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Written by Peter Ingle

If you thought Republicans would abandon the Big Lie following Donald Trump’s exit from the White House, you were terribly mistaken. The Arizona Republican Party is currently conducting a partisan audit of the 2020 presidential election in Maricopa County, the largest county in the state.

The audit quickly drew criticism from local and state election officials, including the Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. On Monday night, Hobbs went on “Cuomo Prime Time” and described the effort as a farce.

“A group of Republicans are continuing to try to appease their base who refuse to accept that,” Hobbs said. “Trump lost Arizona and that he's not the president anymore.”

Hobbs addresses the fundamental reason behind the Arizona audit. Trump and his allies are working to ensure they can continue to perpetuate the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen and galvanize Republican voters in the 2022 midterm election.

The Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas, hired to conduct the audit has not only previously promoted claims of election fraud, but also worked to overturn the 2020 election results in Michigan. Moreover, the company’s site has no mention of experience working on elections or voting systems.

Cyber Ninjas founder Doug Logan even tweeted in December comparing last year’s United States election to the election in Venezuela.

It is hard to believe that this partisan audit will be credible. The broader and more important theme in yet another attack on American democracy is that Trump is still setting the agenda for GOP leadership.

Not only do many Republicans realize that the Big Lie enhances their ability to fundraise, but they understand the party still revolves around Donald Trump. Those that stand in the way of winning the House in 2022 will be left behind.

This is the likely outcome for Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney. The No. 3 House Republican has been vocal pushing back against the Big Lie and is set to suffer the consequences soon. Top ranking House Republican Kevin McCarthy was recently caught on a hot mic saying he has “lost confidence” in her after previously going to bat for her to save her leadership position earlier this year. Although Cheney has a 98 percent conservative voting record, her inability to bend the knee to Trump’s Big Lie has put her GOP leadership position in jeopardy.

Elise Stefanik (NY-21), a staunch Trump supporter who voted to overturn the election results of multiple states on January 6th, is the frontrunner to replace Cheney. A close ally of McCarthy, Stefanik also opposed both the first and second impeachment charges against Trump.

For Democrats, Republican in-fighting is usually a welcome sight, but this feels different. A major American party is turning its back on reality to embrace an autocrat’s cult of personality, isolating members of their caucus who dare speak out against the disgraced former president and working to perpetuate the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

Ultimately, the American two party system does not work if one of those parties is actively working to undermine our democracy that has stood for over 240 years.


Peter Ingle is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and majored in Political Science and Public Policy with a minor in History. He has worked in the past as a Finance Intern for North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and for North Carolina Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Anita Earls.

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