With the signing of an executive order creating a commission on election integrity, Trump is finally fulfilling his promise to put VP Pence in charge of an investigation into his lies about massive voter fraud. They are touting this as a bipartisan effort by claiming that the commission will not only investigate voter fraud, but that voter suppression with also be a part of its charter.
But it is interesting to note that, as Ed Kilgore wrote, Pence is “what passes for a bipartisan figure in the administration.” Martin has already weighed in on the racist Trump appointed to be the other co-chair, Kris Kobach. I’d simply ad this little tidbit from a profile on Koblach that Suzy Khimm did a few years ago.
In addition to filing lawsuits against the Arizona and Alabama laws, the [Obama] DOJ has taken action against Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose officers Kobach helped train in immigration enforcement. In December, Arpaio’s officers were forced to hand in their federal credentials due to complaints about their immigration enforcement tactics, which the DOJ called illegal and discriminatory.
This is the man, along with Pence, that Trump has put in charge of a commission they are suggesting will be “bipartisan,” someone who is anathema to everything Democrats believe in when it comes to civil rights and voting rights.
Here are some other names that have been circulated as potential members.
The official also told NBC News that among the names being considered to join the commission are Bill Gardner, Democratic Secretary of State of New Hampshire, Matthew Dunlap, Democratic Secretary of State of Maine, Ken Blackwell, former Republican Secretary of State of Ohio, Connie Lawson, Republican Secretary of State of Indiana, and Christy McCormick, an Obama-appointed Republican Commissioner of the Election Assistance Commission.
If you can get beyond the polarizing figure of Kobach, that list might sound pretty bipartisan…until you get to Ken Blackwell. To many Democrats, he is solely responsible for throwing the state of Ohio into George W. Bush’s column via voter suppression efforts and his refusal to comply with a court order that would have stopped them. There is perhaps no public figure Democrats trust less on voting rights than Ken Blackwell, unless it is Kris Kobach.
What is important about all this is that it provides a pretty good window into why Trump and his administration are incapable of doing anything in a bipartisan manner. The pretext of this commission would be like President Obama appointing Louis Farrakhan to investigate religious tolerance, adding a couple of Republican back-benchers and calling it bipartisan. Can you imagine the howls we’d hear from the right about that?
The guy who sees every challenge as a contest for dominance and says things like “man is the most vicious of all animals, and life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat” will never be capable of compromise or doing anything in a bipartisan manner. This commission is just one more example of that.