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Rand Paul flubs test on 'how to steal an election'

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul started the year saying absurd things about democracy and the 2020 election. He's ending 2021 the same way.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul raised a few eyebrows over the summer when he argued, "The idea of democracy and majority rule really is what goes against our history and what the country stands for."

This, of course, is the same Senate Republican who peddled ridiculous anti-election conspiracy theories in late 2020, and refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election results earlier this year.

As the year winds down, the GOP senator is still at it. The Daily Beast noted overnight:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has accused Democrats of “stealing” elections by legally persuading people to vote for them — and people have quickly pointed out to him that’s simply how democracy works. Writing on Twitter, the senator quoted an article ... about how Democrats carried Wisconsin in 2020 after losing it to ex-President Donald Trump in his 2016 victory.

The American Conservative website published this piece last week, which described the Democratic electoral strategy in Wisconsin this way: "Seeding an area heavy with potential Democratic votes with as many absentee ballots as possible, targeting and convincing potential voters to complete them in a legally valid way, and then harvesting and counting the results."

Rand Paul published that quote to Twitter, prefaced by his own five-word observation: "How to steal an election."

Perhaps we're overdue for a conversation about what "steal" means.

What The American Conservative article described was simply democracy at work: Democrats targeted a competitive battleground state — a state the Democratic ticket has won in eight of the last nine presidential election cycles — implementing a strategy that involved messaging, access, and legal voter participation. There was nothing nefarious or untoward about it.

It worked: President Joe Biden's ticket narrowly won Wisconsin according to the original count and subsequent recount.

Kentucky's junior senator apparently considers this "stealing." Reality considers this winning fair and square.

What's striking, however, is Paul's willingness to make such an argument publicly. MSNBC's Chris Hayes added in a tweet of his own, "This is, I guess, at least honest about the fact that they think the wrong people voting is what counts as stealing an election."

The Republican started 2021 saying ridiculous things about elections and democracy; it's not unexpected to see him ending the year the same way.