Is Trump Turning Election Integrity Into a Losing Issue for the GOP?

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

On Saturday, the Washington Post reported allegations that in 2020, Trump “tried to pressure Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to overturn the state’s presidential election results, saying that if enough fraudulent votes could be found it would overcome Trump’s narrow loss in Arizona, according to three people familiar with the call.”

Two sources also allege that President Trump consistently urged Vice President Mike Pence to contact Gov. Ducey and encourage him to uncover evidence supporting Trump’s allegations of fraud.

There wasn’t really much new in the story we hadn’t already heard. A spokesman for Ducey said as much, telling ABC News that the report was “nothing more than a ‘copy and paste’ of a compilation of articles from the past two years, disguised as something new.”

The Trump campaign blasted the story. “These witch-hunts are designed to interfere and meddle in the 2024 election in an attempt to prevent President Trump from returning to the White House to make this country great again,” Trump’s campaign said in a statement. The statement also reaffirmed that it is still Trump’s view that “the 2020 Presidential election was rigged and stolen.”

There still may be legitimate questions about the 2020 election, but this report tells us that the media will continue to write hit pieces about Trump and 2020. It also shows that Trump will oblige by doubling down on his rhetoric that the election was rigged and stolen. This may energize Trump’s base, but it won’t do him any favors in the general election.

Related: Is a Shake Up of the Biden-Harris Ticket Coming?

Let’s not forget that Democrats haven’t accepted the results of a presidential election that they’ve lost since 1988. They challenged the results of the presidential elections of 2000, 2004, and 2016, and they’ll undoubtedly challenge the results of the next election they lose. But the media conveniently “forgets” this fact.

But Trump isn’t doing himself any favors, because his rhetoric keeps giving the media impetus to rehash the 2020 election and make him look bad to the ever-so-important political middle. To win back the White House, the 2024 election must be a referendum on Joe Biden’s presidency, not a debate about the 2020 election — which Trump seems determined to bring up.

Election integrity is actually a winning issue for the GOP. The only way we can secure our elections, so that everyone is confident in the results regardless of the outcome, is to pass commonsense reforms like requiring Voter ID, counting all the votes — including mail-in ballots — on Election Day, and so on. Democrats won’t do that. In fact, history has shown they consistently stand in the way of such reforms.

Instead of centering the issue on the 2020 election itself, Trump should shift his focus toward a pragmatic election integrity agenda that instills confidence in Americans across the political spectrum. He needs to point out that faith in our election results is directly related to the outcome, and the only way to restore that faith is to enact reforms that bipartisan majorities of Americans support.

As easy as this sounds in theory, Trump has shown thus far that he’s unable to make the broader issue of election integrity his signature cause. Instead, he picks at the scabs of 2020, refusing to let his party focus on fixing the problems that undermined the nation’s faith in our elections in the first place.


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