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Virginia's Youngkin can't shake election conspiracy theories

When it comes to the ridiculous "reinstatement" theory, Marjorie Taylor Greene's line was more responsible than Glenn Youngkin's line. It's a bad sign.

It didn't take Glenn Youngkin long to realize what his party's voters wanted to hear. As a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, running in a relatively crowded primary, the former private equity executive -- who's never before sought or held elected office -- discovered that rank-and-file GOP voters were focused heavily on The Big Lie.

And so, as we've discussed, Youngkin stuck to the partisan script. For example, when he was asked about the far-right's bizarre conspiracy theories surrounding Dominion voting machines, the candidate described the ridiculous ideas as "the most important issue" of the campaign. Asked about the legitimacy of President Joe Biden's victory, Youngkin wouldn't give a straight answer.

Around the same time, a Washington Post editorial noted that Youngkin's plan for a "task force" to tackle "election integrity" was "the only detailed policy proposal" he put forward ahead of the GOP primary.

It was pitiful, but effective: Youngkin won the Republican nomination in the spring. Months later, as HuffPost reported, the gubernatorial hopeful is struggling to move on.

Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate in Virginia's looming gubernatorial election, twice refused to shut down GOP voters' wild conspiracy theories about former President Donald Trump's 2020 election loss at a campaign event last week, even balking at the chance to correct a voter who posited that Trump could be reinstated to the presidency as soon as this month.

At a Virginia event last week, a local voter not only argued that Donald Trump secretly won the race he lost, she also asked Youngkin whether other defeated Republicans can be returned to office if Trump is restored to the presidency "in August or September."

The correct answer, of course, would've been, "No." Instead, Youngkin replied, "Ma'am, I don't know the particulars about how that can happen, because what's happening in the court system is moving slowly and it's unclear. And we all know the courts move slowly."

This made it sound as if there's some kind of legal dispute pending in the courts, adjudicating the results of the 2020 race. Whether the judiciary moves slowly or quickly is irrelevant: there is no such case. Biden won. Trump lost.

The GOP candidate added, "I'm operating under the clear assumption that what we had happen election-wise last year ― from an oversight and process standpoint ― is exactly what we're going to have this year. That's why we've got to go to work. And if something else happens along the way, we'll have to deal with it."

It was just a few weeks ago when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), one of the most radical members of Congress in recent memory, explicitly rejected the idea that the former president would be returned to the White House.

"I'd hate for anyone to get their hopes up thinking that President Trump is going to be back in the White House in August," the congresswoman said. "Because that's not true." Greene added, "I want people to be careful in what they believe."

Or put another way, Marjorie Taylor Greene, of all people, took a more responsible line on this ridiculous idea than Glenn Youngkin. The Virginian could've refuted the claim and set the voter straight, but he did not.

At the same event, the gubernatorial hopeful responded to a different voter's question by arguing, "We don't trust our election process." Perhaps voters would have greater confidence in the system if officials and candidates for powerful offices were more willing to be honest about problems that don't exist?