Trump, who still insists–without any evidence whatsoever– that over 3 million undocumented immigrants voted in the last election, has demanded something truly authoritarian and frightening. As one Secretary of State put it, this is “worthy of a Third World country”:
President Trump would be able to dispatch Secret Service agents to polling places nationwide during a federal election, a vast expansion of executive authority, if a provision in a Homeland Security reauthorization bill remains intact.
This was a rider that the House GOP snuck into the bill and passed—presumably at the request of #DementiaDonnie. Elections officials are none too happy about this. There is not only no basis for this new authority, but, as the Secretary of State from Massachusetts put it, he is rightfully worried that Trump will use it to have “federal agents showing up in largely Hispanic areas”.
Under current law, Secret Service can protect the president and federal officials while voting, but cannot provide law enforcement. The rider, according to the Secret Service, is innocuous will only add “clarifying language” to their role.
A bipartisan coalition of 19 secretaries of state and elections commissioners don’t see it that way, and have written a letter to Senate leaders demanding that it be taken out of the bill. The letter in part reads:
There is no discernible need for federal secret service agents to intrude, at the direction of the president, who may also be a candidate in that election, into thousands of citadels where democracy is enshrined….
This is an alarming proposal which raises the possibility that armed federal agents will be patrolling neighborhood precincts and vote centers.
Certainly would give new meaning to the term “SS”.
Mitch McConnell will assuredly try to keep this in as yet another tool for voter suppression. Meanwhile, the media breathlessly covers Trump and painfully analyzes whatever stupid thing he just said at the PA rally. (“I saved the Olympics”, “Chuck Todd is an SOB”, blah, blah). Yet all of the outlets are ignoring the very real damage being done to our democracy right now as the rightwing leadership continues our slow descent into fascism.