Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday predicted that Republican voters will sit out the 2022 and 2024 elections if the GOP doesn’t somehow manage to reverse the results of the election he lost in 2020.
Mr Trump, who was banned from Twitter and Facebook after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol in hopes of stopping Congress from certifying then-President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory, seemed to condition his supporters’ future participation in the democratic process on Republican officials’ endorsement of the lies he now frequently tells about non-existent election fraud in a statement released by his political action committee.
“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ’24,” the former president wrote. “It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do”.
“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.” - President Donald J. Trump pic.twitter.com/eZAPCPIUu1
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) October 13, 2021
No evidence of fraud has emerged to taint Mr Biden’s victory in the more than 11 months that have passed since the election, despite numerous attempts by GOP partisans to conduct so-called forensic audits of results in battleground states. One such undertaking sponsored by Arizona state senate Republicans actually ended up finding more votes for Mr Biden than were counted for him last year.
Despite his administration’s own cybersecurity czar calling the 2020 election the most secure in American history, Mr Trump’s campaign filed roughly 60 lawsuits challenging election results on various grounds in the days after most news organisations declared Mr Biden the apparent winner on 7 November of last year. None of them were successful, and many of the attorneys involved have faced professional sanctions for participating in groundless litigation or making false statements to courts. His former personal attorney — ex-New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani — had his licences to practise law in New York and Washington, DC suspended for making false fraud claims to a Pennsylvania-based federal court.
But there may be some truth to the former president’s prediction. According to reporting in Politico, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell begged Mr Trump’s then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to stop him from spreading conspiracy theories about how Mr Biden was able to become the first Democrat to win Georgia in decades.
Mr McConnell reportedly feared that Mr Trump’s claims of election fraud would dissuade GOP voters from turning out for the 5 January special election that would determine control of the Senate.
After Democratic candidates — now-Senators — Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won both special elections and flipped the Senate to Democratic control in the process, Kentucky-based strategist Scott Jennings told Politico that Mr Trump was responsible for poor turnout in regions of the state where he’d fared well in November.
“That’s on him. He told them their votes didn’t count, and some of them listened,” Mr Jennings said.