Commentary: Why It's In Trump's Interest For Bevin To Go Away Quietly

Nov 12, 2019

For all the pre-election wind Donald Trump expended on behalf of Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, you might assume that the president would like to see his good friend Matt prove "irregularities" in the vote count and overturn the results of last Tuesday's election.

Actually, truth be told, Trump would just as soon haul Bevin off to Cape Canaveral, place him in a space capsule and fire him off into space atop a rocket.

Destination: Mars.

The last thing Trump needs right now – as the public hearings on his impeachment are about to begin in Washington – is a Republican coup in Frankfort to take the governor's office away from Democrat Andy Beshear and give it back to Bevin, the man whose only distinction is that he is certifiably one of the most unpopular governors in the nation.

Bevin formally requested a recanvass of the vote, and that is set to take place Thursday. It's not an unreasonable request, given that on election night, the unofficial vote count had Beshear and Bevin separated by only 5,189 votes.

What is unreasonable – and inexcusable – is the fact that Bevin said he believes there were "irregularities" and "fraud" in Tuesday's voting, whatever that means. And Bevin offers absolutely no evidence of anything of the kind.

If he has evidence, it is time to put up or shut up.  

If he has none, then he should be ashamed of himself for further feeding the overactive imaginations of voters who cast ballots and believe the whole system is corrupt and that their votes don't count.

Meanwhile, governor-elect Beshear, the current attorney general and son of former Governor Steve Beshear, is quietly working to put together his new administration in Frankfort.

This whole thing turned from being a minor kerfuffle into a full-fledged, four-alarm fire on election night, when the Kentucky state senate president, Republican Robert Stivers, told reporters for the Louisville Courier Journal that Bevin could contest the outcome before the Kentucky legislature and that the lawmakers could decide the outcome of the election.

They would be required to hear the case if Bevin came to the legislature, Stivers said.

That set off a Democratic backlash from sea to shining sea. The Democratic Party began firing off emails to its supporters with dire warnings of Kentucky Republicans trying to "steal" the election from Beshear and asking for donations now to help them prevent this dastardly deed.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders jumped in with both feet, tweeting to his supporters that "It is outrageous that Republicans are threatening to effectively overturn the Kentucky election. In a democracy, we cannot allow politicians to just overrule election results. The will of voters must be respected."

Even many Republican legislators were saying they weren't sure deciding this election in the legislature would be a good move. You have to think that those Republicans don't want to do anything to wake the sleeping Democratic dogs in their districts. They just might rise up out of their slumber and bite them.

This weekend, Stivers was taking a different approach, advising Bevin to drop the matter and concede the election if Thursday's recanvass doesn't alter vote totals.

Which it won't. A recanvass is not a recount; it is just the county clerks reviewing their vote totals to make sure the numbers submitted to the Kentucky Board of Elections was correct.

It never changes anything.

The last time there was a recanvass of a statewide race was in 2015, when candidate James Comer asked for one after finishing 83 votes behind Bevin in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

It didn't change a single vote.

It won't change anything this time either.

And, if Bevin takes Stivers' advice, it will keep the whole mess from landing in the lap of the legislature, which, if they have a lick of sense, they will punt away.  

To do anything else could mean big trouble for Donald Trump.

And if there is big trouble for Trump – well, Matt, take a deck of playing cards. It will probably get mighty lonesome up on Mars.

Credit Jim Nolan / WVXU

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