At a rally in Perry, Georgia, on Sept. 25, Donald Trump declared that the audit of the voting in Maricopa County, Arizona, had established him as the winner, not only of the county but of the state. This certainly feeds into his oft-stated belief that the 2020 election was stolen.
Remember … Joe Biden was certified as the winner of Maricopa County, which encompasses Phoenix and numerous suburbs and represents 61.6% of Arizona’s population. His margin in Maricopa County was sufficient to overcome the Trump vote in the other areas of Arizona and hand him the state’s 11 electoral votes. Following the election, Trump claimed that he had won Arizona and that the voting was subject to fraud.
With support from Trump, the Republican-led Arizona Senate initiated an audit of the Maricopa County voting and hired a firm, Cyber Ninjas, absent election experience, to conduct the audit. It appears likely that the Arizona Senate went with Cyber Ninjas because its CEO, Doug Logan, had supported Trump’s theories of a stolen election.
On Sept. 24, Cyber Ninjas released its report, which declared Biden the winner in Maricopa County. In addition, the audit found that he actually received more votes than in the certified tally and Trump received fewer.
However, given the lack of audit experience on the part of Cyber Ninjas, it is impossible to determine whose count was correct, but it doesn’t really matter as the original outcome was upheld.
Many had declared this audit to have been a partisan effort and to have been an incompetent clown show.
The fact that it discovered nothing new in regard to the result seemed to be poetic justice after the many months consumed by the audit. While Cyber Ninjas raised a number of “issues,” Maricopa County election officials responded to each by explaining that they were normal occurrences in elections and that, had the auditors had any experience, they would have known this.
The bottom line is that the Maricopa County audit has been an embarrassment, both for its incompetence and partisanship.
One would think that leading Republicans would want to distance themselves from any sort of duplication of the Arizona clown show. And yet what we are seeing is the exact opposite.
So Donald Trump announced that the Cyber Ninjas have declared him the winner, one day following the issuance of the report that confirmed his loss. Texas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are now considering follow-up audits.
If this seems counterintuitive, it isn’t.
The Republicans know Donald Trump and they know his base and so casting doubt on elections by pursuing partisan audits makes sense. Should the audits end up producing an “incorrect result” as did the one in Maricopa County, Trump can simply hold a rally and claim the opposite.
As crazy as all of this may seem, it is a part of a plan to restructure the workings of our elections. Keeping the election fraud concept alive through ongoing audits, irrespective of their results, provides a justification for states to make it more difficult to vote, especially for people of color.
But this is only a part of the strategy. Trump supporters will be running in primaries against Republican secretaries of state, like Brad Raffensperger of Georgia, who weren’t sufficiently loyal to Trump. The strategy appears to be for as many states as possible to have Trump loyalists running elections, people who are committed to producing a Republican victory as opposed to running a free and fair election.
On Sept. 26, Rep. Liz Cheney, R -Wyo., was interviewed on “60 Minutes.” She exhibited both courage and integrity, characteristics that are sorely lacking within Trump’s Republican Party.
While I disagree with Rep. Cheney on many policy issues, I agree with her completely in regard to the preservation of our democracy.
She believes that the GOP must save itself by abandoning Trump and his claims of a stolen election. Makes sense to me.