President Trump and his shrinking group of allies have failed tremendously to persuade governors, state election officials as well as state and federal judges that the 2020 elections were “stolen.”
Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State was very clear last weekend in refusing to help the president “find” enough votes to win, responding to the Nation’s leader with total courage “respectfully, President Trump, what you are saying is not true”, said Brad Raffensperger.
Despite the fact that reality cannot be bought and since we all know that lies have short legs, there is something that President Trump has been successful in these days after the election and that is that his efforts have managed to potentially persuade millions of Americans that the electoral process is illegitimate. In addition, this post-election process has helped him raise hundreds of millions of dollars since November 3, and that money “donated to the cause” comes from those same Americans who believe in his fables.
The threat this effort poses to the future of American institutions is clear. If 35% of the electorate continues to believe that the presidential elections are “rigged”, each electoral cycle will be on the brink of a civil war from now on.
The task of convincing Americans that the elections were not stolen may seem simple, but the simple fact that there is no evidence of theft does not seem to be enough.
We could also go back in time to mid-2017, when President Trump established a commission chaired by Vice President Pence to investigate his claim that some 3 million votes had been illegally cast for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. The commission met twice and was dissolved without issuing findings or recommendations.
Since November 3, nearly 60 lawsuits have been filed alleging voter fraud of one form or another. Proponents have had 60 opportunities to present their case to state and federal judges, including many federal judges who are registered Republicans and were also appointed by President Trump, and none of them found errors or vote theft.
That record of failure prompted even Trump’s loyal attorney general William Barr to quit and step down by Christmas. Barr was one of the most determined to investigate and prosecute a major electoral fraud, but after examining the scant and inconclusive evidence he decided to take a step back.
That hasn’t stopped a this group of Congressional Republicans ready to challenge the ministerial act of counting Electoral College votes recorded by each state’s elected officials.
This would be nothing more than a cynical rhetorical circumvention, the claim is not about whether the election was fraudulent as they know it was not.
The election results have been validated by the counting process in several states, in some of them there were up to three recounts.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) put it bluntly in an open letter to his constituents, “let’s make it clear what is happening here: we have a group of ambitious politicians who think there is a quick way to tap into the populist base of the president doing real long-term damage.”
The fanaticism that Trump exalts in some of his supporters is so extreme that they appear to believe anything the president says, including his lies.
That is why the conduct of this small group of 12 Republican senators who plan to challenge the Electoral College’s certification is tremendously egregious. They are knowingly giving credence to an illusion that, if left uncorrected, will undermine American democracy.
It will remain the civic duty of respected and decent Republican leaders to correct this record. Over time, as high-ranking GOP statesmen and supporters of the president like Toomey or Sasse acknowledge that the election was not stolen, their outspokenness will persuade many that the president simply lost. Until that day, the belief that he won is just that, a belief not supported by evidence and refuted by the truth.
The reason for the lack of evidence is that state and local election officials did not really conspire to engineer a stolen election.
The shame and lack of ethics with which this group of Republicans (including the president) is tampering with the great American democracy is so aberrant that it causes many conservatives to feel rejection by these people who only make the country look bad abroad and destroys the values of the great Republican Party.