It is a truism that the more people that are allowed to exercise their rightful franchise to vote, the less likely it is that Republicans can get elected.
The many documented attempts at voter suppression waged by the GOP in Georgia, Kansas, Wisconsin, and other states make the party’s strategy quite clear: build every conceivable obstacle to prevent people more likely to choose a Democratic candidate from having access to their voting rights and gerrymander the hell out of congressional districts to create an uneven playing field.
Donald Trump’s vehement opposition to voting by mail — even in the midst of a pandemic that transforms in-person voting into a game of Russian roulette — likely stems more from the fear that the increased turnout will doom his re-election bid than any legitimate concern about potential voter fraud, particularly since the most notorious detected cases of voter and election fraud uncovered in recent years have been perpetrated by Republican party operatives.
Still, the president continues to wage a propaganda war falsely claiming that absentee ballots are inherently subject to fraudulent manipulation and attacking states that are protecting the lives of their voters by giving them the option to vote by mail and avoid crowded and potentially COVID-19-laden polling places.
Trump went after Michigan today — a state with a Democratic governor with whom he has frequently clashed of late over coronavirus-inspired social distancing and business closure requirements — for their attempts to ensure that every eligible voter who wants an absentee ballot can get one.
After initially mischaracterizing the nature of the state’s initiative by claiming that it was sending actual ballots to every voter in Michigan, the president was forced to issue a revised tweet clarifying that the state was actually merely sending applications for vote-by-mail ballots instead.
Michigan sends absentee ballot applications to 7.7 million people ahead of Primaries and the General Election. This was done illegally and without authorization by a rogue Secretary of State. I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2020
Trump was called out on the fact that even his revised post was misleading by CNN‘s Abby D. Phillips on her Twitter feed.
This tweet has now been resent to say "applications" were sent to all voters. But it's still not true that this was done illegally. All Michigan voters are, by state law, entitled to vote by mail. Applications are sent out all the time, including before the coronavirus pandemic. https://t.co/cbhKY3pr4L
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) May 20, 2020
Michigan Secretary of State confirmed the truth of Phillip’s post while inserting a subtle dig about the fact that similar initiatives conducted by her Republican counterparts in other states have elicited nary a peep from the president’s tiny little Twitter fingers.
Hi again. Still wrong. Every Michigan registered voter has a right to vote by mail. I have the authority & responsibility to make sure that they know how to exercise this right – just like my GOP colleagues are doing in GA, IA, NE and WV. Also, again, my name is Jocelyn Benson. https://t.co/deZJwbMlT0
— Jocelyn Benson (@JocelynBenson) May 20, 2020
Whomp, whomp, whomp!
You’re dead wrong, Donnie, and don’t forget the name of the person who called you out on it!
The threat to withhold funding from states that allow voting by absentee ballots during this unprecedented infectious disease crisis sounds remarkably like the quid pro quo that this president was impeached over when he tried a similar tactic with Ukraine.
“Don’t allow voting by mail if you ever want to see your federal funding survive” is not very different from “investigate my political rival if you ever want to see your US government military aid survive.”
Another impeachable offense? You can judge for yourself, but it’s not like Trump hasn’t already racked up a surfeit of impeachable offenses.
With a Republican-controlled Senate refusing to hold the president accountable for his misdeeds, one more offense isn’t going to make a difference.
All the more reason that it’s important that every citizen gets the right to vote without fear of contagion. Congrats to Michigan and the other states that have made it simple to vote by mail this year. Let’s get the rest of the states to join them.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.