Monday, October 24, 2016

Trump didn’t create the “rigged election” rhetoric. Republicans did.

Trump is only amplifying what Republicans have been saying for years.

Updated by German Lopez  @germanrlopez Oct 17, 2016, 4:30p

Donald Trump is very publicly freaking out about election fraud. He has tweeted multiple times about it, complaining that the election will be rigged against him — conveniently, as Hillary Clinton’s lead in the polls continues to grow.

It’s really no mystery where all this bluster — with no evidence of actual voter fraud to back it up — came from: the Republican Party.

Over the past few years, Republicans in many states took an opportunity — enabled by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling — to pass a series of new restrictions on voting. Critics said the restrictions disproportionately hurt minority voters. But Republican backers, at least in public, have pointed to a single issue to defend the measures: voter fraud.

A previous report by the US Department of Justice captured the sentiment among many Republicans: Rep.? Sue Burmeister, a lead sponsor of Georgia’s voter restriction law, told the Justice Department that “if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. [Burmeister] said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.” Other Republicans, such as North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Iowa Rep. Steve King, have similarly warned about the dangers of voter fraud.

Trump isn’t even the first Republican presidential candidate to raise concerns about voter fraud. Back in 2008, many Republicans, with the support of conservative media outlets like Fox News, pushed concerns that ACORN — a community organization that focused in part on registering African-American voters — was engaging in mass-scale election fraud. At the time, Republican nominee John McCain warned that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

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