Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage always said he was “Trump before Trump.”
He was correct. In his eight years as governor, he brought much of the same aggressive and abusive style to the job, culminating in an obscene telephone rant that alienated even his fellow Republicans. There was much bombast and little progress during his tenure.
And now, as he launches his quest to get back his old job, LePage has started with some lies about his presumptive opponent, incumbent Democrat Gov. Janet Mills.
For starters, LePage has repeated an inaccurate claim that Maine is the top-ranked state for nursing home deaths. That is patently untrue, but it doesn’t stop him. And as columnist Al Diamon points out, he accused Mills of decriminalizing dangerous drugs, including fentanyl, when in fact she was instrumental in blocking that legislation.
He continues to model himself after Trump, who has spent the months since leaving office promoting the fiction that Joe Biden did not win the presidency in 2020. Trump traffics in bald-faced lies, such as his recent statement that the review of the Arizona 2020 election results found that he won when the exact opposite is true. His followers promote the fiction that Biden is an illegitimate president – a belief shared, incredibly, by 26 percent of respondents in a recent poll.
Lepage’s campaign for 2022 shows signs of following the same model. He will likely get funding from the same national Republican groups who have promoted Trump’s lies, in the belief it’s their best path back to power.
In the next 13 months, we all need to pay close attention to this campaign.