MADISON, Wis. – First, Republican Party of Wisconsin order to check the 2020 election. After measuring them overcome a series of new restrictions about voting. And in June, they authorized the nation’s only special counsel investigation in 2020.
Now, more than 15 months after former President Donald J. Trump lost state 20,682 votesAn increasingly vocal part of the Republican Party is behind a new plan: to confirm the results of the 2020 presidential election in the hopes of bringing Mr. Trump into the White House.
Wisconsin is getting closer to the next federal election than the last, but the Republican effort to overturn the election results here is evaporating rather than dying — and growing further away from reality. The latest twist, pushed by Mr. Trump, bogus legal theories and a new candidate for governor, is creating chaos within the Republican Party and threatening to undermine the momentum to win. in the gubernatorial and Senate races this year.
The situation in Wisconsin may be the most striking example of Republican leaders’ struggle to come together to keep their party alive when many of its most vibrant voters simply won’t accept the reality. the fact that Mr. Trump is dead.
In Wisconsin, Robin Vos, the speaker of the Council who allowed vague theories of fraud to spread unchecked, is now struggling to rein in them. Even Mr. Vos’s careful efforts have vehemently opposed by those who refused to vote.
“This is a real problem,” said Republican Representative Timothy Ramthun, who turned his push to confirm the election into a fledgling gubernatorial campaign. Mr. Ramthun has asserted that if the Wisconsin Legislature recognized the results and annulled the state’s 10 electoral votes – an action that has no basis in state or federal law – it could trigger a storm. movement that could oust President Biden from office.
“We don’t wear tinfoil hats,” he said. “We’re not fringe.”
While it’s difficult to measure support for a certification campaign, it won’t need much in a situation where elections are frequently decided by narrow margins. Mr. Ramthun is drawing crowds and his campaign has revived a divisive Republican debate over false accusations of fraud in 2020. Nearly two-thirds of party members The Republic of Wisconsin does not trust the results of the state’s 2020 presidential election, according to an October poll from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee.
“This is not what the Republican Party needs right now,” said Rob Swashingen, a Republican representative from the conservative Northwoods. “We shouldn’t be fighting with each other about what happened, you know, a year and a half ago.”
Wisconsin has the most aggressive certification effort in the nation. In Arizona, a Republican legislator running for secretary of state along with candidates for Congress called for the revocation of the state’s electoral votes. In September, Mr. Trump wrote a letter to Georgia officials asked them to demonstrate Mr. Biden’s victory there, but no organized attempt came to fruition.
In Wisconsin, the certification push has Republican politics at the top. After more than a decade of Republican leaders marching in lockdown to their base, the party is struggling with infighting and it is Democrats affiliated with Governor Tony Evers , who is seeking a second term in November.
“Republicans are currently arguing about whether we want democracy,” Mr. Evers said in an interview Friday.
Mr Ramthun, a 64-year-old lawmaker who lives in a village of 2,000 people an hour northwest of Milwaukee, has pushed for his proven push to become an unexpected folk hero for the Trump side of the party. . Stephen K. Bannon, a former Trump adviser, hosted the event for Mr. Ramthun on his podcast. At party events, he shows off a 72-page presentation in which he falsely claimed that legislators had the power to declare Wisconsin’s election results invalid and revoke the state’s electoral votes.
Mr. Ramthun received larger applause at local Republican meetings than the leading candidates for governor, and last weekend he entered the race himselfannounced his candidacy at a campaign kickoff, where he was introduced by Mike Lindell, chief executive officer of MyPillow, who sponsored many attempts to sabotage and overturn election 2020.
Mr. Trump offered public words of encouragement.
“Who in Wisconsin is in charge of proving this election rigged?” the former president said in a statement.
It didn’t take long before the state’s top Republicans reacted to Ramthun’s campaign plots. Within days, both of his Republican opponents for governor came up with new plans to strengthen partisan control Wisconsin elections.
During a radio appearance on Thursday, former Lieutenant Colonel Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, party base preferred candidate, refuses to admit that Mr. Biden won the 2020 election – which she admitted last September. Ms. Kleefisch declined to be interviewed.
However, Mr. Ramthun claims to have the root energy on his side. On Tuesday, he drew a crowd of about 250 for a two-hour rally in the stadium of the Wisconsin State Capitol.
Terry Brand, Chairman of the Republican Party in rural Langlade County, rented a bus for two dozen people for a three-hour ride. In January, Mr. Brand oversaw the first county GOP condemning Mr. Vos, calling for the leadership to step down for blocking the endorsement attempt. At the rally, Mr. Brand stood holding a sign that reads “Throw Vos”.
“People are foaming at the mouth about this,” he said, listening intently as speakers both offered conspiracy theories and assured members of the crowd that they were thoughtful people.
“You guys are not crazy,” Janel Brandtjen, chair of the parliamentary election committee, told the crowd.
A speaker forced Mr. Vos, through a college roommate and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, with false statements spread in the right-wing media that Hillary Clinton’s campaign spied on Mr. Trump. Another was introduced under a pseudonym, then quickly declared himself a candidate for lieutenant governor.
The rally closed with the comment of Harry Wait, an organizer of a conservative group in Racine County called HOT governmentacronym for honest, open and transparent.
“I want to remind everyone,” Mr. Wait said, “the plots of yesterday can become reality today.”
Mr. Ramthun says he has questioned the outcome of every presidential election in Wisconsin since 1996. (He made no exception to the only Republican victory of that era: Mr. Trump’s in 2016.) He has pledged to consider ending voting machines and proceed with it. one “Full independent forensic physical network audit“Of the 2020 election – and the 2022 election, no matter how it plays out.
Mr Ramthun adopted the biblical slogan – “Let there be light” – in reference to his claim that Mr. Vos was hiding the truth from voters. If Wisconsin withdraws its electoral votes, other states could follow, Mr. Ramthun said.
(U.S. presidents can only be removed by impeachment or by a cabinet vote.)
All of this has become overwhelming for Mr. Vos, who before Trump was a staunch Republican focused on taxes, spending and labor laws.
Mr. Vos often placates his party’s election conspirators, expressed his own doubts about who really won in Wisconsin, calls for felony charges against top Wisconsin election administrators and allow an investigation into the 2020 election, which is still underway.
Now, even while drawing the line on endorsements, Mr. Vos has tried to placate his base and beg for patience. He announced this week that Congress plans to vote on a new package of voting bills. (Mr Evers said in Friday’s interview that he would veto any new restrictions.)
“It was simply a matter of misdirected anger,” he said of the criticism he is facing. “They thought the Democrats were hopeless, and now they’re focusing on those of us who are trying to tell the truth, hoping we can do more.”
Other Republicans in the state are also taking a political tightrope — refusing to accept Biden’s victory while avoiding taking a stance on Ramthun’s proof efforts.
Ron Tusler, who sits on the Parliament’s election committee, said: “There could be evidence there, that’s what others are studying. “It’s too early to be certain but we can try later.”
State Senator Kathy Bernier is the only one of Wisconsin’s 82 Republican lawmakers to have publicly disclosed Trump’s loss of state in a fair, non-fraudulent manner.
Bernier, chair of the state Senate’s election committee, in November asked lawyers for the Wisconsin Legislature to weigh in on the legality of certifying an election – they said it was can not. In December, she calls for an end to the Council’s investigation in 2020. Three weeks later, she announced She will not run for re-election This year.
“I have no explanation as to why legislators would want to pursue an unproven voter fraud conspiracy theory,” Bernier said in an interview. “They shouldn’t have done that. It is dangerous for our democratic republic. They need to step back and talk only about what they know, understand, and can do. And outside of that, they should button it up. “
Kitty Bennett contributed research.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/19/us/politics/wisconsin-election-decertification.html The fringe plan to reverse the 2020 Wisconsin GOP election split