Oklahoma, a state that sits in the unique crosshairs of the South, Midwest, and Southwest regions of the nation, is one of the most reliably Republican states in the country. In 2016, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in every single county in the Sooner State, ultimately accumulating a whopping 36+% total statewide margin of victory. In fact, no Democratic presidential candidate has won a single county in Oklahoma since Al Gore (who still lost the state to George W. Bush by a 21+% margin) in 2000.
Now, seeking to both capitalize upon President Trump’s overwhelming popularity in Oklahoma and raise money for veteran organizations, Republican state legislators in the Oklahoma Senate are proposing the introduction of a new “MAGA” specialty license plate.
“Two Republican state senators in Oklahoma proposed a bill that would create specialty license plates that showcase the president’s campaign slogans, a move that could violate federal campaign finance laws,” The Hill reports. “Sens. Nathan Dahm (R) and Marty Quinn (R) penned the legislation, which would make state license plates that say ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) and ‘Keep America Great’ available for purchase.”
“Proceeds from the ‘MAGA’ and ‘Keep America Great’ license plates won’t go directly to the president’s reelection bid, but instead they’ll be split between two veterans groups: The Warriors for Freedom Foundation and the Folds of Honor Foundation,” the outlet continues.
What’s more, the text of the bill expressly contemplates the president’s involvement in the license plate design process: “The license plates shall be designed in consultation with the corporation or entity designated by Donald J. Trump for such purposes.” And as the New York Post notes, the proposal “authorizes the Oklahoma Tax Commission to issue the plates ‘to any person wishing to demonstrate support for the proclamation made by Donald J. Trump.’”
As far as cost, the Washington Examiner reports that “[m]otorists would be charged a fee of $35 per year, and $20 of that fee will be donated to two local veterans groups.”
In a “Fox & Friends” appearance this morning, Sen. Dahm explained that he chose The Warriors for Freedom Foundation and the Folds of Honor Foundation as the bill’s two specified veterans groups of choice because they are two groups to which Trump has donated directly in the past.
The overtly partisan nature of the “MAGA” license plate will all but assuredly raise the eyes of federal election officials, however. “These are political slogans,” Columbia Law School professor Richard Briffault told The Washington Post. “This has the look and feel of using state resources to support a political candidate, which seems improper … and possibly illegal.”
The bill would, of course, require the approval of both houses of the Oklahoma legislature and the ultimate signature of the governor before its enactment into law.
As also noted by The Hill, the same two Republican state senators who introduced the license plate proposal have also proposed a piece of legislation that would rename an Oklahoma portion of historic Route 66 as the “President Donald J. Trump highway.” As noted by the Oklahoma Senate’s official website, Sen. Quinn said of the bill: “Oklahoma is in the heart of America. Its conservative values of freedom, liberty and limited government are what our country was built on and has made America a strong nation and President Trump continues to fight for these values.”