Trump says more than he should've about voter turnout, GOP losses

Once in a while, a Republican will slip up and make a connection between voter access and partisan election outcomes. Trump just added to the list.
Image: Voters cast ballots during early voting for the presidential primary in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 1, 2020.
Voters cast ballots during early voting for the presidential primary in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 1, 2020.Mario Tama / Getty Images

The recently passed economic aid package did not mandate mail-in balloting in 2020 elections, but as the Associated Press recently reported, it did include $400 million to be used to pay for "expanding mail-in voting, adding polling places to reduce crowds, training poll workers or implementing other measures intended to make voting safer during the outbreak."

Democratic leaders wanted to go further, but with a Republican-led Senate and Donald Trump in the Oval Office, this was the compromise on which officials could settle.

The president, however, is apparently still bothered by the direction Democrats wanted to go. He reiterated his concerns during his latest Fox News interview yesterday morning.

"The things they had in [the aid package] were crazy. They had things -- levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again."

Add this one to the "saying the quiet part loud" list.

In general, when Republican officials push for voting restrictions, they at least try to come up with some kind of pretense. The party likes to raise the specter of "voter fraud," for example, as some kind of societal scourge, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

What they're not supposed to say -- out loud, in public, on the record -- is that increasing voting opportunities would lead to Republican defeats, which is why they oppose expanding Americans' access to the ballot box.

A Washington Post analysis added yesterday, "Trump didn't expand on the thought. But he clearly linked high turnout to Republicans losing elections. The most generous reading of his comment is that he was referring to large-scale voter fraud resulting from the easier vote-by-mail options.... The more nefarious reading would be that allowing more people to participate in the process legally would hurt his party because there are more Democratic-leaning voters in the country. That's apparently true, but you typically don't see Republicans expressing the sentiment so directly. "

Once in a while, a Republican will slip up and make a connection between voter access and partisan election outcomes. It looks like the president just added a new installment to the list.