As the Republican review of the 2020 vote in Arizona draws to a close, Donald Trump and his allies indicated that his attack on the election, and his campaign to reshape future elections, was not over.
After all the effort, search, investigation, guessing, hand counting and bamboo hunting had ended, Republicans’ post-mortem review of election results in Arizona’s largest county only added to President Biden’s margin of victory.
But for those who have tried to undermine confidence and restrict voting in US elections, the actual findings of the Maricopa County Review, released on Friday, didn’t matter at all. Former President Donald J. Trump and his loyalists doubled down on their efforts to mount a full-scale reparations of the 2020 election.
Any fleeting thought that the failure of an Arizona exercise to detect some new trove of Trump votes or the smoking gun of election fraud could abruptly end the so-called Stop the Theft movement. As draft copies of the report began circulating late Thursday, Trump aides ignored the tally, instead paying attention to the report’s specific claims of glitches, inconsistencies and errors by election officials.
Significant parts of the right perceived the completion of the Arizona Review as a retaliation—a quick push for new voting limits and a renewed push to justify measures to give Republican state lawmakers more control over elections. . It provided additional fuel for the old lie that is now central to Mr Trump’s political identity: that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“The leaked report shows conclusively that there were enough bogus votes, mysterious votes and fake votes to change the outcome of the election 4 or 5 times,” Trump said in a statement Friday evening, one of seven He was released about Arizona late Thursday. “There is fraud and fraud in Arizona and there should be a criminal investigation!”
For Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee to appeal to voters in the primary race, and conservative activists agitating for election review in their own states, the 91-page document served as some bold guide of their own. . These leaders encouraged their supporters to take their eyes off the conclusion that Mr Biden had indeed legitimately won, and instead focus on fodder for a new set of conspiracy theories.
“Now that Maricopa’s audit is ending, we need to audit Pima County—the second largest county in AZ,” said Mark Finchem, a Republican candidate for secretary of state in Arizona who supported the effort at Maricopa. did, wrote on twitter. “There are 35k votes under consideration from multiple sources and I want answers.”
Even Republicans who do not subscribe to false claims of election fraud are using the investigation to justify more restrictive voting laws. In Michigan, State Senator Ed McBroom, a Republican who leads his chamber’s election committee and in July penned an unprovoked report debunking a series of Trump-inspired fraud claims, said on Friday that election fraud has led to an election campaign. Exploration of possible avenues – there is no evidence of fraud. That was reason enough to pass the new voting restrictions.
“Like we found in Michigan, it is good that we found that these vulnerabilities were not exploited to any significant extent in this election,” Mr. McBroom said in an interview. “That doesn’t mean one can’t use them in the future.”
Cherry-picking from the report on Friday, the former president and his aides cited a series of eye-catching statistics that, at first glance, appeared to bolster their case, believing that their supporters could either document Will not fully digest or trust the mainstream news outlets that have put out its entire contents.
Peter Navarro, a former adviser to Mr. Trump, false claim on twitter That report showed that 50,000 potentially illegal votes were cast in Maricopa County. That number was actually the number of ballots that the report – through questionable methodology – described as problematic in some way.
Mr Trump’s spokeswoman Liz Harrington said on Twitter that “23,000+ Phantom Voters.” This was apparently a reference to 23,344 mail-in ballots that Cyber Ninjas, a company assigned to review by Arizona Republicans, claimed came from voters listed under the former address. (there were claims Quickly Rejected by Maricopa County Election Board, which states that “it is legal under federal election law.”)
Supporters of the Arizona Review captured vague suggestions by the report’s authors that “propaganda,” or the common political campaign practice of knocking on doors, was needed. Without defining what kind of canvas they had in mind, many Republicans in Arizona and beyond made the term a new rallying cry in victims of electoral fraud.
“Canvas Maricopa,” Wendy Rogers, a Republican state senator in Arizona, wrote on Twitter.
