Donald Trump has threatened to harm Michiganders because our elected officials are making it easier and safer for us to vote

Yesterday, saying that “every Michigan citizen has a right under our state constitution to vote by mail,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced that all voters in our state will be receiving absentee ballot applications in the mail. Well, this apparently didn’t sit well with Donald Trump, who tweeted out the following in response.

OK, so here are several things that you need to know.

1. Michigan will not be “send(ing) absentee ballots to 7.7 million people ahead of primaries and the general election,” as Donald Trump asserted. As Benson made clear in her statement, Michigan voters will be receiving “applications,” so that they might request that ballots be mailed to them. There is a difference, and there’s no excuse for the President of the United States to get it wrong.

2. As for our Secretary of State being “rogue,” she’s not. As she pointed out on Twitter earlier today in response to Trump’s attack, her “GOP colleagues in Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska and West Virginia” just did the same thing. Curiously, however, Donald Trump isn’t attacking red states for making voting safer and easier this election cycle. No, Donald Trump is just attacking swing states like Michigan and Nevada. He isn’t going after Iowa, Georgia, Nebraska, or West Virginia… or, for that matter, states like Utah, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon, where people already vote primarily by mail. [Nevada, for what it’s worth, has indicated that they would be sending ballots, and not just applications, to the home of each voter.]

3. As for what might have motivated the President’s threat against Michigan, I think it’s pretty clear. In order for him to win reelection, and avoid criminal prosecution, Donald Trump needs 270 electoral votes come November, and doing that without Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, would be an almost impossible task. And, as the most recent polling shows Biden leading Trump by anywhere from 6 to 9 percent in the state, it’s got to have him nervous. And this probably explains why he’s spending so much time attacking our Democratic governor and urging his supporters to “liberate Michigan”. It’s also probably why he’s visiting Michigan to speak with auto workers tomorrow. And fighting against vote-by-mail here is just one more thing that he can do, which he thinks will drive down turnout. [He’s defended voter suppression strategies in the past, saying that, when more Americans vote, Democrats win.] So, of course he’s trying to make voting more difficult here, putting his name on stimulus checks, and doing everything else in his power to keep Michigan a red state.

4. As for the prospect of this moving us “down (the) voter fraud path,” there’s absolutely no evidence to support this claim of Trump’s. Vote-by-mail happens everywhere, and there’s no research to support that voter fraud is statistically worse in those areas that offer it. While it’s true that it’s true that voter fraud committed by absentee ballot is more prevalent than voter fraud committed in person, the evidence shows that both are incredibly rare. According to Richard L. Hasen, a professor of political science and law at the University of California, an analysis of data over several years showed “just 491 (absentee ballot fraud cases) during a period in which literally billions of votes were cast.” So, statistically speaking, it’s not even worth noting. And, for what it’s worth, this is why Donald Trump was forced to disband the election fraud task force that was impanelled to find any evidence supporting his claim that he would have won the popular vote in 2016, if not for voter fraud. They couldn’t find any evidence to back him up. It didn’t exist then, and it doesn’t exist now.

5. Donald Trump is being hypocritical when he says that us Michiganders shouldn’t be able to vote by mail. He votes by mail in Florida.

6. As for this move on the part of Secretary of State Benson being “illegal,” Donald Trump, again, is wrong. We passed a constitutional amendment here in Michigan in 2018 that allows for anyone in the state to vote by absentee ballots without providing a reason. And, since that happened, a number of organizations have sent applications to voters, making them aware that they can cast their ballots through the mail. As Jake Rollow, a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of State, said in a statement earlier today, “Applications are mailed nearly every election cycle by both major parties and countless advocacy and nonpartisan organizations. Just like them, we have full authority to mail applications to ensure voters know they have the right to vote safely by mail.

7. As for what Donald Trump meant in his tweet when he said that he’d “hold up” funds for Michigan and Nevada, no one appears to know what exactly he’s talking about. The best guess, however, seems to me that it has to do with the funds earmarked in the CARES Act. Here, with more on that, is an excerpt from Vox.

…It’s also unclear which “funds” Trump is threatening to withhold from Michigan and Nevada, but he could be referring to “Election Security Grants” provided for in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which he signed into law in March.

The CARES Act appropriated $400 million in funds to help states “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for the 2020 Federal election cycle.” Michigan received $11.2 million as its share of those funds, and plans to use some of that money to mail an absentee ballot application to every voter in the state. Nevada received $4.5 million and will use that money to transition to a system where registered voters automatically receive a ballot in the mail.

Both states, in other words, appear to be using the federal funds for the exact purpose laid out by Congress. By making it easier for voters to cast a ballot by mail, the states will “prevent” the spread of coronavirus at polling sites. They will “prepare for” an election where coronavirus might otherwise discourage many voters from casting a ballot. And they will “respond” to the unique challenges a pandemic imposes on voters and election officials.

