These conservative Republicans may be doomed politically for refusing to promote 'the Big Lie': report
In Arizona, conservative Republicans who have refused to promote the Big Lie and aren't afraid to say that now-President Joe Biden legitimately won the state in 2020 — a list that includes Gov. Doug Ducey, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, former Sen. Jeff Flake, Cindy McCain and Meghan McCain — are branded as "traitors" by former President Donald Trump's sycophants. Another is Bill Gates, who sits on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Gates, according to Boston Globe reporter Jess Bidgood, realizes that he may pay a price politically for not being afraid to say that Trump, not Biden, lost the 2020 election. And he isn't the only Republican who is in that position.
"Gates' once-mundane job has taken a nightmare turn," Bidgood explains in an article published during the 4th of July Weekend. "He has been deluged with violent threats, named in Trump's and his allies' lawsuits and called by Rudy Giuliani, Trump's lawyer, asking him to 'get this thing fixed up.' He even found himself and his colleagues one vote short of being held in contempt by the (Arizona) State Senate — an outcome he feared could lead his most unhinged detractors to detain him."
Not to be confused with the former Microsoft CEO, Gates would like to seek reelection to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in 2024. But according to Bidgood, he realizes that accepting the 2020 election results may doom his chances.
Bidgood quotes Gates as saying, "You're like, OK, is there a place for me? Is there a place for someone who does — who tries to do — the right thing? Who speaks truth, who isn't willing to follow the current Republican talking points? It's just not what I believe in. I don't believe in the Big Lie."
Bidgood stresses that Gates is hardly unique in that regard, and that Arizona is by no means the only state where refusing to go along with the Big Lie can be politically perilous for a conservative Republican.
"From November to January," Bidgood explains, "a sitting president falsely claimed the election had been stolen from him by rampant fraud, putting the peaceful transfer of power in greater peril than it had been at any other time in recent American history. As President Trump and his allies looked for the pressure points in the country's sprawling election system, hoping to overturn his loss, they met resistance from Democrats, but also, a cadre of Republicans — from low-level local officials like Gates to well-known politicians like Rep. Liz Cheney, who acted as the guardrails of American democracy by prioritizing truth and law over political allegiance."
Although the arch-conservative Cheney is far from a liberal — her father is former Vice President Dick Cheney — she has aggressively stood up for liberal democracy in 2021. And the Wyoming Republican warns that liberal democracy is in peril when so many members of her party are unwilling to accept election results that they don't like.
"We cannot take for granted that our system will continue to function, and we need to realize how fragile it is," Bidgood quotes Cheney as saying. "We're at a moment that is still very perilous."
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