We are well on our way to another midterm election year, with some special elections in between, including the recent recall election in California between incumbent Gavin Newsom, and Republican heavy hitter Larry Elder. But after Larry Elder was dealt a loss, Republican voters are beginning to feel demoralized, and rightfully so.
We must go back almost a year ago to October 2020. We were weeks away from the November Presidential Election, which most Conservatives and Republicans believed would be an easy victory for then-President Donald J. Trump against establishment Presidential Candidate, Joe Biden especially since “Basement Joe” didn’t seem to have been doing much campaigning. There is “no way” an establishment neoliberal moderate like then Candidate VP Joe Biden would have a chance. Then election night came, and mail-in-ballots became exactly what Democrats needed to push then Presidential candidate Joe Biden over the voter threshold needed, in key swing states to win the election.
Soon after, the entire political right came together to challenge the election. It was all they talked about, for months leading to January’s final certification by state legislators and then Vice President Mike Pence. But between November and January, the grassroots right was also activated, alongside many popular Conservative and Republican leaders, influencers, and activists throughout the nation. Forbes reported that between November and January, Donald Trump raised $250 million to “challenge the outcome”, that’s a lot of money donated, in a short span of time.
Trump supporters had massive rallies at the nation’s capital. “Stop the Steal!” events were plastered throughout conservative social media circles, with the nation’s top leaders speaking at the rallies. There were events in the months of November, December, and January, in hopes that something could be done to stop the certification results. President Trump even hired an elite team of lawyers to go around key states, to prove that nationwide fraud had been committed. It became a rallying cry across the nation, protests with never seen before numbers out in the streets, rallying to the President, and helping, donating, marching, whatever it took, to help the leader of this new Republican Party.
Then January 6th happened, an event establishment left, alongside the media, social media platforms, and the Government “ABC” organizations (FBI, DOJ, etc.), and even now President Joe Biden has described it as “one of the darkest days in history.” Even darker than the 9/11 attacks, or the recently botched withdrawal of US troops of Afghanistan, that led to US servicemembers dead in a terrorist attack?
Fast forward to today. Little to nothing has been done to change election integrity nationwide. There has however been a lot of fundraising to “protect voter integrity”. Some states like Texas and Florida have taken some steps to voter reform in their respective states, but many argue it simply is not enough. Some are calling for complete county-by-county audits of the 2020 election, even in counties where Donald Trump won. Texas, for example, has passed HB6 which makes it a state crime for election officials to send applications to vote by mail to citizens who did not request the form. This is one of the biggest reasons voters say there was voter irregularity in the 2020 election is the mass mail-in-ballots, and people believe it makes it easier to lose, double count, or miscount a vote. In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis boasts that the sunshine state’s new electoral laws contain the “strongest election integrity measures in the country.”
Florida’s S.B.90 addresses two major problems inherent in the circuitousness 2020 election. The Sunshine State’s enacted legislation concentrates on limiting the possibility for voter fraud stemming from invalid or illegal mail-in ballots, unmonitored drop-off boxes, questionable voter authenticity, third-party ballot manipulation (ballot harvesting), unsolicited mass ballot mailings, and contaminated voter rolls. This is done through a multifaceted approach that does not restrict a citizen’s access to voting, by mail or in person, it only applies basic standards of identification validation. Other states have taken some measures, with other states such as Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan having pending legislation.
But is reform in these few states enough? What about the Republicans stranded in blue states, such as New York, and California? California which has the highest amount of registered Republican voters, has had no election reform. Instead, Gavin Newsom has made mail-in-ballots permanent to every registered voter in CA, a move conservatives fear is the ‘nail in the coffin’ for Republican voters.
I interviewed political activist and filmmaker, Maggie VandenBerghe of Arizona, who also goes by the online alias @fogcitymidge. A California native, she recently moved to Arizona, a battleground state, and after getting involved at the grassroots level, she says Arizona candidates are campaigning and raising funds, but not much else is happening to ensure voter integrity, and time is running out. “There is big money, in promising election reform, so you see these grifters now, these different groups that are promising election reform – – who are going around saying ‘we’re going to get it done’ but when you look at what they are actually doing, it’s nothing. “She goes on to say. “- this #auditall50states (social media campaign) idea, is lunacy because that can take 5-10 years, we look at how long the Arizona audit took, it was supposed to take 30 days! and it’s been 8 months now? This is lunacy.”
These arguments are one to be had, and not to be forgotten. For months the GOP and Republicans went around campaigning and raising millions off their voters. They continue to echo the election was stolen, and now we are headed into 2022 with a fractured GOP, and a divided voter base. Some voters wish to disregard or simply hush away this talking point, saying “this infighting will simply hurt us! We must stay united”, but many voters demand answers. The most popular Republican President since perhaps Ronald Reagan, even had this message to Republicans, in a statement: “If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”
The reality is we are soon approaching the 2022 elections, and millions of Americans have no faith in the voting process. I have received thousands of messages from voters (many first-time Republican voters) saying they will not be voting again until we have real voting reform, which includes voter ID, restrictions on mail-in-ballots, and more. In a recent poll I conducted via my Instagram, I asked my audience: “What do you believe is the most important topic headed to the 2022 election?” An overwhelming majority said election Integrity is the number one issue (49.06%) compared to national/border security (21.18%), economy/jobs (19.7%), or other (10.07%) of over 6200 polled, and that is because they believe, how can we elect leaders to fix the nation’s problems, when we can’t duly elect leaders?
The question is what will the GOP and elected Republicans, and even Republican candidates, do to bring out the vote in 2022? What will they say to encourage voters, when they have spent nearly a year saying the system is broken? And that their beloved President was ‘robbed’ of an election? Do they truly believe people will forget the 2020 Presidential Election, and ‘just vote anyways!’? Millions were donated, and little to nothing has changed in most states. People deserve an answer before election season.