The Arizona review, and similar partisan election investigations across the country, are a spearhead in a multi-pronged effort by Trump and his allies to dispute the outcome of the 2020 race and scuttle future US elections.
That push has worried Democrats, good-government groups and historians, who point to the ways Mr. Trump undermined democratic norms while in office, including trying to eliminate last year’s election. Their fight was also involved, an effort that resulted in the Capitol riot.
New evidence emerged for their arguments this week: A memoir revealed in a new book By Bob Woodward and Robert Costa of The Washington Post. According to memorandumBy refusing to accept the results, Mr. Trump could help a state legislature send an alternative slate of voters to Congress, drafted by John Eastman, a Republican lawyer who worked with the Trump campaign.
The memo concluded that, with several slates to consider, former Vice President Mike Pence and allies in Congress could refuse to certify the states in question, which would nullify the election results and lead to a vote in the House of Representatives on the president. would instead lead, with each state delegation receiving one vote.
In 2020, Republicans held the advantage in state delegations with 26, meaning Mr Trump would have successfully reversed the election in this scenario.
Trump’s bid to reverse the election
One month campaign. During his last days in office, President Donald J. Trump and his allies made an increasingly urgent effort to undermine the election results. That widespread campaign included false and outright debunked claims of electoral fraud, as well as pressuring government officials for help.
Now, as Trump continues to deny Biden’s legitimacy, Republicans across the country have embarked on a mission to step up the electoral process. They have called for giving Republican-controlled state legislatures more control over how US elections are conducted; 18 states aggressively pushed to limit voting, passing more than 30 such laws; and recruited candidates who supported electoral conspiracy theories for positions such as secretary of state and county clerk.
Support for electoral reviews such as Arizona has become a litmus test in Republican primary elections.
“Arizona has to be certified!” Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greetens, who is in the crowded GOP primary for an open Senate seat in the state, wrote “We must have forensic audits nationwide!” on Twitter on Friday.
Even candidates in states where Mr Trump won easily last year have echoed his call to rethink the results.
“In states like OHIO where Trump won by a bigger margin, he actually won by an even bigger margin were it not for Democrat fraud,” said Josh Mandel, a Republican running for Senate in Ohio. said on Twitter.
Democrats, voting rights advocates and moderate Republicans reacted to the release of the Arizona election report with a mix of resignation and fury, calling the effort a waste of time, money and attention. But some expressed the understanding that the flow of lies about the 2020 election would not stop.
Katie Hobbs, who pushed back forcefully on the review as Democratic secretary of state in Arizona, wrote in a fundraising appeal that “I wish I could tell you I’m excited to put it all to rest, but I’m gullible.” No.” Ms Hobbs, who is running for governor in 2022, said: “I know far-right Republicans and conspiracy theorists will continue to follow me regardless of the outcome.”
In some states where Republicans control the levers of government, an attempt to undermine confidence in elections has been incorporated into official policy.
Late Thursday, the Texas Secretary of State’s office announced it would review the results for four large counties, three won by Biden and one by Trump. Pennsylvania legislators have sought the personal information of nearly seven million voters, including driver’s license numbers, as part of a massive Republican review. And in Wisconsin, the Republican speaker of the state legislature tapped a conservative former state Supreme Court judge to conduct an election investigation — with Trump threatening the state’s GOP leaders with consequences if they don’t act.
None of this is enough to satisfy Mr. Trump or his most ardent supporters.
In Wisconsin, a right-wing group called Rise Up, led by David A. Clark Jr., a former Milwaukee County sheriff known for spreading conspiracy theories and wearing audacious cowboy hats, has put months of public pressure on Republican lawmakers. Has been applied. Arizona-style review of the state’s 2020 results.
But on Friday morning, hours after the Arizona report’s news circulated, the group sent a warning to supporters: “Arizona is either going to support our efforts in Wisconsin,” she wrote, “or it’s going to make us a dog.” Our tail between our legs and run for the hills!”