Attempts by former President Donald Trump and his supporters to void the 2020 election are likely just the start of unprecedented attacks on democracy in Michigan unless Republicans are held accountable.
That’s according to a national elections expert, state legislator and former Michigan GOP leader.
“When you have a president who is looking to stay in power despite losing an election, that’s an attempt to install a dictatorship,” Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, said at a conference. press Thursday. “That’s what was happening here, and the threats continue.”
Many Republicans running in local, state and federal elections in Michigan this year continue to peddle conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud. The danger is that Republicans losing in this year’s election will falsely claim they were victims of voter fraud, rather than concede, a centuries-old tradition in any democracy.
Jeff Timmer, who served as Michigan’s Republican Party executive director from 2005 to 2009, said he never imagined his former colleagues would ignore election results at the risk of undermining democracy.
When he was the party’s executive director, he said, “it never occurred to anyone to deny the reality of what happened in a campaign by refusing to accept the results”.
“Democracy only works if everyone who participates in it believes in it,” he added.
Fear that Republicans will continue to undermine future elections inspired state Rep. Joe Tate, D-Detroit, to introduce a bill last week that urges the Justice Department to investigate fellow Republicans for having tried to cancel the 2020 presidential election “for the crime”. seditious conspiracy.
Last year, 11 Republican lawmakers violated federal law by conspiring to overthrow the government and delay law enforcement, he said. Five of the lawmakers attempted to enter the state capitol building so that a group of Republicans could fraudulently vote in their electoral college for then-President Donald Trump.
In December 2020, the 11 Republican lawmakers signed a baseless lawsuit filed by Texas that sought to challenge election results in several states, including Michigan, even though they knew Biden had won the election, argued Tate.
“My 11 fellow Republicans in the House have committed crimes,” Tate said. “It’s plain and simple. Some of them (conspired to overthrow the election) in our own State Capitol in broad daylight, in full view of the media and the world. In those moments, they brazenly betrayed their oath to serve the public. Each of these legislators knew what they were doing. They knew they were working to nullify a free and fair election to keep their corrupt former president in power.”
He continued, “Defending the votes and rights of Michiganders means suing these 11 representatives.”
The five GOP gubernatorial candidates, along with Republican Attorney General nominee Matt DePerno and Secretary of State nominee Kristina Karamo, have all alleged widespread voter fraud.
“All five (gubernatorial) candidates signed publicly, emphasized in their debates and public appearances, this notion that there was rampant voter fraud, that the election was stolen and that we need to take all these drastic measures to prevent this election fraud in the future,” Timmer said. “It’s all centered around lies and illusions. That’s what drives Republican candidates.
Trump and his supporters convinced Republican voters the election was stolen by Democrats, undermining people’s faith in democracy, Timmer said.
“If you take the opposite position, you’re really a non-runner as a candidate,” Timmer said. “You have no traction. No Republican Party voter will apparently pay attention to you. You have no chance of winning an election unless you are a supporter of the Big Lie. The abnormal has become the normal.
Because of the damage done to democracy, doing nothing is not an option, Tate said.
“For us not to look at this, it reduces faith and trust in our electoral system and our democratic institutions,” Tate said.
Joe Biden beat Trump in 2020 by 154,000 votes in Michigan.
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