You’ve gotta hand it to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: When he lies, he lies big. That takes some major chutzpah, the likes of which was on full display Tuesday when he correctly pointed out a prominent example of a Republican committing likely criminal election fraud, and then hilariously tried to blame it all on the Democrats.
Speaking about the utter clusterfuck unfolding in North Carolina’s Ninth Congressional District—where GOP ballot stuffers were caught essentially handing last November’s midterm race to Republican candidate Mark Harris—McConnell insisted that actually this was all the Democrats’ fault for not backing Republican’s long-running voter suppression efforts.
“For years and years, every Republican who dared to call for common-sense safeguards for Americans’ ballots was demonized by Democrats and their allies,” McConnell declared from the Senate floor. “We were hit with left-wing talking points insisting that voter fraud wasn’t real.”
McConnell, of course, is full of shit. Voter fraud, the sort the GOP and President Trump have so enthusiastically railed about, is largely a non-issue. According to the Brennan Center for Justice:
Elections that had been meticulously studied for voter fraud [...] found incident rates between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent.
What happened in North Carolina, on the other hand, isn’t voter fraud at all. It’s election fraud—something completely different, and much more insidious. There, a paid GOP operative enacted an organized plan to collect un-filled absentee ballots and write in the Republican candidate’s name. This wasn’t, as McConnell would have you believe, a few people voting in the wrong district, or casting their ballots under false pretenses. This was a coordinated effort—by a candidate’s own hired firm—to swing an election.
McConnell continued (emphasis mine):
‘Never happens,’ [Democrats] said. Modest efforts to ensure that voters who are who they say they are and are voting in the proper place were really some sinister right-wing plot to prevent people from voting.
Now that an incident of very real voter fraud has become national news and the Republican candidate seems—seems—to have benefited, these long-standing Democratic talking points have been really quiet. Haven’t heard much lately from the Democrats about how fraud never happens. They’ve gone silent. Now some are singing a different tune. Now there’s a new interest in ensuring the sanctity in American elections.
Yeah Mitch, it does seem like that.
Mitch is extremely eager to gloss over the fact that there absolutely was a sinister right-wing plot in this case. And, while it wasn’t the sort of GOP voter suppression efforts that voting rights advocates have been warning the public about over and over again—although those are still very much a real thing—the fact remains that McConnell is essentially trying to blame the Democrats for ignoring a member of his own party’s own potentially criminal conduct.
“I’ve yet to see any evidence [Democrats are] actually interested in cleaning up the conditions that leads to messes like this one in North Carolina,” McConnell added.
Considering that those “conditions” seem to be “Republicans actively trying to subvert democracy through ballot stuffing” then, uh, Mitch, where have you been? Democrats have been practically howling over Republicans’ outright brazen effort to steal this congressional election. Meanwhile, despite having once set up an entire sham committee to investigate election irregularities, President Donald Trump has been conspicuously silent on North Carolina’s tainted race. Imagine that.