A major frustration for those seeking to expose and stop President Trump’s potential theft of the 2020 election via his attempt to delegitimize perfectly legal mail ballots is the general unwillingness of Republicans to call b.s. on their president’s baseless allegations of voter fraud. Indeed, the “Red Mirage” scenario, whereby Trump might claim victory on Election Night based on early and heavily skewed returns, depends on Republican voters eschewing mail ballots and voting in person per his instructions, thus disproportionately casting the first ballots to be counted.
That’s why it’s very significant that the most famous Republican election lawyer in the country, Ben Ginsberg, has penned a Washington Post op-ed trashing the Trump/GOP strategy of fighting inconvenient votes and voters via made-up allegations of fraud. He begins with quite the dig:
Legions of Republican lawyers have searched in vain over four decades for fraudulent double voting. At long last, they have a blatant example of a major politician urging his supporters to illegally vote twice.
The only hitch is that the candidate is President Trump.
After recounting Trump’s infamous advice to voters to deal with mail-ballot problems by voting in person as well, Ginsberg cuts to the chase:
The president’s words make his and the Republican Party’s rhetoric look less like sincere concern — and more like transactional hypocrisy designed to provide an electoral advantage. And they come as Republicans trying to make their cases in courts must deal with the basic truth that four decades of dedicated investigation have produced only isolated incidents of election fraud.
These are painful conclusions for me to reach. Before retiring from law practice last month, I spent 38 years in the GOP’s legal trenches. I was part of the 1990s redistricting that ended 40 years of Democratic control and brought 30 years of GOP successes in Congress and state legislatures. I played a central role in the 2000 Florida recount and several dozen Senate, House and state contests. I served as counsel to all three Republican national party committees and represented four of the past six Republican presidential nominees (including, through my law firm, Trump 2020).
And in his most powerful admission, Ginsberg suggests he was as vigilant about what Republicans like to call “ballot security” as any of them:
Each Election Day since 1984, I’ve been in precincts looking for voting violations, or in Washington helping run the nationwide GOP Election Day operations, overseeing the thousands of Republican lawyers and operatives each election on alert for voting fraud. In every election, Republicans have been in polling places and vote tabulation centers. Republican lawyers in every state have been able to examine mail-in/absentee ballot programs.
But he acknowledges that “after decades of looking for illegal voting, there’s no proof of widespread fraud.” Ginsberg notes the fiasco called the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity that Trump entrusted to Kris Kobach, which disbanded having discovered nothing, and even looks at the evidence compiled by those passionate vote suppressors at the Heritage Foundation who want to get rid of voting by mail entirely:
The Heritage Foundation Election Fraud Database has compiled every instance of any kind of voter fraud it could find since 1982. It contains 1,296 incidents, a minuscule percentage of the votes cast. A study of results in three states where all voters are mailed actual ballots, a practice at the apex of the president’s outrage, found just 372 possible cases of illegal voting of 14.6 million cast in the 2016 and 2018 general elections — 0.0025 percent.
Ginsberg is mostly addressing the GOP’s massive litigation effort aimed at restricting voting by mail and other voting opportunities all over the country. But it’s pretty clear that if Trump does claim victory on the basis of the very claims Ginsberg is destroying in this op-ed, at least one prominent Republican will not have his back:
The president’s rhetoric has put my party in the position of a firefighter who deliberately sets fires to look like a hero putting them out. Republicans need to take a hard look before advocating laws that actually do limit the franchise of otherwise qualified voters. Calling elections “fraudulent” and results “rigged” with almost nonexistent evidence is antithetical to being the “rule of law” party.
Indeed, it could be part of a fraudulent effort to rig an election for Trump.