When Trump Gotchas End Up Proving His Point

Donald Trump, apparently sad! at having lost the popular vote in his race against Hillary Clinton, has announced on—where else?—Twitter, “a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal, and even those registered to vote who are dead.” In response, numerous news outlets have reported that various confidants of the president are themselves registered to vote in two states.

Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon was registered to vote in two states! Treasury secretary-designate Steven Mnuchin is registered to vote in two states! Even Trump’s daughter Tiffany is registered to vote in two states! (Giving her the ability, presumably, to vote against her dad twice.)

These revelations—reported with an arched eyebrow, as if to show that the president is a hypocrite—sit uneasily with the accepted conventional wisdom that America’s voting system is spotless, with voter fraud a metaphysical impossibility.

Indeed, that several of Trump’s close associates are registered to vote in two states would seem to actually strengthen his point: Given that one has to proactively remove oneself from the voter rolls, it is remarkably easy to maintain dual registration. Heck, I’m probably registered in two states. (And given that ballots are mailed in my former state of Oregon, I strongly suspect that somebody in my former Portland home is receiving extra ballots. I hope they voted no on this measure!)

None of this is to suggest that Trump lost the popular vote due to chicanery, of course, as he has repeatedly suggested. (Though the New York Times was probably wrong to call this claim a “lie” on Trump’s part. I strongly suspect Trump believes it to be true.) Only that this attempt at a gotcha is a bit off the mark. “Vote early and vote in two states” lacks the punch of the famous Chicago idiom, but it remains a possibility for many.

This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard

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