Analysis: The trick Republicans are using to justify supporting election deniers


New Hampshire GOP Gov. Chris Sununu sat down for an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Wednesday night. The issue of election denial – related to New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc – arose. Here is the exchange:

The stopper: Governor Sununu, you are a sane republican at a time when many people are looking for a sane republican. Are you hurting the cause of sane Republicans when you hug people like that?

Sununu: No, look, this is about people in Washington, DC, putting New Hampshire first. Was the election stolen? Of course they didn’t steal it. That’s nonsense, absolute nonsense, and it’s terrible to see it actually backfire. But that is not the issue that people will vote on. Mar-a-Lago is not an issue that people will vote on. The people vote according to their interests, as they should, right? We should be a bit selfish with our vote.

What’s best for my family, what’s best for my business, my choices, that’s what a good vote is. And that’s why, once again, Don Bolduc will win this race. You have to be present, you have to be in the state, you have to understand these issues and you have to be ready to make tough decisions.”

Before I go any further, I want to go back to what Bolduc, who took on Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan this November, said about the 2020 election.

During the debate in August, Bolduc said: “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Donald Trump won the election and, damn it, I’m fine. [it]”.

Then, days after winning the Republican Senate primary in September, Bolduc changed his tune. “I’ve done a lot of research on this, and I’ve spent the last two weeks talking to Granite Staters from all over the state, and I’ve come to the conclusion, and I want to be definitive about it, that the election was not stolen,” he said.

But wait, there’s more! Earlier this month, when asked by a voter about the 2020 election, Bolduc said: “I can’t say it was stolen or not. I don’t have enough information.”

Bolduc told CNN in an interview after the town hall that the election was “not stolen,” but said there were “irregularities and fraud.”

It’s been a trip! But he believes it’s still possible that the 2020 election that Bolduc appears to have landed was rigged, and it wasn’t.

Now back to Sununur. Although he and Bolduc have had their differences – Bolduc has been labeled a “Chinese communist sympathizer” and a “globalist world government guy” and Sununu a “conspiracy theory extremist” – Sununu now accepts him sensibly. , apparently, party loyalty. Yes, they don’t see the world the same way, but they’re both Republicans, so it makes sense for Sununu to side with Bolduc.

But this dangerous commitment has its own elision logic.

One of them believes – or at least is willing to keep the possibility open – that, against all evidence, there was fraud in the 2020 elections. This is not a political disagreement. This is the bones of our democracy, about the idea that we hold free and fair elections, whether the candidate you supported wins or not.

Sununu is not the only Republican leader to make this kind of mistake.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin campaigned Wednesday for Arizona gubernatorial candidate and prominent election denier Kari Lake. Of his decision, Youngkin said last month, “I’m comfortable supporting the Republican candidates, and we don’t agree on everything. I mean, I said I firmly believe Joe Biden was elected president.”

Again, this is not just a disagreement over some policy plan. The issue here is whether the 2020 elections were free and fair. You can’t just pretend that someone you’re supporting for high office actually thinks the last election was stolen!

By casting the denial of the election as another political position, the likes of Youngkin and Sununu – both of whom have their own national ambitions – are trying to put a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. If you don’t believe in the basic principles of democracy that have been followed since the country was founded, then all other things don’t really matter.