During a speech at a rally in Florida on Tuesday, President Trump indicated he thinks a photo ID card is needed to make purchases at grocery stores.
While making a case for a nationwide voter ID law, Trump said, “you know, if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card — you need ID.”
But as most Americans are well aware, an ID card is not usually needed to buy groceries. Customers can use cash. And in many cases, even if they use a card, they will not be asked to show photo identification.
As for the voter ID proposal Trump was touting, study after study has found the type of fraud that voter ID laws are meant to prevent is essentially nonexistent. Trump’s own voter fraud commission disbanded after finding zero evidence of voter fraud in the 2016 election — a common claim made by Trump and his allies, and the only way Trump has publicly explained his 3 million-vote-loss in the popular vote.
Shark attacks and lightening strikes are more common occurrences than instances of voter fraud in which a person impersonates another voter and casts a fraudulent ballot under their name. There were just four documented cases of voter fraud in the 2016 election. Two were Trump supporters who voted for Trump twice, one was a Republican who voted for her dead husband, and the fourth was an election worker in Florida who tampered with absentee ballots.
In 2014, The U.S. Government Accountability Office looked at what experts found about in-person voter fraud, the type of voter fraud that would necessitate a voter ID law in the first place. Their conclusion? There are vanishingly few instances of in-person voter fraud. But the barriers voter ID laws put in front of legitimate voters when they attempt to vote discourage or prevent far more people from voting — an outcome that benefits the Republican politicians who are the biggest champions of such proposals.
Tuesday wasn’t the first time that Trump revealed profound ignorance about the lived experiences of normal people. During an interview last summer, he indicated he thinks health insurance plans can be purchased for $12 a year.
The average American spends close to $10,000 a year on health care.