The GOP Will Never Give Up on the Big Lie
Wajahat Ali Mon, April 25, 2022, 1:51 AM
Robyn Beck/AFP via GettyDonald Trump and Republicans tried and failed to steal an election in the weeks . But that was clearly just a dress rehearsal for the next coup. , Republicans are like helpful Bond villains who openly share their dastardly plot in the first act, telling anyone and everyone who will listen exactly how they plan to and overturn elections. They’re doing it again, by relentlessly and . It seems when you’re a radicalized and weaponized cult in service of an aspiring authoritarian you can , , and do what you want—as long as you keep feeding the base conspiracy theories and manufacture villains that perpetuate endless fake victimhood and rage. Unfortunately, most of us still aren’t paying attention. According to a recent , some of the architects of the Big Lie are still pressuring statehouses to “decertify” votes for President Joe Biden in battleground states and reinstate Trump as the president. Right-wing culture warriors—such as attorney John Eastman, author of the , disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, far-right podcaster and former Trump senior adviser Steve Bannon, and extremist pillow-monger Mike Lindell—are part of this loud and dangerous chorus still complaining about “voter fraud.” This persists even after all the ” such as the one conducted by Cyber Ninjas in Arizona, and were exposed as nothing more than conservative political theater. These traitorous upstarts are joined by the a conservative group headed by Trump allies who pushed disinformation and the Big Lie. By holding summits in battleground states to mobilize right-wing grassroots activists, they hope to capitalize “on the confusion they deliberately sowed to undermine the safety and security of future elections,” Melanie Sloan, a senior advisor to the government watchdog group American Oversight, told The Guardian. CPI seeks to build an “election integrity” infrastructure—which critics say will curb voting rights to help Republican candidates. One of the senior partners of CPI is none other than Mark Meadows, Trump’s White House chief of staff, who was part of his and an active participant in the failed coup, according to his . All of these actions were recently described by a federal judge as a ” but that’s part and parcel of the right-wing playbook that manufactures lies and straw-men villains—such as banning Critical Race Theory and passing “Don’t Say Gay” legislation—as solutions in search of problems. They realize their far-fetched plans might not influence the majority or judges, but they will work like gangbusters to stoke the anger of their base, convincing them of an alternate reality where white Christian men are the real oppressed victims in America. For example, . We can’t just sit back, laugh, and pity these people. That’s because this ominous trend paves the way for the 2022 and 2024 elections, in which weaponized members of the GOP base will be inspired to “take back” their country, by force if they believe it’s necessary. If you think that’s an exaggeration, recall that nearly a third of Republicans believe that violence may be necessary to “save our country” from “Satan worshiping pedophiles,” according to a November 2021 . Perpetuating the Big Lie also allows Trump to create a loyalty test to purge conservative politicians who aren’t willing to swallow the poisoned Kool-Aid and sing kumbaya. One need only look to the vilification and ostracization of for joining the Democrats on a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 violent attempted insurrection that resulted in five deaths. Even though Rep. Cheney was once the third-highest ranking GOP member, and voted with Trump over 93 percent of the time, it still wasn’t enough to save her from being purged. Meanwhile, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who , , and , is . She’s not the outlier but the present and future of the GOP base. , more than 70 percent of the 111 candidates Trump has endorsed for governor, federal office, attorney general and secretary of state, believe the 2020 election was stolen. This is despite the fact that Biden earned 7 million more votes nationally and flipped five states from blue to red. This extremism is not just relegated to the masses but also motivates sitting Republican elected officials. Trump’s pick for Arizona secretary of state, Rep. Mark Finchem—who is an active member of the Oath Keepers—has introduced a bill to “ Republicans have vilified Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, after he refused Trump’s illegal demand to Learning from Raffensberger’s mistake, former Georgia Sen. and instead of his terrible performance, on why he lost to Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff. However, Perdue passed Trump’s litmus test, which is why he’s been blessed by Trump in his gubernatorial primary campaign against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who is being punished due to his lack of slavish loyalty to the Big Lie. If you’re paying attention, Republicans are removing all the guardrails and replacing life-long Republicans, who decided to put country above party, with cultists willing to subvert the will of the people and implement a future coup. This sickness is not relegated to the fringes but has contaminated the entire party. The RNC has described the violent insurrectionists who sought to overturn our election as “ordinary citizens” engaged in a “legitimate political discourse.” Last week it was revealed that Sen. Mike Lee of Utah to help Trump in his failed coup attempt. Right-wing activist Ali Alexander has said that he planned the “Stop the Steal Rally” —the latter of whom . Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is thoroughly compromised, as evidenced by , in which she revealed her QAnon colors and passionately exhorted Meadows to overturn a free and fair election in favor of Trump. The Big Lie is also being strategically used to chip away faith in our democratic institutions and to castigate any critic of the GOP as a nefarious force deliberately seeking to oppress conservative voters. Last week, the RNC voted unanimously to , which was established in 1987 through bipartisanship, accusing the group of being biased and not enacting their proposed reforms. It’s a smart play for the GOP, which can avoid public scrutiny and accountability over its extremist agenda and instead rely upon its loyal base that is beholden to the right-wing information ecosystem and its unhinged, fact-free, fear-based agenda. In 2022, the Big Lie is a gift that keeps on giving, and it would be foolish to dismiss its power and hold over Republican voters. From here on out, anytime Republicans lose elections, they can unleash the lie to justify and rationalize belligerent violence and fuel their criminal political machinations. It allows them to be valiant heroes and patriots who are merely defending their base and their country’s freedom from oppressive evil-doers. Sure, the Big Lie has the power to undermine our democracy and harm innocent civilians, but if you’re the GOP, it’s worth it when it can also pave a bloody road to the White House and decades of unchallenged political power.