“They cheat like hell, these guys”: Trump airs 2020 complaints in Michigan weeks before midterm election

Warren, Mich. — For the first seven minutes of his Michigan rally on Saturday, former President Donald Trump stuck to two familiar issues Republicans are running into this November: inflation and the rising cost of living under President Biden, and immigration and the southern border.

Then, he turned to a topic that had been haunting him since November 2020: that the presidential election had been “stolen” from him.

He claimed that John James, now the congressional candidate for Michigan’s 10th district, won his last race for the US Senate in 2020. He didn’t do that. James Sen. lost to Gary Peters by over 92,000 votes. Trump accused Democrats of eroding “electoral integrity.” He said the US is a “third world country” because of how ballots are counted, and praised France for using paper ballots.

Former President Trump rally in Warren, Michigan
WARREN, MI – OCTOBER 01: Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Save America rally on October 1, 2022 in Warren, Michigan.

Emily Elkonin/Getty Images

Trump did not approve of the Michigan investigation led by a panel of state Republicans that No evidence of widespread fraud found,

And then he urged crowds to gather at the arena in Macomb County, where he won by 8 points in 2020, to pull out in November so he could overtake Democrats.

“The Michigan Patriots have to break every record, because they cheat like hell, these guys,” Trump said, implying that Republican voters will have to be marginalized so that Democrats “can’t rig it up.”

Republican voters in the state – and those at the rally – also believe that Trump was betrayed in 2020. “Absolutely,” said the election stolen, said Deborah Brown, a retired telecommunications worker and longtime Republican.

More than half of Republican politicians in the state also agree with Trump that the election was stolen.

According to a CBS News analysis, nine of the 17 statewide and federal GOP congressional candidates in Michigan have expressed doubts about President Joe Biden’s victory, even though his margin in the state exceeds 154,000 votes. Three of those nine are sitting members of Congress who voted on January 6, 2021 to object to the Electoral College results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. All these were recognized by Trump during his rally.

This is happening in all the states where Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020: In Arizona, 11 of his 13 candidates are considered “elective”. There are 5 out of 13 candidates in Wisconsin, 10 out of 19 in Georgia deny that Mr Biden has won the election, and 9 out of 20 in Pennsylvania believe so.

“How widespread the fraud was is a secondary issue,” Christina Karamo, the Michigan Republican nominee for secretary of state, told CBS News ahead of Trump’s remarks. “Some people don’t know how big a problem this is, but when you start providing evidence, it’s terrible.”

Karamo cited wireless modems being used in some of the state’s election machines, falsely claiming they were hacked in 2020 and suggesting they invite fraud in future elections. Although there have been no incidents of fraud in these systems, some have gotten away with using the modems, according to the Detroit News.

Responding to a question whether she believed the upcoming election would be credible, Karamo declined to answer, saying instead that she “cannot believe” Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s warning that election officials should be subjected to violence. has been threatened.

“I think it’s so irresponsible for an election official to say this. I’ve lived my whole life in Michigan, I’ve never seen anything like this,” Karamo said.

In early September, Benson said “face the nation“That many secretaries of state and election officials are concerned about the “violence and disruption on Election Day … and in the days surrounding the election”.

The Brennan Center’s poll of election officials in March found that 1 in 6 officials have “experienced threats”.

Republicans, including GOP candidate Shane Hernandez for lieutenant governor, are calling for voter ID laws and drop boxes to be closely monitored. He said the state’s Republicans want to reiterate the election-monitoring measures of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Election Day.

“We need to make sure we have the team on the ground to make sure people are comfortable,” he said.

GOP candidate for governor of Michigan, tudor dixonIndicated that he agrees with the lie that Trump won the 2020 election, raising his hand in the primary debate asking whether candidates believe it was stolen, although he did show it at a Trump rally on Saturday. Didn’t bring

A Trafalgar poll released last week found Dixon to be nearly 5 points behind Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Dixon has not been shown further in any survey in the state in the past month.

This baseless notion that the election was stolen – “That’s why so many people are here now, and we hope that [Trump] Back. There are many Christians here like me, and we’re praying that [Trump] Back here in 2024,” said Brown, the retired communications worker as she waited in line to rally. She said she wants to hear more about the 2020 election and “electoral integrity” from GOP candidates. , a sentiment also shared by other rallygoers.

Michigan pollster Steve Mitchell says a majority of Michigan GOP voters think Biden is “an illegally elected president.”

“If you’re going to run as a Republican and you find yourself in denial of it, you’re not going to get support from Republicans,” Mitchell said.

The source of his belief in this is Trump. “Voters believe in him,” Mitchell said. “There’s nothing anyone can do to take them away from the fact that the election wasn’t actually stolen in Michigan.”

Ronald Dwyer, who is running for Oakland County commissioner, is the rare GOP candidate in the state who isn’t sure there was enough fraud to turn the election against Trump, but he still thinks it’s time to move on. Is.

“We are halfway through the current term; we just have to move on,” he said.

a CBS News poll in September found that 63% of Republicans believe there was “widespread fraud” in the 2020 election, primarily in Democratic and urban areas. one more vote found that if they lose the midterm election, 64% of Republicans said they should accept the results and look to 2024, while the remainder said they should challenge those places where Democrats won.

Who controls statewide posts in Michigan and other battlefield states could play a big role when it comes to certifying the winner of the next presidential election in 2024.

Whitmer, known as “Shut him up!” was taunted by the mantras of. According to Bridge Michigan, to a GOP-heavy crowd on Saturday, she argued that she is “the last line of defense” as GOP attempts to undermine democracy.

Carl Marlinga, the Democratic nominee for Michigan’s 10th District, said a central reason for his campaign is to help ensure that Michigan Democrats have a majority in the congressional delegation—if the Electoral College results are tied in 2024—and the state’s congressional delegation. become the final arbiters of the presidential election.

“I want to be there in January of 2025 – I want to be at least one of the 435 to say that, whether it’s a Democrat or a Republican, I want to make sure the real winner is certified,” he said.

While Trump says he doesn’t think there will ever be a “fair election” again, he is hopeful that he will pass more restrictive election legislation to the candidates he supports this November.

“Everywhere the Republican Party has a chance, we must pass important election integrity reforms,” ​​he said.

The Michigan GOP-led legislature is already trying to do just that. According to the Detroit Free Press, in 2021, the state Senate introduced 39 election-related bills — requiring photo ID to vote and preventing access to other absentee ballot applications. Whitmer has vetoed many of these bills, calling them “part of a coordinated, national attack on voting rights that is designed to undermine confidence in our election system.”

In Michigan’s August primary, the number of absentee ballots issued and returned was nearly double that in 2018, when the state dropped the requirement for voters to make up an excuse to receive mail ballots. Last Thursday, Michigan began making absentee ballots available for pick up.

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