Donald Trump announced on Tuesday, the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, that he was pardoning Susan B. Anthony, the famous suffragette who was arrested for illegally voting in 1872. The pardon was a surprise, and Cockburn surmises the President was hoping to throw some bait to the white suburban women the GOP lost in the 2018 midterms.
Presidential pardons are often politically motivated. President Obama, for example, granted clemency to nearly 2,000 individuals — most convicted of low-level drug crimes — as his way of advocating for criminal justice reform. In the past, Trump has pardoned or commuted the sentences of people he saw advocated for on Fox News, such as Rod Blagojevich, Joe Arpaio and Roger Stone.
But if Trump really wants to use his pardon powers to boost his electoral chances, he ought to stay away from personal favors and think a bit more strategically about who he gets off the hook. To help him in this endeavor, Cockburn has compiled a list of the best potential pardons for Trump.
A Kamala Harris victim
Trump should pardon one of the individuals who was harshly sentenced during former California attorney general and San Francisco district attorney Kamala Harris’s prosecutorial war on drugs. It would be the perfect 2020 update to his decision to bring the women who accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault to his presidential debate against Hillary Clinton.
2. Martha Stewart
What better way to snag the suburban women vote than to pardon the home cooking, gardening and decorating queen prosecuted by James Comey? Stewart also has some pull with the black community — she’s been friends with Snoop Dogg for years and even cohosted ‘Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party’ with the rapper.
3. A 1994 crime bill ‘super predator’
Another nod to the Biden ticket’s history of tough-on-crime policies, this would really drive home the message that Trump is a champion for criminal justice reform while Biden and Harris have done immeasurable harm to African Americans.
The rapper and actor T.I. is a just a guy who loves his guns, which can surely relate to some of Trump’s base. And with the evident spiral of Kanye West, Trump needs a new rapper on his team. T.I. is the perfect choice because none of his crimes were violent and he’s a known political Democrat — he was a part of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s transition team in 2018. He also recently joined the mayor while she urged looters and rioters to ‘go home’ when nationwide unrest broke out in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, which jibes well with Trump’s crackdown on ‘peaceful protesters’ in DC.
5. Edward Snowden
Trump said this past weekend that he was going to ‘look at’ a potential pardon for Edward Snowden, the whistleblower currently seeking refuge in Russia. Libertarians would love this move and it would 1. Rile up Democrats who use any mention of ‘Trump’ and ‘Russia’ in the same sentence as proof of a grand conspiracy and 2. Strike a blow to Obama’s legacy of zealous prosecution of whistleblowers. What’s not to like?