Whether the audit agreed with the legitimate findings does not make the audit legitimate. Indeed, one might argue that by aligning with the real results, the Cyber Ninjas were bolstering their case for their other, equally spurious claims and demands for interminable, expensive, distracting probes. We certainly know that the similar vote counts don’t mean anything to Trump or his squad so feverishly devoted to undermining confidence in the 2020 election returns. The Ahab of Mar-a-Lago sees white whales in every election return. Despite the final tabulation affirming his defeat, Trump heralded the result at a campaign rally in Georgia on Saturday, telling fans, “We won at the Arizona forensic audit yesterday at a level that you wouldn’t believe.” The effort that led to the January 6 sacking of the Capitol by Trump’s supporters has never been based in any fact, so why would one more audit make any difference?
Nor does it make a difference to Republicans in Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere who are conducting or trying to conduct similar audits of their own.* It would never have mattered what the Arizona audit said to Trump and the cultlike supporters who are most committed to the cause of overturning the legitimate results. Like the goofy lawsuits that Trump’s campaign filed in the immediate aftermath of the election, the point of these audits is to diminish confidence in the process and provide talking points for Trump & Co. The result isn’t what matters; it’s screwing up the process that counts.