The GOP has just been hoisted by its own petard thanks to The Donald.
For the last several years the GOP has vigorously pursued the implementation of measures in one state after another that have made voting more difficult. All along it has defended this voter suppression campaign as necessary to combat rampant voter fraud. Not surprisingly, this cynical disenfranchisement effort has had a disproportionately negative effect on traditionally Democrat voting blocs.
The claim of widespread voter fraud in this country has been debunked repeatedly. In fact, rulings of court after court have overturned or severely curtailed the impact of the most egregious of these laws and regulations on the grounds that evidence of voter fraud is rare and not significant enough to warrant the overreaching actions of GOP-controlled Legislatures and governors’ mansions. Yet, despite a lack of evidence of appreciable voter fraud, the GOP has continued to perpetuate this disgraceful canard at every turn.
That is, until The Donald recently took up the cause and used it to justify his refusal to state that he will accept the results of the upcoming presidential election. Interestingly, The Donald doesn’t seem to entertain the possibility that this voter fraud he claims will be the only way to explain his failure to emerge victorious might actually help him win the election, probably because he knows fraud is the exclusive domain of Democrats, socialists, and other “takers.”
Well, based on the audible gasps and other forms of rebuke from almost all corners of the GOP tent over their standard-bearer’s latest assault on America’s democratic principles, you would have thought the GOP no longer believed voter fraud was a serious problem in our country. Actually, these reactions instead reveal the insincerity of the GOP’s own ongoing stance that voter fraud is a clear and present danger requiring strong countermeasures across the nation.
Regardless, the GOP certainly understands that its nominee’s allegations of widespread voter fraud in the middle of the presidential campaign is hurting the electoral chances of its down-ballot candidates. Too bad it didn’t show the same level of concern for voters who were disenfranchised by its own unwarranted voter fraud prevention efforts.
Of course, the GOP could prove the sincerity of its newfound posture on this issue simply by pledging to rescind all of the voter suppression measures it recently enacted in the name of preventing fraud.
I won’t be holding my breath.
Until retiring in 2011, Michael Richardson was assistant secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs under Gov. Charlie Crist. He has also been a committee staff member in the Florida Senate, a policy adviser to Governors Bob Graham and Bob Martinez, and from 1990 through 2006, a self-employed management consultant to state and local governments.