Birtherism, the conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was born abroad and thus ineligible for the presidency, served a very specific purpose. It was a tool of delegitimization, a means to drive xenophobic suspicion and racial hostility. It’s why Donald Trump, its chief advocate, never truly dropped the crusade—not after wide condemnation from critics and fact-checkers; not after wide ridicule from much of the public; and not after Obama released his long-form birth certificate, debunking the charge outright. “A lot of people question it,” said Trump in a 2015 question-and-answer session with Fox News’ Sean Hannity a few months before he announced his bid for the White House. Trump’s birtherism didn’t just feed anti-Obama distrust and paranoia among conservative voters. It helped feed a sense of grievance—a feeling that their country had been hijacked by nefarious forces, and they needed to take it back. And whether Trump realized it or not at the time, it also helped till ground for his eventual presidential campaign and its message of nativist anger and racist hostility. It is now important to remember all of this, as Trump and his backers stoke another conspiracy theory, aimed at delegitimizing a different set of opponents.
Since November, Trump and his allies have adopted a similarly false and conspiratorial take on the election, claiming without evidence that millions of unauthorized immigrants voted in the presidential race, handing a popular vote victory to Hillary Clinton. “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,” declared Trump just a few weeks after the election. He doubled down on this claim during the presidential transition, repeating it during a meeting with lawmakers and subsequently announcing a “major investigation” into said fraud. In recent days, the president has given a new twist of specificity to his claims of voter fraud, telling a group of Senate Republicans and Democrats that illegal voters from Massachusetts were responsible for Clinton’s win in New Hampshire.
On Sunday, Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to the president, offered his own support for Trump’s claims. “This issue of busing voters in New Hampshire is widely known by anyone who’s worked in New Hampshire politics,” said Miller in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “It’s very real. It’s very serious.” Despite being repeatedly pressed for evidence on this claim, Miller said, “This morning, on this show, is not the venue to lay out all the evidence.” This is what someone says when he doesn’t have the goods.
Full Article: The Trump administration is pushing the voter fraud falsehood, still..