Saturday, September 12, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He once again told North Carolina voters to commit voter fraud, a felony.

Not for the first time, Trump told his North Carolina supporters using absentee ballots to attempt to vote twice: first by mail, and then again by visiting polls in person on Election Day.

To be clear: absentee voting does not require a visit to the polling place, in North Carolina or anywhere else. North Carolina's Secretary of State was forced to try to debunk Trump in real time on Twitter.

It's not clear who in Trump's tweet the "them" are supposed to be who are "illegally taking your vote away," although he has made no secret of his attempts to sabotage the United States Postal Service as it gears up for huge pandemic-inspired absentee voting. Because of the way the COVID-19 pandemic has been politicized, Democrats are far more likely to vote by mail this year than Republicans.

Messages like this, which Twitter immediately flagged as an attempt to subvert the election, serve Trump's interest in a number of ways. If his supporters flood polling places, instead of verifying that their ballots were received online, it will contribute to delays and disruption. If the vote is close—and it almost certainly will be in North Carolina—Trump can point to those delays and claim he was hurt by them. 

Voters may be confused by Trump's ridiculous depiction of absentee voting—since the whole point is to avoid going to a polling place—and decide the whole process isn't worth it. (Undermining Americans' faith in democracy is not just a Trump strategy—it's also the major goal of the Putin regime.) And if anyone actually succeeds in voting twice—which is a felony, albeit not one anyone is likely to get away with—Trump can complain that the election is tainted even though he would be the one tainting it.

In effect, Trump seems to have concluded that anything that adds to confusion and chaos and dissatisfaction with the election is good for him.

How is this a bad thing?

  • Nobody tries this hard to sabotage an election they think they will win.
  • A president who won't respect the rule of law or the results of an election is a dictator.
  • Nobody whose interests so perfectly align with those of a hostile foreign power should be president.