Until recently, journalists in Kansas had cornered the market on reporting blistering investigative pieces about the frightening guy known as Kris Kobach.
Today, since Kobach has gained a national profile, the Kansas secretary of state is under a larger media microscope, and journalists across the country are publishing tens of thousands of words about this cunning man who is playing voters like a fiddle.
Kobach, who is running for Kansas governor, wears another hat. He was named by President Donald Trump to be vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. That gives him two platforms from which to tell his lies.
Kobach is perfecting the tool of the “big lie,” which has catapulted him from an insignificant college professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City to center stage in state and national politics. And it is bound to take him much further.
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Kobach’s big lie is that there are millions of fraudulent ballots being cast in American elections. Trump has repeated that lie often. And despite every effort by the media to debunk that absurd claim, it persists.
It persists because Kobach understands what Joseph Goebbels, the minister of propaganda under Adolf Hitler, perfected. Hitler, by the way, was the one who named this technique of manipulating public opinion “the big lie.”
Goebbels said the plan was simple: If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. Goebbels suggested the big lie must be limited to a few points that are repeated over and over.
Voila! It is working beautifully for Kobach. Remember when he went to the Kansas Legislature and asked for the authority, as secretary of state, to prosecute those who committed voter fraud? As his justification for being the only secretary of state with those prosecutorial powers, he said he knew of hundreds of such cases in Kansas. The legislators granted him his wish.
Instead of finding boatloads of illegal voters in the years since he got the powers, Kobach has prosecuted only a handful of cases. They included elderly citizens who were confused and voted in two places.
Yet, even with the blatant exaggeration for all to see, just recently Kobach claimed on the national stage there were 128 such cases in Kansas. He refused to identify any of them, nor would he say if these were recent cases or past examples that could have gone back decades.
No matter. Kobach leapt into the big lie. Using the 128 fraudulent voters in Kansas as his baseline, he extrapolated that, from his experience, there were certainly millions of such cases throughout the United States. Trump has been saying, based in large part on Kobach’s crazy math, that he would have beaten Hillary Clinton in the popular vote if millions had not voted illegally.
Polls conducted just a few months ago reveal the big lies are having an effect. One in four voters believes the claim that millions of votes were cast illegally in the last presidential election.
Hitler wrote in “Mein Kampf” in 1925 about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone significant could have distorted the truth so infamously. As part of the “big lie,” all powers are used to stifle dissent and to diminish those — such as the media or political opposition — who have dared to tell the truth. Trump calls it “fake news.” Kobach blames the liberals in the media and in politics for sweeping under the rug his truth about millions of fraudulent voters.
The ultimate objective of this big lie: Create a groundswell to pass restrictive voting regulations. The big lie is bound to work, and we all know which legal voters this effort would disenfranchise: the poor and the young. Guess how they vote.