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Wed Oct 6, 2021, 02:49 PM

Glenn Youngkin reminds Virginians: The GOP is out to delegitimize elections


Virginia’s Republican nominee for governor, Glenn Youngkin, makes no bones about his desire to discredit elections with vague allegations of fraud and unprovable suspicions about election machinery. He’s following the examples of former president Donald Trump, Republican candidate Larry Elder in California’s recall campaign and the fake election auditors in Arizona, who all trotted out the “big lie” of stolen elections (sometimes even before people voted!), driving the MAGA base into new bouts of rage and giving fodder to those who see violence as a permissible means of clinging to power.

“I think we need to make sure that people trust these voting machines,” Youngkin said ominously at a virtual forum with the Richmond Crusade for Voters on Monday. But Virginia already conducted a post-election audit, a fact Youngkin either did not know or was willing to conceal to fan the flames of doubt about the election. This heralds back to Youngkin’s first major policy proposal — one he has had to downplay lately — for an “election integrity task force.”

His opponent, former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, bashed Youngkin earlier in the campaign and reminded voters that Youngkin’s effort to sow doubt about the election came straight from the Trump playbook. The Post reported, “Youngkin made the issue the centerpiece of his campaign as he pursued the GOP nomination this year, hoping to court Republicans who agreed with former president Donald Trump’s unfounded claim that Democrats stole the 2020 election.” In July, McAuliffe called on Youngkin to drop out of a GOP “election integrity” rally, which a former GOP congressman dubbed a "conspiracy-palooza.”

Now Youngkin is back at it, winking and nodding to the MAGA base while avoiding the direct allegation that the 2020 election was stolen. He is trying to keep his supporters fired up and Trump on board without tipping his hand to the general electorate by overtly embracing the election conspiracy theories. Should he lose, expect his base to jump on the election “integrity” bandwagon and carry the “big lie” banner to Richmond, wreaking havoc on Virginia politics just as Trump did on a national level.

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