Republicans are attempting to subvert democracy
With more than three weeks having now elapsed since the election, Republicans continue to deny reality: that Joe Biden won a free and fair election and is the next President of the United States.
Without any evidence whatsoever, the Trump campaign and their Republican allies continue to wage a disinformation war contesting the results of the election. They have filed lawsuit after lawsuit alleging fraud, while providing no evidence. They have pressured state and local lawmakers to step in and prevent the certification of election results. Now they are going so far as to suggest that legal votes among Black voters in cities like Detroit should just be rejected outright.
It is not hyperbole to say that this is a coup attempt before our very eyes. Yes, it is rife with incompetence. Yes, it is absurd in its execution. And yes, it will certainly fail. But it is still a coup – a blatant effort to undercut the results of a free and fair election and use all available avenues, however futile, to remain in power.
Republican attempts to undermine our democracy for their own political gain is not a new phenomenon. For years, Donald Trump and his ilk were given unlimited airtime by the political press to propagate the birtherism conspiracy theory against Barack Obama. However absurd, it was a clear and intentional effort to sow uncertainty and challenge the legitimacy of the Obama presidency.
Now, in propagating these election conspiracies, Republicans are trying to do the exact same thing to Joe Biden. Their objective then was the same as it is today: to sow doubt and distrust. This is an organized, strategic effort by Republicans to undermine the incoming Biden Administration and deny it credibility.
It is time the media stop playing into this effort to destabilize our democracy.
Republicans are pressuring their voting base to deny plain and unassailable fact. In their role, the press must step up to prevent Republicans from using their airwaves to do so. Any Republican who refuses to accept that Joe Biden won a free and fair election, and any Republican unwilling to state so publicly, does not deserve a second of airtime on any news network. Giving them airtime provides a megaphone to disseminate disinformation.
To be sure, there are countless examples of ‘fraud’ that were propagated this election that should be reported on and investigated. Republicans spent the year actively disenfranchising voters during a national health crisis: restricting access to voting, sabotaging the postal service and now, pressuring election officials to throw out legal votes in predominately Black voting precincts. This is the national scandal. Not the made-up phony-baloney Republicans are propagating to bolster the ego of their failed leader; but the actions Republicans themselves have taken to subvert the will of the people.
It is about time we start letting fact dictate the national discourse, not bad faith Republican actors.
Matt McDermott is a Democratic pollster and co-host of The Election Show. As Vice President at Whitman Insight Strategies, he advises corporate brands, political leaders, and issue-advocacy organizations on messaging strategy and targeting. Matt can be found on Twitter @mattmfm.