Trump allies consider election law if reelected

“One hundred percent yes,” said Brooke Rollins, AFPI president and former director of Trump’s White House Home Policy Council, of a set of issues legislation ready for passage if Trump l prevailed in the 2024 election. “If we do our job well, we will have a set of model laws for the federal government and the state governments where they align. “

Rollins said she hoped Trump wouldn’t need to push electoral legislation because the states would have done it themselves. But she left the door open for him to fill that void. “We have the fall and spring legislative sessions,” Rollins said. “We have many chances of success before the next presidential election. “

It is unclear what specific legislation Trump would push in Congress. AFPI launched a Center for Election Integrity, headed by former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and former Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley to promote the identification of voters, clean the voters lists, demand that ballots be returned before election day and stop the practice of collecting ballots. . But these efforts have been state-oriented, and Republicans have been reluctant to federalize the electoral system. Already this year, 19 states have enacted 33 laws making voting more difficult.

Trump embraced the concept of national voter identification laws, as have other prominent Republicans. Early in his first term, he formed a commission on alleged electoral fraud and placed it under the tutelage of one of the country’s most aggressive advocates of restrictive election laws, the former Kansas secretary of state. , Kris Kobach. This ended in failure, however, after lawsuits were brought and states rejected requests for voter data.

Trump made no secret that his No. 1 priority was to challenge the 2020 election. He urged key states to conduct results “audits” and revise election laws that he says favor the election. voter fraud, even though there is no evidence of widespread irregularities and officials have called the 2020 election the safest in American history.

His attention has come despite the dismay of some Republicans, who would prefer the midterm elections to be a referendum on President Joe Biden’s record and who privately fear that Trump’s efforts will undermine confidence in American democracy. But in recent rallies, statements and comments at private events, Trump has only amplified his insistence that his theories of voter fraud be at the center of the Republican Party platform.

It had an impact, according to John McLaughlin, a Trump pollster. McLaughlin said a “majority” of Republican voters he polled now say voter fraud is a major concern.

“When you talk about Republicans and Trump voters going to vote in the primaries, that’s definitely one of the biggest issues,” McLaughlin said. “They want to make sure the results are honest and fair.”

Any attempt to enact restrictive election laws at the national level would meet fierce opposition from Democrats. To date, they have advocated their own legislative changes to election laws, primarily by trying to open up avenues for early voting and postal voting. But they failed to push bills through an equally divided Senate, where many Republicans railed against the idea of ​​federalizing the US electoral system.

Trump has led the charge to defeat the Democrats’ efforts, in part by injecting paranoia and misinformation into political blood. On Wednesday, he upped the stakes again, insisting that Republican voters would abstain from voting in the next election unless GOP lawmakers “solve the 2020 presidential voter fraud.”

The statement sparked immediate concerns from Republican agents that Trump might – as he did ahead of Georgia’s special Senate election in January – suppress voter turnout by convincing his own supporters to stay home.

“We already saw this movie last January in the Georgia Senate, which ended with a Democratic-controlled Senate,” said Colin Reed, a Republican political strategist. “Challenging the results of the last election has become a litmus test in the contested GOP primaries, and can potentially hurt our ability to win future contests, which is a real shame. “

Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington then clarified the statement and responded to Republicans’ fears on Twitter.

“President Trump did not say not to vote. He stressed that the obvious consequence of not fixing the fraud and holding those who broke the laws to account will be Republicans’ abstention, ”Harrington wrote. “If we don’t fix our election, many voters will think their vote won’t count. “

Still, Trump says his rigged election speech is a winning message. Over the weekend in Iowa, he spent most of his time on the podium complaining about the 2020 results.

“I’m telling you the biggest problem, however bad the border is and it’s horrible, horrible what they are doing, they are destroying our country, but as bad as it is, the biggest problem, the problem that gets the the more attraction, the more respect, the biggest applause is about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, ”Trump said.

In interviews at that rally in Iowa, Trump supporters said other issues were at the fore, including immigration, the economy and inflation. But they also echoed Trump’s lies about the election.

“I don’t see that there is a way [Trump] didn’t get 81 million votes, ”said Chris Findley of Quincy, Illinois. “[Democrats] changed the voting rules, ”Findley said, adding that he wanted there to be a voting ID, in-person voting and no mail-in ballots unless someone was in the ballot box. ‘army.

Jeannette Cooley of Indianola, Iowa, said Trump should focus on two things: “The integrity of the elections and the border.”

Above these comments and Trump’s statements is the ghost of the Georgia special election. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, more than 752,000 Georgians who voted in the presidential election did not choose the new state senators in a run-off, and more than half were white and lived in rural republican constituencies. The numbers suggest they internalized Trump’s insistence that their votes were irrelevant since the election was rigged.

“Tactically, I don’t know how that makes sense to him,” said another Republican agent. “Now if they don’t do well, the narrative will be that Trump told them not to vote. He was blamed for Georgia. Often times he does things that make selfish meaning to him, but it doesn’t make sense to him. What is the advantage? “

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