No doubt realizing that he was losing the cable-news message war, President Trump has called for a witch hunt in an attempt to prove the voter fraud lie he has been telling himself about why he lost the popular vote in November. On both sides of the aisle, conventional wisdom chalks this up to the president being a very insecure person struggling with the reality that 54 percent of American voters chose someone else, but that doesn’t give the president his due. Trump’s staggering inferiority complex clearly is just one of two reasons he’s telling the biggest version yet of a lie that his party has been telling about voter fraud for years. The other reason is that he’d like his party to win the 2018 midterm elections and he’d like to be reelected in 2020, and to do those things he needs to suppress voter turnout. By deliberately undermining confidence in the integrity of our democracy, the president can make it quite a bit easier for his party to push legislation making it harder for certain eligible voters to vote. Curtailing voting rights by dishonestly inventing widespread fraud has been a major part of the Republican Party’s political strategy for a while. Now that plan is getting a major boost from a president who has no problem just making stuff up.
Voting in our country has never been easy, and unfortunately it has never been guaranteed for everyone. But through the work of brave civil rights leaders, some of whom died for the cause, by the early 2000s we were at a point where most, but still not all, people who wanted to vote could do so.
That’s when the GOP started going backward on voting rights. Today, it’s not that some GOP strategists don’t want black people, for example, to vote because they’re black — it’s just that they don’t want them to vote because they don’t usually vote for Republicans. Over the past decade, these efforts have gained momentum. Extreme voter photo-identification laws started popping up all over the country. In nearly every case, they reduced voter turnout.