The Universal Notebook: Big Lie Republicans threaten democracy

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We should have realized back in 2016 that representative democracy was under serious attack when candidate Donald Trump admitted that he would only recognize the election results if he won. 

At the time it was hard to believe that any honorable American would admit such a thing, but it didn’t take long for America to realize that Donald J. Trump was not an honorable man. Trump has shown himself to be a liar, a cheat, a thief and a traitor. Now he has spread his demagogue’s disease to the entire Republican Party. 

Edgar Allen BeemBruce Poliquin is latest to have caught it, refusing to say whether he will recognize the results of the 2nd District House election if he loses. 

What amazes me is how anyone can still believe Trump? He lost the 2020 election, pressured state officials to “find” more votes for him, came up with a scheme to send fake electors, lost scores of legal challenges, and when all else failed, incited his mob to riot and storm the capitol to try to stop the certification. And still the Trump cult follows him blindly, repeating his Big Lie.

Trump is guilty, at the very least, of inciting a riot and sedition. He is a criminal, as are the 139 House Republicans who voted not to certify the 2020 election results. That’s why they are now known as the Sedition Caucus.

There is not a shred of evidence to support the idea that the 2020 election was “stolen,” just as there was zero evidence in 2012 that busloads of Black people from Massachusetts were driving around rural Maine voting illegally. A total GOP racist fantasy. But that doesn’t keep Paul LePage from insisting to this day that “They stayed at a hotel in Waterville overnight, voted and left the next day.”

LePage has a long history of undermining public confidence in Maine elections. And Bruce Poliquin still thinks he was cheated in 2018 because he doesn’t understand how ranked-choice voting works. He believes he won because he was ahead of Jared Golden after 50 yards, but it was a 100 yard dash they were running. When asked whether he accepts the results of the 2020 election, Poliquin said there were “some irregularities” but that he trusts the Maine people. 

No, he doesn’t. Just wait till he loses again.

Ed Thelander, Rep. Chellie Pingree’s Republican challenger, has gathered signatures supporting the bogus idea that a forensic audit of the 2020 election is needed. Trump won the 2nd District and Susan Collins was re-elected, so it’s hard to see why Thelander thinks there were problems.

We all want citizens to be able to have confidence in the outcome of free and fair elections, but the Republican Party is making that nearly impossible. They undermine public confidence in election outcomes because they know that the more people who vote the less likely Republicans are to win. Nearly every state and local Republican candidate this year has a subversive agenda to discredit election results. We can’t allow that to happen. 

Unless Republicans lose big in 2022 and 2024, this country is in serious jeopardy of becoming ungovernable. I fully expect Paul LePage, Bruce Poliquin and Ed Thelander to go down in defeat in November, but, of course, they won’t acknowledge their losses. And we must all pray that Donald Trump suffers a humiliating defeat in 2024. I pray he decides not to run at all or is prohibited from doing so because of his criminal behavior.

Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix. He also writes the Art Seen feature.

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