Friday, May 29, 2020

Disenfranchising his own voters to advance the mail voting conspiracy theory

Donald Trump won the Presidency, to the surprise of many, by flipping three states that everyone assumed would go with Clinton: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Pennsylvania is the biggest electoral prize of the three with 20 electoral votes to Michigan's 16 and Wisconsin's 10. To hold onto the Presidency and eke out another electoral win later this year, Trump needs to win PA again.

Meanwhile last year Pennsylvania passed a new election law that included universal vote by mail. Pennsylvanians no longer need to have grounds for requesting an absentee ballot, everyone in the state can vote by mail or in person. The mail in ballot law was passed before the COVID-19 virus appeared. At the time no one expected that appearing in person at a polling place might be potentially life threatening in 2020. The law passed in 2019 even though the state legislature was under Republican control. In fact, because elderly were seen as the ones most likely to take advantage of voting by mail, some wondered if it would increase turnout of Trump voters.

Then came Trump's current jihad against voting by mail. Now all the Trumpies know that voting by mail as heresy, just when it is especially unsafe for older people to leave their home to vote in person. As a result while 1.3 million PA Democrats have requested a mail in ballot for next week's primary, only 524k Republicans submitted such a request and Democrats will probably vote at a much higher rate than Republicans in the primary despite the fact that there is no longer a competitive Democratic primary race. If this pattern holds up in November, Trump won't be able to win PA. (Which I don't think he would be able to do without COVID-19 or mail in ballots, but this is another nail in the coffin).