Even The New York Times can’t both-sides this one. The newspaper asked Republican and Democratic campaigns in 20 Senate and gubernatorial races whether they would accept the results of the 2022 elections even if they lost. Six of the Republicans, all of them backed by Donald Trump, directly refused to commit to that, while another six Republicans “ignored or declined to answer” the question. Because Donald Trump has made not just being a whiny pathetic sore loser but actively trying to harm democracy into a core part of Republican identity.
All of the Republicans who refused to say they would accept the election results already had a history of undermining confidence in elections, from promoting Trump’s Big Lie about 2020 to preemptively raising questions about 2022 elections, whether primary or general.
Republican Senate nominees who refused to say they’d respect the will of the voters: North Carolina’s Ted Budd, currently a member of the House; Arizona’s Blake Masters; Alaska’s Kelly Tshibaka, who is challenging Republican incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski; and Ohio’s J.D. Vance. Republican gubernatorial nominees who likewise are ready to reject the will of the voters: Michigan’s Tudor Dixon and Geoff Diehl of Massachusetts, the latter being absolutely hilarious given how badly he’s trailing in polls.
No surprise: Every single Democrat said yes.
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A Budd spokesman suggested that Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley might try to disenfranchise voters, the Times reported. It’s not clear how a former state Supreme Court justice would do that.
A Dixon spokeswoman at least tried to foment suspicion of the state’s election administration by making baseless accusations against a current official with authority over elections, saying “there’s no reason to believe” that Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic secretary of state, and other Democratic elections officials “are very serious about secure elections.” Dixon has been laying the groundwork on this point for months, suggesting in a June debate that Benson would not run a fair election.
In Arizona, Masters likewise started laying the groundwork early. “There’s always cheating, probably, in every election,” he said in July. “The question is, what’s the cheating capacity?” The implication: Arizona’s “cheating capacity” would be enough to tip the election to incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly (who leads in recent polls). When the Times contacted his campaign, a spokeswoman responded with “an August article in The Arizona Republic in which Mr. Masters said there was ‘evidence of incompetence’ but not of fraud in the state’s primary election,” and otherwise refused to answer.
A Vance spokeswoman responded to the Times’ inquiry by talking about the primary election and Vance’s endorsement by Ohio’s secretary of state, but wouldn’t promise he would accept the general election results.
Tshibaka’s spokesman said no, she wouldn’t commit to accepting the election results, and insisted the state’s new ranked choice voting system “was installed to protect Lisa Murkowski.” The latter claim has a certain amount of merit, but ranked choice voting also better reflects the will of the voters.
Additionally, “Aides to several Republican nominees for governor who have questioned the 2020 election’s legitimacy did not respond to repeated requests for comment on their own races in November. Those candidates included Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania, Kari Lake of Arizona, Tim Michels of Wisconsin and Dan Cox of Maryland.”
At a certain point, though, the details are unimportant. The specific excuses they make? Irrelevant compared with the basic refusal to accept the will of the voters and the insistence on supporting and promoting Trump’s lies at the expense of democracy.
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