Obama Had Larger Crowd Than Trump who now Peddles Sham Vote "Fraud" Commission

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Light inauguration turnout spurred "fraud" commission. Photo: Gage Skidmore-Flickr

[Commentary]

President Trump’s voting commission which he created in June of 2017, became active and visible this week, issuing a sweeping request for nationwide voter data.
He created the commission to follow through on a vow to pursue his own unsubstantiated claims that voter fraud is rampant and cost him the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.
The White House has said the commission will embark upon a “thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections." Experts and voting rights advocates have pilloried Trump for his claims of widespread fraud.
The voter fraud claims by Trump which has been studied by private and state officials alike have not turned up any evidence of any such widespread violations. They say that they fear the commission will be used to restrict voting.
Trump lied when he said he won the popular vote but was “rigged” out by millions of illegal voters. He tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally. Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.”
Trump may soon appoint a commission to support his claims of having the largest inauguration crowd in history, or one to support his claim of thousands of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey after the World Trade Center collapsed. He insists that with his own eyes he saw “thousands and thousands” of cheering Arabs in New Jersey celebrating as the World Trade Center collapsed during the Sept. 11 attacks. “It was on television. I saw it.” None of the New York Television stations could find clips to back up his claims.
His obsession with obliterating Barack Obama’s legacy may prompt him to create a commission to investigate Obama’s birth certificate --as he did as a private citizen-- or his academic matriculation. His obsession with numbers may even prompt him to create a commission to investigate whether his inauguration had more participants than the “Million Man March.”
Trump’s request for national voter data of some 200 million American Voters flies in the face of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a piece of federal legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the Civil Rights Movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended the Act five times to expand its protections. Designed to enforce the voting rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Act secured voting rights for racial minorities throughout the country, especially in the South. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Act is the most effective piece of civil rights legislation ever enacted in the country.
The Act contains numerous provisions that regulate election administration. The Act's "general provisions" provide nationwide protections for voting rights. Section 2 is a general provision that prohibits every state and local government from imposing any voting law that results in discrimination against racial or language minorities. Other general provisions specifically outlaw literacy tests and similar devices that were historically used to disenfranchise racial minorities.
In August 1922, the Topeka State Journal reported on an unusual voter suppression tactic. Members of the Ku Klux Klan reportedly flew over Oklahoma City, dropping cards into Black neighborhoods, warning people to be cautious before heading to the polls. The Journal also reported that Klansmen pledged to stake out polling places in Texas that year, with an aim to “take careful note of the voting procedure."
Intimidation of voters by the Klan goes back way further than 1922, though. In 1871, Congress passed the Second Enforcement Act, better known as the Ku Klux Klan Act. Among its provisions was an effort to curtail often-violent efforts to prevent black people from casting votes in elections.
The menacing suggestion that voter fraud or voting irregularities necessitate keeping a close eye on things is born not of legitimate questions about the outcome of an election but of an attempt to create an excuse for keeping certain voters away from the polls.
Efforts by pro-Trump forces to “monitor” polling places to root out “fraud” (which is essentially nonexistent as a factor in elections) have already been the subject of legal action.
On November 8, 2016, the first election in 50 years without the full protection of the federal Voting Rights Act propelled Donald Trump to the White House.
Trump assumed the presidency because of the Electoral College’s influence. Though nearly three million more people cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, Trump won the electoral vote. The election was also marked by low turnout, with tens of millions of eligible voters choosing not to participate at all. Yet there has been relatively little discussion about the millions of people who were eligible to vote but could not do so because they faced an array of newly-enacted barriers to the ballot box.
Their systematic disenfranchisement was intentional and politically motivated. In the years leading up to 2016, Republican governors and state legislatures implemented new laws restricting when, where, and how people could vote — laws that disproportionately harmed students, the poor, and people of color. In several instances, lawmakers pushing such policies said explicitly that their goal was suppression of voters who favor the Democratic Party. Three such states serve as case studies for the effectiveness of these voting restrictions: Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Florida.
All three states elected staunchly conservative governors during President Obama’s terms. All three implemented voting restrictions that affect millions of people. President Obama won all three states in 2008, and won all but North Carolina in 2012, while Hillary Clinton lost all three of those states in 2016.
Trump has created and empowered his personal Ku Klux Klan in the persona of the Voter Fraud Commission. His goal is to eliminate as many people of color, whom he assumes vote democratic, from the polls as possible.
The big question remaining in my mind is why he thinks voter fraud is confined to persons of color who vote the democratic ticket?
Beware, his next obsession may be to repeal the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Walter Smith, Publisher New York Beacon

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