Trump’s stolen election lie is on the ballot in 2022, thanks to these candidates – .

Trump’s stolen election lie is on the ballot in 2022, thanks to these candidates – .

The future of the US election is on the ballot in 2022, in large part because former President Donald Trump cannot forget the past.

“The biggest problem – the problem that gets the most attraction, the most respect, the biggest applause – is talking about voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election,” Trump said last week at the meeting. ‘a rally in Iowa, once again pushing the lie that a second term has been stolen from him and that Joe Biden is not the rightful president.

In next year’s races for Governor and Secretary of State, for Congress, and all the way to state legislative seats, Trump-hungry Republicans have embraced these baseless claims. Democrats, eager to rally their base in a potentially unfavorable political climate, called GOP candidates “big lie” propagators.

The issue particularly animates campaigns for Secretary of State – the office that in many states oversees elections – in electoral battlegrounds that narrowly backed Biden against Trump in 2020 and will again be hotly contested in the election. presidential election of 2024.

Consciously or not, voters could pass final judgment on the conspiracy theories Trump and his allies spent 11 months nurturing.

“I am the only candidate in this race who is ready to stand up in all of Ohio and in all of America, and say that I believe the election has been stolen from Donald J. Trump,” Josh Mandel, a Republican candidate for the Ohio Senate who made the stolen election a lie at the center of his campaign, NBC News said.

“It’s the right thing to do for our country,” Mandel added, when asked if he was concerned his position would hurt him in a general election. “And I don’t care what impact that has on me politically. “

In Arizona’s race for secretary of state, Trump backed Mark Finchem, a state lawmaker who promoted a partisan review of Maricopa County election results that reaffirmed Biden’s victory. In Georgia, Trump is backing Representative Jody Hice in a Republican primary to oust Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state who has resisted pressure from Trump to rig the 2020 state vote in his favor.

“We no longer look at candidates who try to overturn the 2020 election results,” Bee Nguyen, Democratic state representative and candidate for secretary of state in Georgia, said of Republicans running for office. in 2022. prepare for 2024.

Governor races have also caught Trump’s attention. In a crowded GOP primary in Arizona, he recently approved Kari Lake, a former TV news presenter who said she would not certify Biden’s victory. And while he hasn’t backed a candidate in Georgia yet, he has vowed to overthrow Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who, like Raffensperger, has refused Trump’s calls to undermine the 2020 result.

“We have people coming forward explicitly on the platform that the election results would have been different had they been in power in 2020, and I think it will be up to voters where they elect their election officials. let’s say, whatever the party, it’s not okay to politicize elections, ”said Larry Norden, director of the electoral reform program at the Brennan Center for Justice, a non-partisan organization.

In Georgia, Hice has presented himself as a shameless supporter of Trump.

“No one understands the disaster of the lack of electoral integrity like the Georgian people, and now is the time for us to take it back,” Hice told the crowd after Trump invited him on stage at his rally this month. last in the state. “We have incredible leadership from President Trump, and we need that kind of leadership again. “

Trump is also backing Kristina Karamo, a presidential candidate from Detroit in the 2020 election, for the post of Michigan Secretary of State, where incumbent Democratic Jocelyn Benson and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer are primary GOP targets next year. . Karamo headlined a rally on Tuesday at the Michigan Capitol, where speakers aired refuted theories of voter fraud and demanded an Arizona-style election review.

The races for secretary of state are usually sleepy affairs, with lesser-known candidates depending on their party’s candidates for governor or senate to get them to the finish line. Trump’s involvement could change that, said Trey Grayson, Republican and former Kentucky secretary of state.

“He seems to be picking his own team based on what I’ll call the lie about the 2020 election,” Grayson added. “I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything like this. “

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat running for gubernatorial 2022, says there is an “appetite for responsibility” that has raised secretaries like her who fend off lies GOP elections.

“All this focus on overhauling the 2022 election based on baseless allegations is holding us back,” she said. “It’s disconnected. “

A Yahoo News / YouGov poll in August found that two-thirds of Republicans believe the latest election was stolen from Trump. And there was a deep partisan divide in a CNN poll last month that showed 75% of Republicans and 46% of Democrats said democracy was under attack.

The momentum could make the GOP primaries particularly relevant next year. Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser who hosts a podcast with large right-wing audiences, described a candidate’s stance on the 2020 election results as a “litmus test” for 2022.

Bannon welcomed candidates like Finchem to his show and took an interest in the overcrowded Ohio Senate primary, which Trump did not approve of, but Mandel and other GOP hopefuls worked hard to impress the former president. Mandel, for example, visited Maricopa County during the audit and obtained the approval of Wendy Roger, an Arizona state senator who defended the audit, and Jenna Ellis, a former Trump lawyer known for promoting false election statements.

Mandel, a former state treasurer, also called for reviews of the 2020 elections in all 50 states, including Republican-controlled Ohio, which Trump won by 8 points. He played down the suggestion that by questioning the validity of election results everywhere he risks discouraging Republicans from voting.

Trump himself has fueled this uncertainty, raising unsubstantiated doubts about whether future elections will be fair and sending mixed messages about whether Republicans should bother to vote.

“If we don’t solve the 2020 presidential voter fraud, Republicans won’t vote in 22 or 24,” Trump said in an emailed statement Wednesday. “It’s the most important thing for Republicans to do. “

Nate Persily, election expert and professor at Stanford Law School, doesn’t believe false allegations of widespread voter fraud will lower GOP turnout.

“Allegations of voter fraud are more about defining a set of beliefs for a political tribe than persuasion, trying to persuade a group of the usefulness of their vote,” Persily said. “I haven’t seen any evidence in the United States that these kinds of messages lead to demobilization. “


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