In a few weeks, the State of Virginia will hold an election, and I will have to make a decision.
In the past, it would have been no contest. I’d have voted Republican. But now, though Democrat Terry McAuliffe leaves me cold, I will vote for him for governor.
I guess that makes me a single-issue voter.
What is that issue?
Take a quick tour with me of the current Republican Party.
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In the past 12 months, we’ve witnessed true integrity and more than a little courage on the part of some Republicans.
Aaron Van Langevelde was an obscure, 40-year-old lawyer who was serving on the Michigan state board of canvassers in November 2020. The board has four members, two from each party. Facing pressure from MAGA world, the other Republican on the board withheld certification of Michigan’s vote. Van Langevelde stood his ground, saying: “As John Adams once said, we are a government of laws, not men. This board needs to adhere to that principle here today. This board must do its part to uphold the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election.”
Van Langevelde should have been hailed as a hero. Instead, he was booted from his post on the board of canvassers by the Michigan Republican Party. He and his family received death threats and had to request police protection.
Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, should also have become a GOP pin-up. Though harassed and “lightly threatened,” as Rep. Madison Cawthorn might say, by the president of the United States, he refused to lie and cheat.
Raffensperger and his family were forced to move out of their home for a week last November and have continued to receive the ugliest kind of threats even months after the election. One warned that “you and your family will be killed very slowly.”
Did the Georgia delegation rise up in disgust? Did they rally to Raffensperger’s defense?
No. I wish I could say that they were merely silent — though that would have been incriminating enough. But no, both Republican senators for Georgia at the time, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, called on Raffensperger to resign.
Loeffler and Perdue were involuntarily retired in January — who could have guessed that alleging vote rigging isn’t the greatest way to goose turnout? — but they better represent the spirit of the GOP than Raffensperger. At the state party convention in June, Raffensperger was formally censured, and Gov. Brian Kemp was roundly booed. A few months later, Donald Trump found a willing lickspittle to challenge Raffensperger for reelection, Rep. Jody Hice.
Trump is also supporting two other secretary of state candidates in swing states that could determine the outcome of the 2024 election. All Trump-endorsed candidates recite the lie that the 2020 election was fraudulent, that Democrats always cheat and that Trump deserves to be sitting in the Oval Office today.
It’s the same around the nation. In Washington state, nobody’s idea of a Republican stronghold, the local GOP, jazzed by a pillow huckster and inspired by right-wing talk, are looking to mimic Maricopa County’s embarrassing “forensic audit” spectacle. The Ohio Republican Party’s central committee voted in May to censure Rep. Anthony Gonzalez and nine other members because they voted to impeach Trump.
Of course, now that these public servants have learned of Trump’s legal adviser’s six-point plan to overturn the election, they’ve rescinded the censures and investigations of illusory fraud and issued sincere apologies, right?
No, instead Gonzalez has announced that he’s not seeking reelection amid rumors that he and his young family have received threats.
In Nevada, the GOP formally censured the Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske for failing to challenge the election results. In Michigan, the Calhoun County Republican Party censured Rep. Peter Meijer for his impeachment vote. Wyoming’s GOP did the same to Rep. Liz Cheney, and the Arizona GOP did likewise to Gov. Doug Ducey merely for certifying his state’s electoral vote. Cheney was bounced from her leadership position in the House Republican Conference.
The Arizona GOP, of course, is further beclowning itself with the never-ending search for bamboo fibers. In Michigan, the Macomb County GOP censured three Republican state senators whose committee failed to find voter fraud, and the executive director of the state GOP, Jason Roe, was forced to resign after saying: “Frankly, continuing to humor (Trump) merely excuses his role in this. Given how close it was, there is no one to blame but Trump.” In May, more than 500 activists rallied outside GOP headquarters denouncing Roe as a “traitor” and demanding his ouster. They got their pelt.
So, there really is only a single issue I will vote on in 2021 — truth. The Republican Party, in Washington and nationally, has become a conspiracy of liars. As such, it threatens the stability of the republic.
Even a seemingly inoffensive candidate such as Glenn Youngkin has given aid and comfort to this sinister agenda by stressing “election integrity” in his campaign. It doesn’t change a thing to reflect that he’s almost certainly insincere. He stopped talking about it after winning the primary, suggesting that all the “integrity” talk was just a sop to MAGA voters. Still, a victory for him will send a message that the Republican Party is normal again, a party that good people can support.
It’s not. It’s a cult dedicated to lying, rewarding liars and punishing truth tellers. I will not vote for it.
Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the “Beg to Differ” podcast.
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