Not Both Sides

One of these things is not like the other.

Somewhat to the point of my previous post about what serious election denialism looks like, let me note the following from Tom Nichols on an alternative future that we have avoided (for now, at least):

If you want a vision of what such a nightmare might look like, imagine a close election in 2024. Battleground states are counting ballots with armed people swarming around election sites and state offices. Arizona Governor Kari Lake, Pennsylvania Governor Doug Mastriano, and Wisconsin Governor Tim Michels are all frantically calling and texting one another on Election Night, and ordering their state institutions to hold off on finalizing the results. Meanwhile, Arizona Secretary of State Mark Finchem (a former member of the Oath Keepers) reaches out to his like-minded counterparts—Jim Marchant in Nevada, Kristina Karamo in Michigan—to ensure that none of them will certify Democratic wins, perhaps in hopes of flipping the decision to their legislatures or sympathetic judges. If Karamo misses the call, it’s because she’s busy strategizing with Michigan’s new Republican governor, Tudor Dixon, a conspiracy-theory-spouting flake who thinks that COVID restrictions and the George Floyd protests were an attempt to topple the U.S. government.

All of the above were people on the ballot earlier this month (i.e, the nominees of one of our two major parties) and won substantial numbers of votes. These are all people who claimed (and continue to claim) without any evidence whatsoever that the 2020 elections were stolen and, therefore, they promised to make sure that the same did not happen in 2024. Let’s stress that what happened in 2020 was a legitimate, clean election something that was proved in the courts, repeatedly, and that many Republican office-holders, notably in Arizona and Georgia (as well as elsewhere) attested to. So when someone like Kari Lake (who almost won) promises that 2024 won’t be like 2020 she is asserting the right to ignore a legitimate voter tally in lieu of her own preferences. It doesn’t get any more authoritarian than that.

This is not the same things as Hakeem Jeffries decrying Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Indeed, it is something that simply does not have an analog on the Democratic side. There is nothing to “both sides” here.

Can you find someone, somewhere in the Democratic Party (or who claims some affiliation therewith) saying crazy things? No doubt. But, none of them were major candidates for major offices. There is no organized factor of the Democratic Party actively campaigning on election subversion. This kind of an important difference, yes?

Moreover, while some want to say that our problems are both the extreme left and the extreme right, I will note that AOC (or whomever it is that represents the “extreme left”) isn’t preaching overturning elections. Moreover, the “extreme left” doesn’t control the Democratic Party the way the extreme right does the GOP.

Note: Kevin McCarthy is about to be Speaker because he kowtowed to Trump and he is about to have to placate people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert in the process.

FILED UNDER: 2022 Election, Democracy, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Modulo Myself says:

    There is just a payoff in sucking at what you do. The media is littered with insanely dumb takes on Taylor Swift, Elon Musk, trans people, and also politics. The audience for both sides narratives is conceptually the same as an adult Taylor Swift who needs to read about how Coleridge was an inspiration for her new album.

  2. reid says:

    Let’s not forget the Senate’s *own bipartisan report* detailing the Russian interference, described here:

  3. Michael Cain says:

    How soon do you think McCarthy will grab the big ring? In the majority vote he didn’t get nearly enough votes to win the Speaker’s race.

  4. Tony W says:

    @reid: The information in that report combined with the stolen documents at Mar-a-Lago, meetings with Russian spies in the Oval Office, Trump’s secret meeting with Putin in which the translator’s notes were destroyed, and the whole Ukraine debacle that led to his first impeachment – all add up to a very unsavory story that needs to be dumbed down and told to the electorate somehow before 2024.

  5. mattbernius says:


    Let’s not forget the Senate’s *own bipartisan report* detailing the Russian interference

    Or for that matter the Mueller report.