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What happened on Jan. 6 could easily and absolutely happen again. Here’s what we can do to stop it

Look down-ballot at governorship

In 2020 Democrats controlled the House, and with that majority, they had the power to certify the presidential election. The election came down to six battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nevada. So, what does this mean for 2024? It means the key to keeping control is governorship in at least four out of six of those states, and all six of those governors are up for reelection. And as Dan Pfeiffer reports, “The good news is that every one of them is winnable,” because those states are running fantastic candidates. 

  1. Michigan: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is running for reelection.

  2. Wisconsin: Gov. Tony Evers is up for reelection.

  3. Nevada: Gov. Steve Sisolak is running for a second term;.

  4. Pennsylvania: Attorney General Josh Shapiro is currently running unopposed.

  5. Georgia: Stacey Abrams is running for governor again to claim the office denied to her in 2018.

  6. Arizona: There are several Democrats running for the nomination, including Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

Who the GOP is positioning for secretary of state

We also need to seriously look at the candidates the other side is supporting for the job of secretary of state in each place, because these are the folks who openly agree with the Big Lie and the general position of denying fairly won elections, but only if their guy or gal loses. 

An analysis by National Public Radio finds that at least 15 candidates who have tried to undermine the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s 2020 win are running for secretary of state—usually a state’s top elections official, potentially putting these enemies of democracy in a position to overturn the next election.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the Republican who famously recorded a conversation in which Trump pressured him to “find 11,780 votes”—enough to hand Trump a win despite his Election Day loss—has two primary opponents who opposed certifying Biden’s election. One of them, Rep. Jody Hice, voted against certification in Congress. He has Trump’s endorsement.

In Arizona, state Rep. Mark Finchem has Trump’s endorsement for Arizona secretary of state. Finchem was on the grounds of the Capitol (but not, he says, inside) on Jan. 6, and has appeared at a QAnon conference. Another Republican running for secretary of state in Arizona has sponsored state-level legislation giving legislators the power to overturn an election.

In Michigan, Republican candidate Kristina Karamo has said of Jan. 6: “Based on the series of evidence and knowing how these situations work, how these anarchists operate, I believe this is completely Antifa posing as Trump supporters.” She, too, has Trump’s endorsement.

Other secretary of state candidates who have either rejected or at least questioned the legitimacy of Biden’s win—and therefore his presidency—are running in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Kansas, Nevada, Minnesota, Colorado, Arkansas, and California. Obviously they have better chances in some of these states than others, but where it matters the most is in the closest states, like Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Wisconsin. A secretary of state in any of those states could be in a position to alter the results of an election, whether through voter suppression, rejecting inconvenient votes, or “finding” some number—maybe 11,780—of votes where it counts.

Watch out for GOP gerrymandering

What was once a not-so-hidden secret is out in the open today. Gerrymandering or redistricting has become something Republicans are doing without guilt or repercussions in a post-Trump era. 

In Georgia, when some blue areas were added to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s district, she blew a gasket and attempted to add another GOP-leaning area district to the state’s map. She’s still easily in control of her district, by the way. 

The Washington Post reports that Missouri governor and 2022 Senate candidate Eric Greitens went on a rampage over his state’s GOP boundary makers, whining that the map didn’t include as many GOP districts as possible.

In Maryland, Democrats complained after a redrawing of only seven of the eight districts in the state, saying that they should get all eight as the gerrymandering has been largely favoring the GOP—which draws over twice as many districts

In Raleigh, North Carolina, a top GOP redistricting leader admitted to using secret maps, drawn by someone else, to gerrymander his state. Rep. Destin Hall initially told Democrats in November he had not used any outside help in redrawing the maps. 

According to The News Observer, during the 2021 gerrymandering process:

GOP lawmakers drew new maps of the political districts for North Carolina’s state legislature and U.S. House of Representatives seats, which will be used in every election from 2022 through 2030 — unless they are overturned in court.”

It will take all of our fight and effort not to allow democracy to wither and die in this country. The GOP has a plan and they are unwavering in carrying it out.

“They will certainly try again,” Barton Gellman wrote in The Atlantic about the attempted coup. “An unpunished plot is practice for the next.”

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