By Robert Reich
Starting tomorrow, we’ll learn more about Trump’s moves in the days and weeks preceding the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol — including, presumably, his demand to Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, that Raffensperger “find the votes” to put Trump over the top in that state. As we know, Raffensperger refused. And notwithstanding Trump’s recent vindictive campaign to get Georgia voters to remove him, Raffensperger remains secretary of state there.
But I’ve been following, with some trepidation, election-denying candidates for secretaries of state who are gaining ground in other battleground where relatively small numbers of ballots have decided presidential victories, and where secretaries of state have a big role in determining which ballots are counted. These election-denying candidates are part of the so-called “America First” slate that falsely claims the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.
In Michigan, Kristina Karamo, who gained prominence challenging the 2020 results there, won the Republican Party’s endorsement at an April convention, all but securing her nomination in August. In Nevada, Jim Marchant, one of the organizers of the America First slate, won the endorsement of the central committee of the Nevada Republican Party, giving him a significant boost before Nevada voters go to the polls next week. In Arizona, the group’s candidate, Mark Finchem, has become the top fund-raiser in the primary race there.
In Pennsylvania, where the governor appoints the secretary of state, State Senator Doug Mastriano, also aligned with this group, easily won his primary for governor last month. Mastriano was involved in an effort to keep the state’s electoral votes from President Biden in 2020. He has said he wants to cancel all voter registrations and force voters to re-register.
Should we be concerned about the rise of Trumpian election deniers in races for secretaries of state, and, if so, what’s the best way of responding?