In a disturbing hint of what we’re going to see in the 2020 election, Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took a page out of the president’s book and baselessly blamed “voter fraud” for the Republican Party’s colossal defeats in California during the 2018 midterm elections.
While speaking at a press conference from the GOP retreat in Baltimore, McCarthy tried to complain about how Democrats had changed the voting laws in a desperate effort to explain away the staggering six-seat loss that their party endured in California last year.
“In California, they changed the election law… When it went into the election office, your ballot didn’t count yet. They took that all away. No longer do you have to sign it, and people can come to your door and pick your ballot up, whether it’s filled out or not…well, the Democrats went about doing it because they control California. I don’t believe it’s healthy for elections to have other people picking up your ballots.”
He’s referring to a new election strategy labeled “ballot harvesting” by Republicans. A 2016 change to California election law meant that anyone could collect a mail-in ballot from voters and turn it in to a polling place, and in certain areas Democratic campaign staffers went around collecting mail-in ballots and delivering them to the registrar’s office, letting voters get on with their lives without having to go to the post office.
It is very legal and there have been no credible reports of it having been used to commit election fraud; in fact, the California GOP has even admitted to using the practice themselves. “We were well aware of this, we even did it ourselves, we pay attention to election laws,” said spokesman Matt Fleming to FOX News.
McCarthy went on to insinuate that certain vote tallies had been altered or otherwise tampered with. “Even in a case like David Valadao, where the day after the election he was ahead by six percentage points. Three weeks later, he’d lost by less than 900 votes!” exclaimed McCarthy, referencing the race for California’s 21st district that ended in a surprise victory for the Democrat.
Both complaints boil down to “there’s something wrong because they counted all the votes!”
For Republicans to complain about voter fraud after racially gerrymandering nearly the entire country and doing everything they can to suppress the votes of black and poor voters is the height of hypocrisy. But it’s common to see from Republicans these days, especially since the President continues to stand by his false assertion that massive election fraud is the reason he lost the popular vote. If McCarthy is willing to insinuate that Democrats cheated to take back Congress, what is he going to say when we retake the White House in 2020?
Original reporting by Dan Desai Martin at Shareblue.