Republicans in at least nine counties that former president Donald Trump won by more than 24 points are calling for Arizona-style audits of 2020 election results despite no evidence of widespread fraud, NBC News reported Monday.
"The trend is symptomatic of the increasingly entrenched idea among the Trump base that elections are rigged and not to be trusted — a lie Trump continues to vigorously promote and which has become a litmus test for GOP officials at all levels of government," the network reported. "A recent CNN poll found that nearly 6-in-10 Republicans say believing this false claim is important to their partisan identity."
Jena Griswold, a Democrat who serves as Colorado's secretary of state, told NBC News that the spread of "unorthodox" investigations of 2020 election results "demonstrates that the Big Lie is getting bigger."
"The threat to democracy is increasing,'" Griswold said.
Pointing to false GOP claims of election fraud in the run-up to last week's recall election in California, Politico reported that "the big lie has metastasized" and is likely to be a factor in 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential race.
Benjamin Ginsberg, an elections lawyer who has represented past Republican presidential nominees, told Politico: "The fever has not broken. If anything, it's spreading."
Trevor Potter, a former chair of the Federal Election Commission who served as general counsel to Republican John McCain's two presidential campaigns, called it "a simply terrible development for our democracy."
However, others predicted the trend will ultimately backfire for the GOP. Last year, after Trump's false claims of election fraud depressed Republican turnout in Georgia, Republicans lost two seats and handed Democrats the Senate majority.
"You pick a state, you pick an election, you pick a national election, and if we try the same approach, we will come in the same second place that we just did," said Georgia's Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Trump critic. "And that's code language for 'lost.'"