'There might be chaos': Conservative fears 'Stop the Steal 2022' if a 'massive red wave doesn't materialize'
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During his MSNBC appearances and in his column for The Bulwark, Never Trump conservative Charlie Sykes has had a lot of unfavorable things to say about the many far-right MAGA “election denialists” who are running in the 2022 midterms. And when Election Day, November 8 arrived, Sykes started out the day with a Bulwark column warning that “there might be chaos” after the election if the midterms don’t bring the “massive red wave” that Republicans and “election denialists” are hoping for.

“Really, no one knows what’s going to happen, so most of the punditry today will be like trying to ride a bicycle as s-l-o-w-l-y as possible without falling off,” the Wisconsin-based Sykes explains in his Election Day column. “We can look forward to hours of fact-free faux-certainty clashing with wish-casting, speculation, bursts of hysteria, endless repetition — and then, we’ll get the exit polls, which are almost certainly going to be b******t.”

Sykes goes on to say, however, that “election denialists” will be satisfied with nothing less than a total red wave in the midterms and will claim voter fraud if they don’t get their way.

“Remember, the election denialists have been warming up for two years — or more,” Sykes observes. “Republicans are expecting a massive ‘red wave,’ and if it doesn’t develop, expect ‘Stop the Steal Mid-term Edition.’”

The conservative journalist makes his point by quoting a Monday night, November 7 column by Politico’s Charlie Mahtesian, who fears that things could get “ugly” if MAGA Republicans are disappointed with the midterms results.

Mahtesian wrote, “All the elements of a perfect storm are present: a rise in threats against election administrators and poll workers, outdated and overstrained election infrastructure, a brain drain of officials experienced with the complexities of administering elections, external cyber threats, and an abundance of close races that could extend long past Election Day as mail-in and provisional ballots are counted, recounted and litigated. Then, there are the hundreds of Republican candidates up and down the ballot with a record of denying or expressing doubts about the 2020 presidential results — a few were even present at the January 6 Capitol riot…. A blowout Republican victory might remove many of the most combustible elements. But short of a red wave Tuesday, we’re looking at an ugly finish.”

Sykes notes that early Tuesday night, November 8 could bring a “red mirage” in some key swing states — that is, Republicans may be ahead in the early vote count when votes are being counted in a state’s more GOP-leaning areas. That happened in Pennsylvania in 2020’s presidential race; Donald Trump was ahead in the early vote count, but the more votes came in from overwhelmingly Democratic Philadelphia, the more Joe Biden’s lead grew.

“Because some states — looking at you Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — intentionally delay the counting of mail-in votes, there may a ‘red mirage’ again, followed by a surge of late-breaking Democratic votes,” Sykes writes. “And you know what that means. There might be chaos.”