In an America where facts mattered, the GOP-backed “audit’s” finding that, yes, indeed, President Joe Biden won Arizona would be a colossal embarrassment.
In an America where facts mattered, the finding of the GOP-backed “audit” that, yes, indeed, President Joe Biden won Arizona — by an even larger margin than originally reported — would be a colossal embarrassment for the grifters and scammers of the Trump world. It would an egg-on-their-faces moment for the ages.
But we don’t live in that America, because if facts mattered, we wouldn’t be where we are now. For the boosters of the "big lie," the Arizona audit flop was not even a speed bump. And that should tell us a great deal about this moment in U.S. politics.
In the wake of the report, some Republicans urged a return to sanity. "When it comes to the audit, like the three audits that preceded it, it’s now over," Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said on Twitter. "The outcome stands and the 2020 election in Arizona is over."
The chairman of Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, Jack Sellers, urged lawmakers to “stop listening to the fringes and gather real facts from election experts before making more careless allegations and proposing legislation based on poor science.”
But there is zero chance of that in the Trumpified GOP.
As The New York Times reported over the weekend: “Significant parts of the right treated the completion of the Arizona review as a vindication — offering a fresh canard to justify an accelerated push for new voting limits and measures to give Republican state lawmakers greater control over elections. It also provided additional fuel for the older lie that is now central to Mr. Trump’s political identity: that the 2020 election was stolen from him.”
Undeterred by the facts, Arizona State Sen. Wendy Rogers railed that the state should “decertify the election, and tweeted out a bizarre letter to Arizona state senators that insisted that, “The fate of the United States and the Republic for which it stands along with Freedom and Justice for All is on trial before the world.”
“The enormity of the decision that you are being tasked with rendering will ripple through the ages,” the letter read, “and may very well be viewed as a last nail in the coffin of the Idea of Government of the People and for the People and by the People that President Lincoln spoke about in the Gettysburg Address.”
Former Missouri governor and U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens joined the chorus, demanding that Arizona overturn the results of the election — despite the finding that Biden had actually won. Again.
And in Virginia, Republican congressional candidate Jarome Bell went even further, tweeting: “Audit all 50 states. Arrest all involved. Try all involved. Convict all involved. Execute all involved. #MaricopaCountyFraud.”
These could be dismissed as rantings from the fringe, but they echo the claims of the former president himself, who doubled down on his "big lie" by — of course — lying about the results of the Arizona “audit.”
“The leaked report conclusively shows there were enough fraudulent votes, mystery votes, and fake votes to change the outcome of the election 4 or 5 times over,” Trump said in a statement Friday night. On Saturday, at a rally in Georgia, he went further, "We won at the Arizona forensic audit yesterday at a level that you wouldn't believe," Trump claimed. "They had headlines that Biden wins in Arizona, when they know it's not true. He didn't win in Arizona. He lost in Arizona based on the forensic audit."
This was not even remotely true, but Trump’s audience bought it, as they have for months.
So, rather than quashing the push for more audits, the s"MAGAverse" has instead intensified its push to undermine the presidential election results — and change the way future elections are run. That effort to undermine elections has been fully embraced by the GOP and continues to gather momentum at the grassroots level.
As Reuters reported last week, Republican secretary of state candidates in swing states “have embraced former President Donald Trump's false claims that he lost a ‘rigged election.” Only two of the nine GOP candidates interviewed by Reuters were willing to say that Biden had actually won the election.
Over the weekend, Texas became the latest state to roll over to Trump’s demands, even though Trump actually won that state.
As The Washington Post notes, those audits, in states such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, could end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars, at the “risk of further eroding public confidence in U.S. elections, particularly among their own voters.”
That, however, is the point. As Chris Krebs, who served as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security before he was fired by Trump, said: “This is fan service. A cult of personality. All in the thrall of a single individual too chickens---- to take the L.”
None of this, however, should come as a surprise, because in our current political moment, the "big lie" is irrefutable.
No facts, no numbers, no reality checks will deter Trump’s lie about the election, because the fake “audits” aren’t about finding the truth. Rather, they are intended to discredit the 2020 election, delegitimize the Biden presidency, and lay the groundwork for the storm next time.
And the storm may already be upon us.