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Nate Jackson / September 4, 2020

No, Trump Did Not Advocate Voter Fraud

But he did get his political opponents to admit that mail-in voting is ripe for it.

We’re not exactly subscribers to the idea that everything Donald Trump does or says is 4D chess, but every once in a while he says something seemingly crazy that sends the Left into hysterics and we wonder: Did he plan it that way?

His comments about voting during a visit to North Carolina provided just such an example. “So let them send [a mail-in ballot] in, and let them go vote [at the polls]. And if the system’s as good as they say it is, then they obviously won’t be able to vote [twice].”

The president just told people to commit fraud by voting twice, screamed the media in unison. “It’s like advising someone to try to rob a bank to see if the security is as good as the bank says it is,” huffed Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. Remember, these are the same people spreading batty Postal Service conspiracy theories to undermine voter confidence.

Obviously, Trump wasn’t literally telling people to vote twice; he was musing that they could test the system by showing up in person if they feared their mailed ballot wouldn’t be counted. (Not good advice, but we’re just calling balls and strikes here.) His quote was only a snippet from an impromptu conversation with a reporter, and Trump was riffing as he usually does on the subject of unsolicited mail-in ballots and the likelihood of fraud. “I don’t like the idea of these unsolicited votes,” he said. “It leads to a lot of problems.”

Moreover, the president made clear that “absentees are fine,” by which he means ballots specifically requested by voters who cannot vote in person on Election Day. That is totally distinct from the ballots mailed to every voter in nine states and DC, whether voters asked for those ballots or not.

Ironically, the reaction from media pundits proved Trump’s point. Why would they be so worried that he was telling voters to commit fraud if they also repeatedly insist there is “no evidence” that happens with mail-in ballots? (Fact check: There’s plenty of evidence of fraud and problems with mail-in voting. Just ask Attorney General William Barr.)

Galling hypocrisy and stunning lack of self-awareness never stopped a Democrat or media pundit before, but by making a simple hyperbolic challenge, the president forced his political opponents to make his case for him.

If that was his intent, “checkmate.”

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