From the moment voters in Maricopa County, Arizona encountered trouble voting in the 2022 midterm elections, Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake claimed fraud. The former newscaster is getting her day in court. While a Maricopa County judge dismissed eight parts of Lake’s lawsuit, he allowed two counts to go forward. In the two remaining counts, Lake alleges that an election worker interfered with ballot printers and that Maricopa County violated its own ballot chain of custody rules. As a result of this malfeasance, Lake says Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs won the election.
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One should not be surprised by Lake’s election denialism. During the campaign, Lake refused to say if she’d accept the outcome if results showed her losing. “I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result,’ Lake said. Right now, Kari Lake insists she won the gubernatorial election. “My Pronouns are I/Won,” Lake told a crowd at Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest. Like Trump after the 2020 election, Kari Lake just won’t concede.
You Started it, Dems
Election denialism runs rampant in the U.S. Some deniers claim all the ballots weren’t counted. “Once we have that full and accurate account of the ballots casted, then we will know who our next president is and our country can move forward.” Others have said that they should delay conceding a lost race. “[He] should not concede under any circumstances, because I think this is going to drag out, and eventually I do believe he will win if we don’t give an inch.” And, “I did win my election. I just didn’t get to have the job.” And “We were robbed of an election.”
You Started it, Dems
Republicans need to learn how to lose, readers may be thinking. But the deniers quoted above aren’t Republicans. They’re Democrats. Those quotes came from 2000 Democrat presidential nominee Al Gore, 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and United Federation of Planets president and twice defeated Democrat Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Click the links for the origins of each of the statements. Shame on me for being unclear as to the party of origin. I apologize for the oversight.
Democrat election denialism doesn’t stop with rhetoric. Congressman Benny Thompson of Mississippi, Chair of the January 6th Select Committee, was one of 31 Democrats who voted against certifying Ohio’s electoral votes in 2005, claiming, without evidence, that there were election irregularities in the state.
More recently, January 6th Committee member Jamie Raskin of Maryland voted against certifying Florida’s 2016 electoral votes. Let’s go to the videotape and watch as Raskin claims, also without evidence, that “10 of Florida’s 29 electors were not lawfully certified.” Democrat denialism is not limited to backbenchers. Soon-to-be Democrat House Leader Hakim Jeffries has repeatedly denied the legitimacy of Trump’s 2016 victory.
Why Concede? Hillary Doesn’t
In October of 2020 Hillary was still blaming “Shenanigans and stuff” for her 2016 loss. Most Democrats agree. An April 2022 Rasmussen poll found that 72 percent of Democrats believed Russia had influenced the result of the 2016 election. Having refused to accept defeat in 2016 she urged Biden to not concede in 2020. Hillary insists the right is plotting to steal the 2024 election too. “Right-wing extremists already have a plan to literally steal the next presidential election, and they’re not making a secret of it,” she told a group called Indivisible in a recorded message. Hillary also thinks the Supreme Court may be in on the steal, “The right-wing-controlled Supreme Court may be poised to rule on giving state legislatures the power to overturn presidential elections.”
Who’s Denying Whom?
Being Arizona’s Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs certified her own gubernatorial victory. No Shenanigans there, as Hillary might say. When Republican members of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors raised questions about the vote there and sought review, Arizona State Elections Director Kori Lorick threatened to criminally charge and file suit against them. Lorick answers to Katie Hobbs. No Shenanigans there either.
Kari Lake will almost certainly lose her court battle, just as Donald Trump lost his court challenges in 2020. Whether that’s fair, and whether Arizona’s 2022 election was fair depends on one’s party affiliation and who’s alleging voter fraud. “Who and whom,” as Stalin would say.
One thing is for sure. Democrats have normalized questioning elections. As such, there is no reason for Republicans to accept election results they don’t like. I learned it by watching you.
Tell you what, Dems. I’ll concede if you do. You first.
William Stroock has been a history teacher and an adjunct professor of history. He wrote Pershing in Command: A Study of the American Expeditionary Force, Israel at War and Her Enemies, and over a dozen novels including the World War 1990: Series and The Austrian Painter: What if Germany Won the Great War?