In 2020 and early 2021, a handful of Republican elections officials pushed back against Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn his loss, defending the integrity of the voting process and the will of the voters. Now that Trump’s Big Lie has fully overtaken the Republican Party, the basic honesty and integrity involved in that may become a thing of the past. An analysis by National Public Radio finds that at least 15 candidates who have tried to undermine the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s 2020 win are running for secretary of state—usually a state’s top elections official, potentially putting these enemies of democracy in a position to overturn the next election.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the Republican who famously recorded a conversation in which Trump pressured him to “find 11,780 votes”—enough to hand Trump a win despite his Election Day loss—has two primary opponents who opposed certifying Biden’s election. One of them, Rep. Jody Hice, voted against certification in Congress. He has Trump’s endorsement.
In Arizona, state Rep. Mark Finchem has Trump’s endorsement for secretary of state. Finchem was on the grounds of the Capitol (but not, he says, inside) on Jan. 6, and has appeared at a QAnon conference. Another Republican running for secretary of state in Arizona has sponsored state-level legislation giving legislators the power to overturn an election.
In Michigan, Republican candidate Kristina Karamo has said of Jan. 6: “Based on the series of evidence and knowing how these situations work, how these anarchists operate, I believe this is completely Antifa posing as Trump supporters.” She, too, has Trump’s endorsement.
Other secretary of state candidates who have either rejected or at least questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s win—and therefore his presidency—are running in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Kansas, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Arkansas, and California. Obviously, they have better chances in some of these states than others, but where it matters the most is in the closest states, like Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A secretary of state in any of those states could be in a position to alter the results of an election, whether through voter suppression, rejecting inconvenient votes, or “finding” some number—maybe 11,780—of votes where it counts.
These people scream fraud even as investigation after investigation, including ones done by their handpicked groups, says there was no meaningful amount of fraud. They are not running for the chance to oversee state elections because they want to run elections in which everyone eligible has a chance to vote and have their vote counted. The plan is to make Republicans, like Raffensperger, who may support voter suppression but draw the line at vote-counting shenanigans, a thing of the past, and replace them with people for whom adherence to Trump and his Big Lie is the only value that matters. If they can do that, Republicans won’t need mob violence to steal the next election.
Article reprinted with permission from Daily Kos