What do you get when you combine a soap box with a ballot box? If President Donald Trump is on the soap box, you get a coffin for our electoral process.
He proclaims, without a bit of evidence, that “Election fraud is very, very common.” That is more than casual nonsense. It destroys trust in how officeholders got there.
Fortunately, our democracy will withstand the endless bludgeoning by Mr. Trump. Most of us know nothing is more essential for our democracy than the confidence we have in the process and results, even if our Commander in Chief hasn’t a clue. It is what makes America great and different from Russia, China, or North Korea.
When Donald Trump attacks the integrity of our elections, he stamps “cheat” not only on millions who vote legitimately, but beyond that, he implicitly demeans the 3,141 county auditors in the country, many of whom are Republicans. They have devoted themselves to keeping our elections honest. That includes 99 auditors here in Iowa.
Would that Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley overcome their enabling silence and try, instead, to stop the president from spewing phony charges.
Trump talks of massive fraud as if he was living in the 19th or early 20th century when it did exist. Tom Pendergast in Kansas City was guilty of voter fraud, stealing municipal funds not paying federal taxes. He was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison.
William Vare, a Republican, stole millions in Philadelphia. He didn’t go to prison, nor to U.S. Senate when elected. Instead, they investigated and described his massive corruption.
Today, almost a hundred years later, we don’t have that corruption despite want Trump says. His claims are fatuous.
He has charged, for example, that Hillary Clinton received millions of “illegitimate” votes. Yet, no one has been charged with that federal crime in his four years when they could have been.
Mr. Trump blathers on about 1.8 million deceased still on voter rolls, some after 10 years. They really don’t send in absentee ballots; there is no evidence that there has been a single ghost vote.
(The President must have been listening, with approval, to a recent call in Cedar Rapids. “Dear, your mother just died. Please call Joel Miller’s office and get her name off the voter’s list and then, after calming down, call All Saints about her memorial service.”)
The conservative Heritage Foundation has studied elections going back to 1972. Out of millions of votes cast over decades, they found 1,296 cases of illegitimate ballots with 1,120 convictions.
In South Carolina, in a recent election, 207 cases of suspected fraud were identified and investigated. All turned out to be illegitimate, suspect mostly as the result of clerical error or mistaken data. There was not a single case of fraud.
Mail-in ballots are the rule in many foreign countries. In Switzerland, 90 percent of ballots are cast that way. In five states in our own country, mail-in ballots are the rule. No “wide -spread corruption.”
Why would anyone on a soapbox shout “rigged,” unless he feared losing. forced out of his bedroom and off his box? Winners don’t whine.
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Norman Sherman of Coralville has worked extensively in politics, including as Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s press secretary, and authored a memoir “From Nowhere to Somewhere.”