I mentioned yesterday that Trump had secured the endorsements of the most notorious bullies, racists and xenophobes in the country. Going into Super Tuesday, he doesn't need super-delegates, he's got the Super-bigots: Senator Jeff Sessions, Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, Maine governor Paul LePage, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, nativist and anti-Semite Pat Buchanan and now Kris Kobach, the anti-immigrant activist and Kansas Secretary of State.
I wrote about Kobach a while back, noting his history as former Attorney General John Ashcroft's special adviser on immigration, who had proposed a federal law that would have required local police to stop and arrest people "suspected" of being undocumented immigrants. It went nowhere in the Bush administration, but it served as the template for what became the Arizona's infamous SB 1070 and similar proposals that were very hot around the nation until the courts struck them down.
Kobach would later turn his attention to vote suppression and helped push many of the Voter ID laws now in force around the states. He ran for his current office in the Tea Party wave of of 2010 on a "voter integrity" platform and managed to enact some of the most draconian voter ID laws in the country based upon the notion that hordes of undocumented immigrants were preparing to steal elections in Kansas on behalf of the Democratic Party. So it comes as no surprise that he would be among the bullies and bigots endorsing Donald Trump.
His endorsement was really something. In a laudatory statement on official Kansas Secretary of State letterhead, Kobach wrote:
For me the most important issue in the Republican presidential contest is immigration and its effect on our nationals security. On that issue Mt. Trump stands head and shoulders above the other candidates. He has made it clear that ramping up the enforcement of our immigration laws will be his top priority. And he had forcefully rejected the notion of giving amnesty to illegal aliens living in the United States.
Now, more than ever, America needs Mr. Trump’s aggressive approach to the problem of illegal immigration. Our porous borders constitute a huge national security threat, and our refugee system has been abused by terrorists in the past and is likely to be abused by ISIS terrorists today.
You'll notice he even still uses the loaded term "illegal aliens."
He also explained that he's spoken with Trump about a legal justification to force Mexico to pay for that wall of his:
As I have discussed with Mr. Trump, the PATRIOT Act contains a provision that the United States can and should use as leverage with the Government of Mexico. We have the ability to shut down the flow of remittances to Mexico from illegal aliens working in the United States. Mexico will then have to make a choice: either make a single payment of $5-10 billion to the United States to pay for the wall, or lose most of the $23 billion in remittances that Mexico receives every year from its nationals working illegally in the United States.
That sounds like a thuggish Trump gambit alright. It's hard to see how the PATRIOT Act could be construed to allow the government to blackmail another country to pay for a vanity project, but you never know. It's certainly easy enough to believe Trump would try it.
In a telephone interview with the Kansas City Star , Kobach had nothing but praise for the frontrunner. He said his lack of experience was positive because “the way he would operate as president is he would surround himself with a talented, conservative team.That’s exactly what Reagan did.” Reagan, of course, had been the governor of the most populous state in the country and had the entire GOP establishment behind him when he took office. But no matter. Selling ties and steaks with your name on them, bankrupting four companies and doing a reality TV show is all the experience anyone needs to lead the most powerful nation on earth.
To give credit where credit is due, Kobach did have an original defense of Trump's crude, juvenile insults:
“Trump is actually doing it himself, and in some ways that’s more honest than having a super PAC do your insulting for you,” Kobach said.
At least he's honest about something.
Today Republicans are going to the polls in 11 states to make their choice for the presidential nomination. And citizens of five of them --- Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia --- will have to deal with the kind of voter ID laws passed by Kris Kobach and others like him in recent years ostensibly to keep African Americans and Latinos from stealing elections for the Democrats, but actually to make voting as difficult as possible so they just won't bother to vote at all. It's designed for general elections, but today is primary day and Republicans had better hope their onerous rules don't keep their own voters from the polls.
If you are curious about the voting requirements in your state, this handy web-site from the National Conference of State Legislatures can help. If you're a Republican and you find that trying to vote for Donald Trump is more complicated than filling out your federal income tax return, don't blame "big government." Blame his biggest fan, Kris Kobach, and the other GOP architects of the vote suppression schemes around the country.