Trump's Big Lie Can Help Republicans Win-- But Only Republicans That Don't Need The Help

Lying about the 2020 election is very popular in some parts of the country. Here, for example, are 19 districts where candidates absolutely must back the Big Lie. These are all incredibly politically backward districts where even if every independent and every Democrat banded together, the Republican would still win. The district, the incumbent and Trump's percentage of the vote last year.

  • AL-04 (Robert Aderholt) 81.2

  • KY-05 (Hal Rogers) 80.2

  • TX-13 (Ronny Jackson) 79.2

  • TX-22 (August Pfuger) 79.1

  • MO-08 (Jason Smith) 77.3

  • GA-09 (Andrew Clyde) 76.4

  • OK-02 (Markwayne Mullin) 76.1

  • NE-03 (Adrian Smith) 75.6

  • TX-04 (Pat Fallon) 74.4

  • GA-14 (Marjorie Taylor Greene) 73.4

  • WV-04 (Carol Miller) 73.1

  • TN-06 (John Rose) 72.7

  • IL-15 (Mary Miller) 72.2

  • OH-06 (Bill Johnson) 72.2

  • TX-36 (Brian Babin) 71.9

  • TX-01 (Louie Gohmert) 71.6

  • PA-15 (Glenn Thompson) 71.2

  • VA-09 (Morgan Griffith) 70.4

  • WY-AL (Liz Cheney) 70.4

The polar opposite of those districts are the ones where Republican incumbents need to do very well with independent voters in order to be reelected. Pushing the Big Lie could be a political death sentence-- at least after primary season is over (Members who voted for impeachment are bolded):

  • CA-21 (David Valadao) 43.5

  • CA-25 (Mike Garcia) 43.9

  • CA-39 (Young Kim) 44.0

  • NY-24 (John Katko) 44.4

  • NE-02 (Don Bacon) 45.7

  • TX-24 (Beth Van Duyne) 46.5

  • PA-01 (Brian Fitzpatrick) 46.6

  • FL-27 (Maria Elvira Salazar) 48.1

  • CA-48 (Michelle Steel) 48.3

  • MO-02 (Ann Wagner) 49.2

  • TX-03 (Van Taylor) 49.8

  • TX-22 (Troy Nehls) 49.8

  • TX-02 (Dan Crenshaw) 49.9

  • TX-10 (Michael McCaul) 50.0

  • IN-05 (Victoria Spartz) 50.1

  • TX-23 (Tony Gonzales) 50.3

  • TX-31 (John Carter) 50.4

  • IL-13 (Rodney Davis) 50.5

  • TX-21 (Chip Roy) 50.6

  • MI-03 (Peter Meijer) 50.7

  • PA-10 (Scott Perry) 50.7

  • IA-01 (Ashley Hinson) 50.8

  • NJ-02 (Jeff Van Drew) 50.8

  • OH-01 (Steve Chabot) 50.9

  • WA-03 (Jaime Herrera Beutler) 50.6

  • IA-02 (Mariannette Miller-Meeks) 51.1

  • MI-06 (Fred Upton) 51.3

  • AZ-06 (David Schweikert) 51.4

  • NY-02 (Andrew Garbarino) 51.4

  • VA-01 (Rob Wittman) 51.4

  • OH-10 (Mike Turner) 51.4

  • OK-05 (Stephanie Bice) 51.4

  • NY-01 (Lee Zeldin) 51.5

  • CO-03 (Lauren Boebert) 51.6

  • CA-22 (Devin Nunes) 51.7

  • SC-01 (Nancy Mace) 52.1

  • OH-12 (Troy Balderson) 52.2

  • UT-04 (Burgess Owens) 52.4

  • FL-26 (Carlos Giménez) 52.5

  • NC-08 (Richard Hudson) 52.5

  • CA-42 (Ken Calvert) 52.7

  • CA-50 (Darrell Issa) 52.7

  • WA-04 (Cathy McMorris Rogers) 53.0

  • AK-AL (Don Young) 53.1

  • AR-02 (French Hill) 53.1

Most of the members on the list immediately above keep their fealty to Trump on the down low-- although ready to whip out in case of a primary... exceptions being the 5 who voted to impeach him and then the ones who are inexorably tied to his regime, like Devin Nunes and Lee Zeldin.

