Bad Donald

Donald Trump was a very good president, our best since Ronald Reagan in my opinion. But along with doing some very good things, he has said some very dumb things. Today’s statement, published on his web site, is a case in point:

If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.

There was a considerable amount of fraud in the 2020 election, although no one will ever be able to prove how much–that is the nature of successful fraud–and the election was inappropriately if not illegally influenced by other factors, like press and social media coverups and rampant bias. But that water is over the dam.

By “solv[ing] the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020,” I take it Trump means cleaning up our election practices to a point where such fraud will be impossible in future election cycles. I couldn’t agree more that we need to restore integrity to our elections, and a number of states have taken steps to do that. But we have never had flawless elections in the past, and we certainly won’t have one in 2022.

So Trump’s solution is to say that “Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24.” This is a profoundly stupid threat. In fact, the Democrats’ response would be, as we used to say on the playground, Is that a threat or a promise? From the Democrats’ perspective, the answer is obvious.

Trump’s worst fault is his tendency to put his own interests–or worse, his own ego–over the interests of his party and his country. I don’t know how many Republicans he could induce to stay home next year, or in 2024, if he isn’t satisfied with progress on election integrity. But the dumbest possible response to the existence of voter fraud–something that has been with us since the beginning of our democracy–is to refrain from voting yourself. If Trump were to persuade even a small number of Republicans to abstain from voting next year, or in 2024, it could well swing close elections to the Democrats. Trump should be enough of a patriot to consider that the worst of all possible outcomes.

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