Throughout the 2022 election cycle, Kari Lake and some others like her have insisted that they were going to win no matter what – and they made it very clear that if they did lose, they’d just claim it was rigged and then try to create as many problems as possible.
Their goal with these threats, of course, was to get us to cower to them. If they could convince us that they were going to make our lives a nightmare whether they won or lost, perhaps we’d just give up and let them win, instead of bothering to put in the work to try to defeat them.
After all, when Trump lost in 2020, he claimed that election was “rigged” in a way that incited violence, smashed up the Capitol, and nearly got elected officials murdered. Whenever a 2022 Republican candidate preemptively insisted the election was being rigged against them, this is the kind of dread they were trying to invoke.
But let’s be real here. Trump was only able to convince his goons to invade the Capitol in coordinated fashion because they knew he controlled federal law enforcement at that point, and he could open a clear path for them and give them an advantage. But right wingers are cowards when the deck isn’t stacked in their favor. So while isolated acts of violence are always possible, someone like Kari Lake was never going to be able to convince an organized mob of people to take over the Arizona state government and somehow magically install her as Governor if she lost. Even Trump wasn’t close to being able to pull that kind of thing off, and he had federal law enforcement and the military under his control.
So here’s the funny thing. While we may have spent far too much of 2021 and early 2022 sitting around openly cowering over Donald Trump’s threat to… whatever it is he was threatening to do to us, we managed to sober up once we realized the midterms were too important for that. We focused in, we put in the work, we got out the vote, and we ended up defeating every election denier who was running for Governor or Secretary of State.
And you know what? Not one of them has been able to do a thing about it. Why? Because they lost. Once they realized that they can’t scare us into paralyzed fear just by claiming it was rigged, there was no further point. And considering that 2020 election deniers fared far worse in 2022 than any other type of candidate, most of them realized they had no political future at all if they yelled “it was rigged” after losing their 2022 races.
Then there’s Kari Lake, whose foray into politics was always a swiftly ticking time bomb. Now that she’s lost, she probably knows she has no political future anyway, and her “it was rigged” performance art is more about setting up her book deal or right wing hosting gig or whatever consolation prize she’s forced to settle for.
The bottom line is that we now know better than to cower to right wing candidates just because they threaten to yell “it was rigged” if they lose. If that’s how they want to play it, it’ll only hurt them going forward, not us. All we had to do was stop cowering, and instead start laughing loudly in the faces of the people who threatened to yell “it was rigged,” and it took away any leverage they had over us. Let’s keep that in mind for next time.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report