There is a dangerous trend that poses a serious challenge to the integrity of the US electoral system.
However, no one talks about it; neither the political world, nor the media, nor even the electoral experts.
In fact, most of these groups are reinforcing this clear attack on the integrity of the US election, rather than helping to solve the problem.
What I’m referring to is the constant drumbeat of fabricated stolen election crises and the corrosive effect this narrative has on Americans’ confidence in their ability to choose their leadership.
The idea that elections have been stolen, will be stolen or are being stolen right now, right in front of the American people, has become the topic of discussion of the day.
It is almost impossible to open a newspaper, turn on the television, or listen to a political speech without someone claiming that there is a deep QAnon-style effort to steal an election in progress.
To be clear, Democrats are just as guilty as Republicans, if not more.
Raffensperger, a Republican, is Georgia’s secretary of state. (Above: Raffensperger announces the start of a manual recount of the November 3, 2020 presidential election during a briefing outside the Georgia State Capitol building.)
Georgia’s gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ stolen fake election campaign is as culpable as that of Donald Trump. Mainstream media experts are as responsible as dark web bloggers.
Abrams still refuses to concede the 2018 Georgia governor’s race to current Gov. Brian Kemp.
As recently as October of this year, she told a crowd in Virginia that “Just because you win doesn’t mean [you’ve] won.’ In March 2019, just months after her campaign failed, Abrams claimed she “won my election.” I just didn’t get the job. In March 2020, Abrams’ activist group Fair Fight Action released an ad putting an asterisk next to Governor Kemp’s name “to suggest [Kemp]the 2018 victory was illegitimate.
Fresh out – and rightly so – warning the American people that stolen election claims over the November 2020 election are causing unprecedented damage to democracy, the liberals and mainstream media are repeating their own stolen election claims with reckless abandon.
It appears the extreme liberals and their allies in the media took a page of the stolen election manual, the one used by Abrams, to great effect.
Through a constant fear campaign, they accustom Americans to the idea that their elections will be stolen and set the stage for Americans to reject any election results that do not declare the chosen candidate the winner.
For example, liberal leaders continue to challenge the 2000 presidential election and the 2016 presidential election.
Democrats are no strangers to challenging the results in Congress, either.
Georgia’s gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ stolen fake election campaign is as culpable as that of Donald Trump. (Left) Trump speaks at a rally on the Ellipse on January 6, 2021, shortly before his supporters storm the U.S. Capitol. (Right) Abrams comments on federal lawsuit challenging Georgia election ‘mismanagement’
A handful of Democrats in the House of Representatives tried to challenge the 2016 election results, but failed to convince a senator to accept it. Congressional Democrats filed objections against Ohio voters after the 2004 presidential election over alleged “serious election irregularities,” even though President George Bush won the Ohio presidential election by 118 00 votes. In 2000, the Congressional Black Caucus “attempted to prevent the Florida electoral vote from being counted.”
In addition, the conspiracy theory of collusion with Russia, which has been going on for years, gave credence to the ultimately baseless idea that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.
US Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller found that there was no evidence of collusion in March 2019. As it turns out, the Steele case, upon which much of the narrative was based from Russia, was based on unverified rumors from individuals affiliated with the Democratic Party and sources with obvious political bias.
This did not prevent great political figures from constantly contesting the elections. In September 2019, months after the US Department of Justice found no collusion, Hillary Clinton called Trump an “illegitimate president.” Much like the late representative John Lewis in 2017.
Before the Special Council’s report was released, countless mainstream media had already spent years repeating the conspiracy theory that Trump stole the election.
After the report, The New York Times said that “it is not our job to determine whether or not there has been illegality.” CNN claimed that “we are not investigators”. We are journalists. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was a cable news fixture, repeatedly and without evidence alleging President Trump was compromised. There was no mea culpas.
In September 2019, months after the US Department of Justice found no collusion between Trump and the Kremlin, Hillary Clinton called Trump an “illegitimate president.” (Above) Hillary Clinton delivers her concession speech following her loss on November 9, 2016
These far-fetched claims do not only relate to past elections, but also to future electoral competitions.
