Trump threatened that his voters will stay home in 2022 and 2024 if the GOP does not support the election.
An expert on extremism and democracy told Insider that his statement “is mostly a game of power.”
The former president has tried this technique before in the runoffs in Georgia, which Republicans lost.
Nearly a year after his defeat, former President Donald Trump is still proselytizing about the unwarranted and untrue election “fraud,” which he claims resulted in his loss of the presidency to President Joe Biden in November 2020.
But this time, the GOP figurehead has attached an ultimatum to his sermon; one directed at other Republican lawmakers: Repeat Trump’s election lies or supporters of the polarizing politician will refuse to vote in upcoming central elections.
On Thursday, Trump posted a statement to his Political Action Committee’s website, Save America, conveying the threat.
“If we do not resolve the presidential election fraud by 2020 (which we have thoroughly and definitively documented), Republicans will not vote in ’22 or ’24. That is the most important thing for Republicans to do,” the statement said.
Official auditors and election experts have concluded that there was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and the Department of Homeland Security declared the election the “safest in U.S. history.”
The ousted president has hinted at a 2024 presidential election, and maintaining allegations of a “stolen election” has become a central narrative in the GOP discourse as he seeks to further destroy confidence in the entire political system, Mudde said.
Although the former president has stepped down, he is still in control of the Republican Party, and his ominous message creates a problem for the party, according to Cas Mudde, professor of international affairs at the University of Georgia, who specializes in extremism and democracy. .
“Now GOP candidates need to find a balance between saying they are pro-Trump and voting for,” Mudde told Insider.
But despite the announcement problem, Trump has left Republican lawmakers with ahead of the upcoming election, Mudde said he believes Trump’s latest threat “is mostly a game of power.”
“He will remain at the center of GOP policy and prevent the party from moving forward without him,” Mudde said.
In an analysis piece on Thursday, Washington Post National Correspondent Phillip Bump theorized that the former president’s ultimatum was not actually a threat to withhold his passionate supporters from other Republican candidates, but rather a preventative explanation as to why he might not be able to give his base energy in the upcoming elections.
And yes, Trump has taken this threat before, Mudde pointed out regarding the settlements in Georgia’s Senate in 2021, where Democrats turned the Senate into a battle for both Trump and the Republican Party. Before the vote began in the January election, Trump eventually withdrew his threats to keep his base from voting, and Mudde said he believes the former president is likely to downplay his latest threat in the same way as the critical election in 2022 and 2024 is nearing its end.
Still, Mudde said the former president’s remarks could reduce the GOP vote a bit, though not much. But the margins are already small in several of the races, and many politicians are preparing for what are likely to be tight races.
Some strategists have suggested that Trump’s violent allegations of voter fraud hurt GOP turnout in Senate resolutions earlier this year, but the former president, along with several other senior Republican figures, has expressed confidence that Republicans will be able to resume Congress. in 2022.
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