On the January 24th episode of ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos spoke with guest Sen. Rand Paul about the results of the 2020 presidential election. The two engaged in a heated discussion, with the host demanding the Senator accede to a statement as being fact, and the Senator repeatedly asserting that such a demand was designed to impugn his character and that of everyone who believes it is important to root out fraud or abuse that may have taken place.
In the clip below, the two sides of the argument seem on the surface to be about whether or not the 2020 election was “stolen” by means of fraud or abuse.
That is not, however, the important point in the video. What is pertinent to future elections is whether or not citizens and our representative government will be doing everything they can to make sure that each time Americans vote, anywhere in the country, the process is secure, transparent, accountable, and legitimate.
It is on that point that Sen. Paul made his argument on Sunday. Watch as the two engage in heated sparring.
If we are to repair and validate the process across the country, it must first be considered legitimate and reasonable to review the prior election for practices that require refinement or change, and even to identify and correct issues that may have led to improper, ineligible, or fraudulent votes. It cannot be the case that saying we should investigate problems is taken as, and treated as, some type of conspiratorial thinking.
That means by necessity that frank discussion cannot be a media-led gotcha game. Sen. Paul is asserting that the purpose of Stephanopoulos’s focus on a single point, the drive to have him say “Donald Trump was wrong and the election was not stolen” isn’t to have the Senator affirm a fact or instill confidence in voters, but rather to then use his agreement as a means to shut down further inquiry into the process.
It is not necessary that an election be stolen, or that fraud reach the level that the media calls “widespread” and would impact the outcome, in order for responsible officials to want to correct problems.
Every American should care that every eligible vote is counted, and that every eligible vote counts and isn’t negated by an ineligible or fraudulent vote. As True the Vote has repeatedly outlined, the people hardest hit by improper handling of elections are those in disadvantaged areas. No American should be okay with disenfranchisement of any kind, be it suppression or fraud.
Sen. Rand Paul and George Stephanopoulos fought over the 2020 election results. People across America have been doing the same. But what this argument showed was that, unless we can move past the gotcha fight, we can’t begin the work of making things better.