Monday, February 3, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He "celebrated" a part of the Constitution he doesn't much like.

The Trump administration today put out a brief, understated announcement noting the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment. It was ratified on February 3, 1870, as part of the readmission of the former Confederacy into the union, and it guarantees that

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

In reality, Trump is pretty hostile to the Fifteenth, and hasn't made much secret of it. One of his first acts after taking office was to form a commission to "investigate" the millions of non-citizen Latino voters who supposedly cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, giving her a popular vote victory. Trump never said where he got those numbers, how he knew who they voted for, or produced any evidence of noncitizen voting. The commission disbanded without having found any evidence, either. It was generally regarded as Trump's way of trying to suppress the Latino vote in future elections.

Last month, Trump's senior campaign advisor, Justin Clark, openly called for voter suppression. He specifically mentioned poll-monitoring strategies, which attempt to drive down voter turnout in minority neighborhoods by intimidating voters, or delaying them with bureaucratic challenges to their registration. (Later, after his remarks were reported on with audio evidence, Clark claimed he was misunderstood.)

Both Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russian government operation working on his behalf made suppression of African-American voters a priority, although Trump still denies they were actively working together. His campaign did hire a firm with connections to the Russian government to compile massive amounts of targeted voter data, though, which was ultimately "shared" with the Putin regime.

Why should I care about this?

  • Trying to keep people from voting because you're afraid they might not vote for you is what dictators do.