Newspapers rip Trump voter fraud panel in July Fourth editorials

Greg Nash

Some of the country’s largest newspapers seized on the Fourth of July to rip President Trump’s voter fraud commission, accusing the White House of fostering voter suppression under the guise of cracking down on a virtually nonexistent problem.

“As the nation marks 241 years of independence, the most pressing voting issue should be getting those tens of millions of nonparticipating Americans registered and to the polls, so that their voices can be heard,” The New York Times editorial board wrote.

“If the paranoid voter-fraud crusaders devoted a fraction of their inquisitorial energy to solving that vexing problem, now that would be something to celebrate,” the paper’s board added. 

{mosads}The Chicago Sun-Times cast the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity as a political tool “looking for any scrap of information that might support Trump’s unfounded claim that millions of people illegally cast ballots in 2016.”

In doing so, the Sun-Times editorial board wrote, Trump’s commission “would further efforts to suppress the vote in future elections.”

The commission, created by executive order in May, was painted as an effort to restore faith in the integrity of U.S. elections, particularly by investigating Trump’s widely debunked claim that millions of illegally cast ballots cost him the popular vote in 2016.

But a letter last week, sent by the commission’s vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), requesting that states provide troves of voter data to the panel was met with widespread defiance.

More than half of the country’s secretaries of state have either declined to provide all the information requested by the commission, including driver licenses and Social Security numbers, or flatly refused to turn anything over.

USA Today‘s editorial board had a different Independence Day take on Trump’s voter fraud panel. In probing potential illegal voting, it wrote, the president is failing to address a greater threat to American election integrity: Russian meddling. 

“For the most part, President Trump has been in denial about Russian meddling, as if acknowledging the problem threatens the legitimacy of his election, and has focused instead on unproven allegations of extensive voter fraud,” the newspaper’s editorial reads.

For other newspapers, the Fourth of July marked a chance to try to raise the morale of a divided country, casting the current climate of political tension as an obstacle worth overcoming.  

“A single holiday free from the stresses of work or politics won’t change the national climate, but it does provide a chance to step back and appreciate the bigger picture,” the Tampa Bay Times editorial board wrote. “The policy differences spilling out along partisan political lines are serious — but they’ve always been to some extent. What they reveal is a strength in the American fabric.” 

The Washington Post editorial board, instead of looking forward, offered a glance back to a speech delivered by famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1852, less than a decade before the Civil War broke out.

In that address, delivered in Rochester, N.Y., a day after Independence Day, Douglass explained that the holiday did not have the same meaning to African-Americans as it did to white Americans.

But he also emphasized that all Americans held a shared set of beliefs, and expressed hope that the rights outlined by the Declaration of Independence would one day be granted to all.

“Most of the remainder of his speech consisted of an exhortation to comprehend the evils of slavery and the need to abolish it, but there was in it an element of optimism, a faith in the power of republican ideals to someday overcome the evil practices of the day and unite people in a way that no bonds of race, religion or ethnic affinity could do — and to create a nation that would stand as an example to the world.”

The Post added: “Today, 165 years later, we can aspire to be worthy of that clear-eyed but optimistic faith.”

Tags Chicago Sun-Times Donald Trump Fourth of July New York Times Tampa Bay Times USA Today Washington Post

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