Politics & Other Mistakes: Stealing reality

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The election has been stolen! The one in 2022, I mean!

Never mind that the vote hasn’t happened yet. The fix is already in. The Big Lie is being spread. It’s already too late to Stop the Steal.

Or, more likely, this is all crap.

Al DiamonGiven that Maine’s election system is nearly unhackable, that voter fraud is almost nonexistent in the state, and that no one in their right mind would want to swipe something of so little value, a reasonable argument (remember them?) could be made that it’s time for the kooks to stop clamoring for forensic audits, an end to early voting, gold-plated voter IDs and a ban on voting by anyone who can’t sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” backward. And on key.

Nevertheless, the idea that there’s going to be something hinky about next year’s election persists, aided and abetted by an all-star cast of kooks.

Any such assemblage would have to be headed by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who’s been touting fake fraud since at least 2016 when he told CNN, “(W)ill people from the cemetery be voting? Yes. All around the country.”

LePage claimed zombie voters accounted for more ballots being cast than there were registered voters in numerous jurisdictions, although he cited no specific places where this occurred.

Not kooky enough for you? In 2020, Roger Stone, close pal of Donald Trump, said he had “incontrovertible evidence of North Korean boats delivering ballots through a harbor in Maine.” Incontrovertible? Not hardly. Evidence? None. 

Back to LePage. He told WGAN radio, “Colby College in Maine had a scheme where all the graduates from last year were asked to vote in Maine.” LePage’s proof? Not found. 

Nevertheless, the Republican National Committee has named Sharon Bemis, the former finance director of the Maine GOP, as its new “election integrity director” for the state. According to RNC regional spokesman Andrew Mahaleris, Bemis’ duties will include “making it easier to vote and harder to cheat.” Since exactly no one is opposed to that, it remains to be seen exactly what Bemis’ job entails. Aside from more wackiness.

For the record, the number of voter fraud cases in Maine in the last election, according to numerous sources, was two. Both those phony voters got caught casting extra ballots for Trump. 

Nevertheless, the pandemic of fraud claims persists. “A lot of the disinformation comes from people who have no understanding of the election process,” Amber McReynolds, founder of the National Vote at Home Institute, told Stateline in September.

So, what’s the harm in letting the ignorant continue to plague the uninformed? Unfortunately, that does serious damage to the entire election process.

“People I know as rational and principled feel they have to say our elections are not reliable because polls show that is the ante for contested Republican primaries and motivating the base in general elections,” Benjamin Ginsberg, an attorney who’s represented past GOP presidential aspirants, told Politico last month.

Translation: The only way Republicans, particularly Trump-humpers, can win is to keep up the pretense that there’s something wrong with the electoral system. If they get bogged down in real issues, their chances of prevailing at the polls decline significantly.

There’s an obvious problem with this strategy. What if, amidst all these claims of fraud, the GOP actually wins a race or two? It happened in Maine the last election, when U.S. Sen. Susan Collins cruised to a reelection win, while Trump slumped to a statewide loss. 

The Republican answer: Insidious Democrats gave Collins the senatorial victory to cover up the fraud that cost Trump the presidential vote. Considering the complexity of that alleged conspiracy, it’s a wonder the alleged perpetrators can’t do a better job of actually governing.

Those convinced the fix is in neglect the fact both LePage and Bruce Poliquin, the 2nd Congressional District candidate who insists to this day that invalid ranked-choice voting cost him the 2018 election, have reasonable chances of winning next year.

If that happens to a Republican, is it still voter fraud?

If you know how to stop the squeal, email the solution to [email protected].