If you’ve missed Bernie Sanders since last July, you should be aware that the former candidate for the Democratic nomination for President has had his own podcast since March. He has discussed Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, interviewed Bill Nye, and delved into the politics of the Koch brothers. The podcast is characterized by Bernie’s signature style and occasional dry humor.
In Sanders’ new podcast episode, released Wednesday morning, he addressed the issues of voter suppression and the truth about voter fraud. Interviewing Professor Rick Hasen, an expert on election law and voter suppression, Bernie said, “I’m going to ask you a question. I know the answer. You know the answer. But I’m going to ask you.”
Sure enough, what the Professor shares is not a surprise to any Bernie fan, whether or not they’re familiar with the exact numbers. When asked how prevalent voter fraud really is, Hasen says that the Brennan Center for Justice was able to confirm only about 30 cases of illegal voting, compared to the millions Trump claimed.
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
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
However, the data isn’t the part of Bernie’s 6th podcast episode that will have listeners grinning — it’s Sanders’ sarcastic characterization of Donald Trump.
President of the United States, a man well known for his integrity and credibility. We believe everything that he says.
It’s a pleasure to know Bernie hasn’t lost his sass.
The numbers themselves are pretty incredible, too. Prof. Hasen says that, based on the Brennan Center’s extensive research, he wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few hundred illegal votes — a pretty insignificant number out of more than 136 million — the number of votes the U.S. Elections Project estimates were cast in 2016.
Though Hasen refuses to, in his words, ‘psychoanalize the president,’ he and Bernie discuss a few important factors: that Trump expresses unhappiness at losing the popular vote, that he falsely claims all illegal votes were for Hillary Clinton (Hasen notes that quite a few illegal votes uncovered were for Trump), that his rhetoric about rampant illegal voting promotes laws that disproportionately disenfranchise minority voters, and that his claims undermine voters’ confidence in our democracy.
You can listen to the entire podcast here.
There is good news about voter suppression though: even as Donald Trump promotes ideas that will support legislation that could suppress votes from minorities, students, and low-income citizens, the Supreme Court is active, and has this week ruled on one case where a state;s government worked to diminish the voting power of some citizens. According to NPR, SCOTUS ruled 5-3, upholding a ruling from a lower court that declared some of North Carolina’s Congressional Districts illegally gerrymandered — the lines that, in the words of judges, “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”