Rand Paul inadvertently tells the truth about Republican voter fraud allegations
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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, one of the Republican Party’s strongest supporters of the lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump, continued to broadcast such claims this week – and in the process delivered one of the most honest statements about voter fraud and stolen elections that any Republican lawmaker has made this year.
“How to steal an election,” Paul tweeted Monday night, before quoting a blog post from The American Conservative. “Seed an area rich in potential Democratic votes with as many mail-in ballots as possible, target and convince potential voters to fill them out in a legally valid way, then harvest and count the results.” “
The attached article, which allegedly described the efforts of Democrats and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to “steal” Wisconsin on behalf of President Joe Biden last year, provided no evidence of nefarious behavior: instead, he documented efforts to “encourage and increase absentee voting” and “dramatically expand strategic voter education and outreach efforts, particularly among historically disenfranchised residents.” “
As Paul’s tweet helpfully noted, all of these efforts were perfectly legitimate: the phrase “legally valid” figures prominently in the sentence he chose to extract. Wisconsin’s routine election audits, meanwhile, produced no evidence of fraud or irregularities in last year’s contest.
But proof of fraud is not the purpose of this or any other claim Paul, Trump, and various Republicans have made over the past year – or, really, the past decade. As Paul’s tweet made it clearer than Republicans generally do, their allegations of voter fraud, stolen elections, and “election integrity” are just euphemisms for the GOP’s real belief that ” people voting for Democrats ”are enough to make an election entirely illegitimate. A Democratic victory is, by definition, the result of theft.
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This is the core belief of the modern Republican Party, which responded to the 2020 election by spreading lies about voter fraud, trying to reverse Trump’s loss, and instigating a tumultuous insurgency on the United States Capitol, all of it. because Trump lost what many Republicans, Democrats, and independent election observers have repeatedly called the safest, most secure, and verified election in American history. When this did not achieve the desired result, they institutionalized the insurgency’s goals, passing more than 30 new laws to restrict voting rights and asserting new levels of partisan control over local and state electoral systems. before the next presidential election.
These efforts have all primarily targeted voters who tend to favor Democrats – blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, students, people with disabilities, and anyone living in cities or other localities who generally vote blue. And they’re all obviously rooted in Republican anger that too many voters voted Democrats, and not that anyone could have voted illegally.
In Georgia, Republicans have added stricter voter identification requirements to mail ballots, tightening access to a mail-in voting program that the GOP created more than a decade ago in a way which they never deemed necessary until Biden became the first Democrat to win the state since 1980. In Arizona, the GOP-controlled legislature made similar changes to postal voting laws as they were originally enacted after Biden won the Democrats’ first presidential victory in more than two decades. In Texas – where it is already more difficult to vote than in most other states – they have banned drive-thru voting and imposed other new voting restrictions in a bid to avoid possible Democratic victories in the near future. .
Republicans and their Tory allies have also targeted election officials and offices in key states, purging or stripping power from those who made voting too easy or refused to follow Trump’s campaign bet, as part of the process. of a broader effort to bend the 2024 elections to their liking or try to reverse the result if they need to. In Wisconsin, the subject of Paul’s tweet, Republicans have sought to undermine the electoral system they just reformed less than a decade ago and are attempting to forcibly replace the state’s top election official.
None of this will prevent the kind of infamous behavior that their countless statements of “voter fraud” are supposed to evoke, both because such behavior is exceptionally rare in American politics and because actual voter fraud does not. has never been the butt of their wrath. But neither insisting with Republicans, nor with conservative voters who believe their claims, that voter fraud actually happens will succeed in thwarting the GOP’s attempts to suppress votes and overthrow American democracy.
It’s painfully obvious what Republicans are trying to do, and why. Paul was simply, perhaps inadvertently, outspoken about this: For the modern GOP and a growing portion of its Conservative base, there is no “legally valid” vote for a Democrat, and no legitimate election if a Democrat wins.
This article originally appeared on The HuffPost and has been updated.
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