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Political expert calls election denial a convenient untruth

Kari Lake speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference
File photo
LM Otero/AP
Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, has denied the results of the 2020 election. A federal judge in August dismissed a lawsuit by Lake and Mark Finchem, Republican nominee for Arizona secretary of state, to require the state's officials to count ballots by hand in November because of unfounded claims of voting machine problems.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin has been touring the country, granting interviews and campaigning for Republican candidates. One of those, Kari Lake, is vying to become Arizona’s next governor. Lake is a former television journalist who has denied the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

In late October, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) criticized Youngkin for standing with candidates who deny the validity of the 2020 election results. She told The Washington Post that no one should vote for candidates who don’t accept that Joe Biden won the presidency in a fair contest. 

Youngkin was questioned about his candidate affiliation in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN on Oct. 16. Youngkin said he is focused on inclusion, rather than division.  

“I think that the Republican Party has to be a party where we are not shunning people and excluding them because we don’t agree on everything,” Youngkin said. 

When Tapper countered that denying the election is not a small disagreement but a disavowal of the country’s democratic process, Youngkin responded, “This is about making sure that we understand that there is distrust in the election process.”  

He pointed to Virginia’s new Election Integrity Unit, suggesting that other states might want to follow Virginia’s lead to allay fears of voter fraud. Youngkin accepted the 2020 election results after dancing around the issue during his campaign, but told Tapper that the benefits of electing Republican governors outweighs debates over election fraud.  

In several recent polls, about one-third of Republicans surveyed agreed that Biden was elected fairly, something only a small percentage of Democrats questioned. About half of Republican congressional  candidates this fall have questioned the results of the 2020 election or said Donald Trump was cheated out of a second term through election fraud, according to The Washington Post. 

The Post reported that eight of Virginia’s 11 Republican candidates for Congress have said Biden is not the legitimate president, despite no evidence of widespread election fraud. More than half of the state’s Republican voters agreed with that statement in a recent poll conducted by Christopher Newport University. 

Eric Claville is a legal expert and veteran political analyst. He is former director of a policy center at Norfolk State University and hosts a political talk show.  

“Free and fair elections ... one person, one vote — that’s a staple of our democracy. When we start to tear at the edges of that and it starts to reach the center, our democracy becomes very vulnerable and it actually starts to crumble,” he said. 

According to Claville, the election denial movement is an extension of the birther movement, which falsely denied that President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

“This movement really started with the election and re-election of former President Barack Obama. I saw an underground movement, a rumbling on the fringes as we call it, but it started to come into mainstream during that time period,” Claville said. “And we saw where with the election of President Donald Trump … . [H]e actually took that and rode that into the White House, in part, with the birther movement.” 

Claville said that, for some, disputing the 2020 election is simply a bid to win votes. He added that those who first challenged the accuracy of the vote in court were also insincere. 

“You’ll see in their testimonies and in their depositions that they really didn’t believe what they said, he said. “The evidence showed also that it was not true. It is something that has been debunked. It’s an issue that’s a nonissue. And behind closed doors, a lot of these individuals and many others also know that the electoral process is very secure.” 

Angie Miles, Host/Producer, anchors and hosts VPM News Focal Point and special broadcasts.
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