If you are a progressive blogger, there’s an embarrassment of riches right now. A tidal wave of scandals, crimes and high misdemeanors. The Comey firing, the idiotic blurting out state secrets to Russians, appalling late night twitter messages, the obstruction of criminal investigations, the unexplained delay in firing Michael Flynn; the list goes on and on. Not since the daily shocks of the Watergate crisis has there been such a constant stream of appalling news out of Washington D.C. All magnified by the instantaneity and inanity of social media.
How to choose a topic to research and write on?
There’s a danger, it seems to WC, that some of The Trumpster’s more dangerous actions will get overlooked in the storm and fury of his public blunders. So WC will have an intermittent series called “Tracking the Trumpster.”
We’ll being with his Voter Fraud Commission.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the state of North Carolina from a decision holding its voter fraud statute unconstitutional. North Carolina had won at the trial court level, but the Fourth Circuit found that five restrictions in the North Carolina law “disproportionately affected African-Americans.” The law’s voter identification provision, for instance, “retained only those types of photo ID disproportionately held by whites and excluded those disproportionately held by African-Americans.” The appeals court noted that the state had “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.”
The SCOTUS decision makes North Carolina’s law and others like it unconstitutional. Moreover, those courts, like others, have found that there is no evidence of serious voter fraud.
Which takes WC to the Trumpster. He’s fond of reminding his doting followers that he won the Electoral College, thus giving him the presidency. But he lost the popular vote badly, by nearly 3 million votes. In his mind, that taints his win with the stain of illegitimacy and suggests that, even in victory, he isn’t the “winner” he imagines.1
Typically, rather than face reality, the Trumpster had an explanation: voter fraud. “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted in November. And just after his inauguration, in January, he vowed to open an inquiry. “I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD,” he said on Twitter, “including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”
Last week, the Trumpster followed through on his fantasy, establishing a Voter Fraud Commission. According to the text of the executive order, the commission will be tasked with studying “those laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies, and practices that enhance the American people’s confidence in the integrity of the voting processes used in Federal elections” as well as those laws that “undermine” that confidence, in addition to “those vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices … that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.”
Except there is no evidence of systematic of extensive voter fraud. Other than in the egomaniacal imagination of the President. It’s a commission created to solve a problem that the courts and independent studies have concluded doesn’t exist.
Worse, the co-chairs of the Trumpster’s Voter Fraud Commission are Vice President Pence and Trump supporter and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach is clown who launched a crusade against “illegal voting.” Consistently with most studies of voter fraud – which find little to no evidence of its existence – Kobach was able to find just nine cases of alleged fraud out of 1.8 million registered Kansas voters. That’s a fraud rate of 0.0005%, five ten-thousandths of a percent. It couldn’t be much lower without being zero.
It’s completely clear that to people like Kobach this is about keeping the riff-raff from voting. It’s not about fraud; it’s about minorities, who might vote for Democrats. For the Trumpster, it may be about ego and his inability to come to grips with the popular vote. But for states like Kansas, Alabama, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin it’s about keeping Republicans in office. And now this Voter Fraud Commission will seek to lock in the Republican control by keeping those potential Democrats from getting close to a ballot box.
Any pretense otherwise was abandoned when Kris Kobach was made co-chair.