How MAGA Republicans are making the Big Lie a GOP 'litmus test'

How MAGA Republicans are making the Big Lie a GOP 'litmus test'

On Saturday, July 24, former President Donald Trump spoke at a MAGA rally in Phoenix, Arizona — where, six months into Joe Biden's presidency, he continued to promote the Big Lie, falsely claiming that he was the real winner of the 2020 election. Never Trump conservative Amanda Carpenter, analyzing that event in an article published by The Bulwark on July 26, points to the speeches as an example of MAGA Republicans making the Big Lie a litmus test for members of their party.

"Throughout his speech, the former president praised Republicans who have assisted him in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, such as Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Rudy Giuliani and the lawmakers behind the Arizona audit," Carpenter explains. "And Trump bashed those Republicans who didn't help him advance the Big Lie, including his former vice president, Mike Pence; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey."

At the July 24 rally, Trump told the crowd, "We have to hold those that are responsible for the 2020 presidential elections scam. It was a scam, greatest crime in history, and we have to hold these people accountable."

Charlie Kirk, the far-right founder of Turning Point USA and a devoted Trump supporter, spoke at the event as well, declaring that he has "lost his patience" with "weak Republicans" who allowed a "mail-in ballot scam" to take place in the 2020 election.

Shamelessly promoting the Big Lie, Kirk told the crowd, "What upsets me the most is that this happened in Republican states. In this state and in Georgia. And, this needs to be said once and for all. If you were silent or complicit in what happened in the 2020 election, resign and go re-run as a Democrat. Get the heck out of the Republican Party."

Another speaker was Kari Lake, who is seeking the nomination in Arizona's 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary. Lake railed against Republicans who accepted the 2020 election results, saying, "You know the ones, the backstabbers. The ones who turned their back on President Trump on November 4, and they told us to forget about the November 3 election — that nothing went wrong and we should get on with our lives. We're not gonna do that."

The lesson of that MAGA rally, Carpenter stresses, is that the Big Lie is alive and well in the Republican Party — and that MAGA Republicans have zero tolerance for those who don't go along with it.

Carpenter writes, "While Trump continues to make adherence to the very election conspiracies that caused the insurrection a litmus test for the upcoming Republican primary contests, elected Republican officials who could call him out are instead choosing to act as if the 2020 election and the insurrection are irrelevant because they are over and done…. Republican officials might want their party to look to the future, but as long as Donald Trump is the GOP's leader, the party will be stuck living his lie."

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