As Donald Trump’s approval ratings hit historic lows, everyone is asking how he intends to win a re-election campaign. And before the 2020 presidential election, many political observers are wondering how the Republican Party can keep its majority in the House and Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.
Will the GOP legislators distance themselves from the president in a desperate attempt to save their jobs? How can Trump win the White House again when only 35 percent of the country approves of the job he is doing? How can Republicans retain their seats when 84 percent of America thinks they are doing a terrible job?
It’s simple. They will just steal it.
As the country has focused on Steve Bannon, Russian collusion and Confederate statues, the Trump administration has quietly implemented a plan to systematically disenfranchise thousands of voters across the country. It is not as sexy as schizophrenic tweets or white supremacist rallies, but it is far more important.
On May 11, Trump signed an executive order establishing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The order named Vice President Mike Pence the head of the panel, but the real story was the person he named vice chairman, who would be carrying out the day-to-day-operation for the commission: Kris Kobach.
Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, makes former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio look like Martin Luther King Jr. He is called the “architect of the most racist law in modern American history.” In fact, Arizona Senate Bill 1070 (which became known as the “papers, please” law), which Arpaio used to profile and target people of Hispanic descent, was written by Kobach. The director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project referred to him as “the king of voter suppression.” Kansas’ state Senate minority leader called him “the most racist politician in America today.”
Aside from going from state to state writing anti-immigration laws for state legislatures, Kobach is known for his efforts to disenfranchise voters. As Kansas secretary of state, he threw out 13,717 ballots in the 2016 election. For reference, that’s more votes than Florida discarded (13,461)—even though Florida is seven times the size of Kansas. Missouri, which is twice the size of Kansas, discarded only 3,803 ballots.
As soon as he got the job on the election “integrity” commission (which is like putting someone who thinks hate crime laws are unnecessary and publicly sympathizes with the Ku Klux Klan in charge of the Justice Department ... oh, wait. Trump did that, too), Kobach announced plans to change federal election laws to require proof of citizenship. He tried to enact the same provision in Kansas, which would have disenfranchised more than 30,000 voters.
His next step was to go to each state and ask for voter information. In most states, anyone can obtain the voter rolls, which usually contain the names and addresses of voters. Political campaigns do it all the time. But Kobach wanted more. He wanted data that contained Social Security numbers, dates of birth and party affiliations.
Now, what would you think Kris Kobach would do with this information?
To this day, he won’t tell anyone his plans. A group wants him to explain it to a federal judge, but he refuses to testify under oath. No one knows what the Trump administration plans to do with this information, so all we are left to do is speculate based on what Kobach, Trump and the Republican Party have done in the past:
- Kansas is the 33rd largest state but ranks sixth in discarded voter ballots.
The Trump campaignRussia orchestrated cyberattacks, altered voter rolls and stole private data from state election systems.
- Kobach created the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, characterized as a “Muslim registry.”
- Kobach reiterated the Trump administration’s baseless claim that 5.7 million Americans voted illegally.
- Kobach drafted an Alabama law that made it illegal to hire, sign a lease with or even give a ride to suspected undocumented immigrants.
- Kobach (along with Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller) has ties to the radical anti-immigration group Federation for American Immigration Reform, founded by white nationalist John Tanton, who wrote: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”
So if you think Trump has no chance of being re-elected, think again. He already has a plan in place. He has started acting on it. He might not even need help from Vladimir Putin and Russian hackers. And if you think it is unlikely that Trump could win, remember that historically low 35 percent approval rating we talked about earlier?
On Election Day 2016, his approval rating was 34 percent.