Republicans Are Laying The Groundwork (Again) To Reject Elections They Lose

by | Nov 7, 2022 | Politics

Blake Masters, the Peter Thiel-funded GOP Senate candidate in Arizona, gave a masterclass last month in sowing doubt about the results of the midterms — before a single ballot was cast.During a campaign stop reported by The Daily Beast, Masters recalled his dad worrying that, even if Masters won by 30,000 votes over incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), “they’ll just find 40,000 for Mark Kelly.”Advertisement“He invited me to prove him wrong,” Masters said. “I said, ‘Dad, I can’t prove you wrong. All I know is, if those are the numbers, I’ve got to win by 80,000.’” The crowd reportedly burst into applause.By now, this tactic is familiar: Republican candidates who’ve pushed Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud and stolen elections are using the former president’s playbook themselves to preemptively claim that their elections may be fraudulent. Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (right) and Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters raise their arms at a campaign rally on Nov. 5 in Queen Creek, Arizona. Justin Sullivan via Getty Images‘There’s Always Cheating’It’s a simple enough fallacy: If you lose, you’ve already blamed voter fraud! If you win, that means your victory was so substantial that your supporters were able to beat the rigged system! AdvertisementThe October campaign stop wasn’t Masters’ first time using the strategy. “There’s always cheating, probably, in every election,” the candidate said in July, The New York Times reported. “The question is, what’s the cheating capacity?”Other Republicans are taking the “wait and see” approach, reserving their right to flip the chessboard once they realize they’re losing. A spokesperson for Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who’s facing a tough reelection bid against Democrat Mandela Barnes, told the Wisconsin State Journal last month that “it is certainly his hope that he can” accept the election results. Then, he blamed Democratic Gov. Tony Evers for Republicans having a reason to be worried. “He would feel much better about the 2022 election had Governor Evers signed bills the Legislature passed to restore confidence in our election system,” Zimmerman said. “That said, we are doing everything we can to ensure guidances and election procedures comply with state law. We will be monitoring everything closely.”Tim Michels, the Republican running against Evers, will accept the results “provided the election is conducted fairly and securely,” a spokesperson told the State Journal. Michels’ campaign didn’t respond to a HuffPost email asking what he meant by that.AdvertisementJim Marchant, the Republican candidate for secretary of state in Nevada who has said that a “deep state cabal” has dictated election results for years, has gone back and forth on the same question, at one point telling the Las Vegas Sun he would accept the election results regardless of outcome. But he wouldn’t commit to accepting the results outright when Reno news channel KRNV asked him the same question last month. He responded that he could trust the results “if we get an audit, if we get a forensic audit.” The term “forensic audit,” popularized by election deniers in the wake of Trump’s loss, doesn’t actually have an accepted definition with regard to elections. Asked if he would accept the results without such an audit, Marchant — who could be elected to the role that directly oversees elections — said “we’ll see” and that if elected he would ensure “everybody agrees on what was counted.” Marchant notably did not make any proclamations about meddling from a “deep state cabal” when he won the GOP primary over the summer.Kim Crockett, the GOP secretary of state candidate in Minnesota, has said she’ll accept the results unless the margin of victory is close enough for a recount. However, she added in a press release, “As for my confidence in the administration of the 2022 election, that is a different question which I will answer after the election is held.” Advertisement“As for my confidence in the administration of the 2022 e …

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