Apparently as long as mainstream and social media outlets promote their primary campaign triumphs, Republican candidates for elective office will continue to tout the “Big Lie” that former President Donald J. Trump won the 2020 presidential sweepstakes, not current President Joseph Biden.
Not only does media coverage of these Trump wannabes provide valuable — and free — face time for folks who, years ago, would have been considered fringe candidates, the reports also promote the falsehood that the 2020 elections were rife with fraud, resulting in votes being “stolen” by Democrats to get Biden into the White House.
Trump, who was impeached twice while in office and is now the target of federal and state criminal investigations, including the apparent mishandling (read stealing) of highly classified intelligence documents, has masterfully recreated the Republican Party in his image with a helping hand from many media outlets.
The news media’s continued fascination with this pied piper of political power, whose stated goal is the deconstruction of democracy here and around the world, is troubling all by itself. The continued prime time coverage of “Big Lie” believers — either due to the inability of reporters to recognize that they’re being used by Trump or due to pressure from the “suits” who sign their paychecks — breathes life into Trump’s fire of destruction.
So, in hopes of waking up not only mainstream news outlets but also all those citizen journalists on social media platforms who cover “Big Lie” GOP candidates’ campaigns this fall, here are the facts about the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.
First, let’s make it clear as loudly as possible: BIDEN BEAT TRUMP BY MORE THAN 7 MILLION POPULAR VOTES AND WON THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE TALLY 306 TO 232.
Full stop. No denying it. Congress verified the election results late on the night of Jan. 6, 2021, after Trump-backed domestic terrorists failed to stop that from happening. An important side note here: Trump and his minions are the focus not only of a bipartisan select committee of House members investigating the events leading up to and including that fateful day, but also of a DOJ probe into the attempted coup.
Question to all the GOP primary “Big Lie” candidates who advanced to fall elections: Do you really want to be associated with a treasonous attempt to overthrow the government of the United States? Just asking for a friend whose family is military to the core, and whose ancestors and relatives paid the extreme price for the freedom of generations of Americans.
Apologies for the digression. Back to facts in the aftermath of 2020 Election Day.
Second, let’s make it clear as loudly as possible: TRUMP FILED AND LOST MORE THAN 60 COURT CASES CHALLENGING ELECTION RESULTS IN KEY SWING STATES. There is no wiggle room here. It’s mind-bending that any credible candidate for elective office this fall can make the claim that the election was “stolen” from Trump and that Biden is not the duly elected president.
Question for political reporters: How can you cover these campaigns and not ask these candidates to back up their false claims with facts? How can you report on their rallies where they yell and scream about how the 2020 election was stolen from Trump and not provide a balancing list of how they are ignoring facts?
Decades ago, these election deniers, these non-believers in the American electoral process, these acolytes of a borderline criminal former president, would be given at most a few seconds of coverage and then filed in the scrap heap of wild-haired political misfits.
Think about George Wallace, John Anderson and Ross Perot, all men who attempted to run for president and failed to garner enough media attention to make it into an Election Day fray. How are today’s apparently anti-American, pro-Trump candidates more qualified for extensive media coverage than the trio of gentlemen mentioned above?
Again, apologies for the digression. Here are supporting facts concerning Trump’s legal challenges to his 2020 overwhelming loss to Biden.
Fact: Trump and others in his campaign filed and lost at least 63 lawsuits contesting election processes, vote counting, and the vote certification process in multiple states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Important note: Judges in many of these cases were Republicans with some being appointed by Trump.
Fact: Nearly all the suits were dismissed or dropped due to lack of evidence. Judges, lawyers, and other observers described the suits as frivolous or without merit. In one instance, the Trump campaign and other groups seeking his re-election collectively lost multiple cases in six states on a single day. One ruling was initially in Trump’s favor: the timing within which first-time Pennsylvania voters must provide proper identification if they wanted to “cure” their ballots. This ruling affected very few votes, and was later overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
In Michigan, for example, Trump screamed that there was a “giant scam” involving the state’s 2020 election. He made that claim in the state where he lost by more than 150,000 votes.
While that assertion was false — per numerous audits, lawsuits and a 55-page report the Republican-led Michigan Senate released in 2021 debunking each of Trump’s election lies — there actually is a significant election scandal in the state, according to an MSNBC report earlier this year. It involves the 2022 election for governor and Republicans, including some who have peddled Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.
A final apology for digressing again. Back to providing “Big Lie” candidates and political journalists facts about the 2020 elections.
Fact: Judges who heard legal cases brought by Trump’s lawyers made clear their view on the 2020 Election Day challenges and claims of voter fraud. Their words are powerful and can’t be misunderstood or misinterpreted by anyone who believes in the American electoral process.
U.S. Eastern District of Michigan Court Judge Linda Parker stated about the Trump team’s challenge:
“[T]his lawsuit seems to be less about achieving the relief Plaintiffs seek — as much of that relief is beyond the power of this Court — and more about the impact of their allegations on People’s faith in the democratic process and their trust in our government.”
In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Judge Timothy Batten wrote:
“They want this court to substitute its judgment for two-and-a-half million voters who voted for Joe Biden… And this I am unwilling to do.”
GOP midterm “Big Lie” candidates must stop attacking the American electoral system with false claims about a “stolen” election. You are being used by a pied piper to advance his anti-American, treasonous agenda to deconstruct democracy. Your campaign is a disservice to the millions of men and women who served our country and made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we and our ancestors have enjoyed for more than 240 years.
Political editors and reporters must stop providing these Trump Party outliers a megaphone to continue spreading lies about the 2020 election. You know the election wasn’t stolen. You know Biden beat Trump soundly. You know what the Trump realigned Republican Party is all about: taking down the republic that has maintained a peaceful transfer of power from one presidential administration to the next, regardless of political persuasion.
No, don’t stop covering campaigns of any individual who contends for a spot on an Election Day ballot. But as part of your accurate and balanced reporting, focus on the candidates’ positions on the issues, along with a comprehensive review of any false accusations made by any office-seeker, no matter their party affiliations.
Facts matter. Showcasing rhetoric, lying, misleading the voting population by any candidate for office contributes to the deconstruction of America’s centuries-tested election system.