On Point: Trump and the art of governance

By C. Fraser Smith
BridgeTower Media Newswires

If it's true that Donald Trump pursues voter fraud - not to stop it but to prove he won the popular vote in 2016 - we have hit a high on the lunacy scale.

More likely? It's just more of the same old lunacy.

New highs and lows for this president are risky to predict. Hard to tell some time when he's loopy or jerking us around.

Tweets and commissions and rude comments leave us chasing our collective tail. We waste our time proving or disproving things we've proved or disproved over and over.

Trump seems to have time on his hands. He can indulge himself without neglecting his actual job.

Others apparently are not so efficient. Sen. John McCain responded to questions about the voter fraud squad by saying his concern for national security concerns take most of his time.

Imagine that? Doing your actual job.

The good news in all of this would be something like this: At least it's not a test run for something more diabolical.

For example, what if he really wants is a bank of information useful for disqualifying voters? Or identifying opponents?

Actually, come to think of it, that could be a collateral advantage of the roster he's trying to compile.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh calls the president's obsession over 2016 simply that, an obsession - "repugnant," says Frosh.

Repugnant in our country because, at bottom, Trump seems to have no real regard for the democratic process. (This may be true of those who insist there really is fraud in the system. Most studies find virtually none.)

In Maryland, for example, 2,734,176 votes were cast in 2016 with no suggestion of "coordinated fraud."

That phrase may be directed at Trump's apparent belief that fraud is rampant. How else could he think 3 million votes were cast fraudulently? Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million or more, so that many votes have to disallowed for him to overtake her.

Not gonna happen. But we have to chase, up to and including the call for information that virtually no state will provide.

"There is no evidence that the integrity of the 2016 election in Maryland or any other state was compromised by voter fraud," Frosh said.

Trump and his accomplices are committed to defying science (old story): The consensus is that global warming threatens our future and that voter fraud poses no threat at all.

What we have here, in addition, are examples of Trump's total lack of interest in political history and political culture. People tend to win and move on to doing the job.

Jack Kennedy, for example, won by the equivalent of one vote per precinct nationwide. His father, Joseph Kennedy, famously said (tellingly) that he had not paid for a landslide.

Ben Jealous, the former NAACP leader who wants to be governor of Maryland, observing that Alabama says the president's commission can go jump in the gulf if it wants that state's voter data, invites Trump to "take a flying leap from the Bay Bridge."

Jealous suggested that Trump's behavior should draw more opposition from Gov. Larry Hogan.

Unlikely. The loonier Trump looks, the less political concern for the Republican governor.

Then there is Rep. Andy Harris of the Eastern Shore and dribs and drabs of a district on the mainland. Harris suggests that Trump should punish Maryland by withholding federal money. Apparently he has no political plans outside the well-gerrymandered 1st Congressional District.

South Carolina's U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham once more invoked the idea of Trump's 2016 obsession.

You begin to think the known political world has begun shrinking the man in the White House.

He has to get over it, Graham said. "It will erode his ability to govern if he doesn't."

Depends, doesn't it, if governing is something Trump wants to do.


C. Fraser Smith is a writer in Baltimore. His column appears Fridays in The Daily Record. He can be reached at smithfraser911 @gmail.com.

Published: Fri, Aug 11, 2017