Trump, Bevin, and the Voter Fraud Dog That Didn’t Bark

Yesterday at Slate I wrote about how Kentucky governor Matt Bevin has so far made unsubstantiated claims that voter fraud and other irregularities cost him the election against his Democratic opponent Andy Beshear, and that the Kentucky Senate President made noises suggesting that the state legislature could rely on a little-used procedure to take the election result away from Beshear, who currently leads by 5,000 votes, and hand it to Bevin. I suggested this would be a real instance of stealing an election, and it was exceedingly dangerous to our democracy.

Today brings good news that Republican members of the Kentucky legislature are speaking out against this idea. Either Bevin needs to come up with actual evidence putting Beshear’s lead in doubt or he needs to shut up.

That’s very reassuring. And there’s something else that is worth mentioning. President Donald Trump, who has often made unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud (as chronicled in my upcoming book, Election Meltdown), has not jumped on Bevin’s voter fraud bandwagon. He’s barely Bevin by name on Twitter since before the election. He wrote: “Won 5 out of 6 elections in Kentucky, including 5 great candidates that I spoke for and introduced last night. @MattBevin picked up at least 15 points in last days, but perhaps not enough (Fake News will blame Trump!). ” His other tweet on Kentucky since the election mentioned the other state races Republicans won, listing the governor’s race as “tbd.”

It is great news that Trump has not fanned the flames here as he has in other elections. Now this may be because Republicans in the Kentucky legislature don’t like Bevin and won’t go to bat for him in a way that would have serious political costs. But whatever the reason, we should be thankful for this development.

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