Nevertheless, Trump is threatening to cut funding to these states — which appear to be using the CARES Act funds for the specific purpose laid out by Congress in that act…

I could go on, but I think you get the point. We’re living thorough a pandemic right now, and the last thing we want to do is to force people to stand in lines for hours, in close proximity to others, increasing the likelihood of transmission. Every sensible person knows this. And that’s why our elected officials allotted funds in the CARES Act to the states, so that they could ensure the 2020 election could go forward safely. Donald Trump, however, doesn’t want to make vote-by-mail an easy option in Michigan because he thinks that it would advantage the Democrats. In other words, he’s putting his personal electoral considerations before the health and welfare of the Michigan people. Just keep that in mind when you see him here in Ypsilanti tomorrow.

Sadly, Donald Trump won’t see this billboard funded by Claude Taylor’s PAC when here’s here in Michigan, as it’s on I-75, but I like knowing that others are.

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  1. Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Hearing Donald Trump threaten to withhold funding from Michigan if we don’t make voting more difficult for our people, I’m reminded of what Pamela Karlan had to say during Trump’s impeachment trial.

  2. Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I should have used this quote in the post.

    Jon Favreau: “Let’s frame this the right way: Donald Trump has threatened to harm the citizens of Nevada and Michigan because their elected officials are making it easier for them to vote.”
    Actually, I’m going to make it the title of this post, I think.

  3. Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I’d wanted to post an update about my mustache today, but then Trump got on Twitter.

  4. John Brown
    Posted May 20, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Some UAW folks in Fords tomorrow please start chanting “fuck trump, fuck trump”.

    You will be instantly more respected by more people than that ruskie stooge shit for brains.

  5. iRobert
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Before being permitted to vote, Michiganders should be required to sign an affidavit stating Obama was born in Kenya.


  6. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Aloha, for those who want to send the Leader a message, a funeral procession is organizing to drive to the Rawsonville Plant.

  7. Dr. Larson by proxi
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Like me, I am sure you have stupid relatives who claim that Covid 19 is a hoax and that hospitals are wrongly classifying other conditions as Covid to be able to access untold riches from George Soros’ pocketbook.
    Well, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is quite good about making mortality data public, and no, it can’t fabricate deaths of people who don’t exist. So, what we see here is a 50% increase in all cause mortality for the month of April. That’s 1 extra for every 2 people who have died.
    We see 2,747 deaths attributed to Covid and see no decline in mortality from other conditions. In fact, we see that mortality from heart attacks and pneumonia are up over last year, indicating that some of these probably actually died of Covid but were never diagnosed.
    And this was with the economy shut down. Imagine what it would have been like if it was business as usual?

  8. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Aloha iRobert and JB, I am sure Obamagate is just as real as Russiagate.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Details on today’s protest:

    On Thursday, May 21st, President Trump will be in Ypsi, talking COVID-19 recovery at the Rawsonville Ford Plant. As one who has consistently rejected medical science and collective wellbeing at the expense of human lives, and bailed out the owning class instead of the working people who need it most, Trump has shown himself to be the enemy of the people, time and time again!

    Join us in mourning the lives of those lost to COVID-19, those neglected by the government and fallen victim to capitalist greed, as we participate in a funeral caravan demonstration.

    Meet up at Ford Lake Park at 1pm and await announcements regarding the protest. Tune into the zoom link below throughout the caravan to stay informed. There will be orange ribbon to tie onto your mirrors, and messages may be chalked onto your car if you wish (although we recommend to decorate your car beforehand).

    During the car protest: turn on your hazard lights, follow the car ahead, and refrain from honking. Please follow all traffic laws and drive safely. Remember, this is a somber caravan. If split up, look for cars decorated similarly to yours.

    If pulled over, allow the police to initiate conversation and do not argue about tickets. If ticketed, contact legal support via the zoom call. If they ask about the route, say you do not know and that you were only following the car ahead of you. The police may order us to disperse, a direction which you should follow to avoid arrest.

    Legal Observers from the National Lawyer’s Guild will be present.

    Please adhere to social distancing rules and wear PPE. We want to distance ourselves from the chauvinist right-wing protesters in MI. If you encounter any, DO NOT ENGAGE. Record any interactions, move along, and address the issue to the zoom if it escalates.

    Please join in this Zoom call for the duration of the protest; make sure you have Zoom prior to the event. You’ll need to register for the call, please do that as soon as you;re able, too.

    Zoom link-

    Car messages-

  10. John Brown
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Wobbly, security state…yada yada….that can all be true. And it can also be true that the traitor laundering ruskie money through real estate deals with pootin cronies makes him in violation of the Constitution. I’m not fussy about how much he’s in violation. With this disastrous sabatuer even a little is plenty.

    Let’s see his financials and follow up on the Mueller Grand jury lines of investigation before we hand the fascists a pass, don’t you think?

