Trump supporters across the country are running for — and in some cases winning — key elections oversight posts, from local judge to secretary of state, in what one Democrat called "the most important issue of our time."
The New York Times pointed in a report Saturday to the case of Stephen Lindemuth, who attended former president Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6 before announcing his candidacy for judge of elections, which administers polling, in Mount Joy Township, Pennsylvania.
"Mr. Lindemuth’s victory in November in this conservative rural community is a milestone of sorts in American politics: the arrival of the first class of political activists who, galvanized by Donald J. Trump’s false claim of a stolen election in 2020, have begun seeking offices supervising the election systems that they believe robbed Mr. Trump of a second term," the NYT reports. "This belief has informed a wave of mobilization at both grass-roots and elite levels in the party with an eye to future elections. In races for state and county-level offices with direct oversight of elections, Republican candidates coming out of the Stop the Steal movement are running competitive campaigns, in which they enjoy a first-mover advantage in electoral contests that few partisans from either party thought much about before last November."
Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic secretary of state of Michigan who may face a Trump-backed GOP challenger in 2022, told the newspaper: “This is a five-alarm fire. If people in general, leaders and citizens, aren’t taking this as the most important issue of our time and acting accordingly, then we may not be able to ensure democracy prevails again in ’24.”
The Times reports that efforts by Trump and his supporters to overturn the 2020 election "have evolved rapidly into an effort that looks forward, not backward: recruiting like-minded candidates for public offices large and small, and proposing and, in some cases, passing laws intended to give partisan actors more direct control over election systems."
And Democrats don't appear to be taking the issue seriously enough. "Where Mr. Trump’s partisans see the issue of election system control as a matter of life and death, polling suggests Democratic voters broadly do not," the newspaper reports.
“I am frustrated that at this point, after everything we endured last year and after we all witnessed what happened on Jan. 6, there isn’t more of a sense of urgency,” Benson said. “We all have to band together and say, ‘Never again’ — as opposed to saying, ‘Well, maybe it will happen again, and maybe we’ll be ready.’”