Yesterday afternoon Washington Post reporters Michael Kranish, Marianna Sotomayor and Jacqueline Alemany wrote that the GOP's "contorted response to Donald Trump’s false claim that the election was stolen was on stark display as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stood in the White House driveway. McCarthy (R-CA) had helped engineer the ouster Wednesday of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as the No. 3 House Republican leader for saying former president Trump’s claim of a stolen election was a lie. Yet he insisted later that day, 'I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election.' In fact, the majority of Republicans-- spurred on by Trump and party leaders who for months have been spreading falsehoods and sowing doubts-- say in polls that they still question the legitimacy of the election. Trump has continued to spread his lie, writing on his blog on Tuesday that he lost in 'an election rigged and stolen from us.' While many Republican members of Congress have acknowledged the reality of Joe Biden’s ascension to the White House, a number still twist themselves into political knots to avoid saying he did so fairly."

The result is that, as the week’s events dramatically unfolded, Republicans are still embracing, or at least tolerating, falsehoods about the election, setting it as a red line for those who want prominence in what essentially remains Trump’s party. Party leaders say they want to focus on the future and not re-litigate the election, but their allegiance to Trump means they can’t get away from his focus on the past.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who on Friday was elected to replace Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference, ascended to her position only after spreading some of Trump’s false claims about the election. Although her voting record is more moderate than Cheney’s, she made clear that the ultimate test was loyalty to Trump, whom she called “the leader” of the party base.
Cheney, in turn, is using her ouster-- and a suddenly bigger megaphone-- to highlight what she considers to be the hypocrisy of the party’s positions. “We have to get people to vote for us, and we can’t do that if we are a party that’s based on a foundation of lies,” she said on Fox News. “I think what the former president is doing is dangerous.”
That put renewed focus on the question of whether the rank-and-file agree with Trump on his continuing claim that the election was stolen. When the Washington Post asked a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill whether they agreed with McCarthy’s statement that no one questioned Biden’s legitimacy, the response was sometimes obtuse and indirect.
...Republicans stoked the questions about the legitimacy of the election despite the fact that more than 90 judges and courts rejected lawsuits seeking to overturn the outcome, and Trump’s attorney general, William P. Barr, found that there was no widespread fraud. Trump’s insistence that the election was stolen incited a mob of insurrectionists to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Despite the lack of evidence, 139 Republican House members, including McCarthy, voted to challenge election results.
Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) said he would vote “100 times” to contest the certification of the election “because I feel very strongly that what happened in the state of Georgia and Pennsylvania and in Arizona was wrong.” He applauded Georgia for passing an election law that Republicans said will make voting more secure but which Democrats said will make it harder for minorities to vote.
The continuing claim by Republicans that some states violated their laws in expanding ballot access may have helped foster the belief among many in the party’s base that the election was stolen.
A CNN poll released in April found that 70 percent of Republicans said that Biden did not legitimately win enough votes to be elected. The survey found a deep split between party members about election security, with 76 percent of Democrats saying it was too hard to vote, while 87 percent of Republicans said the rules weren’t strict enough.
Geoff Kabaservice, who chronicled the transformation of the GOP in his 2012 book, Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, said in an interview that party members are clinging to Trump’s false claims about the election to protect their own reelection.

“These people are afraid of their base,” Kabaservice said. “They know that if they actually come out and forthrightly tell these 70 percent of Republicans who believe Joe Biden did not legitimately win the election, that the base will turn against them, that they’ll end up with a primary challenge, Trump himself will get involved and they’ll lose and they’ll be out of politics.”
Even McCarthy, as the leader of House Republicans, feels compelled to deliver conflicting message out of self-preservation, Kabaservice said.
“He can say one thing, either behind closed doors or to reporters in a place like Washington. But he’s not going to go out on the road with Trump and say everyone acknowledges that Joe Biden is a legitimate president. He’s not going to do it. People don’t want to stand up against Trump on this issue.”
... I don’t think we can have an honest reckoning about how to expand the party and win presidential elections in the future without acknowledging that he lost and how,” said Michael Steel, a former aide to former House speaker John A. Boehner, a Republican from Ohio. Steel now represents Dominion Voting Systems, which has taken legal action against Fox News and Trump lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, denying that the company was involved in voting fraud.
...Some Republican members of Congress have continued to stoke the idea that Biden lost. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said at a rally that Trump is “my president… Do you guys really think [Biden] won?”
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R.-NY), asked in an interview with The Post what she thought about Cheney’s statement that it is a lie to say the election was stolen, responded: “I think there are a lot of irregularities and questions that need to be answered. I don’t know why anybody would reject an audit. We need to go back and look at whether or not things were done properly, why rules were changed at the last minute.”
Tenney said she has concerns about voting problems because “I lived it,” referring to the fact that her election was not certified until a judge’s ruling in February that she won by 109 votes.