At a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven on Tuesday, President Donald Trump fielded questions about what the U.S. is doing to counteract possible Russian interference in its elections this year and in 2020. This was Trump’s response, per Politico:
“The Russians had no impact on our votes whatsoever. But certainly there was meddling, and probably there was meddling from other countries, maybe other individuals,” he said. “We won’t allow that to happen. We’re doing a very, very deep study and coming out with very strong suggestions on the ‘18 election. I think we will do very well in the ‘18 election.”
“We’ll counteract it very strongly, and we are having strong back-up systems,” he said. “We have been working — we haven’t been given credit for this — but we’ve been working very hard on the ‘18 election. And the ‘20 election coming up.”
While the potential for hacking vulnerable voting machines is obviously a concern, there’s a larger one when it comes to an integrity of our elections: voter suppression, through voter ID laws and gerrymandering. And the party he leads has spearheaded the effort.
According to a study commissioned last year by the Democratic super PAC Priorities USA, Wisconsin’s voter ID law reduced its 2016 vote total by at least 200,000 votes; Trump won the state by less than 23,000 votes. And researchers found that states with a strict voter ID law doubled and in some cases even tripled the racial turnout gaps between white and non-white voters.
In North Carolina, federal courts have found that both the legislative and Congressional redistricting processes were marred by gerrymandering on racial lines, in such a way that allowed Republicans to maintain supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature and a 10-3 split in Congressional representation in one of the most purple states in the country. Likewise, Congressional districts that were gerrymandered on partisan lines were struck down in Pennsylvania last month. And a case alleging that Republicans in Wisconsin did the same for its legislative seats will likely be decided by the Supreme Court this year.
Trump’s response to all of this has been to baselessly allege that there’s widespread voter fraud and create a racist commission to study it. Thankfully, that effort failed miserably. But if the Republican Party’s recent efforts to rig elections to their advantage is any indication, those hoping Trump will do something to ensure that the midterm elections won’t be tampered with — whether it be via voting machines or otherwise — are likely going to be disappointed.