PoliticsU.S.US Elections

How are Republicans preparing to win the election for Donald Trump?

If you need an illustration of the long-term political consequences of the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol – and Donald Trump's false claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 election that preceded it – look to Liz Cheney's story.

The three-term congresswoman from Wyoming, America’s most minor populous state and home to staunch Republicans, was defeated in the party’s primary.
 
Cheney, who won 73 percent of the vote in the last primary two years ago, is the daughter of Dick Cheney, a former vice president. Cheney herself said she would likely have been barred from returning to Congress if she had supported Trump’s fantastical version of events. “The path was clear. But it would have required me to go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election. It would have required me to enable his continued efforts to dismantle our democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic. It was a path I could not and would not take,” Cheney said during his resignation speech.
Instead, she became the face of congressional hearings on the events of January 6, as vice chair of the House Select Committee.
“Tonight I say this to my fellow Republicans who defend the indefensible,” she said during the first hearing, which was televised on prime time in early June. “The day will come when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”
Now she is the person around whom the Never Trump movement can rally.
Cheney wasn’t the only one to lose after the Jan. 6 hearings. In late June, Arizona’s Republican House Speaker, Rusty Bowers, told the committee that he knew Trump and those around him were trying to continue efforts to have him nullify the 2020 election in his state, which had a narrow victory. for joe Biden. “It’s a tenet of my faith that the constitution is divinely inspired, that’s my most fundamental belief,” said Bowers, who is Mormon. “To do this because someone just asked me to is foreign to my very being. I will not do it.”
Bowers voted for Trump in the 2020 election.
Earlier this month, Bowers lost his primary to a Trump-backed candidate, David Farnsworth, who supported Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen. This came after the Arizona Republican Party formally reprimanded Bowers for “demonstrating that he is unfit to serve the Arizona Republican Party platform and the will of the Arizona Republican Party voters.” In a highly unusual intervention in a contested primary, local party officials urged voters to “kick him out of office for good.”
On the same day of hearings Bowers spoke, Georgia Shay Moss, who was part of the election commission, testified that after being named by Trump and his allies as part of their baseless allegations, her life was thrown into chaos.
“It has turned my life upside down. I don’t give out my business card anymore, I don’t want anyone to know my name,” she told the commission, as quoted by The Independent. “I don’t go anywhere with my mom. I don’t go to the grocery store at all. I haven’t been anywhere at all. I’ve put on a few pounds. It’s affected my life in a big way. In every way. All because of lies,” Moss said, fighting back tears. during his testimony.
A recent analysis by The Washington Post found that in the 41 states that held nominating contests this year for positions — state or national — that involve office with some form of electoral authority, more than half the winners came from the Republican Party — about 250 candidates in 469 races — have at least partially accepted Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election. If this analysis boils down to the six battlegrounds that ultimately decided the election — Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, whose results have been the subject of fierce condemnation from Trump – at least 54 winners of 87 contests (ie, more than 62% of nominees) have endorsed Trump’s lies.
According to The Washington Post, “the recount covers offices with direct oversight of election certification, such as secretaries of state, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, which have the power to finalize—or challenge—the Electoral College recount every four years. Vice -governors and attorneys general are also involved, each playing a role in shaping election law, investigating alleged fraud, or filing lawsuits to influence election results.”
For example, earlier this month in Arizona, Republicans nominated Cary Lake for governor and Mark Finchem for secretary of state. Both candidates supported Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Finchem had previously introduced several resolutions in his role as a state legislator that sought to overturn the 2020 election results in three large Arizona counties.
While not all of those who make it through the primaries will win against their Democratic rivals in November’s midterm elections, the pattern will certainly raise concerns about how to ensure the integrity of the 2024 presidential election. Another indication of the direction the Republican Party has taken comes from the 10 Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted to impeach Trump for his conduct in connection with the events of January 6. Four chose to retire rather than potentially lose to Trump-backed challengers in the Republican primary. Of the remaining six, Cheney was the fourth defeated in those party primaries — leaving just two still in the race before the November election.
Aside from the issue of candidates, a recent survey by three election reform groups suggests that 13 states have already approved laws that could help facilitate more partisan control of election administration or increase the potential to make changes to individual election processes.
What must be done? In July, a bipartisan group of 16 U.S. senators came together to introduce legislation to reform the Counting of Elections Act of 1887. That statute, which many in Congress agree is outdated, created the process governing how states transmit their presidential election results to Congress, and then how Congress counts those votes and declares a winner. It’s also the act that enabled Trump to try to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Current law states that only one member of the House and one member of the Senate are needed to challenge each state’s electoral roll. The new act — the Election Counting Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022 — would increase that so that one-fifth of the members of each of the two houses of Congress would be required.
The new bill would also introduce measures “aimed at ensuring that Congress can identify a single, definitive list of electors from each state.” It follows testimony Bowers gave during committee hearings on Jan. 6 that it was suggested he send an alternate list of Republican electors to Congress as part of a larger effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The new bill would also create an expedited judicial review process — first by a three-judge panel, then by the U.S. Supreme Court — on certain disputed voter issues.
Finally, the proposed act, which would require 60 votes to pass the Senate, would also reaffirm that “the vice president’s constitutional role as presiding over a joint session of Congress is solely ministerial.” This follows the question that arose in 2020 about whether Mike Pence could refuse to certify the election result.
The second proposed law, the Enhanced Election Security and Protection Act, would then increase criminal penalties against those convicted of intimidating or threatening candidates, voters, or election officials, and would also legislate for better preservation of election records.
The proposals were put together after months of meetings, but there’s no guarantee they’ll make it through Congress — although the top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, has left the door at least slightly open when it comes to the narrower concept of vote-counting reform ( as opposed to the broader voting reform that Democrats and the White House have been pushing for). McConnell called the proposals surrounding the 1887 law “worthy of discussion.”
As for Liz Chaney? She plans to launch a political movement — suggested names include “The Big Task” — with the primary goal of preventing Trump from winning the White House in 2024. Trump has yet to announce that he will run in two years — though he hinted. “I’m going to make sure that people across the country understand the stakes of what we’re facing and understand the extent to which we now have a majority political party — my party — that has become a cult of personality,” Cheney said. — who is rumored to be considering a run for the White House herself — told NBC in recent days.
Whatever form this political movement takes, it’s clear that it’s something we’re sure to hear a lot about in the long run for the 2024 presidential election.
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