What Donald Trump says is bad enough: for 13 months, the biggest loser in history has been repeating his lie that he had his reelection stolen and undermining the confidence of millions of Americans in their democracy, including three in four Republicans who buy its poison.
What Trump and his allies are Make, however, is perhaps worse: they are working to rig the next presidential election for him.
This activity, while mostly open, has been little noticed because to see the full picture requires connecting dots in swing states nationwide, with each dot representing interventions by Trump or his minions to affect some of the the country’s most obscure public functions, such as county voting. -the canvassing commissions and the precinct judges.
As Trump learned in 2020, all elections – whether for the CEO or the president – are run by local and state officials, each guided by separate laws and regulations and at their own discretion. In 2020, some Republican officials involved in the electoral process resisted overt pressure from Trump to “find” votes for him or to cancel some of those for Joe Biden, despite continuing death threats.
Clearly, Trump wants to prevent such heroic pro-democracy acts from happening again if – when – he does show up in 2024.
Jackie Calmes brings a critical look to the national political scene. She has decades of experience covering the White House and Congress.
He therefore now pays close attention to local and national races for positions that affect elections – and regularly issues approvals for candidates for the positions of Local Election Administrator, State Representative, Secretary of State and state attorney general. He seems to have a standard – for the Republican endorser to echo his big lie – and he’s especially determined to get revenge on those who challenged him in 2020, like Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
âWe have people who don’t really believe in our elections to get control over them,â Joanna Lydgate told me. Lydgate is the co-founder and leader of a non-partisan group, the States United Democracy Center, which works with state and local officials to ensure fair elections and monitor threats. She said the actions – along with new vote suppression laws in some states – could amount to “election hijacking.”
Consider Michigan. His 16 electoral votes went to Biden. A report from the Republican-controlled state Senate found no widespread fraud. Yet Trump continues to claim otherwise. Now he’s trying to change the makeup of the bipartisan county canvassing boards, which certify the votes for each county. He is also seeking to elect more Trumpers to the state legislature, hoping to line up lawmakers willing to oppose election results he sees as fraudulent.
After the 2020 election, Trump contacted the two members of the Republican canvassing council in Wayne County, Michigan’s largest and the heavily Democratic Detroit seat, after voting to certify the county’s vote for Biden. They subsequently attempted to overturn their votes, but the previous certification vote was maintained.
One of those GOP canvassers was recently replaced by a pro-Trump Republican who had been nominated by the local party. He said he would not have voted to certify the results of Biden County, which won Michigan by more than 154,000 votes and had a margin in Wayne County of nearly 333,000.
According to the Detroit News, local parties have chosen new Republicans for canvassing commissions in eight of Michigan’s 11 largest counties. In several counties, they ignored Republican incumbents who wanted to be reappointed – a highly unusual move for what have always been low-key, mostly cabinet jobs. A Genessee County incumbent said she believed she was ousted for defending the 2020 results. A new Republican appointed in Macomb County, the state’s third largest, tweeted last year that Trump should suspend the electoral college and order military courts to investigate fraud.
For the Michigan Secretary of State, the election officer, Trump candidate Kristina Karamo became notorious last year for her false allegations of fraud. She went on to claim that the January 6 insurgency was the work of left-wing anarchists disguised as Trump supporters. “She’s strong on crime, including the massive crime of voter fraud,” Trump tweeted in his endorsement in September. Likewise, it produced approvals for the Michigan Legislature, about half a dozen in the past month. Typical was that of Republican Mick Bricker, who, Trump wrote, “knows there was systemic voter fraud in the 2020 election, and he is eager to expose it.”
Trump’s efforts to stack election administration jobs should be “a big flashing red warning sign,” Jeff Timmer, former Michigan Republican Party chairman, told the Washington Post. âCivil servants who fulfilled their legal obligation after the last election are now being replaced by people who pledge to put the brakes on the next election. “
Similar efforts by pro-Trump forces are underway in other swing states, including Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
âWe are taking back the Republican Party with the strategy of the precinct committee. We take charge of all elections, âTrump ally Stephen K. Bannon said in hisâ War Room âpodcast on Nov. 12, the same day he was charged with defying a subpoena from the commission. investigation into the January 6 uprising.
As Lydgate says, “Watch out, America”. Trump and his Republican facilitators are not only setting the rules of the game with new election laws in a number of states on the battlefield, they are also trying to change the actors in local election offices as well as the umpires in the legislatures of the States controlled by Republicans.
Trump may not win the presidency if he runs again, but one thing is certain: he will cause chaos and further threaten democracy in the process.