Monday, July 3, 2017

Mr. Fraud is on the trail of -- voter fraud?

Donald Trump and his apologists have put the "con" in "conservative."

Conservatism? He doesn't stand for anything in particular. What he stands for is the con.

What Senate leaders have hilariously named the Better Care Reconciliation Act is just another con -- just another luxury vessel Trump wants to christen as his own.

"Better Care" – that's some moniker for yanking health coverage from 22 million Americans. Trump couldn't care less about this, though he said his health care plan would "cover everyone" and he praised Australia's single-payer system as being "better than ours."

The extent to which Trump is a fraud, a phony, an ideological jackal, was on display recently in a New York Times editorial that counted down all the falsehoods – one lie a day for his first 40 days, 74 lies for the 113 days thereafter.

There have been the petty ruses, like the phony covers of Time at his golf properties featuring his smirking countenance.

Then there are the major lies, like pulling out of the Paris agreement because "China will be allowed to build hundreds of additional coal plants." No, Sir. The treaty doesn't allow or disallow coal plants. But the last thing you're interested in is sharing truth with that freeze-dried political base you hold dear: people with their credulousness reduced to powder.

Trump did a rooster strut over the fact that evil CNN had parted ways with three journalists over an online story about the relationship between Trump officials and a Russian investment firm. CNN officials didn't say the story was false, just that the reporters had violated policy by not sufficiently vetting claims.

More fake news, right?

Well, actually, Mr. President, this is how purveyors of truth act. People who work for news media — real, not fake -- get fired for getting sloppy. Will you be parting with any member of your Lie Brigade on similar terms? How about firing your son-in-law for signing security clearance forms saying he'd had no contact with foreign governments?

Unlike legitimate news organizations, Team Trump never retracts.

Back to that long list of lies that will be the most lasting legacy of this president: Trump asks Americans to return to Lie No. 1, or thereabouts, about those 5 million or so illegal votes he says were cast – each, of course, for Hillary Clinton.

Trump's "Commission on Voter Integrity" wants the nation's voter information, all of it – or at least all that's public record, to keep alive the narrative that the nation is awash in voter fraud.

("Integrity" -- we demand it from voters. But for the Orange Spectacle and congressional leaders, integrity is like anthrax on a snack cracker.)

 "Rampant voter fraud" is a spiel that Republican state officials have sought to prosecute for years, finding almost nothing to back it up.

The fact is, like everything Trump does, this is just a con. It's not about "ballot integrity" but instead about pretenses about making it harder to vote, something that has become a never-ending Republican quest.

The underlying objective of Trump's commission, says University of Kentucky law professor Joshua Douglas, is to repeal the National Voter Registration Act -- the "motor voter law."

Trump wants to show Americans that easier ballot access, like mail-in voting and same-day registration, somehow taint the system. He will not succeed in demonstrating that. Of course, as always, truth is not his objective. His objective is to continue the con, whatever it might be at the moment.

Never mind the costs of this pointless "ballot security" exercise. Never mind the issues raised by the states' refusing to participate.

Just wondering: When will Trump form a commission to investigate why photos showed so few people in his inaugural crowd?

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:


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