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More than the vote count will be decided Tuesday

November 4,  2022

By Mike Weland

Tuesday's election will tell us far more than vote counts and who will be selected to positions of public service and trust. It will also tell us if there is to be a future for democracy in our nation. Not by the vote, but by the reaction in the days following by both candidates and voters for whom the vote didn't go as well as expected, those who, when asked if they'll accept the results of their election, insist without a trace of shame, "I’m going to win the election, and I will accept that result.”

All candidates have the right to challenge the results and request a recount, especially in close races. That goes without saying.

But I suspect the reaction to this mid-term election will be different, a continuation and expansion of the MAGA contention that the presidential election of 2020 was stolen from former president Donald J. Trump, a contention tested multiple times and found to be without merit in every legally available venue, but pushed relentlessly by Trump himself and expounded loudly by Trump's lackeys and the right-wing media and fervently believed by not only Trump loyalists and the new brand of "conservative" Republicans, but by an estimated 30-percent of all Americans, mostly Republican.

And on a majority of U.S ballots, an estimated 60-percent, there will be at least one election denier running for office. At the state level, Idahoans will have three; Governor Brad Little, Congressman Russ Fulcher and attorney general candidate Raul Labrador. There are more running in nearly every county in the state.

Following Trump's lead, I predict that more than a few losing candidates, most if not all of them Republican, will simply refuse to accept the election results, even knowing full well that the results are legitimate. Recounts will be demanded, court challenges filed and we will hear, over and over, many of the same stale and thoroughly debunked lies as to how the alleged fraud is perpetrated; voting machines manipulated, ballots improperly counted, counting unlawful ballots, procedural errors, mules schlepping ballots hither and yon under cover of darkness, tampering dead dictators, et al. Most of the claims were raised in courts across the nation, every one of which found the allegations without merit, but the most blatant and outlandish aired only in the court of public opinion.

To date, not a shred of evidence or legal proof has been offered to back these allegations, yet across the nation, the majority of Republican voters say they don't trust the election. Poll watchers, mostly Republican, most believers in the big lie, are being trained to look for fraud that doesn't exist. Some plan to watch voters closely while armed and in tactical gear. In some counties, uniformed sheriff's deputies will be posted at polling sites to look for fraud and those whom they suspect perpetrated it.

Such scrutiny will not ease concerns, but will instead by intimidation hinder the right of every qualified voter to freely and without coercion cast a ballot for the candidates of their choice. To the benefit, of course, of MAGA Republicans.

The foundation, the bedrock, of our democracy is trust in our elections. Without that trust, we are no longer a democratic republic, but an autocracy. Most recognize this. Most of those who work our elections, whether elected, appointed or volunteer, see their work as a solemn trust, a patriotic duty. Especially the poll workers, many of them retirees with a penchant for serving their communities. If they saw or suspected fraud, there is little doubt that among them would be first to sound the alarm.

If there were rampant fraud, I dare say that nigh every clerk and court in every county across the land would do everything in their power to eliminate it and hold the perpetrators, foreign or domestic, to account. Nigh every legitimate news reporter in every news room in the land would vie for the scoop.

Allegations without evidence do not a crime make, but allegations pushed falsely by prominent people whose contentions are trumpeted as gospel by a sympathetic and pervasive media that profess to be news do raise concerns among those exposed to the propaganda. In some, it raises indignant but unfounded anger, and among those are people who will act on that anger. Participate in an insurrection, attack the elderly husband of the U.S. Speaker of the House with a hammer.

If, as I expect, Donald Trump's big lie snowballs in the wake of Tuesday's midterm elections, such attacks will become more frequent and more violent. If, as I suspect, many of the election deniers do get elected Tuesday, our vote, our greatest right and most essential obligation as citizens of these United States, will come to hold little value, our elections made a sham on the basis of a big lie of the only U.S. President to ever not accept the will of the people he served, as expressed by their vote.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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