GOP Candidates Find Success in The Big Lie

The Wyoming Primary Election is today and, if the polls are correct, incumbent Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney will lose. Attorney Harriet Hageman, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, is leading Cheney by as much as 29 points.

Cheney’s political downfall is directly attributable to her bulldogged determination to hold Trump accountable for his role in the January 6th riot and his continued false claims about a stolen election.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office,” Cheney famously said in May 2021 when her fellow House Republicans removed her from the position as conference chair.

Cheney’s unrelenting criticism of Trump in her role on the January 6th committee has made her a pariah among Trump supporters and cost her deeply in her home state, where Trump won by 43 points in the 2020 election.

GOP strategist Scott Jennings told The Hill that Cheney’s anti-Trump views were a political death knell. “I do think it’s debatable whether she should have gone out and blown herself up this way, because it’s obviously going to cost her her seat and her platform, but she chose a different path.”

Jennings is right in terms of strategy, but governing is more than just winning the next election. Unfortunately, many of Cheney’s fellow Republicans are putting winning above all. They have glommed on to Trump’s considerable coattails and endorsed The Big Lie.

An analysis by the Washington Post found that “In the 41 states that have held nominating contests this year, more than half of the GOP winners so far—about 250 candidates in 469 contests—have embraced Trump’s false claims about his defeat two years ago.”

The proportion is even higher in the six critical battleground states that decided the 2020 election. “In Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, at least 54 winners out of 87 contests—more than 62 percent of the nominees—have embraced the former president’s false claims,” the Post reported.

Many of those nominees, if elected, will be in positions of power to influence elections, count votes and challenge future elections. For example, Michigan’s Republican nominee for Secretary of State, Kristina Karamo, has made repeated false claims about election fraud in her state and Nevada’s GOP Secretary of State nominee Jim Marchant is a prominent election denier.

Making false claims about election fraud are poll-tested winners within the GOP. Multiple surveys show that about 70 percent of Republican voters suspect fraud in the last election. Politifact reported that, “Focus groups have shown that Trump supporters weren’t swayed by specific pieces of evidence that rebutted his claims.”

The fear going forward is not that Cheney will lose, but rather that a whole cadre of election result deniers will win, ascending to positions where they can further undermine the credibility of future elections.

Republicans are trying to craft their own alternate reality. Liz Cheney may find herself on the wrong side of GOP voters, but if there’s any justice she will be remembered for being on the right side of history.

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