When it comes to hysterical conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump and his allies focus nearly all of their attention on a handful of states. Not coincidentally, those happen to be battleground states that propelled President Biden to the White House.
With this in mind, Michigan, where the Democratic ticket prevailed by roughly 3 percentage points, has been at the center of all kinds of bizarre speculation. It led a group of Republican state legislators to launch a lengthy, comprehensive review of the Michigan's 2020 balloting, culminating in a report released yesterday.
The good news is, as this NBC News report explained, the GOP lawmakers thoroughly discredited the far-right conspiracy theories, exposing them as utterly bonkers. The bad news is, well, there's a catch.
In a highly anticipated report released Wednesday, the Republican-led Michigan Senate Oversight Committee rebutted former President Donald Trump's voter fraud claims, debunking allegations of malfeasance in the state's election last fall and affirming that Joe Biden was victorious. The report is the product of an eight-month inquiry and concludes there was no basis or evidence to support the Trump campaign's repeated claims that the election results failed to reflect the will of the voters.
I hope you saw Rachel's segment on this last night, because it's a doozy. The report from the Republican-led Michigan Senate Oversight Committee was unsparing, going point by point, systematically shredding one election conspiracy theory after another.
Indeed, the committee -- made up of three Republicans and one Democrat -- not only thoroughly discredited every crackpot idea about Michigan's election results, the panel even went so far as to conclude that some of those who've pushed 2020 conspiracy theories should be scrutinized by prosecutors for perpetrating an alleged fraud.
And at this point, it's tempting to simply stop here. Trump and his allies came up with all kinds of ridiculous ideas about Michigan's election; a Republican-led committee carefully scrutinized every individual claim; and the result was a report that exposed the election lies as bananas.
So, time to move on, confident in the incontrovertible evidence proving that Michigan's elections were sound, secure, and fair? I'm afraid not.
Because as it turns out, this conversation isn't entirely retrospective. Yes, the Republican-led Michigan Senate Oversight Committee carefully debunked every conspiracy theory about what happened last year, but Michigan Republican legislators nevertheless have some additional thoughts about what should happen this year. From the Detroit Free Press' report:
While the report repudiates Trump's claims of a stolen election, lawmakers have pointed to mistrust created by Trump's claims as a rationale for introducing a controversial series of 39 bills that would establish new voting restrictions.... [Republican Committee Vice Chair Lana] Theis said the report demonstrates the need for the package, which contains legislation voting rights advocates and election officials say would disenfranchise voters.
Got that? Republican legislators in Michigan announced that every conspiracy theory surrounding the state's election results is complete nonsense, but those same Republicans nevertheless plan to move forward with voter-suppression measures that would deliberately make it more difficult for Michigan voters to participate in their own democracy.
Why? To hear local GOP officials tell it, such voting restrictions are necessary because so many people believe the conspiracy theories that GOP officials just proved are untrue.
Michigan Republicans know the voting restrictions are unnecessary. They know the pretext for the voter-suppression measures has been thoroughly and publicly discredited. But they're moving forward with plans to deliberately undermine voting rights anyway.