Columns

The Donkey in the Room

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Three noteworthy things happened on the election integrity front last week, as the issue of the 2020 presidential outcome continues to traumatize the body politic like a blunt force wound.

Every conservative article or think piece that purports to indicate good things happening electorally for the Republican Party in 2022 and 2024 has a contextual sword of Damocles hanging over it. Some conservative opinion writers confront the issue head-on, while others—perhaps warned about Big Tech de-platforming—come at the issue obliquely. Others don’t mention it at all, as if the official result is conclusive, and Joe Biden legitimately won.

The intrinsic angst that permeates the discussion comes across strongly in the comment sections of right-leaning websites, which reflect polling that indicates that a majority of GOP voters believe 2020 was stolen from former President Trump.  Like cancerous bruising, the wound won’t heal. No matter how rosy the Republican picture seems to be shaping up for the next two national election cycles, due to the extreme weakness of the man Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter calls President * and the calamitous performance of the Biden administration, there’s a majority opinion on the right that Biden was installed by fraud, not elected, and that it will happen again.

The first election integrity-related item came with the release of the Maricopa County, Arizona, election audit results. Naysayers to the fraud claims—both left and right–are closing their eyes to undeniable anomalies that could have substantively changed the statewide outcome, and are ridiculously claiming that the official result is vindicated. Believers in the Big Cheat are convinced that the audit shows without question that those same anomalies involving thousands of votes prove that Trump won the state.

Another shoe dropped when Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney went on 60 Minutes to stress her conservative credentials and then explain how the events of January 6 galvanized her against Donald Trump and his influence on the Republican Party. The segment aired following the announcement of several House Select Committee subpoenas of Trump associates in connection with that day. Cheney is one of two Republicans on the Nancy Pelosi-organized committee charged with investigating January 6.

Cheney affirmed to CBS’s Lesley Stahl that she is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment (and still pro-waterboarding BTW), and stated that she liked many of Trump’s policies and voted for them upwards of 90% of the time. She told Stahl that it was 1/6/21 that turned the tide for her on Trumpservatism. Despite polling that shows her seat has been endangered by her stand against Trump, she believes she will be reelected in 2022. In 2020, Trump shellacked Biden 69.9% to 26.6% in Wyoming.

The final newsbreak with bearing on election integrity came with Trump’s wildly successful rally in Perry, Georgia, on Saturday. In grand Trumpian fashion, he eviscerated the pathetic audit result which, contrary to the wishes of RINOs who would like to see this all go away, only fuels doubts about what went down with the mail-ins, the ghost ballots, the deceased and out-of-state votes, the illegal alien votes and other BS “shenanigans.”  Maricopa was basically a recount: bad information in, again, and the same bad information out, again.

Amid the MAGA celebrations and general good cheer at the rally, Trump brought the house down (in a bad way) when, after discrediting the Maricopa audit, he proclaimed: “And I believe in Georgia it was much worse.”

Related: Ignore the MSM: Here’s What the 2020 Maricopa County Election Audit Actually Says

In Trump’s narrative, the performance of intransigent Governor Brian Kemp, his integrity-resistant Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and the “broken water main” s%#show that characterized the Peach State vote were mercilessly hammered.

Shift to the big picture. We’ve got Democrat Socialists and far-left extremists for whom Biden is merely a dementia-afflicted placeholder, and VP Harr is a race-gender token. Their mission is revolution and transformation, not the niceties of election integrity. They want the tide-tipping state of Texas, hence the immigration crisis, and many of them will cheat if given the opportunity.

We’ve got centrist Independents moving away from Biden by the arena-loads, if they ever supported him enough to make a difference in the first place—who the hell knows? We’ve also got a stratum of Republicans who either believe the “official” 2020 election result legitimate, or believe it is in their best interest to foment the idea that it was legitimate.

It is important to mention here an incalculable number of citizen voters who, while not necessarily Trump supporters, are worried in the wake of 2020 about election integrity.

In a sane world, there is good news out there for the right. There’s an obvious rift in the Democratic Party between the wacko leftists and the influence-challenged “moderates” who worry that Marxist overreach will cost the party Congress, and eventually the White House.

But there are fractious rumblings on the right too. From Trump’s troops, who represent the vast majority of the Republican Party. Who sincerely believe that their vote has been disenfranchised by the Deep State, the Dems, and the moribund RINOs, and who despair of any integrity in any future elections.

The clock is ticking. In terms of discussion, handicapping, analysis, punditry, think pieces, polling, and hopes for the future of America, it’s the Donkey in the Room.

(Author’s note: this is not about me, but  for the record I want to state where I stand on the issue: I enthusiastically voted for Trump twice, and believe he won the 2020 election.)