Analysis reveals why Trump's ability to steal the presidency in 2024 could hinge on this key race

Analysis reveals why Trump's ability to steal the presidency in 2024 could hinge on this key race
Donald Trump speaking at a MAGA rally in Bucks County, Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia on October 21, 2016, Wikimedia Commons
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The peculiarities of how different states oversee their elections could make result in the credibility of the 2024 election coming down to a campaign, which will be decided in the 2022 midterms.

Most states have a secretary of state who is elected by the population, but the 2024 campaign for Pennsylvania's 19 electoral votes will be overseen by a secretary of state elected who will be appointed by the winner of the commonwealth's 2022 gubernatorial campaign.

"Pennsylvania — the closest battleground state with the most electoral votes, where the election was called for Biden last November — is a powerful example of exactly what the Trump scheme to unwind American democracy looks like," Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch noted on Sunday. "In Harrisburg, Republican legislative leaders — after weeks of lobbying and browbeating by Trump himself — are plowing ahead with their unpopular plan to yet again review (definitely NOT an audit) the 2020 outcome, which involves handing over my personal data and that of 9 million other voters to an unknown but probably dodgy vendor."

Bunch noted Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, has sued to stop the controversial Pennsylvania audit.

"Shapiro is also the presumed front-runner to become his party's nominee for governor. If he wins, he will pick the next secretary of state — and thwart a key element of Trump's scheme. If the GOP wins Pennsylvania's open 2022 gubernatorial race to replace term-limited Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf — and the governor's mansion has flipped parties without fail since the 1960s — then the secretary of state pick will be made by a Republican who will surely have to curry favor with Trump to get through a crowded primary," Bunch explained.

He noted Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who organized buses to travel to D.C. for the January 6th effort to overturn the election, is one of the leading candidates for governor.

"If Mastriano or one of several other Trump-crazed candidates wins the general election, it's a lock that Pennsylvania's 48th governor will name a secretary of state who will work feverishly to restrict voting rights in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, and — if Trump gets fewer votes, again — cast doubt on the outcome, or work to simply ignore the results, as would be expected in a dictatorship," Bunch warned. "So while, yes, Pennsylvania's governor's race will be important for the usual reasons like education funding or the fate of fracking, this time around voters are essentially tasked with preserving America's 245-year experience with democracy ... or not."

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