    And then we can declare it over, or string up his fat orange ass.

  11. iRobert
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Mahalo, Wobblie. What happened to the crusade to expose Obama as a Kenyan? Did Trump drop it? What happened to our once bold army of Trumpanzees?

    In the last three months, 100,000 people have lost their lives, and many more tens of thousands of deaths are to come. Almost 40 million people have lost their jobs. What’s most important now is to prove once and for all that Obama was born in Kenya.


  12. Kit
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    It is so strange to think about how far we’ve slid down the slippery slope. What would have been unthinkable three years ago is now commonplace. The president is blatantly lying, threatening non-red states, and doing everything in his power to influence the upcoming election. Did you see that the chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners asked Trump to visit his trip to Ypsilanti today?

  13. Kit
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the letter:

  14. John Brown
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Kit, thanks for sharing Commissioner Morgan’s letter. He’s absolutely correct that our State and Local Govs are leading from below and don’t need his sabotage from above.

  15. Washington Post's Matea Gold
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Trump yesterday: Mail-in voting leads to “forgeries” and “thousands and thousands of fake ballots.”

    Trump campaign email yesterday to PA supporters: “Request your ballot and cast your vote from your own home.”

  16. Jay Edwards by proxy
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Why is Donald Trump visiting factories in swing states but not visiting the front line medical workers who have been risking their lives to save others in the biggest hotspot in the country NYC?

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted May 21, 2020 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    JE by Proxy— because Trump requires adulation and large crowds and he’s unlikely to get either from Health Care Workers right now.

    This is a campaign stop. It’s all a campaign. He never acts like a leader. He doesn’t do anything selflessly.

  18. iRobert
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    An EPIC MRA poll shows Biden with a 63% to 23% lead over Trump among Michigan independent voters.

    I blame EOS. Trump needs to publicly blame him too and call him a loser.

  19. EOS
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Really? You’re still relying on polls after the 2016 fiasco?

  20. Anonymous
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    This is why we were so behind the 8-ball on testing patients that were very ill, and why we still can’t get enough testing kits for hospital use. Thanks, Obama!

    Waugh [VP of Lab for Henry Ford] points to a head-turning moment on March 17, at a Compass Group conference call on COVID-19, which he moderated. During the Q&A session, Waugh asked the VP of a major diagnostics company about reagent availability for labs with test systems already in place. The answer: Federal authorities were advising the company to redirect its instrumentation and consumable supplies to the largest commercial laboratories.

  21. iRobert
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    The 2016 polls were accurate for the most part. It was the disabling of Hillary’s GOTV operation in PA, MI and WI that gave the surprise outcome.

    It wasn’t the Trump campaign that did it. I acknowledge may see another clever move to keep Trump in, for the same reasons they installed him in the first place. But it’s also possible that he’s already served their purposes and will be left to his own devices this time.

    I just think it’s funny that Trump and his supporters think they have anything resembling a strategy or a real campaign.

  22. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    “Hillary’s GOTV operation”

    Hahahahaha! Fuckin’ Clingon.

  23. iRobert
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    The polls were essentially based on a functioning Dem GOTV operation. That was the trick. Dem officials won’t admit it because superficially it puts the blame on them. GOP officials don’t analyze it because it doesn’t benefit them to do so. They have no interest in why or how it was done – only that the same interest that pulled it off in 2016 will again pull a clever move this time. There are no guarantees for it or against it happening again.

    Either way, Trump and his supporters are doing heavy damage to GOP soft support. The Democrats could very likely take the US Senate, and are likely to do well all down the ballot.

  24. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    I asked you what was done to the gotv operation a long time ago and you said you didn’t know. You only knew it was disabled. Maybe their shit was just broken and they couldn’t cheat enough to win? She didn’t campaign in Michigan. No one even put out signs for her. Very very few compared to Obama. Outside the urban bubble there was unanimous and ubiquitous support for Trump. Trump thumped Clinton fair and square.

  25. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Aloha, Trump lost by 3.5 million votes, and will lose by an even greater margin this time. Whether some other part of government keeps him in power is an open question. The last two Republican Presidents have been imposed upon the people, will it happen again? Trump being a minority president with no mandate to govern, at this point is obvious.

  26. Lynne
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I hope so, wobblie but we can’t take anything for granted. Bush lost the popular vote but won reelection. Heh, and even though he is a war criminal, he looks angelic in comparison to Trump.

  27. bet HW that McCabe wouldn’t be fired and all I got was this stupid name
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Aloha Lynn, objectively Bush II was way worse than Trump. We got the Patriot Act, Domestic surveillance, the Global War on Terror, (19 years into it and millions dead). If that is your idea of “angelic”, you really need to go back to catechism. And its not like racism or systematic police violence in our communities is anything new.

  28. Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

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