Donald Trump. (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

By “propagating the myth of his stolen popular vote,” Trump has attacked both the democratic process and the press, which, in its ideal, is free and independent, writes Amherst College law professor Lawrence Douglas at The Guardian.

“The impulse to heap all of Trump’s lies together or to puzzle over his unusual psychology threatens … to deflect our attention from the politics of this particular claim, which contains two separate falsehoods: first, that immigrants robbed him of the popular vote; and second, that the media has conspired to suppress the story. Together these falsehoods can be enlisted to serve three distinctly toxic political goals.” Douglas continues:

First, they work to undergird Trump’s anti-immigrant narrative. Sweeping together undocumented immigrants with unregistered voters, the myth paints them as a double threat – infecting the fabric of society with drugs and crime while also corrupting the very processes of American democracy. As a threat to both our society and our democracy, these “illegals” need to be removed.

Secondly, the myth of the stolen popular vote delivers a powerful argument for an ever more aggressive policing of the polls. In the name of cracking down on voter “fraud”, Trump may work to erect barriers to discourage or effectively bar millions of Americans from exercising their franchise rights.

Finally, and most ominously, Trump has already drafted a script that could be used in two years’ time to impeach the midterm elections should they result in Republican reversals. That same script could be called upon four years from now should Trump lose a re-election bid. Whatever damage candidate Trump could have done to American democracy had he lost in November would pale in comparison to the damage wrought by a sitting president rejecting his defeat.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly

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