up about 5 percent.”

The columnist concludes the Trump campaign is not trying to prove its claims with numbers and statistics but is attempting to “create uncertainty” over the election.

Media outlets such as USA Today are pushing back on the claim of 90% turnout: Wisconsin’s turnout weeks ago was reported as 72.3%, not 90%. It is not clear where Cortes found the 90% figure. 

Yet it is also true that the state of Wisconsin’s 2016 turnout was low enough four years ago to warrant a post-election story with the headline, “Why did Wisconsin see its lowest presidential election voter turnout in 20 years?”

"The state is no longer in the stratosphere of the highest turnouts in the country," a political science professor told The Cap Times.

The same story from 2016 goes on to report 60,000 fewer votes were cast in Milwaukee County, which led the state in lower voter turnout for Hillary Clinton. Exit polls showed Clinton did not excite young voters or blacks, and a GOP strategist told the newspaper that Clinton created an “enthusiasm gap” with core voters who are normally reliable Democrats.

So what Cortes and others are asking is how did Joe Biden woo those same black urban voters to the polls in Wisconsin and shatter all-time voting records across the country.


We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details




On a Thanksgiving dinner table, the best meat to put on my plate is…





High court takes up census case, as other count issues loom
Black Friday sees record online as US shoppers stay home
Ethiopia declares victory as military takes Tigray capital
Iran’s supreme leader vows revenge over slain scientist
Clashes with cleric’s supporters kill 5 in southern Iraq
Los Angeles orders more restrictions as coronavirus surges


Pennsylvania high court rejects lawsuit challenging election
Affidavit in Sidney Powell's suit claims evidence ties vote machines to Iran, China
Former House Republican wrests California seat from Dem incumbent
GOP's House wins show some Dem voters 'connecting the dots' on liberal left, lawmaker says
Carter Page sues FBI, DOJ, and individuals behind FISA abuse


Cartoon of the Day
Two state rulings leave door open for GOP legal challenges

gavel with U.S. flagCiting a hearing scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, a Pennsylvania judge has ordered the state to halt the certification of the Nov. 3 General Election.