How conservatives attempted to refute Trump’s version of the ‘steal’

Brian Howey

By Brian Howey

As a prelude to Donald Trump’s presidency, his adviser Steve Bannon said in 2016, “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.”

A week before the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, which cost five lives, three police suicides, 150 cop injuries, and more than 500 criminal charges of sedition — Steve Bannon had President Trump’s ear.

According to the Bob Woodward and Robert Costa book “Peril”, Bannon told Trump on Dec. 30, “You’ve got to return to Washington and make a dramatic return today. You’ve got to call Pence off the f—— ski slopes and get him back here today. This is a crisis. We’re going to bury Biden on Jan. 6. We’re going to kill it in the crib. Kill the Biden presidency in the crib.”

The roadmap to this conspiracy to violently take away Joe Biden’s 81 million vote to 74 million vote victory (306 to 232 Electoral College) was a memo by legal scholar John Eastman, who laid out the “Jan. 6 scenario” that claimed that seven states had transmitted dual slates of electors to the president of the Senate, then-Vice President Mike Pence. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, sought and could find no evidence of any dual elector slates.

According to Eastman, Pence would disqualify those seven states, leaving 454 instead of 538 electors. “There are at this point, 232 votes for Trump and 222 votes for Biden. Pence then gavels President Trump reelected.” If Democrats insisted that the threshold was 270 votes, Pence would send it to the House, where Republicans controlled 26 of the 50 state delegations, with each delegation getting one vote to determine the next president.

On Dec. 15, the Electoral College voted for Biden, prompting Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to state, “The Electoral College has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden.” When Trump protested, McConnell told him, “Mr. President, the Electoral College has spoken. That’s the way we pick a president in this country. You lost the election.”

On Jan. 5, Pence met with Trump in the Oval Office. “I personally believe there are limits to what I can do. So if you have a strategy for the 6th, it really shouldn’t involve me because I’m just there to open the envelopes,” Pence told Trump. “You’re not going to be sworn in on the 20th. There is not a scenario where you can be sworn in on the 20th.”

Trump responded, “You’ve betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing. Your career is over if you do this.”

At 1 p.m. on Jan. 6, just minutes before the insurrection encroached the U.S. Capitol, Pence released a statement saying that it was “my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.” He ended it saying, “So help me God.

After the Jan. 6 mob that sought to “hang Mike Pence” was contained, Pence and members of Congress completed their constitutional duty in counting the Electoral College votes, resulting in the certification of Biden’s victory.

As Pence left the Capitol around 3:45 a.m. Jan. 7, he received a text from his chief of staff Marc Short: “2Timothy 4:7.” In the King James Bible, the verse reads: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

Trump and many Republicans are still claiming the election was stolen. “They used COVID in order to cheat and rig,” Trump said at a recent rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. “Remember this is not about me being robbed of an election. This is about the American people having their country taken away from them.”

There is no question that Donald J. Trump commands the Republican Party now. A Politico/Morning Consult Poll revealed his support at 47%, with Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 12%.

Trump’s message that the election was rigged — something he claimed in his Iowa primary loss to Sen. Ted Cruz — is now spreading across the GOP.

In the view of Steve Bannon, the fact that many Republican voters no longer believe in certified election results, believe the election was stolen, and are willing to throw away the cornerstone of American democracy — the peaceful transfer of power — is how Leninism is transforming one of the two major American political parties.