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Trump’s Assault on the Election is Just Warming Up

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Donald Trump is on a rampage against mail-in ballots for the upcoming November election, asserting that large-scale voter fraud is an inevitable result. At least that’s his assertion now that the state of California is going in that direction — not so much when slightly less progressive states implemented similar plans.

Five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah — already vote entirely by mail and several others have expanded the absentee voting access in response to COVID-19 concerns.

It’s no surprise, nor a first, that Trump is picking a bone with California policy, but this particular instance carries serious long-term consequences as it relates to our ability to cast votes.

Trump’s ire against the state is no secret, but the recent focus appears to be part of a much broader agenda aimed at sowing doubt in election integrity well ahead of the game, and he’s not alone in that. The Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom in objection to the May 8 executive order requiring counties to provide voters with mail-in ballots in an effort to reduce potential COVID-19 spread at physical polling locations.

In a statement on the matter, the governor said:

“Elections and the right to vote are foundational to our democracy. … No Californian should be forced to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote.”

It’s hard to see why an American president would take issue with a measure that both protects human health and citizens’ right to vote. It’s unconscionable but easier to grasp with the oft repeated belief that expanded voter access tends to result in wins for Democrats, which is why voter suppression has been a key Republican strategy. Whether that’s statistically true is debatable, but Trump is on record forwarding that narrative nonetheless. 

Photo by Michael Fleshman

In a March 30 Fox & Friends interview Trump criticized Democrats in Congress for attempting to include absentee election provisions into the CARES Act federal stimulus bill, saying:

“The things they had in there were crazy. They had things — levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

And, there it is.

When the sitting president took to his go-to social media platform to make wild and largely disproven claims about voter fraud, Twitter attempted to tamp down the spread of misinformation by adding a fact check link to the bottom of his post. Let’s just say Trump’s reaction was less than appreciative.

It can at times be challenging to see the forest through the trees with this administration — the incessant onslaught of scandal and information warfare is exhausting, but this is one series of events that warrants immediate attention. The big picture has little to do with California or Twitter and everything to do with compromising results of the election. Period.

Democratic nations fall to oppression and dictatorship when leaders assume control of information and manipulate elections. That’s how it’s done. Already long into the process of becoming a dictator, he’s seeded mistrust in media, asserted blatant lies as fact and himself as the all-knowing authority over matters he knows nothing about, and now seeks to limit voting access and take down sources that fact-check him. 

Where does that leave room for dissent?

The plot is as obvious and predictable as a badly written soap opera, but with detrimental effects on the entirety of the country, and the world over in light of our global impact. The only insurance citizens have is to ensure the right to safely vote — left, right or middle — is protected. It’s more important than ever that voters regularly check their registration status and make their voices heard about how elections should operate, in times of Covid-19 and beyond. 

 

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.

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