- Although it appears that every election denier who ran for statewide office in a swing state lost, many came dangerously close to winning. Certainly, it is terrific that so many election deniers who, if elected, could have thwarted the will of the voters in future elections, went down to defeat, some by huge margins. Also great that all the candidates for Secretary of State in swing states, who as a group had publicly pledged to make certain that Donald Trump or some other Trumpy candidate would prevail in 2024 despite the will of the voters, lost their bids to become fifth columnists. And that the Pennsylvania governor’s race went to Democrat Josh Shapiro by double digits, critical because the governor appoints the Secretary of State. Had radical right extremist Doug Mastriano won, a critical swing state would be in the clutches of election deniers come 2024. Even so, a great many voters preferred these election deniers over their democracy defender rivals. In those races, democracy only won by a hair. Close to 50 percent of swing state voters aren’t at all interested in preserving our democracy.
- More than 100 election deniers won congressional, statewide and state legislative races, primarily in red states. Around 25 percent of House Republicans are members of the extreme right House Freedom Caucus. They are the most ardent Trump supporters/election deniers in Congress. Two newly-elected members of Congress were at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. All could be in position to threaten democracy come 2024.
- Donald Trump hasn’t gone away. In fact, he is once again running for President. There is little evidence yet that the MAGA movement will abandon its cult leader anytime soon. Despite being under a very dark legal cloud, he will use the next two years to hammer away at both his potential GOP rivals and Joe Biden, employing the fact-free universe in which he resides to rile up the MAGAverse and whack at the underpinnings of democracy.
- Finally, a threat that has thus far been under the radar. Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, which is controlled by Saudi dictator Muhammed Bin Salman (MBS), owns 17 percent of Twitter, making it the second largest shareholder after Elon Musk. Assuming Twitter survives Musk’s mayhem, this is perhaps the Saudis’ most dangerous infiltration of American business to date. Given Musk’s authoritarian propensities, Saudi intentions to possibly exploit Twitter to influence U.S. public opinion and lawmakers in directions aligned with its repressive policies and interfere in U.S. elections to the detriment of democracy mesh very well with Musk’s own despotic desires for his new toy. Together with Musk, the social media giant they jointly control is in position to suppress speech Saudi Arabia doesn’t like and to sway the American electorate in its direction.
There is, however, a vaccine available that can defeat the Saudi virus: The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a small obscure Treasury Department agency, has the authority to review and bar the Saudi investment for reasons of national security. Those reasons clearly apply in this case. So far, however, CFIUS has not acted. This is likely the result of President Biden’s about-face regarding Saudi Arabia. Despite his campaign pledge to make the kingdom the pariah that it is, he went begging the desert monarchy in a futile attempt to induce it to produce more oil and thus lower gas prices. Worse, he just rewarded MBS with immunity from civil liability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Even the Saudi-servile Trump administration didn’t do that.
No one should assume that the enemies of democracy have been routed. While they may be tending their wounds right now, it is highly likely that they will be back and just as dangerous as ever.
November 18, 2022