News organizations such as The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times, are spending countless columns warning their readers that the next election, whether 2022 and 2024, will be stolen.
All of this is having an eroding effect on the confidence of the American public and the fundamental institutions that help democracy survive.
A May 2017 poll found that 65% of Democrats believed their own party did not accept that “Trump won fairly and is a legitimate president.”
A YouGov poll from March 2018 found that 66% of Democrats believed “Russia falsified the vote count in order to get Donald Trump elected as president.”
The same effect can be seen in Georgia’s 2018 election, where Kemp won the state by 55,000 votes against Abrams, more than 4 times the size of Trump’s defeat.
In the days, months, and years after the election, liberal politicians fanned the flames of Abrams’ stolen election demands. While there was no evidence that voting machines change votes, in 2018 or 2020, a 2017 poll found that 85% of Democrats believed it was likely or very likely that “barriers to vote or problems with the voting machines affected the outcome of the Georgia governorate election in 2018 ”. election.’
There is little hope that this will change.
These far-fetched claims about stolen elections do not only apply to past elections, but also to future electoral competitions. (Above) Atlantic’s Barton Gellman wrote: “Donald Trump may be able to win a fair election in 2024. He has no plans to take that chance.”
Again, it looks like, in almost the same breath, leading media experts and political leaders will criticize Trump and his supporters for repeating baseless stolen election allegations, and then push some of their own.
With the advent of Georgia’s new electoral law, which extended early voting days, for the first time enshrined absentee ballot boxes in the law and put in place common sense rules so that voters could get their votes. Mail-in ballots early enough to actually make them, a whole new wave of stolen election complaints has taken hold.
Abrams, Biden, and their allies in the media likened the new law to Jim Crow, a system of segregation that ensured black people were treated separately under U.S. law and did everything possible to deny them the right to vote (in As a lawmaker, Abrams voted for and defended a bill to halve early voting in Georgia).
The supposedly centrist Brookings Institution called the bill an “attack on our democracy.” Then the Washington Post and others claimed Georgia’s election law was part of a plot to steal future elections.
What happened after the bill was passed?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitutiona reported “minor issues and short waits” in the recent November election. Fulton County, Georgia’s most populous county with a decades-long history of mismanaged elections, reported “short lines and no major technical issues.”
Stolen election claims have become an unfortunate part of American politics.
Biden compared Georgia’s new election law to Jim Crow, a system of segregation that ensured black people were treated separately under U.S. law and did everything possible to deny them the right to vote. (Above) Biden condemns Republican electoral reforms at White House press conference in March
Politicians can raise millions by pretending that they did not in fact lose their elections. Rather, the system was rigged against them. They can build or maintain a national profile, get lucrative gigs, and get a grip on their parties by continuing to push stolen, baseless or refuted election lies.
The mainstream media is clearly too confrontational to help either.
The allure of more online clicks and more eyeballs on the TV screen makes stolen election claims too appealing, even to those trying to be responsible journalists. The constant warning of an imminent crisis in democracy and the possibility of blaming one party or the other attracts too much attention for the mainstream media not to participate.
This is the real threat to democracy.
As the country remains trapped in an increasingly extreme cycle of apocalyptic rhetoric about the impending coup, more and more Americans will believe it. In turn, they are ready to listen to the next politician, the one-sided talker or the unreliable blog, who claims to know the truth about how the election was stolen.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that after 4 years of great politicians, prime-time reporters and election experts supposedly talking about how Russia stole the last election, Trump would be able to convince a great number of people that the system was rigged against him. .
The biggest challenge facing American democracy, plain and simple, is the constant flow of end-of-democracy rhetoric that is entirely out of touch with reality. Aided and encouraged by the news cycles that reward such nonsense, catastrophic political talk about threats to democracy is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Tell people enough times that their democracy is stolen they will start to believe it.
Mr. Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, is Georgia’s Secretary of State.