The Politics of Immigration

The Politics of Immigration

By Michael Bernhard and Daniel O’Neill, University of Florida

In 2016, Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States after a primary season in which he declared that “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz had fraudulently stolen the Republican caucus in Iowa, and a general election contest in which he declared that he would only accept the results if he won. He claimed this was because his opponent could only be victorious if Democrats rigged the American electoral process against him. After losing to Hillary Clinton by roughly three million popular votes but winning the electoral college in what he deemed a “landslide,” Trump offered up an inaugural address promising to deliver the nation from “American carnage.” Immediately thereafter, his first press secretary, Sean Spicer, took the podium to assert in unequivocal fashion against all evidence that the forty-fifth president’s swearing in ceremony was attended by the largest crowd ever seen at an inauguration. This was no “mistake,” but part of an emerging pattern. Such breathtaking mendacity was in fact of a piece with that of his boss, who had earlier declared on Twitter (November 27) after the election: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Before Trump even took the helm, the tone was thus set for a chief executive who would go on to make more than 30,000 false or misleading statements during his time in office. 1 Trump never accepted his popular vote loss in 2016, and later attempted to substantiate his first version of the Big Lie by establishing a voting integrity commission, led by Kris Kobach, which was disbanded in 2018 because of its inability to find evidence of widespread voter fraud.


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