Six months after the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump and many of his supporters continue to push the debunked conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from him when in fact, President Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes and defeated Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote. Veteran conservative columnist/author Mona Charen, a Never Trumper who worked in the Reagan White House during the 1980s and endorsed Biden in 2020, warns that trying to steal elections is a reality in the 2020s — although it's Republicans, not Democrats, who are doing it. And Charen, in an article published by The Bulwark on May 11, expresses fear that Republicans may try to steal the 2024 presidential election if they don't like the outcome.
Charen explains, "The great cause that Republicans are uniting around is 'election integrity.' That's rich. The reality is that somebody did attempt to steal the 2020 election: Donald Trump. During the days and weeks following his loss, he brayed endlessly that the outcome was fraudulent, laying the groundwork for an attempt to overturn the voters' will. From the White House, he made multiple calls to local election officials demanding that they find votes for him. He dialed up members of local canvassing boards, encouraging them to decertify results."
Moreover, Charen writes, "Trump entertained ideas such as declaring martial law, seizing the nation's voting machines, and letting the military 'rerun' the election. He turned loose his Kraken-conspiracy nuts and his pillow man to spread lies about Dominion Voting Systems, Black-run cities like Philadelphia, and Chinese bamboo ballots."
The "conspiracy nuts" that Charen is referring to are attorney Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, both of whom are being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for falsely claiming that the company used its software to switch millions of votes from Trump to Biden.
The voter fraud claims made by Powell, Lindell and other Trump supporters after the 2020 election are both ludicrous and illogical. If Democrats really had the ability to commit widespread voter fraud on the scale that Powell and Lindell claimed, why did Biden lose Florida, Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina — all of which he was hoping to win? And why did Democrats suffer so many disappointments in down-ballot races in 2020? The Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives shrunk in 2020, and the GOP senators who were reelected included Maine's Susan Collins, Iowa's Joni Ernst, South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and North Carolina's Thom Tillis — much to the disappointment of the Democratic National Committee.
Regardless, the Big Lie continues. And arch-conservative Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is likely to be removed from her position as House Republican Conference chair for refusing to go along with it and acknowledging that Biden won the 2020 election fair and square. The congresswoman that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise have in mind is Rep. Elise Stefanik of upstate New York, who was a more traditional conservative in the past but has since turned into a far-right Trumpista.
Stefanik's "claim to leadership," Charen points out, "consists entirely of her operatic Trump followership."
"Let's be clear: The substitution of Stefanik for Cheney is a tocsin, signaling that the Republican Party will no longer be bound by law or custom," Charen writes. "In 2020, many Republican officeholders, including the otherwise invertebrate (Mike) Pence, held the line. They did not submit false slates of electors. They did not decertify votes. They did not 'find' phantom fraud. But the party has been schooled since then. It has learned that the base — which is deluded by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin — believes the lies and demands that Republicans fight. As my colleague Amanda Carpenter put it, the 2024 mantra is going to be 'steal it back.'"
Charen concludes her piece on a sobering note, warning that in 2024's presidential election, Republicans may not accept the Electoral College results if they don't like them.
"If Cheney must be axed because she will not lie, then what will happen if Republicans take control of Congress in 2022 and are called upon to certify the Electoral College in 2024?," Charen emphasizes. "How many (Brad) Raffenspergers will there be? How many will insist, as Pence did, that they must do what the Constitution demands? How many will preserve any semblance of the rule of law and the primacy of truth? With this sabotage of Cheney, House Republicans are figuratively joining the January 6 mob."