There is nothing terribly mysterious, or even irrational, about the Trump wing of the Republican Party demanding endless audits of states that narrowly voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 elections. The five-month audit in Arizona, fruitless as it was, very clearly was part of Team Trump’s efforts to undermine confidence in the 2020 results, likely in order to create another, perhaps more successful, challenge of the results if Trump runs and again loses in 2024. So, too, were moves to emulate the Arizona clown show in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, all close 2020 states won by Biden.
But this report from Politico is a sign that audit fever may have become an end in itself:
The Republican Party of Lake County near Orlando last week adopted and sent a resolution to the governor, top legislators and other elected officials that demanded a full audit of the entire election. The move dovetails with a bill filed by a GOP legislator from the same county who wants the Florida Legislature to order a review.
“It’s not about margin of victory,” said state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R-Howey-in-the-Hills), a MAGA-style conservative who sponsored the bill calling for an audit. “The fact is that people want total verification of the election results. They want an independent review of the votes.”
This is, says Politico, a potentially “embarrassing” development for Florida governor and MAGA favorite Ron DeSantis, who has often boasted of the exceptionally clean and efficient nature of his state’s election machinery, which has, of course, long been under Republican management. But then again, the Republican governor of a state that Trump won by an even bigger margin — Texas — recently bent to the 45th president’s audit demands by ordering a review of the results in four big counties. And now Republican legislators in the Lone Star State are rushing to comply with Trump’s call for more (he called the selective audit already underway a “weak risk-limiting audit”).
So far Trump, a Florida resident who has probably been keeping an eye on DeSantis’s presidential aspirations, hasn’t said anything publicly about a Sunshine State audit, but you figure it could just be a matter of time. So far DeSantis and his appointees have not backed down on forceful assertions there is no need for any further investigation of Florida’s 2020 results.
It’s possible the Florida audit bid is too ridiculous even for Trump, given its rationale:
Walter Price, chair of the Lake County Republican Executive Committee, told the Orlando Sentinel — which first reported about the resolution — that his committee’s demands were based in part on allegations made by My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, a top Trump ally who has also pressed for election reviews and has said, without evidence, that Arizona is a “hotbed” of election fraud.
But Trump’s Texas demands are a pretty good indicator that he’s decided there is no aspect of the 2020 election, or the prospective 2022 and 2024 elections, that should merit any trust in MAGA-land. If that means Ron DeSantis’s pride in Florida’s election system must be brushed aside, so be it, even if it winds up tainting the GOP governor’s 2022 reelection bid. As in so many other respects, Donald Trump doesn’t care if the passions he incites wind up boomeranging as his followers devour their own.