WaPo Gives Booker Four Pinocchios for Voter Suppression Claim

'The most likely explanation for the loss was that Hillary Clinton was on the ballot'

Sen. Cory Booker/ Getty Images
August 2, 2019

The Washington Post gave Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) four pinocchios for his claim that voter suppression was responsible for Democrats losing Michigan in 2016.

"We lost the state of Michigan because everybody from Republicans to Russians were targeting the suppression of African American voters," Booker said during the Democratic debate on Wednesday, a claim that the Post says is supported by no evidence. "Election experts say they see little or no evidence that the activities by the Russians and the Trump campaign actually swayed the election in Michigan," Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler writes.

Kessler notes that Russian propaganda efforts did make an effort to discourage African-American voters, but didn't appear to have much effect.

"There were Russian-linked Facebook ads that targeted African American voters and voiced opposition to Clinton, but there is not strong evidence that they influenced many voters," Matt Grossman, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, told the Post. "African American turnout in Michigan was down from 2012 to 2016, partially because it had previously risen for Barack Obama. Clinton also received a lower share of the African American vote than Obama."

Kessler also couldn't find any election laws that passed Michigan's Republican legislature between 2012 and 2016 targeting African-American turnout. "The most likely explanation for the loss was that Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, was on the ballot, so turnout by African American voters returned to pre-Obama levels," he concludes.

Hillary Clinton also received four pinocchios from the Post for her claims of voter suppression in Georgia and Wisconsin. President Trump won Michigan by the closest margin of any state in his 2016 presidential election victory, winning by fewer than 11,000 votes.