Republicans are continuing to dig a hole. This time, it may hard to dig out.
If you look at what is occurring, post the 2020 election, and now the attempt to audit ballots in Arizona with this company called “Cyber Ninjas,” nothing edifying can be attributed to the Republican party moving forward. The party of Lincoln is dead, and anybody who may attempt to register with the party has two choices: support the Big Lie or find another political party to side with. As I have written about many times before, the party belongs to the “populists” now. If you are a former John Kasich-like Republican, it may be time to fully consider yourself a Moderate Democrat or Independent voter.
A couple of articles in the Washington Post seamlessly summed up the maladroitness and indistinguishable fortitude of the Populist party leaders to try and produce more ammunition for destroying a once-proud political party.
I know the stakes involved with election fraud. I am a proud Republican. I have and will continue to support efforts to increase the fairness of elections. This Arizona audit is not one of them.
There is no reason to question Arizona’s election results. Representatives from all parties were welcome to observe every step of the process, from the machine testing in October (and retesting in November), to the operating of polling places on Election Day, to the bipartisan counting of ballots. As required by law, a sample of 8,100 ballots were hand-counted and compared with the machine totals. There was a 100 percent match.
It was a good year for Republicans in Maricopa County. Excepting a sheriff reelected over lackluster opposition, we won every countywide election while maintaining our 4-to-1 majority on the county board of supervisors. President Biden carried the county by more than 45,100 votes.
The Maricopa County board, despite no evidence of an unjust result, responded to public questioning of the election by performing additional audits. Two companies, SLI Compliance and Pro V&V, are certified by the bipartisan Election Assistance Commission to test election machines and software. Maricopa County hired both to run every conceivable test for fraud or errors. They found none. (DeRose, WAPO, 5/2/21).
It’s an alarming notion to digest. Even after carrying out fundamental, and albeit unnecessary audits in the Arizona elections, the Populists are still not content with the results and are now hiring the “Cyber Ninjas” to conduct their investigation. Here’s the best part:
On March 31, Fann announced the effort would be led by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida cybersecurity company with no experience in elections. Its owner, Doug Logan, had retweeted claims that the presidential election had been stolen through fraud. (DeRose, WAPO, 5/2/21).
That seems like a good idea.
I think it’s important for the Democrats to thoroughly ignore these actions, as though it’s going on in some other world. Meanwhile, the world we live in has to have some sense of normalcy, and it has to move forward with a democracy. At the end of the day, it’s the Republican party that will render itself ineffectual and hopeless.
The one question that Republicans simply cannot credibly answer is this: Given that the 2020 election actually proved to be a remarkable civic success amid exceptionally challenging conditions, what is the public interest justification for all the new voting restrictions?
“The 2020 election was judged to be the most secure in U.S. history, with no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and the highest turnout in 120 years,” voting rights reporter Ari Berman told me. “Based on these facts, there is no valid reason to make it harder to vote.” (Sargent, WAPO, 4/22/21).
When you compound these concepts, such as the Republican party not backing away from considering the election as fraudulent, and then the officials reporting that the election was safe; what are we talking about here? We’re talking about the intrinsic action of capitalizing on disinformation to help expostulate against the general public. Because when you do this, you hope you can confound them from voting or having faith in the political process. What Republican/Populists are not counting on is the fact that voters who showed up in droves this past election cycle are not interested in their platform; they are interested in trying to vote for candidates who have a vested interest in bettering their livelihood.
I routinely ask this question: how many of the 70+ million Trump voters voted for Trump/populists versus those who voted against Joe Biden and the Democrat party? Elections are challenging; swing states define the outcomes in narrow margins, but when you excite the voting base and encourage these voters to participate, only then will you see the outcomes swing toward maintaining our democracy.
Republicans have tried to finesse this problem with what you might call the confidence canard, the idea that even if there wasn’t widespread fraud in 2020, these restrictions are necessary to restore voter “confidence.”
That’s also the idea behind the slimy talking point that these measures are merely about restoring “election integrity.” But this rationale, too, falls apart: There is no actual reason for GOP voters to lack confidence in the last election — indeed, if they do, it’s because Trump and GOP lawmakers created that situation by feeding them lies about it — or in future ones, for that matter.
Obviously it would be ideal if Republicans across the board fully renounced both the lie that the election was illegitimate and the intermediate claim that GOP voters legitimately lack confidence in the election, necessitating new voting restrictions.
But given the depths of ongoing GOP radicalization against democracy, that appears highly unlikely. (Sargent, WAPO, 4/22/21).
Understanding what the Populists are trying to achieve is another dilemma. In some domain, their goal is to provide power to the people, which then contributes to the aggregate disparagement of our democracy. These folks are satisfied with taking benefits from the federal government — such as COVID relief and unemployment — but they don’t want the federal government to function normally.
In the same context as Sargent’s article, we should consider the 2020 election. By Republicans not coming out and denouncing Trump’s lies and propaganda after losing the election, they efficaciously destroyed their party. As more days go by, more and more Republican voters who may have been inclined to side with our democratic virtues are jumping ship, regularly, to side with this new fringe party that propagates disinformation, in hopes that its constituents will revolt against the government. It’s a forlorn, perilous state of affairs. Even now, Republicans have a chance to do the right thing, but they won’t. They assume that, if they follow their morals, then their voters will oust them. How they are so mistaken. Their constituents have no choice; they have to vote for them — because if they don’t; who are they going to vote for?
1. Sargent, Greg. “The Big Lie has gotten so bad that even some Republicans are running from it.” April 22, 2021. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/22/republicans-chris-carr-running-from-big-lie/. Accessed May 5, 2021.
2. DeRose, Chris. “Arizona is still fighting about the 2020 election. No good can come of it.” May 2, 2021. The Washington Post.https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/02/arizona-is-still-fighting-about-2020-election-no-good-can-come-it/. Accessed May 5, 2021.