It would have seemed inconceivable last week when Election Night ended with Roy Cooper 5,000 or so votes ahead in the race for Governor and celebrating victory with his supporters. Now, however, 10 days later, it’s increasingly clear that there is a metastasizing Republican effort underway to steal the election from Cooper for the incumbent Pat McCrory.
Yesterday, we saw the latest developments in this extremely troubling story when Republicans filed 50 new election complaints around the state. The point of these complaints is not to find actual votes for McCrory that would swing the election his way. That’s not going to happen with the margin that remains between the two candidates.
The objective, as it has been for several days now, is to win a P.R. battle by dragging things out and sowing confusion amongst the media and the public so that the groundwork is laid for GOP legislative leaders to declare that there is a “contested election” and thereby seize the authority for themselves to decide the Governor’s race. Republicans want to generate more and more headlines that discuss “uncertain results” and “potential voter fraud” so that people throw up their hands and start to buy the bogus claim that the election cannot be decided based on the votes actually cast.
This is, all in all, a frightening and outrageous development and, sadly, not terribly surprising given the conservative record of process-be-damned, ends-justify-the-means governance in recent years.
Of course, one would expect challenges to such a scheme to wend their way to the state Supreme Court in relatively short order, where, hopefully, justice would prevail.
One would hope.
That, however, would be the same state Supreme Court for which GOP lawmakers are currently discussing a court-packing scheme to wrest control away from Democrats that they won last week. And this from the party whose presidential standard bearer fomented fears for the past several months of a “rigged election.”