Don’t count on to study the outcomes of this yr’s midterm contests on election evening.
Simply as in 2020, we’re in for a drawn-out election week, adopted by election month — and even months.
One cause is the recognition of mail-in ballots and the infuriating oddity that some states wait till all of the polls are closed to start counting them.
However this yr’s outcomes are additionally more likely to be delayed by a pernicious follow: election denialism amongst Republican candidates loyal to former President Trump.
For them, it’s not sufficient to endorse Trump’s baseless insistence that he was the actual winner of the 2020 presidential election — a bogus declare that has grow to be a tenet of GOP religion.
Some election deniers sound able to emulate their exiled chief in the event that they, too, come up quick.
When reporters ask these candidates whether or not they’ll settle for the outcomes in the event that they lose, they evade or obfuscate.
“I sure hope I can,” stated Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who’s in a good race for reelection. “But I can’t predict what the Democrats might have planned,” he added, suggesting they could strive “to make it easier to cheat.”
That’s not precisely a “yes.”
Kari Lake, the Trump-backed candidate for governor of Arizona, added a Trump-style caveat.
“I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result,” she stated.
Arizona secretary of state candidate Mark Finchem was extra direct: “Ain’t going to be no concession speech coming from this guy.”
On one stage, it seems that all of those candidates are merely modeling themselves after Trump, who refused to decide to accepting election leads to 2016 and 2020. (He ultimately accepted the 2016 end result, which he received, however nonetheless insisted that the vote had been rigged towards him.)
However their preemptive refusals additionally put together the way in which for a blizzard of postelection challenges within the courts — which is, in fact, each candidate’s authorized proper. GOP officers, leaving nothing to likelihood, say they’ve already recruited extra election legal professionals than ever earlier than.
After the 2020 election, Trump and his legal professionals filed greater than 60 lawsuits to attempt to overturn the outcomes — and misplaced all however one.
This time, the political local weather might affect the outcomes, UC Irvine regulation professor Richard L. Hasen worries.
“Pressure may come to bear on state judges and state supreme court justices, many of whom are elected officials and know that the Republican base is full of election deniers,” Hasen wrote within the Atlantic final week.
One other election knowledgeable, Rachel Orey of the Bipartisan Coverage Heart assume tank, worries a few totally different situation: GOP-dominated election boards on the county or state stage might merely refuse to certify outcomes they don’t like.
That occurred in New Mexico and Pennsylvania after this yr’s main elections, though state supreme courts reversed the boards’ actions.
“That’s what’s keeping me up at night,” Orey stated. “Certification has traditionally been a routine step … but that part of the process is now being abused by partisan actors to disrupt and delay.”
Not all Republicans have refused to say they’d settle for defeat. Senate candidates Herschel Walker in Georgia and Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania have each stated they’d settle for the voters’ verdict.
In Colorado, GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea stated not solely that he would take defeat like a grown-up, however that Trump ought to, too.
“We’ve become a nation of whiners and crybabies,” he stated in a written assertion. “Donald Trump still can’t admit he lost.”
He added, for good measure, that he hopes Trump doesn’t win the GOP presidential nomination if he decides to run in 2024.
That earned him a blast from Trump, who referred to as him a “RINO” — Republican in Title Solely.
“MAGA doesn’t Vote for stupid people with big mouths,” the previous president wrote on his social media outlet, utilizing an abbreviation for his “Make America Great Again” motion.
O’Dea’s marketing campaign supervisor, Zack Roday, stated the candidate remains to be taking warmth from Trump loyalists.
“He definitely gets pulled aside and read the riot act,” Roday instructed me. “But Joe’s a good listener.”
Republicans who concede their races danger being derided as RINOs, whereas those that problem the outcomes, even when there’s no credible proof of fraud, could also be rewarded by their get together.
And that’s harmful, Orey warns.
“The incentives are misaligned. Trump taught candidates that election denialism is [an] effective fundraising and campaign tactic,” Orey stated. “Candidates who refuse to accept election results with no evidence are putting temporary political gain above the future of American democracy.”