I'm adult enough to admit it: I thought for sure Republican controlled states would rush to obey Trump's order that they turn over private voter information. I'm extremely pleased to find out I was wrong:
On Wednesday, Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter to all 50 states requesting the information as part of its probe.
By Saturday, at least 27 states said they would not or could not provide all of the information, such as social security numbers. Several state officials said the requests were unnecessary and violated privacy.
When I first heard that some states were refusing, I assumed that it would be blue states. Not for nothing, everyone with two functioning brain cells knows that Trump's commission (run by the king of voter suppression Kris Kobach) is entirely about justifying keeping tens of millions of minorities from voting. Naturally, Democrats would not be too keen to go along with that agenda but Republicans surely would, right? But then I saw that at least 27 states, including some of the deepest of deep red like Texas and, ironically, Kris Kobach's own Kansas, are putting up a stink about handing over the information.
There are three possible reasons for this:
1. Republicans are adhering to their ideology of being against intrusive government. You can stop laughing now, I couldn't keep a straight face while typing that, either.
2. Republicans are hesitant to put such an easily abused database in the hands of the federal government. Stop laughing. Sure, it'd be a great tool for rigging the elections in favor of the GOP but unless that rigging is absolute, sooner or later a Democrat will be in the White House with that same tool at their disposal. You can always count on a Republican to act in their own self-interest.
3. But the most likely reason is that Trump is a scumbag who won't hesitate to throw state Republicans under the bus. As I said before, everyone knows the commission is about voter suppression, including state Republicans. At the same time, state Republicans know for a fact that there is no such thing as widespread voter fraud. We know this because if there was, Republicans would have found evidence of it and Fox News would be bleating about it 24/7 for all of eternity. You'll notice that for all the time Fox spends talking about voter fraud, no one can ever seem to provide even a little bit of real evidence for it.
This means that Trump's "commission" will fabricate the evidence to justify the massive voter suppression they already have planned. Normally, Republicans wouldn't balk at lying to the public, it's kind of their thing, but when Trump announces that he's "discovered" millions of illegal voters in, say, Texas, people are going to demand to know why Texas Republicans didn't know about it. That leaves the Texas GOP in the awkward position of either calling Trump a liar or pretending he's telling the truth and they just dropped the ball. Either way spells the end of a lot of people's political careers and Trump is not the person people fall on their sword for.
Trump himself confirmed that casting suspicion on the state parties is exactly what he intends to do:
And that's before he tries to sell the country on his commission's made up findings. What do you think he'll do to any state, even one controlled by his party, that insists they don't have a voter fraud problem? There's simply no way state Republicans are going to expose themselves like this for someone they know considers them 100% expendable.
Unfortunately, this lack of cooperation won't stop the commission from eventually releasing a fraudulent report anyway. I'd like to say that not having this information would hurt the credibility of the coming report but, let's be honest, it won't matter how transparent or ridiculously fake the findings are, Republicans are going to feign outrage anyway and demand we "protect the integrity of the ballot" by making it harder to vote. They know that the only way to hold onto their gerrymandered majorities is with even harsher measures to keep people away from the polls.
Of all the battles we're fighting right now, this might be the most important one. Once we lose the right to vote, we lose the ability to peacefully fight back and it all goes downhill from there.
There are 492 days left to the 2018 elections.
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