It is hard to believe that the 2020 election lie still gets traction with some Republicans. The Trump faction of the party wants to call the others RINOs, so it is only fitting that we come up with a name for them. Suggestions are welcome. The puzzling thing about the big lie is that so many choose to believe it. According to Chris Cillizza of CNN, 6 in 10 Republicans said that “believing” that the election was “stolen” from Donald Trump is “important.” This is not “important;” they want to believe it. Part of that desire is the ability to explain why they lose elections. Washington Post reported that even before he lost the race to Gavin Newsom, a website affiliated with Larry Elder’s campaign called Stop the Fraud asked visitors to “sign a petition to stop the fraud of the California recall election.” Before that and long before the election, the site was claiming “voter fraud” if Newsom was reinstated. Now, these people are either psychic or they are full of shit. The choice is a no-brainer.
There is, of course, no evidence of fraud in Newsom’s reelection, just as there was none in Biden’s victory over Trump. Republicans love this lie, and they have repeated it enough that people believe it—at least the people who want to believe it. Larry Elder perpetrated this lie to his advantage, but in the end, he told his supporters to “be gracious in defeat.” What an ironic statement to make by one who was willing to claim fraud even before he lost. This just goes to show that even those perpetrating the lie do not believe it themselves. It is merely another way to manipulate the gullible, hoping their manipulation will continue to serve them. New York Times has a different take on this behavior.
NYT believes that Newsom’s victory signals bad news for Republicans in 2022 because Newsom knew how to play the game. He colored the recall as a “Republican ploy,” painting Elder as Trump in the process. That was seemingly enough to get Democrats out to support their governor and denounce the politics of Trump. President Biden assisted in the effort by stumping for Newsom, telling the crowd: “You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor or you’ll get Donald Trump,” which is close to the truth. If you elect a Retrumplican—as Chris Cuomo calls them—you might as well have Trump. This could well be a valuable rally cry to carry into the 2022 Midterms, especially in traditionally blue states, like California where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 5+ million.
Elder was painted as an extremist—and he is—and if the Republicans are smart, they will put forth candidates who are less extreme. They are not smart, and they will not. Because of that, the Democrats will continue to hammer home the point given by President Biden: Either keep [insert name] or you’ll get Donald Trump. The messaging cannot be more clear or effective. Let them keep relying on the lie, and we can rely on people who are done with this nonsense.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years