So Ted Budd refuses to commit to accepting the election results in November. When asked why, his campaign manager “claimed without evidence that Cheri Beasley, the Democratic nominee and a former State Supreme Court justice, might try to disenfranchise voters,” according to the New York Times. Budd also voted against certifying the election after Joe Biden won. He is more committed to Donald Trump and his movement than he is to democracy or our Constitution.

I would love to see some North Carolina reporters delve more into Budd’s response and see if it’s more widespread among Republicans. How many of the Republican candidates for down ballot races are going to accept the results? Budd’s response should really be a focus of this campaign until he’s ready to clear it up. 

Budd’s response is disturbing, but not surprising. The GOP is radicalizing quickly as Trump continues to turn up his rhetoric. At a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, he called President Joe Biden an “enemy of the state.” In Ohio this weekend, he laid out a dystopian view of America where the FBI is engaged in police state activities and the crowd responded with a new one-armed salute, eerily reminiscent of the one seen at Nazi rallies in the 1930s.

Republicans have a long history of downplaying their worst instincts. Right now, formerly mainstream Republicans complain that the criticism of Trump is overblown and that Democrats are somehow worse. Lindsey Graham is the poster boy for the Trump GOP. He knew the truth about Trump when he said that he wouldn’t vote for him in 2016. That Lindsey Graham told the truth about Trump but told a lie about himself. “I think Donald Trump is going to places where very few people have gone and I’m not going with him.” Trump has certainly gone where very few people have gone, but Graham and the whole mainstream GOP has gone right down that road with him. Trump is exactly the same guy he was in 2016. It’s the GOP that has changed.

Back before Republicans had power in North Carolina, Democrats warned that if the GOP took control of the legislature, Republicans would cut funding to schools and universities. Republicans claimed Democrats were using scare tactics and that the GOP would do no such thing. Since they’ve been in power, per pupil spending has dropped and they’ve dramatically cut funding to the UNC system.  

In the immediate aftermath of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, Republicans denied that they wanted any sort of national ban on abortion. They claimed they just wanted to give power back to the states. Now, Graham and his compatriots are calling for a national ban on abortion. 

Republicans have spent decades deriding Democrats’ warnings about the GOP cutting social security and Medicare. They called it “Mediscare” and assured the voters that Republicans had no plans to cut the entitlement programs. Now, Senator Rick Scott has released his plan that would do just that. 

The media needs to step up right now. They have clear questions for Budd. They have a long history of Republicans saying one thing and doing another. Now, they have candidates who could determine control of the Senate refusing to accept democracy. As Graham said, Trump has taken us where very few people have gone. Somehow, we need to get out of here.   

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