A few years ago, PBS aired the documentary Town Hall, following the adventures and misadventures of two tea partiers in Pennsylvania. In one scene, on election day 2012, one of the tea parties, John, got himself authorized as a poll watcher. Poll watching usually involves checking the voter registration books at the polling places to make certain your supporters have voted and to be certain that the laws are being followed.
Tea party John got himself authorized as a poll watcher because he was certain, certain, that there was widespread voter fraud taking place and he was going to stop it. The documentary showed him challenging the right of certain people (weirdly only people of color. hm . . . ) to vote. In one scene, he challenges two black women’s right to vote – except they had both become naturalized citizens. They got to vote. John was a stickler for the rules – for example in another scene he made the election judges clear the room of people who had already voted, even though they were waiting for a friend to finish voting. Once you voted, John explained, you had to leave the voting area. The film did not show anyone deterred from voting by John’s earnest idiocy and bumbling poll watching, it highlighted an interesting dynamic among conservatives -convinced there is widespread fraud in voting, they’re going to police the polls to make sure everything is kosher and their interpretation of the rules is adhered to even if that makes voting slow, annoying and difficult.
So it was with some concern that I heard Trump’s statement:
The only way they can beat it in my opinion — and I mean this 100 percent — if in certain sections of the state they cheat, OK? So I hope you people can sort of not just vote on the 8th, go around and look and watch other polling places and make sure that it’s 100 percent fine, because without voter identification — which is shocking, shocking that you don’t have it.
There’s no way this could go wrong. A bunch of uptight, panties in a wad white people, convinced they’re saving democracy in America, overrunning polling places in mostly black and latino neighborhoods on election day is going to be just peachy keen.