There are varying degrees of absurdity in the fallacies President Trump peddled during his first week in the Oval Office. Perhaps the most damaging was his insistence that millions of Americans voted illegally in the election he narrowly won. Mr. Trump first made that false claim in late November, tweeting that he would have won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” On Wednesday, he announced that he intended to launch a “major investigation” into voting fraud and suggested the outcome may justify tightening voting rules. What once seemed like another harebrained claim by a president with little regard for the truth must now be recognized as a real threat to American democracy. Mr. Trump is telegraphing his administration’s intent to provide cover for longstanding efforts by Republicans to suppress minority voters by purging voting rolls, imposing onerous identification requirements and curtailing early voting. “This is another attempt to undermine our democracy,” said Representative Barbara Lee of California, one of the states where Mr. Trump falsely claimed results were tainted by large-scale fraud. “It’s about not honoring and recognizing demographic change.”
The apparent source of Mr. Trump’s original claim of mass voter fraud was Gregg Phillips, a Texas man with a penchant for making wild allegations about voting fraud. Days before Mr. Trump’s tweet, Mr. Phillips claimed on Twitter that he had “verified more than three million votes cast by non-citizens.” State election officials across the political spectrum promptly rejected that assertion, noting that ballot box fraud in the United States is exceedingly rare.
On Friday, Mr. Trump tweeted that he was looking forward to seeing the results of an analysis of illegal votes, as promised by Mr. Phillips. Republican officials know the voter fraud claim is an indefensible lie. But few are challenging Mr. Trump or raising alarms about how severely this hurts our election system.
Voter suppression initiatives have grown increasingly common since the Supreme Court invalidated a central provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, making it easier for local authorities to tweak election rules in a manner that disenfranchises particular groups of people.
Full Article: The Voter Fraud Fantasy – The New York Times.