“the “electoral commission” plan backed by Cruz and 10 of his colleagues is nonsense. For one, the commission they demand has no precedent in the modern era and no realistic prospects of being convened. What’s more, the statement is predicated on a series of spurious claims by Cruz and his colleagues that echo similar — and equally baseless — election fraud rhetoric to that heard repeatedly from Trump.
Election Day — November 3, 2020 — is now 60 days in the past. In that time, Trump and his Republican allies have filed and lost at least 60 election-related lawsuits at all levels of the state and federal court systems alleging voter fraud and other improprieties — and they have failed to prove their case at every turn.
Recounts in battleground states like Georgia and Wisconsin — both won by Biden — have turned up no evidence of large-scale fraud or irregularities that could have affected the results of the election. And in all 50 states and Washington, DC, the election results have been carefully reviewed by state officials and certified as accurate.
In short, 60 days of intense scrutiny have turned up exactly zero reasons to believe the letter’s false claim that “the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election” are worrying — and there’s no reason to believe that an “electoral commission” would turn up a different result.
That there have been allegations of fraud as never before is true, but as MSNBC’s Chris Hayes pointed out on Sunday, these have been misleading efforts led by Trump, and bolstered by his allies, like Cruz, to overturn the election’s rightful results.
Cruz and his allies cite the results of this effort in their statement Saturday that widespread belief in the existence of voter fraud — a sort of warped “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” argument — necessitates the creation of an election commission.
“Reuters/Ipsos polling, tragically, shows that 39% of Americans believe ‘the election was rigged’,” the group said Saturday. “That belief is held by Republicans (67%), Democrats (17%), and Independents (31%).”
That’s an accurate reporting of the poll’s results — but it does conveniently leave out the likely reason for that widespread belief.
In reality, the Republican base has been inundated with evidence-free voter fraud rhetoric from every corner of the right-wing universe — from Trump’s Twitter feed to Fox News to stump speeches by Republican senators — almost nonstop since Trump’s election defeat. There’s a direct line between Cruz’s rhetoric and the problem he diagnoses: As Hayes put it on Twitter, “They’ve spent months lying to people, telling them the election was stolen and now turn around and cite the fact that many people believe them as evidence!””
“Ted Cruz will not get a chance to argue that the Supreme Court should stop Joe Biden from taking office by overriding the presidential election results in four battleground states. But the Texas senator’s eagerness to do so speaks volumes about the extent to which the Republican Party has abandoned the principles it once claimed to defend”
“Both of those lawsuits, which relied on seemingly contradictory legal theories, were unanimously rejected by a Supreme Court that includes six Republican appointees, half of them nominated by Trump himself.”
“Election law expert Rick Hasen called Paxton’s case “a press release masquerading as a lawsuit.” A brief from conservative legal scholars and Republican politicians condemned it as “a mockery of federalism and separation of powers.” Case Western Reserve law professor Jonathan Adler warned that Paxton was pushing “a radical argument that would make a mockery of Article II’s delegation of power to state legislatures and upend core elements of our federal system.” Princeton political scientist Keith Whittington worried that Republican officials who backed the lawsuit were “rushing to throw over constitutional and democratic principles in an effort to curry favor with a president who refuses to accept the reality of an electoral loss.””
“17 other Republican attorneys general, and more than 100 Republican members of Congress joined Trump in backing Paxton’s lawsuit. But Cruz’s eagerness to jump on this batty bandwagon is especially striking because of his legal background, his pose as a diehard defender of the Constitution, and his personal history with Trump.”
“Cruz’s current role as a Trump toady stands in sharp contrast with his criticism of Trump in 2016. After Trump claimed that Cruz, who was then vying with him for the Republican presidential nomination, “stole” the Iowa caucus through “fraud,” Cruz dismissed that fact-free accusation as “yet another #Trumpertantrum.” Yet here he is lending credence to the even wilder, equally unsubstantiated claims of election fraud that Trump has been pushing for more than a month.
After Trump, who had dubbed Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” implicated the senator’s father in John F. Kennedy’s assassination (yes, that really happened), Cruz was notably angrier. “I’m going to do something I haven’t done for the entire campaign,” he said in May 2016. “I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies, practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology textbook, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying….Whatever he does, he accuses everybody else of doing. The man cannot tell the truth, but he combines it with being a narcissist—a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country has ever seen…..Everything in Donald’s world is about Donald….The man is utterly amoral. Morality does not exist for him….Donald is a bully….Donald is cynically exploiting that anger [at the political establishment], and he is lying to his supporters. Donald will betray his supporters on every issue.””
“By his own account, Cruz is now committed to defending an amoral, narcissistic, unprincipled, utterly dishonest bully, even when that means reinforcing the fantasy that Trump won the election and backing constitutionally reckless efforts to override the actual result. Whatever credit the Cruz of 2016 deserved for telling the truth about Trump has dissolved in a bath of cowardly sycophancy drawn by a politician who is terrified of alienating the president’s supporters.
Cruz, who is up for reelection in 2024 and may seek his party’s presidential nomination that year, has a strong political interest in placating Trump fans. But if voters took to heart Cruz’s advice about supporting candidates they trust to defend the Constitution, he would lose handily in either race.”