(CNN) — Donald Trump has set the price of admission for Republicans in the midterm elections, and probably the next presidential race: embracing the big lie that he was scammed by a historic election fraud operation.
The former president’s effort to turn the 2022 polls into a mission of personal vengeance and restore his cult of personality received a major boost Monday when a comrade-in-arms, Representative Mo Brooks, launched a U.S. Senate bid for Alabama. .
Brooks is the latest Republican to look to use his efforts to thwart a Democratic election as a springboard to higher office. He led a push in the House to block President Joe Biden’s certification of victory after telling Trump supporters at the “Stop the Steal” rally that it turned into the Capitol uprising on the 6th. January: “Today is the day American patriots start jotting down names and kicking ass.”
Even Brooks admitted Monday that his campaign launch rally in Huntsville, Alabama, would not be so much of a stretch. But he built the foundation of his career on proven falsehoods anyway.
“In 2020, the United States suffered the worst election fraud and election theft in history,” Brooks said, stating that no other candidate for the United States Senate had stood up as strong as he alongside Trump. Channeling his hero, he criticized the “RINO weak on their knees” (in Spanish “republicans only on paper”), the “false media” and the “radical socialists.”
Multiple courts, including the United States Supreme Court, rejected the former president’s claims that there was cheating in the elections. Even Trump’s own Justice Department said there was no widespread election fraud last year.
Brooks, who has a strong chance of winning the Republican nomination and the Alabama seat given Trump’s fervent support there, launched his effort alongside Stephen Miller, the former White House hardliner who authored many of the harsh immigration policies of the former president.
“No one in the last four years has been more supportive of President Trump than Mo Brooks,” Miller told the crowd. But now, I need your backing.
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Brooks, who is running for the seat long held by retired Republican Senator Richard Shelby, a classic old-school conservative, was not the only member of Trump’s military to run for the Senate on Monday.
Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who also fanned false claims about voter fraud and had resigned amid allegations of campaign and sexual misconduct, announced a candidacy for the job of retired Senator Roy Blunt.
Greitens opened his campaign on Fox News and said he was running to “defend the policies of President Trump’s America First.”
New recruits to Trump’s efforts to demonstrate his continued control over the Republican Party showed the stripes as the former president made a parallel attempt to dismantle the democratic safeguards that confirmed his loss in Georgia last November.
Trump endorsed Republican Rep. Jody Hice as Georgia secretary of state on Monday after attacking incumbent Brad Raffensperger, who had stood firm against Trump’s pressure on local officials to manipulate the vote count.
Hice has falsely claimed that there were multiple examples of fraud in Georgia, the key state that handed Democrats control of a 50-50 Senate in the January runoff elections.
Other outspoken Republican pro-Trump candidates are considering or have launched Senate campaigns in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where more Republican rulers are retiring. The former president’s protégés are lining up challenges against some of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him for inciting an unprecedented and deadly insurrection designed to destroy America’s basic democratic principles.
The former president pointed out to potential Republican candidates the price of their endorsement when he resurfaced at this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, where he warned that Republicans should back an end to voting by mail and called Republican lawmakers who had voted to Please charge him by name.
The shadow of the former president in 2022 will ensure that yet another election is dominated by his pernicious claims that the vote in America is corrupt, with all the consequent damage to American democracy that entails.
National voter suppression effort
Trump’s never-ending campaign of lies coincides with a multi-state effort by local Republicans to suppress votes and reverse voting methods that resulted in record turnout and their clear defeat in November.
The party’s new dedication to Trump’s populist nationalist creed, marked by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s visit to Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, helps explain the push to make it harder for Democrats and minority voters get to the polls.
The Republican Party could have rejected Trumpism and tried to broaden its appeal to win over more voters. But he doubled down on the “Make America Great Again” issues lost by the House, Senate, and a reelection race in Trump’s single term, so he may need to try to muffle the voice of the majority. of the nation that rejected the former president.
While the strategy may make sense in a grassroots turnout election, it raises questions for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican who strongly repudiated Trump’s behavior on January 6.
The former president’s influence threatens to deliver a list of radical candidates who, in some scenarios, could make it harder for Republicans to win swing states, in elections that history suggests should be difficult for Biden in the first term. Greitens’ announcement had been feared by the Republican establishment amid concerns that it could jeopardize a secure Republican seat in 2022. The former governor’s career is raising some dark memories among conservatives of Todd Akin’s defeat in 2012. before Democrat Claire McCaskill in Missouri.
Still, McConnell, as always with a shrewd eye on power, protected himself by voting to acquit Trump in the Senate impeachment that took place after the former commander-in-chief left office. And with typical transactional pragmatism, he has indicated that he will look for candidates who can win – from whichever wing of the party they come to – for the midterm elections.
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A test of Trump’s power
Trump’s attempt to project his considerable enduring power into the Republican Party through the initial exchanges of the primaries could help him build a case for a new presidential election campaign in 2024. Or it may allow him to play a king-maker role with would-be Republican White House candidates fighting to serve as heirs to their loyal grassroots voters.
Potential candidates believed to have ambitions in the White House, such as Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, are strong Trump advocates. Others, like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, have built bridges with the former president’s voters. And Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is enjoying the spotlight as a possible successor to Trump by holding up the “America First” banner after opening his state before the end of the pandemic.
The former president’s aggressive strategy will also test whether his aura is long-lasting, or whether his time away from the limelight will begin to erode his influence.
At the same time, it will show if there are any lanes left in the Republican Party for Republican candidates who rejected their false reality in 2020.
Brooks and Greitens aren’t the only Trump candidates borrowing the former president’s aura to bless a new Senate primary campaign.
In Ohio, where another established Republican, Sen. Rob Portman, is also retiring, former state treasurer Josh Mandel launched his Senate campaign last month by also amplifying the big lie.
“I think over time we will see studies that show widespread fraud,” Mandel told WKYC. “But I think when we look back at this election, we will see in large part that it was stolen from President Trump.”
Trump is already inspiring like-minded rivals in House races.
His side has vowed to remove House Republican Leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who ranks third in a primary race after she clung to her leadership role after voting for Trump’s impeachment.
Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, unlike most of his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives, harshly criticized Trump’s attack on American democracy in January. He has already attracted a main challenger for his pains.
Catalina Lauf, a former Trump administration official, opened her campaign by criticizing Kinzinger’s impeachment vote and echoing the former president’s attacks on “socialist” Democrats, “electoral integrity” and the culture of cancellation.
Signing the video of his announcement, he delivered a statement that was much closer to the truth than much of what the former president’s soldiers say.
“It is our party now, it is our movement and it is America First,” he said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism