The reality of 2024 (and Nov. 8)

Walter Olson:

“Lost, Not Stolen” is a new 72‐​page report from a group of prominent conservative legal and political figures that knocks down some of the more frequently heard claims from Donald Trump and allies that the 2020 election was stolen or illegitimate. Their “unequivocal” conclusion is that Trump lost; in fact, they find no credible evidence that fraud changed the outcome even in a single precinct, let alone in any state.

Most of the report consists of a state‐​by‐​state refutation of claims circulated about voting results in Arizona and Georgia (six claims apiece), Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Note that the last‐​named of these states has already been the subject of a useful report from the right‐​leaning Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, which I wrote about here, and that Republican authorities in states like Georgia have also carried out extensive audits and reviews regarding those states’ votes.

The new report’s signers include three prominent retired federal judges (Thomas Griffith, Mike McConnell, Michael Luttig), former Solicitor General Ted Olson, Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsberg, former senators John Danforth and Gordon Smith, and longtime Congressional staff chief David Hoppe. I should mention that I have known three of these figures at various times over decades (McConnell, Ted Olson, Hoppe) and admired each for their insight, analytical skills, and dedication to principle.

There is no defensible case that Trump won the 2020 election. “We urge our fellow conservatives to cease obsessing over the results of the 2020 election, and to focus instead on presenting candidates and ideas that offer a positive vision for overcoming our current difficulties and bringing greater peace, prosperity, and liberty to our nation.”

Cato adjunct scholar Ilya Somin has more on the report, and Price St. Clair at the Dispatch traces its origins over a year and a half of work. Let’s hope it finds a wide audience.

Whether or not Republicans believe Trump lost (because of Trump’s own fault), it’s imperative they act that way. Too much of the GOP fails to grasp that most voters — including the people Republicans need to vote for them in November and in November 2024 — do not believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. Continuing in Trump’s thrall is a good way to lose elections.



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