Election Denialism did Poorly at the Polls
The "America First" slate of candidates lost all but one contest.
To me, one of the most concerning elements of the 2022 mid-terms was the prospect that candidates whose platforms were built on denying the 2020 election would be elected to Secretary of State and Governor’s offices. This possibility, especially in swing states, was far more concerning to me than the issue of which party controlled the Congress. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the real potential for a major political crisis was the pivot point of individual officials subverting popular vote outcomes in key states during the 2024 presidential elections. While there are any number of major concerns to be identified in our politics, the notion that we could realistically see a single official attempt to steer a state’s electoral votes in a particular direction was (and is) profoundly concerning.
The good news is that the NYT reports: Voters Reject Election Deniers Running to Take Over Elections
Every election denier who sought to become the top election official in a critical battleground state lost at the polls this year, as voters roundly rejected extreme partisans who promised to restrict voting and overhaul the electoral process.
The national repudiation of this coalition reached its apex on Saturday, when Cisco Aguilar, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state in Nevada, defeated Jim Marchant, according to The Associated Press. Mr. Marchant, the Republican nominee, had helped organize a national right-wing slate of candidates under the name “America First.”
With Mr. Marchant’s loss to Mr. Aguilar, all but one of those “America First” candidates were defeated. Only Diego Morales, a Republican in deep-red Indiana, was successful, while candidates in Michigan, Arizona and New Mexico were defeated.
The bullet dodged here is major, in my view. The potential for a major political crisis over the issue of electors should not be underestimated.
It is worth noting that gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is also part of the America First SOS slate and while she currently trails in Arizona, it is not guaranteed that she will lose (although it does seem more likely than not).
Since losing is usually a signal to a political party that it needs to reform its behavior, I can only hope that the GOP gets the message. But, of course, as I frequently note, there isn’t a singular “GOP” to get said message, since control of the party label is decentralized and is a function of the primary system, from the highest offices in the land to the lowest.
I would note, too, that while these candidates were overt in their election denialism, they were hardly the only candidates/politicians adding fuel to the Big Lie fire. Just off the top of my head the Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, made a statement about the election being stolen in one of her campaign commercials. She is hardly the only one. The America First SOS types may be the obvious tumors on the GOP, but the cancer of election denialism has spread throughout the body. Maybe the 2022 results will lead to further excising of that cancer, but it is unlikely that we are done with it (cue 45’s pending announcement and how it is dealt with by his co-partisans, for example).