When it became apparent that Donald Trump did not win the popular vote in the election, he immediately started lashing out. The insecure (alleged) billionaire declared that 3 million illegal voters stole it away from him, a lie he apparently picked up from a random Twitter warrior who “investigates” voter fraud. The fictional tale of voter fraud was so outrageous that the media finally began pushing back and asking Trump why he wasn’t investigating the biggest scandal in American democracy. After realizing that he wasn’t going to be able to wiggle his way out of the conspiracy theory, the president gave in and said that his administration was going to launch a big league investigation. But now, just a week later, it is being reported that Trump doesn’t think voter fraud is such a big deal after all and the White House is backing away from its probe.
According to the Huffington Post:
The White House is backing away from President Donald Trump’s promise to launch an investigation into the voter fraud claims he made up. One senior administration official told CNN that while such an investigation could happen in the future, it was no longer a priority. This explains why the executive order on the probe that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump would sign last month was never released.
Of course the administration isn’t going to make this investigation a priority–they know it is complete and utter bullshit. Republicans often cite voter fraud as a huge problem with our election process, but literally no evidence of this exists. In fact, George W. Bush’s administration investigated it for five years and found no widespread problems. In 2007 the New York Times reported:
Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to records and interviews. Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.
The reality of the situation is that, unlike most members of the GOP who want to suppress voters, Trump is crying fraud for one reason: his fragile ego can’t take the fact that he lost the popular vote to a woman and he has no mandate from the people. That’s it. And the reason he is dropping it is because he knows that if he looks into it, he is going to proven a liar. If his own Justice Department forced him to admit that he’d been deceiving his voters, not only would it be a devastating blow to his credibility (not that he has any now) but he wouldn’t be able to use this line in the next election.
In order to run for re-election, Trump needs to be able to make himself look like the victim of a “rigged” system. This narrative will be especially important if (when) he loses in 2020 because he is incapable of taking responsibility for his actions and he will never admit that his loss was the result of his terrible leadership.