While driving on I-30 towards Dallas over the weekend, one of my staffers saw a rather startling billboard that said, “TRUMP LOST --- NO MORE ‘AUDITS.’” It featured a glum-looking picture of the former President in massive side profile, unattractively hunched over, looking down in disappointment and disgust.
It was one of those brightly-lit, changing billboards, and there wasn’t enough time to read the tiny lettering that showed who had sponsored it. Of course, the first thought when seeing something like this would be that some leftist group had paid for it, maybe some organization with deep pockets filled to overflowing with Soros or Zuckerberg money. Well, it's not a leftist group per se, though I can see how leftists might certainly support it strategically and donate money, and perhaps they have.
It was sponsored by Republicans. Or, more accurately, “Republicans.”
The small print said “PAID FOR BY REPUBLICANS FOR VOTING RIGHTS, A PROJECT OF DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER,” and then gave the photo credit. The billboard first appeared in Times Square, and it’s gigantic.
It’s part of a campaign that will run in all states where Trump is encouraging vote audits. (We haven’t heard anything about anyone calling for an audit in New York, so the huge billboard in Times Square was apparently just to kick off the campaign with a big promotional splash.)
As reported by BUSINESS INSIDER, as of this weekend there were 36 “Trump Lost” billboards across 9 states. There’s a map at the Republicans For Voting Rights website.
“Republicans For Voting Rights is launching a quarter-million dollar billboard campaign across the country to call on state lawmakers to reject frivolous audits of the 2020 election.,” they say on their website. They list Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Virginia in addition to the one in Times Square. In Texas, the one near Dallas is shown, along with other billboards in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. Florida has five of them.
It’s interesting to see that they’re so opposed to audits in states that Trump easily won. The purpose of targeted audits in red states is obviously not to change the electoral outcome in those states, but to identify and address problems in major metropolitan areas such as Houston. Why would real Republicans be against that?
There’s a place on that same page to join the organization, with the headline, “Don’t sit quietly and surrender one of America’s great political parties.” I assume they mean surrender to Republicans who...want transparent elections and more confidence in the system?
On their home page, the group says, “The evidence is clear: Republicans need to reject these fraudits.” Then there are rows of testimonials from members. Here are a few samples:
“They [pro-Trump Republicans] are morally bankrupt on just about any democracy issue. Anything that made this country what it is, they’re doing everything they can to destroy it.” --- Alfred, in Ohio
“Do I stay in the party and fight against Trumpism, or do I just completely go independent? I don’t know, it’s been tough.” --- Lisa, in Ohio
“The Republican Party was founded by a guy named Abe Lincoln --- a guy who wouldn’t want the Proud Boys.” --- Migdalia, in Florida
“The election was secure. The election was safe. The election was honest. Donald Trump is a sore loser.” --- Nitin, in New York
“Anything that the government can do to encourage people to get out and vote is the best possible way.” --- Judy, in Texas
“Another reason why I left the Republican Party is the restriction on voting rights.” --- Julie, in Texas.
“Liz Cheney didn’t really change her beliefs. Everybody else changed theirs.” --- Anna, in Georgia
“If there is any chance of the Republican Party surviving this, it’s going to be because of Cheney and [Illinois Rep. Adam] Kinzinger and people like them.” --- Kim, in Florida
“The Republican Party of Donald Trump is destroying our democratic institutions by telling the Big Lie that the election was rigged.” --- Gary, in Rhode Island.
I could go on with these, but you get the idea. Speaking of Rep. Kinzinger, he’s in the news right now, and he might be sorry that he thought he could trust and work with Democrats.
To Gary in Rhode Island (and, really, all the people on this website expressing similar views), I would suggest picking up a copy of the new book RIGGED, written not by a Proud Boy but by the extremely reasoned Mollie Hemingway of THE FEDERALIST. Her book, which is just out, details all the ways in which the election was hijacked, not just at the ballot box but in the media, by Big Tech, and in the manipulation of a public health crisis to change the rules for voting. We’ll have more on this soon; her book has just arrived.
The people who've joined this group have bought the line that checking the honesty and accuracy of our voting systems is somehow suppressing the vote. Have you heard of even one actual case in which the vote of a qualified voter was suppressed in any way? Me, neither. And would you want that to be happening in our system? No. On the other hand, have you heard of many thousands of ballots being mailed en masse to outdated addresses and collected willy-nilly by partisan vote harvesters and unsupervised drop-boxes with no demonstrable chain of custody? Of course, many cases of this. Are you concerned by the post-election lack of transparency? Yes. Do these problems need to be assessed and reformed so we don’t have to deal with them next time? Absolutely. Every fraudulent vote suppresses someone’s REAL vote.
The director of this ostensibly Republican group is Amanda Carpenter, a political commentator for CNN and the author of “GASLIGHTING AMERICA: Why We Love It When Trump Lies To Us.”
The chairman and founding director of Defending Democracy Together is Bill Kristol; he’s also chairman of the board for the Republican Accountability Project. He is about as much of a conservative Republican as I am a leftist Democrat. He describes President Biden as a "moderate." To give an idea of where his head is, here’s an article he wrote for his publication THE BULWARK this summer.
The great Kurt Schlichter has Kristol's number, along with that of every other pseudo-Republican who actually thinks the way to "save" the GOP from conservatives is to vote Democrat.
“We believe that Republicans in federal, state, and local government should protect the right to vote, protect our election systems from partisan or foreign interference, and help build trust in our democracy,” they say on their site. Funny, I thought that was the very purpose of conducting these audits. Do these people just not get that, or is something else really going on?