Thursday, May 12, 2022


All over the country, Republicans who are running for office are proclaiming that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election. Many of these candidates will win their elections easily this November. But are we ready for what happens if some of them don't?

There are reports that the Pennsylvania Republican Party is panicking at the prospect that Doug Mastriano will win the gubernatorial nomination in next Tuesday's primary. He has a double-digit lead in the most recent Fox News poll of the state. His doubts about the 2020 results are central to his gubernatorial campaign.
Mastriano’s rise began after he worked to audit and reverse Biden’s 2020 victory in the state....

It wasn’t long after Biden's victory that Mastriano was at the forefront of the election denial movement — spearheading a hearing in Pennsylvania where Ellis and Rudy Giuliani presented false claims of electoral fraud, pushing for the Legislature to appoint a slate of alternate electors and meeting with Trump at the White House as he plotted to overturn his defeat.

Mastriano was outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to protest Biden’s victory — he has said he left before the riot — and his campaign paid to bus people to Washington for the rally that preceded the deadly riot. He was subpoenaed by the House Jan. 6 committee this year over his efforts tied to the alternate electors.
Mastriano is a Christian nationalist and a vaccine skeptic. GOP insiders think he's a weak candidate who could lose a winnable race.

In the race for the GOP Senate nomination in Pennsylvania, another extremist zealot -- also an election truther -- might be poised for an upset win, and again, party regulars are panicking.
Influential Republicans in Washington and among the nationwide party elite are having a belated "oh s--t" moment over the previously unimaginable prospect that Kathy Barnette could win their party's nomination for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania....

Trump ally Steve Bannon described Barnette as an "audience favorite" for his "War Room" podcast....

He's praised her for having never stopped talking about decertifying the 2020 Biden election and for refusing to concede her own loss in a 2020 House race.
(Barnette refused to concede even though she lost that race by 19 points.)
Barnette's also close to the pillow entrepreneur and "Stop the Steal" leader Mike Lindell. And she's effectively running on a ticket with the leading Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate, state Sen. Doug Mastriano.

She's surged in the polls from mid-single digits as recently as April to around 20% now.
She's only 2 points behind front-runner Mehmet Oz in the latest Fox poll.

Barnette has a social media history that could cause her problems in a general election.

She has also written that "the homosexual movement" seeks "domination" over the culture.

So if she wins the nomination, maybe she'll have a harder time winning the votes of center-right upscale suburbanites than Oz or David McCormick would.

So what happens if one or both of these passionate election truthers loses by a few points in November? What happens if election truthers lose in other purple states -- Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin? An NBC story about Mastriano focuses on his possible role in the 2024 election if he's elected ("Should Mastriano win in the fall, he would have broad authority in overseeing elections by appointing a secretary of state") -- but what happens this year if he isn't elected, or if Barnette is the nominee and she isn't? Do you think the right will quietly accept any losses outside deep-blue states?

All the states I've named have Republican-dominated legislatures. I think there'll be demands for legislative intervention in any purple state where Democrats manage a statewide victory. There could be deomnstrations and violence. We could be looking at January 6-style insurrections all over the country, if the expected GOP wave doesn't happen.

When the media talks about threats to democracy, it focuses only on presidential elections. But democracy happens in the states, too. And that's where it might break down this year.

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