Republicans Have Become Most Litigious

by Deedra Abboud in Political, Social Views
October 28, 2022 0 comments

Since January 2022, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has filed 73 election challenges in 20 states, ranging from the number of poll watchers to the observation of vote counts to the exclusion of absentee ballots for technical reasons (like failure to print date on outside of envelope).

According to an RNC official, this aggressive legal approach is an attempt to satisfy RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s aim of making this cycle the RNC’s “most litigious.”

For decades, Republican leaders have decried “junk lawsuits” and “frivolous lawsuits,” and advocated for “tort reform” to counteract the evil powers of “trial lawyers.”

President Ronald Reagan stated to the American Tort Reform Association in 1986 that an “expansion of tort liability penalizes virtually every American.”

In 2004, President George W. Bush decried the emergence of a “culture of lawsuits”: “There’s just too many junk and frivolous lawsuits.”

In 2020, Senator Mitch McConnell urged that tort reform to be made a condition for providing state and local governments with funding for budgets decimated by COVID-19, elevating the criterion from negligence claims to “actual knowledge” and “reckless indifference or conscious disregard.”

And Republican-led states, like Arizona, enacted such legislation to shield corporations from liability for actions or inactions that created health risks to employees or consumers during the pandemic.

For Republicans, liability protections and tort reform are equal to tax cuts and immigration restrictions since it has been the Republican prescription for everything for more than a generation.

But among the many Republican Party abandonments of conservative values brought about by Trump (including accepting violence as “legitimate political discourse”) has been a newfound appreciation for junk lawsuits.

More than 86 judges, ranging from jurists operating at the lowest levels of state court systems to members of the United States Supreme Court, rejected at least one post-election lawsuit filed by Trump or his supporters, according to a Washington Post review of court documents.

MAGA Republicans following in Trump’s footsteps and denying the results of the 2020 election are competing for significant statewide offices around the country, including governor and secretary of state.

Candidates that continue to say that the 2020 election was stolen are also more likely argue that their own election was stolen from them, a disturbing pattern that may not end in 2022.

Many MAGA candidates have already stated that if they lose, they will not accept the results of their election.

The fact that challenges to election results are rarely successful or that solid evidence is required for a court to take them seriously has not discouraged MAGA Republicans, with several filing lawsuits over municipal and primary losses this year.

MAGA candidates understand that denying results will generate publicity and help them fundraise for their party or for themselves, with incentives shifting away from fostering trust in democratic culture and toward short-term political gain, which has extremely troubling implications for the future of US democracy.

But experts are more concerned about the ramifications for democracy if election deniers win their campaigns and have access to modifying whether all citizens may vote, how citizens vote, and who wins elections regardless of the number of citizen votes they receive.

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