President had blamed fraud for losing popular vote in 2016, but provided no evidence
President Donald Trump dissolved the commission he created just eight months ago to investigate his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2016 election, bringing an end to a panel that had faced resistance from state election officials.
.. Mr. Trump formed the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May and installed Vice President Mike Pence as chairman after blaming voter fraud for his loss in the popular vote to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The panel was created despite independent experts saying there was no evidence to support his claim of widespread fraud, whether by illegal immigrants or others.
.. On Wednesday, the White House blamed the panel’s demise on states that refused to provide voter information.
.. In a statement, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that there was “substantial evidence of voter fraud” but that the White House didn’t want to “engage in endless battles at taxpayer expense.”
.. An analysis by the Brennan Center, a nonpartisan law and policy think tank, has found that votes by noncitizens account for between 0.0003% and 0.001% of all votes cast.
Chief among them is Trump’s assault on truth, which takes a now-familiar form. First, assert and maintain a favorable lie. Second, attack and discredit sources of opposition. Third, declare victory based on power or applause.
So, Trump claimed that Florida Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson’s account of his conversation with a Gold Star widow was “totally fabricated.” (Not true.) Wilson, after all, is “wacky.” (Not relevant.) And Trump won the interchange because Wilson is “killing the Democrat Party.” (We’ll see.)
The pattern is invariable. President Barack Obama is a Kenyan; the Mexican government deliberately dumps criminals across the border; “thousands and thousands” of people in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks ; Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s father consorted with Lee Harvey Oswald; vaccination schedules can be tied to autism; Obama was “wiretapping” Trump Tower during the presidential campaign; Obama asked British intelligence to spy on Trump; at least 3 million immigrants voted illegally in the 2016 election. Any source that disputes Trump is personally defamed or dismissed as “fake news.” And how is truth ultimately adjudicated? “The country believes me,” Trump said earlier this year. “Hey, I went to Kentucky two nights ago. We had 25,000 people.” Confronted by a reporter about his routine deceptions, Trump answered, “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president and you’re not.”
.. Conservatives were supposed to be the protectors of objective truth from various forms of postmodernism. Now they generally defend our thoroughly post-truth president. Evidently we are all relativists now.
.. The problem is not just the constant lies. It is the dismissal of reason and objectivity as inherently elitist and partisan.
a pernicious form of tyranny: a tyranny over the mind... The alternative to reasoned discourse is the will to power... This is the frightening direction of Trumpism. It is the corruption that good men such as White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly are enabling.