EDITORIAL: Why “Stop The Steal” Proponents Hurt the GOP

Angelina Astic, Copy Editor

When the Associated Press called the 2020 U.S. presidential election for President Joseph R. Biden on Nov. 7, 2020, a misinformation campaign known as “Stop the Steal,” which had begun months before at the hands of former President Donald J. Trump, caught fire. Since then, many loyal Trump supporters and members of Congress have championed the movement, worsening the deep divisions and misinformation that live within the Republican party. 

The “Stop the Steal” movement alleges that in the recent presidential election, there was a high percentage of voter fraud perpetrated by the Democratic Party through the use of mail-in-ballots.  Voter fraud in the U.S. is an anomaly, as there are layers upon layers of security “checks” for mail-in-ballots, which Trump alleged in a series of now non-existent tweets as the main source of election fraud. 

Every voter in the U.S. who votes by mail must sign an affidavit, which often comes accompanied by personal identification information. When filling out the affidavit, the voter must provide their signature, which election officials later compare to the one that the government has on file. 

When election officials count ballots, observers from both political parties monitor the count. These observers watch and make objections to the counts when necessary to ensure the accuracy and security of U.S. elections. During the count, reporters who watched the Democratic and Republican observers reported that no observers or government officials witnessed widespread voter fraud, proving the allegation as yet another baseless claim by the Trump campaign. 

As one of the leading political parties in the U.S., the GOP and its members have both the moral and constitutional obligation to protect and defend the Constitution. In protecting the sacred document, members of Congress, who have every right to express their dismay and disappointment in the results of an election, also have the duty to uphold the results of the free and fair presidential election. 

Senators such as Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, two men who have attended some of the most elite and prestigious academic institutions in the nation, have rejected that basic and commonly-understood principle to defend the Constitution. Their support, as well as the support of many other senators and representatives, of the “Stop the Steal” movement completely goes against the fundamental principle that officials must maintain the integrity of our democratic process. 

After the insurrection on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, many members of Congress who had previously supported the “Stop the Steal” movement walked back their statements and chose to certify the results of the election. It remains imperative to mention that the Electoral College’s certification of the U.S. presidential election results can lead to a challenge of the results, but officials would not have been able to overturn the results of the election. 

Conservatives and the GOP have long prided themselves on ideals such as small government, lowering the budget deficit, decreasing taxes, family values and, most of all, like their Democratic counterparts — patriotism. The party that supported Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush seems to have transformed into a party that backs not an ideology, but a single man.

Former President Trump has, without a doubt, changed the political landscape and ideologies of many in the GOP. There are those within the GOP who have not changed those very principles and indestructible ideas which led them to conservatism in the first place. Senator Mitt Romney has stayed true to his long-standing approach to conservatism and its application to American life. 

Across the country, many conservatives who have long stood by the party find themselves in an awkward position. They do not consider themselves Democrats, but refuse to accept the egregious claims, hateful language and conspiracy theories that have traveled from the far right and infiltrated many of today’s conservative representatives. 

Due to this, many have chosen to switch parties or filed their paperwork to become unaffiliated. Just in Colorado, over 4,600 Republicans changed their party status in the week after Jan. 6.

This should not only alarm Republicans, but our nation as a whole. Lifelong conservatives who wish to switch party affiliations have every right to do so, but this idea that the Republican Party has lost much of its moral compass and chosen to support a man who has time and time again placed himself over the country is gut wrenching.

Many conservative principles and ideals are based in some deeply American and patriotic views. However, the party of Trump does not embody the true definition of conservatism in America. 

Conservatives have always had and should continue to have a seat at the table. However, far-right officials like Representative Marjory Taylor Greene, someone who has been a supporter of “Stop the Steal,” QAnon conspiracy theories and encouraged the execution of Democrats, makes it harder and harder for well meaning and real conservatives to have their voices and policies heard. 

The U.S. has, for many years, prided itself as a nation united under the idea that we, as Americans, continue in our search of expanding upon the American Dream. These officials who continue to chip away at our indisputable foundational ideals do not advance the American way, the Republican party or our nation as a whole. The only thing they wish to advance is themselves.