Opinion: Beware of the election denier playbook

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With democracy on the line thanks to Trump and the Republican Party, it is imperative that voters recognize and understand what is at stake during these midterms.

By Brad Woodhouse

There is less than a week until Election Day, and early voting is underway in many places. Instead of encouraging people everywhere to vote, Trump Republicans are following the "election denier playbook." They ultimately want to declare themselves the winners no matter what the voters decide and even incite more violence to get their way.

Since the 2020 election, Trump and Trump Republicans have constantly pushed the conspiracy theory that President Joe Biden's election was fraudulent and that the American people can no longer trust their institutions. They continue to back the criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election (for which they are being investigated by the Justice Department, state prosecutors, and, in Georgia, a grand jury). They used this distrust of our democratic institutions to incite violent attacks on election officials and political opponents, including the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In this election, they are harassing nonpartisan and experienced poll workers, inundating election offices with frivolous records requests in order to disrupt their work, and threatening violence against election officials and their families so much that election workers have quit in droves. They are using their own poll watchers to infiltrate local election offices, cast doubt on votes, and sow chaos at voting sites. They knowingly make false claims about election security to limit mail-in voting, ballot drop boxes, and longer early voting periods and to cancel tens of thousands of voter registrations in key states, all actions that could fundamentally change the way we access our right to vote — and not for the better.

Trump-like Republican candidates have refused to say they will honor the results of the 2022 elections. They are casting doubt on election outcomes before votes are even cast.

When Trump Republicans lose, rather than accepting defeat and following the procedures of our democracy, they use crooked tactics to disrupt the process. They will stop at nothing to gain power and manipulate elections for their own gain.

With midterm elections just around the corner, these MAGA Republicans have a chance to win many of their elections, become a majority of elected officials in Congress and across the country, and gain the power to pursue a deeply radical agenda that would take our country backward.

They've already taken away our right to abortion care — for women to decide what happens with their own bodies and when and how to have children. They've charted a plan to take away more of our rights and freedoms.

They will take away the Medicare and Social Security benefits working people have earned and rely on, ban Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices, take away the right to marry who we love, and pass a nationwide abortion ban.

In addition to these attacks on our freedoms, they have also vowed to launch politically motivated investigations into President Biden, his Cabinet, and his family, and plan on raising taxes on working people while giving kickbacks to giant corporations and the rich.

Voting against Trump Republicans at the polls in this upcoming election is no longer merely a political choice. It is imperative for America's social and economic well-being.

To protect our most basic freedom — to cast our ballots and have them counted; to decide who governs in our name — Americans must beware of the election denier playbook. They must reject the lies and falsehoods being spread, and make sure they vote.

The majority of Americans already reject MAGA Republicans' false claims about our elections and are prepared to vote against those who undermine our democracy. Voters across the country agree that they will vote against candidates who want to take away people's right to vote, who try to pick their voters, or who knowingly make false claims about the 2020 election.

In a poll done by Public Policy Polling, 72% of voters say politicians overturning election results when they don't win is a major threat. Also, 69% of voters say politicians who lie and spread conspiracies to undermine election results are a major threat.

In order to protect the freedoms we value the most, Americans must come together and stop Trump Republicans once and for all. Voters believe the threat that Trumpist politicians will lie about election results when they don't win and the threat of those who lie and spread conspiracy theories to undermine elections. By sounding the alarm to make people aware of these threats — and stressing the need to vote and ensure people that their votes will be counted — together we can stop them.

Brad Woodhouse is the co-chair of Defend Democracy Project. He previously served as
president of Correct the Record, American Bridge 21st Century, and Americans United for
Change.