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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 10/18/16

The Danger With Trump's "Election Rigging" Talk

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From Smirking Chimp

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Even if he doesn't win, Donald Trump has still done untold damage to our country. His sexist rhetoric, xenophobic appeals to white nationalists and all-out embrace of the far-right fringe have mainstreamed a kind of hateful politics that will take a long time to get rid of. But one of the most damaging parts of the Trump campaign, at least in the long run, could end up being what he's doing right now.

As his presidential prospects continue to fade, Donald Trump has resorted to spreading conspiracy theories about voter fraud. He now says at his rallies that the election will be "rigged."

So-called responsible Republicans like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have, of course, tried to distance themselves from this kind of rhetoric. In a statement to Buzzfeed, his press secretary said that, "Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity."

This sounds nice, but it's really a bunch of BS.

What Trump is saying right now about voter fraud is no different than what other Republicans have been saying for years -- he's just added his own Trumpian flair to it. And what's dangerous about all this talking about rigged elections isn't the fact that it undermines the confidence in election results, it's the fact that it empowers the forces in our society who actually are trying to undermine our democracy, and yes, rig our elections.

I'm talking, of course, about Republicans.

Since the Koch-backed wave elections of 2010, the Republican Party -- the party that Donald Trump will represent on the ballot on November 8 -- has waged an all-out war on voting in the US.

In state after state, the GOP has forced through voter suppression law after voter suppression law, mostly in the form of voter suppression ID laws, the sole purpose of which is to keep minority (and thus Democratic-leaning) voters away from the polls, since young people, elderly people, poor people and people who live in big cities and don't own cars disproportionately lack the type of IDs needed to vote.

This isn't some sort of conspiracy theory, either. Republicans openly admit that these voter suppression ID laws are about rigging elections in their favor.

Back in April, for example, Republican Wisconsin Congressman Glenn Grothman admitted the truth about his state's new voter ID law in an interview with a local TV station.

Voter suppression ID laws, though, are just the beginning.

Republicans have also cut back on early voting, same-day registration and pre-registration, all in an obvious attempt to suppress the vote of Democrats.

They've also thrown their weight behind Interstate Crosscheck, a scheme led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach that supposedly prevents double voting, but actually just throws millions people of color off the voter rolls. Investigative journalist Greg Palast has recently explained the insidious thinking behind Interstate Crosscheck.

So how are Republicans able to get away with such transparent rigging of elections in their favor? Easy -- they've convinced wide swaths of the American public that elections are already rigged by something completely different -- this time called "voter fraud."

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)
 

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