With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

So Close and Yet Shofar: Where Does MAGA Go From Here?

Republicans are deep into the recriminations phase of their post-midterms reckoning. Pundits are gnashing their teeth, GOP congressional leaders are watching their backs, Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are squabbling as they position themselves for 2024, and they’re all trying to place the blame for the defeat of the candidates Trump endorsed and failure of the expected red wave to materialize.

What do the midterm results mean for the future of MAGA? It’s still too early to say. The movement took a beating at the ballot box last week—but of course electoral defeats have long been a hallmark of MAGA. It’s worth keeping a close eye on the reaction of the diehard MAGA candidates and supporters, because how they cope with the 2022 election results may be a harbinger of what’s to come.

Unfortunately, the MAGA reaction so far feels eerily familiar. In the MAGA hotbed of Maricopa County, Arizona, for example, there are echoes of January 6th. We’re not seeing a mob storming the vote-counting centers, but that’s because the police presence is heavy there and the consequences are clear. Yet the MAGA movement is still out in force.

To begin with, even as the vote count continues, Republican officials from former President Trump downwards have been claiming electoral fraud. Trump took aim at Arizona (as well as Nevada and other jurisdictions), calling out, “Do Election over again!” on his social media platform. Blake Masters said he would not concede the election, despite the press having determined that he lost his Senate race to Democrat Mark Kelly, until “every legal vote is counted.” GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has repeatedly railed against the electoral process, saying on Tucker Carlson’s show on Friday,

We’ve had such terrible elections. They’re run poorly. They’re ripe [sic] with fraud. . . . Our elected officials tell us if we dare bring it up we’re conspiracy theorists, we’re election deniers. Darn it, we’ve got to start bringing this up.

If this all sounds familiar, it should—this is a standard part of the MAGA playbook: If we do not win, the election is fraudulent, except for the parts of it we won. This was the essence of Donald Trump’s Big Lie about the 2020 election, which directly led to January 6th; similar beliefs remain widespread in the GOP. The so-called “Kari Lake War Room,” a Twitter account that claims to be the official campaign Twitter account for Lake and has 115,000 followers, tweeted out on Friday:

Again, it’s a call to ignore the full results of the election and to claim that everything that happened outside of same-day vote counting is fraud.

Read entire article at The Bulwark