Here we go again.
After almost a year of licking their wounds over former President Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election, right-wingers are turning to their usual tactic as polls start leaning toward California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) favor ahead of the recall election against him: sowing doubt over the election process.
Appearing on right-wing cable news network Newsmax on Tuesday night, Trump predictably defaulted to espousing his baseless cries of voter fraud by insisting that the recall targeting Newsom is “probably rigged.” Trump revived his falsehoods of fraud from mail-in voting while insisting that’s the only way Democrats, even in a deep blue state such as California, can win elections.
“When that happens, nobody’s going to win except these Democrats,” Trump said. “The one thing they’re good at is rigging elections, so I predict it’s a rigged election, let’s see how it turns out.”
Trump, on Newsmax, claims the recall election in California is "probably rigged" (as if Democrats can't win elections there fair and square) pic.twitter.com/gPbSq0XHGN
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 8, 2021
Hours before Trump pushed unfounded claims of voter fraud ahead of the California recall election, Fox Nation host Tomi Lahren pushed the notion that “the only thing that will save” Newsom is “voter fraud.”
“Yes, Gavin Newsom has raised a whole lot of money from teachers’ unions and special interests and tech, but that money is not going to save him,” Lahren said. “The only thing that will save Gavin Newsom is voter fraud. So as they say, stay woke, pay attention to the voter fraud going on in California, because it’s going to have big consequences for that state but for upcoming elections.”
With Gavin Newsom currently up double digits in recall polls, Fox News' Tomi Lahren declares that "the only thing that will save Gavin Newsom is voter fraud."
The rest of the Fox panel just smiles and nods along with her. pic.twitter.com/k6eoNfsr7b
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) September 7, 2021
Even Larry Elder — a Republican challenger in the recall election who has gained significant media attention for his controversial comments that include sexist comments against women — is already espousing unsubstantiated voter fraud claims in Trumpian fashion well before the results of the election, scheduled on Tuesday, are in.
“The 2020 election, in my opinion, was full of shenanigans. And my fear is they’re going to try that in this election right here and recall,” Elder told Fox News on Sunday.
Elder urged his supporters to go to his campaign website if they see or hear “anything suspicious.”
“We have a battery of lawyers. We’re going to file a lawsuit in a timely fashion this time,” Elder told Fox News on Sunday.
Prominent right-wingers aren’t the only ones sowing doubt ahead of California’s recall election.
As the New York Times noted, far-right websites such as Red Voice Media and Conservative Firing Line have pushed the idea of a “stolen” recall election.
Both of the far-right websites latched onto news last month of police in Torrance finding a passed-out man parked outside of a 7-Eleven with items such as a loaded firearm, drugs and thousands of pieces of mail, including more than 300 unopened mail-in ballots for the recall election.
Citing CrowdTangle data, the Times reported that posts on the far-right websites — which baselessly claimed that the incident proved that Democrats were using mail-in ballots as part of their efforts to swing the election in their favor — were shared on Facebook and collectively reached up to 1.57 million people.
Mark Ponegalek, a public information officer for the Torrance Police Department, told the Times that an investigation into the incident is ongoing. Ponegalek dismissed posts that conclude the man found by police in Torrance was attempting voter fraud as “baseless.”
The right-wing narrative of a “stolen” California recall election comes as state GOP leaders continue to delegitimize normal democratic election processes and procedures. One example is the sham “audit” of Arizona’s election results that has repeatedly run into delays and scuffles between the state’s Republican senators and Maricopa County’s board of supervisors.
Trump’s refusal to concede the presidential election and his efforts to undermine democratic norms are what ultimately led to the deadly Capitol insurrection, when his supporters breached the Capitol after he urged them to “fight like hell” to overturn the election results at a “Stop the Steal” rally hours before the attack.