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Juan Williams: GOP’s extremism could fuel ‘Blue Wave’ in 2024

Former President Trump talks with people on election night
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
Former President Trump talks with people on election night at Mar-a-lago in Palm Beach, Fla.

You are now warned.

Next year there will be even more Republicans in Congress who deny that President Biden won the last presidential election.

Yes, there will be more 2020 election deniers on Capitol Hill than the current 139 in the House and 8 in the Senate. 

Almost half of voters in the midterm elections, 44 percent, told Fox News Voter Analysis that their top concern is the threat to democracy.

That high level of fear for American democracy is second only to the 51 percent of voters who labeled inflation their prime concern. 

The threat to democracy is a bigger fright for voters than the 24 percent of voters who said the most important factor shaping their vote was the Supreme Court’s June decision overturning the right to have an abortion.

One cause of the alarm over the future of democracy is the nearly 300 midterm candidates who campaigned for House, Senate or key statewide offices as “election deniers.” Those candidates have “denied or questioned the outcome” of the 2020 presidential election, according to a survey by The Washington Post.

On the campaign trail, many of those Republicans pledged to use their position to stop any Democrat from winning the next presidential election. 

The growing presence of election deniers in Congress is evidence that the threat to free and fair elections did not end with the GOP’s failure to get a “red wave” of Republican wins last week. 

Voters who viewed the threat to the foundation of American democracy as their single most important issue voted about 60 percent for Democrats, according to the Fox analysis.

And if former President Trump, the man who started the “Big Lie” of election fraud, is back on the presidential ballot in 2024, the threat from those lies will continue to grow larger.

Trump remains for now the most likely Republican nominee for president, even after the poor performance of his endorsed candidates last Tuesday.

When Trump’s control of the party is challenged, he will test the loyalty of congressional Republicans by insisting they more loudly repeat his lies about election fraud.

Trump advised his losing Senate candidate in Arizona, Blake Masters, to not “go soft” on claims that the 2020 election “was rigged and stolen.”

That kind of corrupt advice will hang over every Republican in the new Congress.

The likely next Speaker of the House, current Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), will feel the pressure, too. 

Trump has consistently attacked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for backing bipartisan votes on some legislation.

Both McCarthy and McConnell are already hearing voices of dissent about their leadership from the Trump-loving hard right of their party, including the House Freedom Caucus. 

In the next two years, the inflated number of congressional Republican election deniers, combined with a likely narrow GOP House majority, gives Trump added leverage to demand a complete end to bipartisan deals. 

Trump’s plan will be to obstruct all congressional legislation. He wants the country to be politically polarized because his priority is making Biden look ineffective. 

Trump will demand blind loyalty from election deniers in Congress to the most intransigent, extreme, MAGA agenda. His goal is to prevent Congress from meeting the call from those Americans — more than half of voters, according to the Fox News poll — who feel “the government should do more to solve problems.”

That means Trump will be busy with non-stop bullying of election deniers in Congress to get them to support him by engaging in political mischief aimed at Biden. 

Election denial is key to Trump’s strategy to increase polarization, and produce more discontent with Biden, Democrats, McConnell and the whole American experiment in political compromise and deal-making. 

McCarthy is already busy placating Trump by promising endless investigations to embarrass Biden’s family — payback for the investigations and impeachments of Trump when he was in office. 

Biden can see the ongoing threat that springs from the lies about election fraud.

“Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes, the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are,” Biden said at a White House news conference after last week’s election.

He correctly noted that “while the press and the pundits are predicting a giant red wave, it didn’t happen…We lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic president’s first midterm election in the last 40 years.”

Last week, a right-winger asked me if I really think it is dangerous for him to repeat the lie that election fraud is behind Biden’s 2020 election win.

I explained that election deniers are a danger because trust in elections is the foundation of government of the people, by the people, and for the people – not by a dictator.

If Trump continues to dominate the GOP with lies, it’s time to start talking about a “Blue Wave” for the Democrats in 2024.  

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.

Tags 2022 midterm elections 2024 presidential election Biden election deniers Extremism Juan Williams Kevin McCarthy misinformation Mitch McConnell

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