Analysis: Trump taints Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary with new fraudulent lies

In a state that could be key to controlling the US Senate, top Republicans fear Mastriano could bring down the party’s Senate nominee, while Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro is already shaping the race by warning the state could fall between the clutches of a dangerous extremist.

Why it’s important for Trump to live up to his old tricks

Trump is bursting into the Senate race in Pennsylvania because there is still a chance that Oz, which he endorsed last month, will lose to the candidate the ex-president rejected, the former director of the McCormick hedge fund, when all the votes are counted.

He is frustrated that Oz has to wait for the tally of absentee ballots and deferred votes counted in person. These votes are just as valid as any in-person vote. But Trump is running the same corrupt playbook he used nearly two years ago to falsely claim he won a second term.

“Dr. Oz should declare victory. It’s much harder for them to cheat with the ballots they just found,” Trump wrote on his ironically named “Truth Social” social media network on Wednesday. The ex-president claimed Keystone State’s election was a “MESS,” making the same kind of baseless claims he brought up after losing to President Joe Biden.

Americans keen to leave the former president might wonder why what Trump wrote on a social media platform with a much smaller reach than Twitter, from which he was banned after the January 6, 2021, uprising for incitement to violence, is important.

But Trump’s push on Oz, which had a lead of less than 1,300 votes out of 1.3 million voters Wednesday night, represents yet another attempt to smear the integrity of American democracy simply because it does not give the result he wants. If the former president was settled in his retirement on the fairways and greens of Florida, his dive into the Pennsylvania election wouldn’t be so consequential. But everything indicates that Trump intends to be a major player in the November midterm elections as the launching pad for a bid to win the White House in 2024.

It proves that although he left Washington in disgrace after launching a campaign of lies designed to overturn his electoral defeat, which resulted in an insurrection, he would have no qualms about doing it again. Trump has shown his power over his supporters since 2020: his fraudulent lies are now believed by millions, while many GOP candidates this year have made it part of their campaign message. But this new example of meddling in Pennsylvania isn’t history — it’s an active effort to delegitimize an election. And if Oz loses, it could seriously delegitimize McCormick’s victory among die-hard pro-Trump voters.

Wait, so this Pennsylvania election wasn't fraudulent?

Trump’s lie puts intense pressure on Oz and McCormick to end their race with grace and for the loser to accept the result – as the candidates have done in America for nearly 250 years – in order to preserve the faith. in US elections. Whichever comes out on top, a recount could be automatically triggered if the margin is narrow enough.

Oz has so far failed to take Trump’s advice and claim victory, appearing to trust the electoral system in a state the ex-president called corrupt two years ago. Aides to McCormick, who has previously cast doubt on electoral integrity in the state, argue that uncounted mail-in ballots — the very exceptional votes Trump falsely claimed in 2020 were evidence of fraud — the will place above.

Republicans fear Mastriano could hurt Senate chances

Another Republican candidate from Pennsylvania who suddenly has no problem with Pennsylvania’s electoral system is Mastriano. A cynic might conclude it’s because it got him a big win.

But his victory in the governor’s primary means an outright 2020 election denier is now one step away from power in one of the nation’s most contested swing states. Mastriano has publicly stated that the 2020 vote has been compromised and that the state legislature has the power to name a new list of voters, in defiance of voters, to send to Washington. His victory is therefore already ringing the alarm bells in Washington.

Republicans warn Trump-backed Mastriano of false election claims and visual impact on Senate race

Add to that the fact that as governor, Mastriano would have the power to appoint a secretary of state who would run the Commonwealth elections in 2024. Mastriano also got a belated endorsement from Trump, which could be on the ballot. in the next presidential election. This confluence of threats to the state’s democracy prompted Shapiro, the current state attorney general and his opponent in the fall, to call Mastriano a “dangerous extremist.”

And some GOP senators in Washington, salivating at the thought of winning back their chambers in November, are worried.

“I don’t think 2020 is what people are going to want to think about,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told CNN’s Manu Raju on Wednesday. The reaction of GOP Senate Whip John Thune was a considerable understatement. The South Dakota Republican said some of Mastriano’s statements “are not ideal.”

The fear among Republicans is that Mastriano is so radical that he couldn’t just emulate Trump in trashing Pennsylvania’s electoral system. He could also lose badly statewide by stocking up on moderate suburban voters, just like Trump did. It could also brand the eventual GOP Senate nominee for a seat that could decide the fate of the chamber.

Coin is banking on the fact that this will not happen.

“I think people hopefully when it comes to the fall elections are very discerning and will be able to differentiate the gubernatorial candidate from the senate candidate,” he told Raju. .

For Trump, however, the math is simple. He backs candidates who strongly support him — and who have paid the price for his endorsement by amplifying his lies about voter fraud.

However, Tuesday’s election results, like other primaries this year, held a lesson for the former president, if he was willing to learn it. Whether he endorsed them or not, the candidates almost all ran on Trumpism – the populist “America First” nationalism that now dominates the base of the Republican Party.

If Trump forgot 2020 and focused on that message — and worked exclusively to highlight President Joe Biden’s vulnerabilities, including runaway inflation and high gas prices that helped send Wall Street into a 1,000 points on Wednesday – he could significantly boost his hopes of a new term in the White House.

But that would force him to do something unthinkable: admit he lost.

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