President Trump has tried to make a monster out of a mosquito.
He claimed that millions of illegal voters gave Hillary Clinton the popular vote win -- and robbed him of it. But he only wanted to use that as a politically outrageous "alternate fact." It's not clear whether he actually believes it happened. But, as we're learning: if it serves his purpose of the moment, then Trump believes it.
Then a reporter asked why he wasn't demanding an investigation into what would be the biggest election scandal in recent history. And others began demanding the evidence on which he made the charges -- i.e., they called his bluff. This was an example of Trump wanting to be taken seriously but not literally; and now that he is president, we're insisting on taking him seriously and literally. And it's caught him in a trap that's going to awkward to get out of.
His people cited a 2012 study, which actually had nothing to do with voter fraud. It did find that 2.8 million people had either died or were registered in more than one jurisdiction, usually because they had moved and registered at the new address without getting rid of the old registration. The study's author has repeated his conclusions: that it had nothing to do with fraudulent voting. It was a study of the inefficiency in maintaining voter registration lists.
These people didn't try to vote twice; most of them probably didn't even realize that they were registered in two places. In fact, I was under the impression that the registration process included asking if you were registered and where -- and that the election boards themselves took care of canceling the old one.
So now Pres. Trump is in the awkward spot of having proved either (1) that he was repeating a lie knowingly for political gain; or (2) that he is making policy based on data that he is incapable of interpreting correctly; or (3) that he was going to ignore what would be a big election scandal only because he didn't lose.
When he thought he was going to lose, he yelled about the "rigged" election. But then people kept pointing out that, although he won the electoral college and therefore the presidency, he did not win the popular vote. That got to him, so he trotted out the old "rigged election" -- not because it mattered, but because it wounded his fragile pride.
But here's why I say he's making a monster out of a mosquito. Here's a list of Trump family members or top staff people that are registered to vote in more than one place:
Son-in-law and Senior Adviser Jared Kushner.
Daughter Tiffany Trump.
Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
Nominee for Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin.
Perhaps the investigation President Trump is demanding should start at home. After all, these are some of the monsters that he has characterized as "illegals." If any of them voted twice, then we should proceed with the investigation. If not, then just chalk it up to another embarrassing exposure of the president's ignorance and and incompetence to run our government.