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With Macron's win in France, we see why Trump and friends continue to spew election lies

·5 min read
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In France, President Emmanuel Macron was reelected, soundly beating far right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen.

In Slovenia, far-right Prime Minister Janez Jansa, a conspiracy-theory-touting, Donald-Trump-supporting leader, was defeated by the environmentalist Freedom Movement party.

Here in the United States, in Georgia, far-right Republican gubernatorial candidate David Perdue started off the primary debate in Atlanta by saying this: “Folks, let me be very clear tonight. The election in 2020 was rigged and stolen.”

All of this happened Sunday, and if you’re wondering what elections in France and Slovenia have to do with Georgia's governor race, it’s simple: The Trumpian far right in American knows that to win, it has to cheat. It has to lie and tear down trust in democratic processes. It has to convince people that the only legitimate electoral outcome is one in which a far-right Republican candidate wins.

Voters are rejecting the far right

Voters in France and Slovenia said no to candidates who pushed anti-immigrant rhetoric and attacked democratic norms. In 2020, voters in America, after four years of watching President Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, attacks on immigrants and the media, and seemingly endless lies, said no to him.

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So he claimed the election he lost by more than 7 million votes was rigged. Stolen. And he has repeated that lie incessantly since leaving office, all but requiring Republican candidates who seek his endorsement to parrot the same nonsense with religious fervor.

He does this because he knows he can’t win legitimately. Globally, we’ve seen a rise of far-right populism, but with the French and Slovenian elections, we’re seeing a predictable pushback by majorities who know veiled fascism when they see it and want it stomped out.

GOP taken over by far-right figures

Here, a Republican Party taken over by anti-democratic figures like Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – a party that described the domestic terrorists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” – shows us every day its only path to victory involves suppressing votes and promoting distrust in the electoral system.

Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

In Florida last week, supine Republican legislators signed off on a redistricting map they allowed DeSantis’ aides to draw, one that, according to The Washington Post, gives Republicans the chance to capture as many as four new congressional seats and “erases a seat held by a Black Democrat.”

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In Michigan over the weekend, the state Republican Party endorsed candidates for attorney general and secretary of state. Both candidates leveraged the lie that the 2020 election was stolen to gain Trump’s support and, in turn, the support of their party.

Matt DePerno, the attorney general candidate, filed a lawsuit challenging election results in northern Michigan. Last week, a Michigan Court of Appeals panel swiftly shot the lawsuit down, writing that the suit “merely raised a series of questions about the election without making any specific factual allegations as required” and “failed to disclose sufficient facts and grounds and sufficient apparent merit to justify further inquiry.”

'Michigan cannot be stolen'

Speaking about DePerno at a recent rally, Trump said: “This choice is not just about 2022. This is about ensuring the state of Michigan cannot be stolen from Republicans in 2024 or ever again. Matt will stop it.”

The only true victory must be a Republican victory.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., addresses a campaign rally on Dec. 21, 2020, in Milton, Ga.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., addresses a campaign rally on Dec. 21, 2020, in Milton, Ga.

The candidate for secretary of state, Kristina Karamo, is a community college professor who has never run for state office and rose to right-wing fame by falsely claiming she witnessed voter fraud in Detroit.

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Along with her unflagging belief that Trump won the 2020 election, Karamo is a far-right-talking-point machine, saying, “There is no such thing as a person with two mommies and two daddies” and describing public schools like this: “That's what our schools have turned into – government indoctrination camps. And you're forced to have your child be exposed to types of unbridled wickedness that these Democrats and liberals want to teach your child.”

Election deniers on ballots everywhere

Across the country, election deniers are on the ballot for secretaries of state:

►Jim Marchant in Nevada has claimed the election was stolen.

►Wisconsin candidate Jay Schroeder has called for the state’s 2020 electors to be rescinded.

►In Arizona, Trump-endorsed candidate Mark Finchem, a Republican legislator, introduced a resolution to decertify the election in three of the state’s counties based on nonsensical allegations of voter fraud, the same allegations undergirding partisan election "audits" that were conducted or proposed in other states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas and Pennsylvania.

The list goes on and on. There are candidates being put in place so the electoral coup Trump attempted to pull off in the wake of the 2020 election stands a better chance of succeeding next time around.

Screens displaying a televised debate between French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in April 2022.
Screens displaying a televised debate between French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in April 2022.

If a political party is confident in its message, believes voters will approve of its policies and feels it’s putting forth strong candidates, that party doesn’t populate key state electoral positions with conspiracy-addled kooks or bend over backward to make it harder for people to vote.

That only happens when a political party is afraid it will lose power.

France and Slovenia give Republicans good reason to be afraid.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

You can read diverse opinions from our Board of Contributors and other writers on the Opinion front page, on Twitter @usatodayopinion and in our daily Opinion newsletter. To respond to a column, submit a comment to letters@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Macron's win in France shows why Trump's election lies persist