Sarah Palin gushes for Donald Trump: "We love you"
Sarah Palin gushes for Donald Trump: "We love you"

The Big Lie by Don­ald Trump — his claim that the 2020 elec­tion was “stolen” — has become a lit­mus test for much of the Repub­li­can Par­ty, so much so that more than half of vot­ers in the 2022 midterm elec­tion will see a denier on their ballots.

Even more numer­ous, espe­cial­ly in the Pacif­ic North­west, are Repub­li­cans who have done a duck dive on Trump’s attack on democ­ra­cy or voiced “reser­va­tions” in such a way as to appease the MAGA cult and avoid Trump’s wrath.

They do not present pro­files in pub­lic courage.

Alek Skar­latos was one of three brave Amer­i­can tourists who tack­led and dis­armed an armed ter­ror­ist attack­er in 2015 on a Paris bound train. The trio were hon­ored at the Ely­see Palace with France’s Legion of Hon­or. Now, Skar­latos is run­ning for Con­gress in Oregon’s 4th Dis­trict.  When asked whether he believes the 2020 elec­tion was stolen, Skar­latos respond­ed: “No comment.”

In Wash­ing­ton, U.S. Sen­ate can­di­date Tiffany Smi­ley tried to strad­dle the issue. Until recent­ly, con­sul­tant-craft­ed prose on her web site read: “The 2020 elec­tions raised seri­ous ques­tions about the integri­ty of our elec­tions. I believe that courts have an oblig­a­tion to give all evi­dence of vot­er fraud a fair hearing.”

The web site was recent­ly scrubbed of these words, sup­pos­ed­ly to make room for post­ing Smiley’s plat­form in greater detail.

The squirm­ing hasn’t stopped.

“Tiffany’s posi­tion has always been that Joe Biden is our duly elect­ed pres­i­dent,” a cam­paign rep­re­sen­ta­tive told Axios.

Yet, in a week­end CNN appear­ance, Smi­ley did a dodge when asked by host Dana Bash if Biden won “fair­ly” and “legit­i­mate­ly.”

The North­west has deniers on the bal­lot, most notably U.S. House can­di­date Sarah Palin in Alas­ka and Joe Kent in Wash­ing­ton’s 3rd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, who has charged with­out evi­dence that there was “ram­pant vot­er fraud” in 2020.

Kemp appeared at a Wash­ing­ton, D.C., ral­ly protest­ing “per­se­cu­tion” of those who stormed the U.S. Capi­tol last year.

Elim­i­nat­ed in Washington’s August Top Two elec­tion was Loren Culp, the Trump endorsed chal­lenger to Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan New­house, R‑WA-04. Culp, pre­vi­ous­ly the Repub­li­cans’ nom­i­nee for Gov­er­nor in 2020, has refused to con­cede a race that he lost to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee by a half-mil­lion votes.

Two Repub­li­can gov­er­nors, Alas­ka Gov­er­nor Mike Dun­leavy and Ida­ho Gov­er­nor Brad Lit­tle, joined the 2020 Texas law­suit which sought to over­turn Biden’s vic­to­ry in four bat­tle­ground states. The suit was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Curi­ous­ly, Trump opposed Lit­tle in this year’s Repub­li­can primary.

Dun­leavy kow­towed to the for­mer pres­i­dent. Trump made his endorse­ment of the Alas­ka gov­er­nor con­tin­gent that Dun­leavy not sup­port­ing Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Lisa Murkows­ki, who is seek­ing a new term. Dun­leavy agreed to keep quiet.

Murkows­ki is fac­ing Trump-backed Repub­li­can chal­lenger Kel­ly Tshiba­ka in Novem­ber. (Under ranked choice vot­ing, the top four fin­ish­ers in the August 16th pre­lim­i­nary round made the gen­er­al elec­tion ballot.)

Tshiba­ka has giv­en a wink and a nod to Trump’s attack on democ­ra­cy, say­ing: “We don’t know the out­come of the 2020 election.”

Murkows­ki ful­ly accepts Biden’s vic­to­ry, as does Sen­a­tor Mike Crapo, R‑Idaho. Oregon’s Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Chris­tine Drazan told FiveThir­tyEight this week that Biden won. So did Kim Schri­er’s remain­ing Repub­li­can chal­lenger, Matt Larkin, in an email to FiveThirtyEight.

As men­tioned, one of the ten Repub­li­can House mem­bers who vot­ed to impeach Trump after the Jan­u­ary 6th insur­rec­tion, Dan New­house, sur­vived elim­i­na­tion and accepts Biden’s win. But New­house has bom­bard­ed his Twit­ter fol­low­ers with Repub­li­can talk­ing points to show that he is a loy­al soldier.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, R‑Washington, announced on Jan­u­ary 5th, 2021 that she would sup­port objec­tions to the Elec­toral Col­lege vote count “in states where there have been alle­ga­tions of vot­er fraud.” She back­tracked after thou­sands of Trump sup­port­ers stormed the U.S. Capitol.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher, R‑Idaho, fol­low­ing in Trump’s foot­steps, start­ed ques­tion­ing the 2020 elec­tion even before votes were cast and counted.

He went on Fox & Friends the fate­ful morn­ing of Jan­u­ary 6th, 2021, to say that “tens of mil­lions of peo­ple who want to see action” on elec­toral votes, warn­ing of “a real prob­lem on our hands if we don’t act here.”

Trump’s attacks on our democ­ra­cy notwith­stand­ing, the Repub­li­cans’ biggest most mil­i­tant, extreme voice on a North­west gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot has to be Ore­gon Sen­ate nom­i­nee Jo Rae Perkins. She is a long­time fan of the QAnon con­spir­a­cy cult, even email­ing a mes­sage: “I stand with Q and the team.” It was hasti­ly tak­en down by her con­sul­tant. Jo Rae Perkins is off, but running.

About the author

Joel Connelly is a Northwest Progressive Institute contributor who has reported on multiple presidential campaigns and from many national political conventions. During his career at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, he interviewed Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush. He has covered Canada from Trudeau to Trudeau, written about the fiscal meltdown of the nuclear energy obsessed WPPSS consortium (pronounced "Whoops") and public lands battles dating back to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

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