The cynical move by Republican legislators to call for an investigation of electoral integrity in Montana – a state their party swept in 2020, and one that Trump carried by ridiculous margins in both 2016 and 2020 – rings hollow with anyone who has been paying attention. It also received far too prominent billing in the state’s news media.
The real purpose of this national Republican strategy is to undermine people’s confidence in elections, and in democracy itself. It is an extension of Trump’s “Big Lie,” that the election was stolen from him through chicanery – even though other Republicans on the same ballots won handily in many jurisdictions. If Republicans can cast doubt on the validity of elections, they can refuse to accept the verdict whenever they lose, and they can destroy the core principle of democracy: free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power. Thus the repetition of the Arizona circus in other states controlled by Republicans.
Why do these people who are too quick to admire Putin in Russia and Orban in Hungary, wish to push aside real democracy for a hybrid authoritarian/theocratic government dressed in democratic language? Because they are scared spineless by the demography of the future which, if unchecked, would make a continuing minority of a party that insists on being essentially white and Christian (evangelical brand), and is hostile to the tools of progress, enlightenment and civilization: science, higher education, reason, equal opportunity and a Jesuit appreciation for the dignity of all human beings.
Thus, rather than pursuing electoral integrity, they work to rig the system themselves through voter suppression and partisan veto of election results. And they are running out of time. Thus the panic to enact an anti-democracy agenda. Pretending to work for election integrity is the perfect camouflage for those working to rig the system on behalf of perpetual control by a white minority in thrall to wealthy donors and a religious arm of Christian nationalists set on controlling education and establishing the rules for personal and social life.
Will enough people catch on to this? Not unless the news media catch on first.
Lawrence K. Pettit