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The Ultimate GOP ‘Insurance Policy’ For Stealing Elections, Exposed

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Republicans in state legislatures all over the U.S. — from Florida to Texas to Arizona to Iowa — have been pushing voter suppression bills designed to make voting more difficult and inconvenient. Some of the bills have already been signed into law by GOP governors. But journalist Fred Hiatt, in an op-ed published by the Washington Post on May 16, stresses that voter suppression is not the worst part of these new bills or laws, which he warns are designed to make it easier for Republicans to steal elections in the future by rejecting any election results they don't like.

"President Donald Trump's effort to steal the 2020 presidential election fell short," Hiatt explains. "Now, Republicans across the country are promoting changes to laws and personnel that could allow him — or someone like him — to succeed in 2024."

Hiatt continues, "I'm not referring to the hundreds of GOP proposals in statehouses across the country that will make it harder for many people, in particular Black Democrats, to vote. Those measures are egregious and offensive. They are the strategy of a party that has given up on winning by putting forward more appealing policies and candidates and so hopes to win by keeping as many of its opponents away from the ballot box as possible. What I'm talking about is, in some ways, even more insidious: an insurance policy to potentially steal the election if the vote-suppression strategy fails."

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Hiatt, who serves as editorial page editor for the Post, warns that Republican Trump supporters are trying to rid elections boards of people who insist on honoring democratic election results.

"Recall Trump's post-election campaign last fall," Hiatt observes. "Having lost decisively, he thought he could pressure local and state officials to nullify the results. He implored the Republican majority in the Pennsylvania legislature to defy their people's will and appoint a slate of electors who would vote for him in Washington. He urged the Georgia secretary of state to claim that Joe Biden's victory there was fraudulent. He pressured the Michigan Board of State Canvassers not to certify Biden's clear victory in their state. He failed because enough local officials had more integrity and courage than a majority of the Republican caucus in the U.S. House has mustered."

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But in 2021, according to Hiatt, pro-Trump Republicans are looking for ways to prevent that from happening again.

"As they target the people and positions that stood in their way last time," Hiatt writes, "they also are attempting to change the rules so (that) a pro-Trump legislature could more easily override the will of the people — and the objections of any honest secretary of state who stood in the way."

Hiatt quotes a recent report titled "A Democracy Crisis in the Making," which was put together by the States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy and the Wisconsin-based Law Forward.

The report warns, "In 2021, state legislatures across the country — through at least 148 bills filed in 36 states — are moving to muscle their way into election administration, as they attempt to dislodge or unsettle the executive branch and/or local election officials who, traditionally, have run our voting systems…. Had these bills been in place in 2020, they would have significantly added to the turmoil that surrounded the election, and they would have raised the alarming prospect that the outcome of the presidential election could have been decided contrary to how the people voted."

Six months after the 2020 presidential election, Trump and many of his allies continue to promote the Big Lie — and according to Hiatt, they are doing it in the hope of stealing the 2024 election.

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"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and most of his party have abjectly surrendered to the lie," Hiatt writes. "It's not just about history. The lie is being used to give cover for actions that in 2024, could turn the Big Lie into the Big Steal."

The Real Steal Is Coming — In 2024

War is peace.

Freedom is slavery.

Ignorance is strength. — George Orwell, "1984"

Welcome to the funhouse world the Republican Party is building. Up is down. Black is white. Lies are truth.

The great cause that Republicans are uniting around is "election integrity." That's rich. The reality is that somebody did attempt to steal the 2020 election — Donald Trump. During the days and weeks following his loss, he brayed endlessly that the outcome was fraudulent, laying the groundwork for an attempt to overturn the voters' will.

From the White House, he made multiple calls to local election officials demanding that they find votes for him. He dialed up members of local canvassing boards, encouraging them to decertify results.

At a time when Trump's toadies were calling for legislatures to ignore the popular vote and submit alternate slates of electoral college votes, he engaged in flagrant election interference by inviting seven Michigan state legislators, including the leaders of the house and senate, to the White House on November 20. What did they discuss? You can surmise from their statement issued after the meeting: "We have not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan and, as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan's electors..."

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Trump phoned a Georgia elections investigator who was conducting a signature audit in Cobb County and asked her to find the "dishonesty." If she did, he promised, "you'll be praised. ... You have the most important job in the country right now."

The then-president phoned Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger 18 times. When he finally got through, he wove a tangled theory of voting irregularities that crescendoed to a naked plea to falsify Georgia's vote: "So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes."

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Trump entertained ideas such as declaring martial law, seizing the nation's voting machines and letting the military "rerun" the election. He turned loose his Kraken-conspiracy nuts and his pillow man to spread lies about Dominion Voting Systems, Black-run cities like Philadelphia and Chinese bamboo ballots.

The Trump campaign and its allies filed more than 60 lawsuits challenging election procedures and lost all but one. Pennsylvania was found to have erred in extending the period to fix errors on mail-in ballots. The case was a matter of three days and a small number of votes that would not have changed Pennsylvania's outcome.

And then came the ultimate attack on election integrity — the violent attack on the Capitol and on members of Congress and the vice president as they were fulfilling their constitutional duties.

Leaving no doubt about his intentions for the riot, Trump told a crowd in February that the only thing that prevented the violent mob from successfully hijacking the official tally of the Electoral College votes was the "cowardice" of Mike Pence.

Today, we stand on the precipice of the House Republican conference ratifying this attempt to subvert American democracy. They are poised to punish Liz Cheney for saying this simple truth: "The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system." In her place, they will elevate Iago in heels, Elise Stefanik, whose claim to leadership consists entirely of her operatic Trump followership.

Let's be clear: The substitution of Stefanik for Cheney is a tocsin, signaling that the Republican Party will no longer be bound by law or custom. In 2020, many Republican officeholders, including the otherwise invertebrate Pence, held the line. They did not submit false slates of electors. They did not decertify votes. They did not "find" phantom fraud. But the party has been schooled since then. It has learned that the base — which is deluded by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin — believes the lies and demands that Republicans fight. As my colleague Amanda Carpenter put it, the 2024 mantra is going to be "Steal It Back."

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If Cheney must be axed because she will not lie, then what will happen if Republicans take control of Congress in 2022 and are called upon to certify the Electoral College in 2024? How many Raffenspergers will there be? How many will insist, as Pence did, that they must do what the Constitution demands? How many will preserve any semblance of the rule of law and the primacy of truth?

With this sabotage of Cheney, House Republicans are figuratively joining the January 6 mob.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the "Beg to Differ" podcast. Her most recent book is "Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense." To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.