Election 2016

Voting Rights for Women Should Be Revoked According to How They Obtain Their Birth Control, Says Author of ‘Handbook for the Trump Revolution’

Root’s book was blurbed by Trump and features a foreword by campaign adviser Roger Stone.

Photo Credit: Skyhorse Publishing

When Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump needs an emcee for a rally in Nevada, he turns to radio personality Wayne Allyn Root, author of the recently published book Angry White Male: How the Donald Trump Phenomenon is Changing America—and What We Can All Do to Save the Middle Class, who has graced the podium of at least three Trump events in the Battle Born State. On Monday, reports Right Wing Watch, Root called for the disenfranchisement of broad swaths of the electorate, notably anyone on Medicaid, or who receives food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or who gets prescription contraception via the no-copay feature of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

As I write this, the Trump campaign had yet to repudiate Root’s proposed unconstitutional rollback of voting rights. Yet the book jacket of Angry White Male features a blurb from the candidate himself, and a foreword by campaign adviser and dirty-trickster Roger Stone, who seems responsible for those elements of Trump campaign messaging drawn from and disseminated in the right’s fever swamps. Stone’s function in the Trump campaign appears to be to facilitate the nominee’s alliances with conspiracy theorists such as 9/11-truther Alex Jones and Root, who complements Trump’s birtherism with a companion false narrative that Obama never attended Columbia University. (Apparently, there is no long-form diploma.) During the 2014 midterm election cycle, Root labeled Obama “a Manchurian candidate” who Root said was seeking to foment a race war.

Now, Root has entered a new phase, deciding who should and shouldn’t be allowed to vote. In an error-filled rant flogging his new Trump book with Virginia radio host Rob Schilling on August 29 (flagged by RWW’s Miranda Blue), Root said of the competition faced by those of his ideological persuasion: “[I]f the people who paid the taxes were the only ones allowed to vote, we’d have landslide victories.” He continued:

"People with conflict of interest shouldn’t be allowed to vote. If you collect welfare, you have no right to vote. The day you get off welfare, you get your voting rights back. The reality is, why are you allowed to have this conflict of interest that you vote for the politician who wants to keep your welfare checks coming and your food stamps and your aid to dependent children and your free health care and your Medicaid, your Medicare and your Social Security and everything else?"

Then Root appeared to catch himself, perhaps realizing that a sizable number of Trump supporters—perhaps as much as one-third—are on Medicare and Social Security. So he “amended” his statement, according to Blue, saying:

"Social Security should not, Medicare should not [disqualify you from voting], because you paid into the system. But all the other stuff, all the other goodies, free Obama phones, free contraception, you know what, you can get them but you shouldn’t be allowed to vote; it’s a conflict of interest. Take that away, we’d win every single election in this country."

The point Root was apparently attempting to make was that anybody on government assistance should not have the right to vote. But even in that noxious formulation, the inclusion of women who obtain prescription contraception via Obamacare without paying a copay would appear to be a special punishment, since the women themselves pay for that prescription via their insurance premiums.

The federal program he appears to reference called Aid to Families with Dependent Children hasn’t existed for 20 years. (The program that replaced it, Temporary Aid to Needy Families, almost never provides direct financial assistance, depending on how individual states administer the program.) Oh, and that “free Obama phone”? No such thing. Never existed.

But in Trump World, facts don’t matter. All that matters is the resentment piled up by a certain portion of the white electorate whose members feel threatened by societal changes such as civil rights law and the empowerment of women. Perhaps presaging his patron’s potential failure at the polls in November, Root is obviously trying to do his part to set the false narrative that, should Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton win in November, it will be because the system was somehow rigged against Trump in favor of the candidate of non-white people (never mind that most people on government assistance are white) and licentious women.

In his book-jacket praise for Root, Trump writes: "Wayne Allyn Root knows how to be tenacious and relentless." But the real riches for Root, aside from the Trump branding he was so generously provided, are in Stone’s foreword, where, in the first sentence the campaign adviser describes Angry White Male as the "Handbook for the Trump Revolution.” Stone goes on:

Now, in Angry White Male, Root provides a manifesto for Donald Trump’s silent majority, and outlines how immigrants and non-Americans flood here by the millions to sign up for America’s generous taxpayer-financed welfare state.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for Trump or his spokespeople to condemn Root or to take any responsibility for the utterances of the author of a book with Trump’s name in the title and Trump’s blurb on the publisher’s praise page. He’s Trump’s Number One fan.

Adele M. Stan is a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.

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