If Trump Was Telling the Truth About Voter Fraud, People Would Be Arrested (But He's Not)

Donald Trump is currently the president of the United States, whether we like it or not. And that's apparently his plan for the 2020 election, as he savagely sows doubt about the validity of the vote for the presidency. He keeps speaking in desperate but vague tones, with his accusations now having reached  Trumpian shorthand like "fake news" and "Russia hoax" before it. 

Now it's "the ballots." At a press briefing this week, asked again about and declining to support a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election, Trump said, "You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots. And the ballots are a disaster...The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats know it better than anybody else."

And we all know what Trump's talking about now when he says it: mail-in ballots in certain states where he might lose. Not absentee ballots, mind you, which, in most states, are exactly the same as mail-in ballots but get separated out because reasons. Sometimes he narrows it to ballots that are sent to voters without them requesting one, but mostly it's generally mail-in ballots in states that he won in 2016 and is in danger of losing this time (and have Democratic officials overseeing the vote count).

He brings it up as often as he can, and he's decided that it's a massive conspiracy involving Democratic governors, Secretaries of State, and others. At one of his superspreader rallies from hell, in the midst of talking about another supposed massive conspiracy, how Democrats are keeping their economies closed out of spite for him and not because of coronavirus and how they'll open up after Election Day, Trump asserted, "Then they have these fake ballots, millions and millions of ballots. By the way, when, not if, when you see shenanigans, please report it to your authorities. Okay? The real authorities, they’re watching and the authorities are watching, but please report it."

"When" means that Trump, who, again, is the president of the United States, is saying that he knows about a crime that's been committed: a coordinated voter fraud effort. And, as a citizen of this country, as a voter, well, if this is true, then I want people charged with a crime and arrested. Wouldn't all of us want that? I mean, the president wouldn't lie to us, right?

Further, if the FBI director is saying that no crimes are being committed when thousands of crimes are, then that FBI director should be fired, if not arrested himself for covering up the conspiracy. If state officials are working in coordination with each other to steal an election, which is precisely what Trump is accusing them of, then we need to stop it. If our intelligence agencies are all talking about Russian interference in the election but that's just the Deep State covering up for the real crimes, well, my God, why are we just talking about it? The crime is happening now. As Trump said, it's afflicting early voting: "And early voting, if you didn’t know it, has already begun and watch it and watch those fake ballots, you got to go out and turn them in. If you see somebody cheating, you got to turn them in." No, we can't wait for Election Day. We have to stop this now.

And that's what reporters should be asking to show how hugely Trump is lying. Not "Where is the evidence?" but "Why don't you stop this from happening?" If GOP officials point to the lawsuits they've filed to hinder the count of mail-in votes, well, that's not about an enormous amount of premeditated voting fraud, which, again, is what they are accusing Democrats of. There are laws in every state targeting conspiracy to commit election fraud.

Of course, Trump think that the media should be exposing these crimes, not questioning him about them. To him, that's far more important than law enforcement. That's why he says to reporters, "You know it" and says that they won't report on it. Apparently, non-Fox/OAN news organizations are in on the conspiracy, too, working in tandem with Democrats, the Deep State, and, oh, hell, let's say Antifa and pedophiles.

By the way, snark aside, "conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States" is a federal crime. And if there is no conspiracy on mail-in ballots and Trump is just making it up, then he is the one committing the crime, as is every official supporting his lies. This is the real election fraud, and it's meant to undermine the very foundation of our democracy, something we've never seen a president do. That's why you're reading and hearing from people who are totally freaked out. 

Yeah, you can argue (and sometimes I do) that Trump is all talk, that he's a salesman who is always hyping whatever worthless product he's conning you into buying. But that presupposes that his idiot followers believe that, and they don't. They take him very literally, and Trump is giving them an excuse to use violence to keep him in office because of these crimes that no one is committing (except Trump). It's really damn scary.

It's also succeeding in making people paranoid, with legitimate reason. More than one person has said to me that the reason they think Trump wants people to vote on Election Day is because it's far more effective and easier to hack the software of our voting machines to change totals than it is to impersonate millions of people on mail-in ballots (or to counterfeit them, which Trump and corpulent, creepy criminal William Barr have said is also happening). 

Trump is objectively lying for the purpose of securing his reelection. Saying there is massive voter fraud is like saying the earth is flat or that Eric Trump is smart. It's simply, plainly clear that the opposite is true. That's the only way to talk about this fraud Trump is perpetrating on the American people. And that's how Joe Biden needs to frame it at the debate next week.

However, let me conclude here with a vaguely hopeful idea, one that is based in American selfishness: if you invalidate the ballots for the presidential race, you are invalidating the ballots for every race on the ballot. We're not talking just Senate or House races. We're talking state legislatures and city councils and school boards and mill taxes and initiatives. It would be anarchy at the most local levels you can imagine. No one is going to want that in their precinct.

I would also bet there are states or districts where the vote goes against Trump but in favor of other Republicans. Are those Republicans willing to sacrifice their elections to go all in on destroying the very democracy that got them elected or re-elected? No. They're gonna cover their own butts. That self-preservation, so damaging to society as a whole, may be what saves us.