Republicans must confront the “elephant in the room” — former President Trump’s persistent claims that the 2020 election was stolen. Many Republicans believe him. Most Americans do not.
By 2-to-1, independents voters believe the 2020 election was legitimate. Yet they are rapidly souring on President Joe Biden due to soaring energy costs, empty store shelves, under-staffed businesses, rising consumer prices, the border crisis, our Afghanistan humiliation, growing threats from China, and the realization that Biden cannot be trusted.
Those are the important issues Republicans must address, contrary to former President Trump’s edict that the most important issue is “solving” the “Election Fraud of 2020” or else Republicans won’t vote in 2022 and 2024. His is a narcissistic prescription for political surrender.
Upon hearing Trump’s edict, Democrats laughed and cheered! They know the one thing that can rescue them from the growing anti-Biden backlash is Republicans foolishly refusing to vote.
All election complaints are not created equal, so let’s consider complaints about 2020 on their own merits: Many states used COVID-19 as an excuse to loosen voting procedures in 2020 and did so without approval by their state legislatures as required by the U.S. Constitution. It’s frustrating that the Supreme Court did not rule on these dubious changes before the election. Worse still, the court refused to hear a post-election challenge in Pennsylvania that wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the election but could have drawn a bright line against future changes by officials who lack authority.
Under our constitution, establishing voting procedures is the responsibility of state lawmakers. In contentious states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, neither party can change the law without cooperation from the other. Republicans don’t have the power to “solve” these problems alone, so when Trump threatens them with electoral suicide, Democrats are all too happy to do nothing and watch it happen.
Next, both social media and legacy media colluded prior to the election to censor factual stories that could have damaged Biden. Big tech censorship is a big problem, but it won’t be resolved while Democrats control Congress because they know this censorship favors their party. If Republicans stay home next November or in 2024, how does that help?
Finally, what about Trump’s claims that voter fraud cost him the election?
Most everyone near Trump in November 2020 told him there was no verifiable evidence that the election was stolen. His own campaign lawyers discredited claims that Dominion used Smartmatic technology to change votes and blew up Rudy Giuliani’s bizarre assertion that are counted in Spain.
Trump’s hand-picked White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, told him it was wrong to pressure the Justice Department to pursue unprovable claims of voter fraud. Attorney General William Barr, whom Trump appointed, told him that DOJ had found no evidence that voter fraud changed the outcome of the election and that wild claims by Sidney Powell and others were “bulls---.” If there was documented election fraud, even in one key state, one of these hand-picked Trump lawyers would have pursued it.
The recent recount by pro-Trump forces in Maricopa County, Ariz., actually gave Biden a larger margin of victory and disproved several other dubious claims. Likewise, a hand recount in Georgia produced a result that mirrored original county-level tallies, except in one county where an election clerk was fired after discovery of 2,600 uncounted ballots.
In Colorado, former Secretary of State Wayne Williams has persuasively testified to the security of our election system. Our voter tabulation systems are required to be completely isolated from unsecured networks including the internet. Dominion voting systems, used in 62 Colorado counties, are tested before and after each election and have passed, literally, 100% of 868 accuracy tests. Trump’s own Homeland Security Secretary “cited Colorado’s election processes as the best in the nation.”
It’s high time for Republicans to face the facts about the 2020 election and direct their fighting spirit toward solutions for America’s future. Most Americans have tuned out Trump’s face-saving claims that the 2020 election was stolen because it obviously was not. They want leaders who present a positive vision for our future – not ones obsessed with recriminations about the past.
Mark Hillman served as Senate Majority Leader and State Treasurer. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.