Email #52, Subject: voter fraud?

Yesterday I wrote to you, asking that you take a stance on the President’s claim that millions voted illegally in November. Later in the day I saw you on TV doing exactly that. To that degree you deserve credit. You are not ducking the issue. But I was confused to hear your imply that the President’s unsubstantiated claim have merit.  As I said yesterday, Speaker Ryan flatly and clearly denied the existence of any evidence. Fox News is reporting the same:

“multiple law enforcement sources told Fox News that there was no evidence to support Trump’s claims. Spicer said Tuesday that Trump’s claim was based on “studies and evidence.” Spicer did not provide hard data to back up the claim, citing only a 2008 study that called for updating voter rolls but did not conclude there has been pervasive election fraud.”

When you were asked, you said: “There’s a long history of voter fraud in this country.” That’s a true but irrelevant and intentionally obscuring statement. You then repeated a joke about Virginians wishing to be buried in a certain district in order to keep voting after they die. Again, irrelevant and obscuring. Finally, you referenced an unnamed group “affiliated” with the Democratic party registering dead people in our district 6 in 2016.  Are you saying this was done intentionally? Are you saying you have evidence of voter fraud or the verifiable intention of commiting voter fraud? Have people been arrested and charged? How many are being investigated? Voter fraud is a federal crime with a five-year prison term. How many are likely to be convicted?

The President made a shocking claim. Now you have made a shocking claim too. But your tone on TV was oddly light, like you were just mentioning a minor fact. Given that your first two responses were intetionally misleading, it’s difficult to take your third statement seriously. It seemed you were undermining trust in the American election process just to score a quick PR point for the President. You told me elected officials should be held to the “highest standards.” Did your own behavior yesterday live up to those standards?


Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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