Following the publication of Bloomberg political correspondent Joshua Green’s report from within the “Trump Bunker,” former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noticed a pertinent passage about voter suppression. The outspoken-yet-critical Hillary Clinton surrogate was especially interested in a quote from a senior official touting the Trump campaign’s plans for at least three different campaigns designed to discourage potential Clinton voters from showing up at the polls on November 8th.
The pertinent passage from the Bloomberg article doesn’t mince words. “Voter suppression” is explicitly mentioned, and according to Green’s reporting, that’s because a top adviser said those two exact words together, in the same sentence, while being totally serious:
Trump’s campaign has devised another strategy, which, not surprisingly, is negative. Instead of expanding the electorate, [Stephen K. Bannon] and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.
Green goes on to list specific examples of Trump campaign personnel purchasing ad time at television and radio stations with predominantly African-American or Latino audiences, and inundating the airwaves with materials designed to turn those inclined to vote Democrat away from the polls.
Despite the use of the perilous phrase, however, nothing in Green’s article suggests the Trump campaign is physically preventing people from participating. Even so, Sanders was none too pleased with the report and aired his grievances on Twitter Thursday morning:
“Anybody who is suppressing the vote because they know that those people will vote against them is a political coward,” said Sanders. He then called out Trump directly, saying if he didn’t “have the guts to run for office on [his] ideas” then the Republican nominee “shouldn’t run for office at all.”
Considering Trump’s continued insistence of the election being rigged against him and his base, it seems rich that the people running his campaign would be the one using words like “voter suppression” to describe their late tactics against Clinton.