Trump and other Republicans are already casting doubt on midterm results


Former President Donald Trump took to social media on Tuesday to question the legitimacy of the midterm election in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania. “Here we go again!” he wrote. “Niliyang Halanan!”

Trump’s supposed evidence? An article on a right-wing news site showed no rigging. Instead, the article unfoundedly raised suspicions about the absentee-ballot data that the article did not clearly explain.

In 2020, Trump and his allies made a sustained effort to discredit the results of the presidential election early, spending months laying the groundwork for their post-election false claims that the election was stolen. Now, in the weeks leading up to Election Day in 2022, some Republicans are deploying similar – and also disingenuous – rhetoric.

Trump is not the only Republican trying to baselessly raise suspicion about the midterms in Pennsylvania, a state that could determine which party controls the US Senate.

After Pennsylvania’s acting elections chief, Leigh Chapman, told NBC News last week that it could take “days” to complete the vote count, Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who repeatedly promoted false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, said on a right-wing show monitored by the liberal organization Media Matters for America: “That’s an attempt to fix it.”

This is not. It just takes time to count the votes — especially, as Chapman noted, because the Republican-controlled state legislature has refused to pass a blanket bill to allow counties to begin processing ballots in mail before Election Day morning.

But other prominent Republicans piled on. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted a link to an article about Chapman’s comments and added: “Why only Democrat blue cities take ‘days’ to count their votes? The rest of the country does this on election night.”

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Even aside from the fact that big cities that tend to lean Democratic have more votes to count than small rural areas that tend to lean Republican, Cruz’s statement is patently false.

Counties of all kinds across the country – including, as PolitiFact noted, several Republican counties in Cruz’s home state of Texas – did not complete their election night vote counts. In fact, it was impossible for many counties to have final numbers on election night.

Even some of the most Republican states in the country count absentee ballots (or, in some cases, specific absentee ballots from members of the military and citizens abroad) that arrive days after Election Day, provided they are postmarked on Election Day. And some states, including some led by Republicans, give voters days after Election Day to fix issues with their signatures or to provide proof of identity that they didn’t have on Election Day.

American election authorities do not declare winners or official vote totals on election night. Instead, media outlets make unofficial projections based on incomplete data.

The health challenges of the Democratic candidate in the Pennsylvania Senate race, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, was also used to cast preemptive doubt on the likely outcome.

After Joe Biden defeated Trump in 2020, some right-wing personalities asserted that the election must have been stolen because Biden was such a poor candidate. On Fox last week, as noted by Media Matters, prime-time host Tucker Carlson made a similar argument about the Pennsylvania Senate race — suggesting that people shouldn’t accept a win in Fetterman because it would be “transparently absurd” for a candidate who is struggling publicly. speech and auditory processing since a stroke in May to legitimately dominate.

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But there’s nothing suspicious about Fetterman winning a state that Biden won by more than 80,000 votes in 2020. Fetterman has led many (though not all) opinion polls — and the polls have repeatedly found that the voters in Pennsylvania continue to look upon him more favorably than they view his Republican opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

The city of Detroit, like other Democratic-dominated cities with large Black populations, has been the target of false 2020 conspiracy theories from Trump and others. And now the Republican running to be Michigan’s election leader is challenging the validity of thousands of Detroit votes in 2022.

Less than two weeks before Election Day, Kristina Karamo, a 2020 election denier and the Republican nominee for Michigan secretary of state, filed a lawsuit asking the court to “stop” the use of absentee ballots in Detroit if they were not taken personally. in the clerk’s office and declare that only ballots obtained by personal solicitation may be “validly voted” in this election. That request could mean rejecting thousands of ballots legally cast by Detroit residents – in a state where the constitution gives residents the right to request absentee ballots by mail.

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Karamo’s attorney apparently softened the request in closing arguments Friday, The Detroit News reported. And other prominent Republicans have until now they kept their distance from the lawsuit.

However, the suit sets the table for Karamo, who follows opinion polls, to deny the legitimacy of a defeat.

Other Republican candidates have vaguely hinted at the possibility that Democrats could cheat on Election Day or during the counting of votes.

Republican Sen. said. Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson told reporters this week that “we’ll see what happens” when it comes to accepting the results of his re-election, The Washington Post reported, adding: “I mean, something’s going to happen on Election Day? There’s are the Democrats okay?”

The Daily Beast reports that Blake Masters, the Republican Senate candidate in a tight race in Arizona, told a story at an event in October about how he couldn’t prove that untrue, if he defeated the Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly by 30,000 votes , unnamed people won’t just “find 40,000” for Kelly. He told a similar story at an event in June.

There is no basis for the suggestion that there could be tens of thousands of fraudulent votes added to the tally of any state. But Masters’ comment, like Karamo’s lawsuit, achieves the effect of many of Trump’s stories ahead of Election Day 2020: Republican primary voters distrust any outcome that doesn’t happen to them.


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