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Top Zirpoli: The Big Lie crumbles and yet persists | COMMENTARY

It seems that some Republicans are starting to think that their place in history may be more important than their allegiance to a former one-term president and his Big Lie about winning a second term. Former Attorney General Bill Barr is the latest to find his soul and speak the truth. Barr told Jonathan Karl during an interview in The Atlantic, “My attitude was: It was put-up or shut-up time. If there was evidence of fraud, I have no motive to suppress it. But my suspicion all the way along is that there was nothing there. It was all bullshit.”

It seems that even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky recognized that there was no election fraud and, according to Karl, told Barr that any such claims were “damaging to the country and to the Republican Party.”

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Yet, according to Karl, McConnell was afraid to go public with his observations because he needed Trump’s support to ensure that the GOP won the two runoff elections in Georgia. McConnell reportedly told Barr, “Look, we need the president in Georgia and so we cannot be frontally attacking him right now.”

Clearly, McConnell was more worried about the survival of the Republican Party than upholding our nation’s democracy.

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The Big Lie was put to rest in Michigan, where the Republican-led state Senate Oversight Committee issued a report that found “no evidence of widespread or systematic fraud” in the state’s 2020 election. “Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan. The Committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.”

Also in Michigan, nine lawyers representing Trump are under investigation from a federal judge about “misstatements” they made in a formal complaint submitted to the court to discredit the election results there. A federal judge in Colorado is considering how to discipline two lawyers in that state who filed a federal lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to steal the 2020 election. The judge dismissed the case as a “frivolous claim” and said the lawyers allowed themselves to be used as a “propaganda tool” of the former president.

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was suspended from practicing law in New York by an appellate court who found that Giuliani “communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.”

A review completed by The Associated Press and released last week by Arizona county election officials identified 182 cases of possible voter irregularities out of over 3 million votes. Many of these irregularities were inconsequential and only four of the cases – two a registered Democrat and two a registered Republican – have led to charges.

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In Georgia, where officials audited election results three times with the same outcome, a judge dismissed an effort by some Republicans to study 150,000 mail-in ballots in Fulton County with high-powered microscopes. Robb Pitts, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, stated, “Enough is enough – this whole circus must end.”

Yet, the circus continues. Some Republicans are now pushing the conspiracy theory that a foreign service officer in Rome managed to upload software to Italy’s military satellites that changed ballots from Trump to Biden during the 2020 election. As an Italian American, I think these folks are pazzo.

Indeed, these claims are unbelievable and one of Trump’s former attorneys, Sidney Powell, agrees. Powell argued in court that Trump supporters should not have believed her when she said that a voting machine company, Dominion Voting Systems, was using technology invented by the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela to change Trump votes to Biden votes.

Facing a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit, Powell’s lawyer argued, “No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.”

I guess “reasonable” is the operative word here.

During a recent rally in Ohio, the former president cried about how the election was stolen from him. His adoring fans cheered. Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney stated that watching Trump make excuses for losing the 2020 election was like watching a World Wrestling Federation match: “Entertaining, but not real.”

Unfortunately, supporters of Trump are not always entertaining. Over the July 4th weekend, around 150 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front marched in Philadelphia chanting, “The election was stolen.” It is interesting that so many of these groups feel at home in today’s Republican Party?

Tom Zirpoli is a professor and program coordinator of the Human Services Management graduate program at McDaniel College. He writes from Westminster. His column appears on Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

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