On Sunday we received the clearest signal yet that the Trump administration will be running on perpetual outrage and conspiracy theories as they look to radically curtail voting rights across the country.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence defended President-elect Donald Trump's recent tweet claiming without evidence that "millions" of fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election.
"It's his right to express his opinion as President-elect of the United States," Pence told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" on Sunday morning. "He’s going to say what he believes to be true, and I know he is always going to speak in that way as president."
When pressed about whether he believes the claim is accurate, Pence said, "I think one of the things that’s refreshing about our president-elect and one of the reasons why I think he had an incredible connection with people all across this country is because he tells you what's on his mind."
"But why is it refreshing to make false statements?" Stephanopoulos said.
"Look, I don't know that that is a false statement," Pence replied.
The vice president-elect also repeatedly cited a Pew Charitable Trusts study on voter registration records. "I think the President-elect wants to call to attention to the fact there has been evidence over many years," he said.
Same thing from Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
Reince Priebus, the outgoing Republican National Committee chair, defended Donald Trump Sunday over the president-elect’s charge last week, presented without proof, that “millions” of people had voted illegally during the general election.
“Face the Nation” host John Dickerson pressed Priebus on that specific illegal vote claim, asking the incoming White House chief of staff how he handles the president-elect’s statement “when you know that that’s not true.”
“I don’t know if that’s not true, John,” Priebus said, saying that “there are estimates all over the map” on undocumented immigrants voting in election.
“But you think millions of people voted illegally?” Dickerson asked.
Priebus’ response: “It’s possible.”
When the “Face the Nation” host pushed back, saying “there is not evidence that it happened in millions of votes in California,” Priebus defended the president-elect once more.
“I think the president-elect is someone who has pushed the envelope and caused people to think in this country,” he said. “He’s not taking conventional thought -- on every single issue and has caused people to look at things that maybe they have taken for granted.”
This is the VP-elect and the President-elect's chief of staff both saying without any evidence that millions could have voted fraudulently. The implication here is that Republicans will have to take drastic steps to eliminate the "could have" part, and at a national level.
This will be repeated until tens of millions of Americans believe it is true, so when national "voter ID" suppression laws become a reality, it will be a necessary one.
That is if we're still having elections in 2020. Which is anyone's guess at this point.