As the ongoing January 6 congressional hearings further confirm the threat posed by former President Donald Trump’s coup attempt last year, watchdog groups emphasized following Tuesday’s testimony that the GOP’s election subversion efforts across the United States are continuing—and intensifying—in the present.
“Long before January 6, attempts were underway to illegally steal our votes,” said Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen, referring to the Trump campaign’s coordinated push to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election—an effort that has been a central focus of the House select committee’s public hearings thus far.
“Long after January 6, the efforts to sabotage elections across the country are still underway,” Gilbert added. “State legislatures around the nation have introduced more than 200 bills in the past year to interfere with elections on a partisan basis, following Trump’s lead. Republicans are threatening election administrators who won’t go along with them and are running candidates for election administrative offices from secretaries of state to county clerks who still want to overturn the 2020 election.”
In an analysis released last month, the Brennan Center for Justice noted that Trump’s “Big Lie” of widespread voter fraud is animating Republican midterm campaigns for key posts across the country, including positions that will be tasked with overseeing the 2024 elections.
The Republican campaigns for critical posts, according to the Brennan Center, are being bankrolled by some of the same big-money donors whose cash helped fuel the January 6 attack.
“Look at Pennsylvania, where State Sen. Doug Mastriano, a leading proponent of the Big Lie that fraud decided the 2020 election, won the GOP primary for governor,” the group observed. “The Republican Party of Minnesota recently endorsed for governor Scott Jensen, who has called the election process ‘bastardized’ and implied that the Minnesota secretary of state could be jailed for it.”
“Michigan Republicans,” the analysis continued, “nominated for secretary of state Kristina Karamo, who claims there is a ‘massive coverup’ of 2020 election fraud. The list of election deniers running for office goes on and on.”
That long list includes businessman Jim Marchant, the GOP secretary of state nominee in Nevada who helped form the America First Secretary of State Coalition, a group of Trump loyalists vying to take charge of the election process in a number of battleground states.
The new coalition includes 14 Republican secretary of state contenders who have cast President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory as illegitimate.
“We’re in a really dangerous spot right now,” David Becker, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research, said last week. “The pieces of tinder being laid right in front of our eyes.”
Also last week, GOP officials in Otero County, New Mexico refused to certify the results of the state’s recent primary election, baselessly alleging that local voting machines aren’t trustworthy—a claim that Trump made repeatedly in 2020.
While a court order ultimately forced the Republican officials to certify the results, expert observers said the episode offers an alarming preview of what could be in store if Trump loyalists win crucial positions nationwide.
“We are in scary territory,” Jennifer Morrell, a former election official in Colorado and Utah, told the Associated Press. “It’s like a cancer, a virus. It’s metastasizing and growing.”
Just this past weekend, the Texas Republican Party adopted a platform that explicitly rejects Biden’s 2020 win and asserts he “was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”
In a statement Tuesday after the House January 6 committee’s latest hearing—which focused on Trump’s role in a fake electors scheme and his pressure campaign against state officials—Stand Up American founder Sean Eldridge warned that “MAGA Republicans are not giving up” despite the former president’s failure to overturn the 2020 results.
“They’re now trying to pack election administration offices—from secretary of state to county clerk—with election deniers whose loyalty rests with Trump instead of our democracy,” said Eldridge. “We must hold those involved in this criminal conspiracy accountable to make sure this never happens again.”
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