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World GOP in Iowa Believes 'Stolen' Election Theory, Senator Says Amid State Extremism Concerns

18:39  24 february  2021
18:39  24 february  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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Republican senators in Iowa largely believe the baseless conspiracy theory that President Joe Biden won November's election through electoral fraud, according to one state lawmaker who spoke in favor of new voting curbs on Tuesday.

a large clock tower in the background: This file photo shows the Iowa State Capitol building on October 9, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty This file photo shows the Iowa State Capitol building on October 9, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sen. Jim Carlin—a Republican who recently announced his plan to run for the U.S. Senate—on Tuesday listed several results from November's election that he believes shows there was fraud to help defeat former President Donald Trump.

There remains no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud that could have affected the election results. Trump's campaign team and others brought at least 86 legal challenges against the result, all of which failed.

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But this hasn't stopped Republican lawmakers across the country adopting the conspiracy theory, wielding it as a political cudgel against democratic norms and a tool to vilify the Democratic Party.

"Most of us in my caucus and the Republican caucus believe the election was stolen," Carlin said Tuesday, according to the Des Moines Register. The remarks came as senators debated GOP-proposed new voting restrictions, which eventually passed 30-18 along party lines.

Every Republican backed the measures, which will reduce Election Day voting by an hour and create a stricter deadline for returning absentee ballots if approved, as expected, by the Republican-controlled state House of Representatives and governor's office.

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Newsweek has contacted the Iowa GOP and Carlin to request comment on his remarks.

There is national concern at the apparent slide of state GOP lawmakers and bodies towards conspiracy theories and far-right extremism. National GOP leaders have broken with Trump over his baseless claims of electoral fraud, but the conspiracy theory appears to be finding fertile ground among state GOP bodies and the Republican voter base.

At the state and national level, Republican lawmakers are now peddling conspiracy theories about the election, about the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and about their fellow elected colleagues across the aisle.

In Michigan, for example, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mike Shirkey is standing by his false claims that the January 6 Capitol attack was a "hoax" to discredit Trump and the GOP. And in Oregon, new state GOP chair Sen. Dallas Heard has repeatedly expressed support for far-right protesters laying siege to the state capitol in Salem.

Republicans Back Trump Because of the Insurrection, Not Despite It

  Republicans Back Trump Because of the Insurrection, Not Despite It The former president’s ruthlessness remains central to his appeal.How can it be that Democrats and Republicans see the former president in such divergent ways? One common answer is that, thanks to information bubbles, they’re looking at different sets of facts; conservative outlets buried the impeachment hearings compared with other outlets’ coverage. Democrats and independents are still outraged, while Republicans have forgiven and forgotten.

In Iowa, Democratic lawmakers framed Republican rhetoric on Tuesday as a political ploy to disenfranchise voters and cement GOP control of the state.

Sen. Joe Bolkcom, responding to Carlin, said: "Give me a break...The reason some people have lost faith or are losing faith in our elections. It's that Republicans have manufactured, fostered and encouraged [it] through silence and conspiracy theories and cult behavior."

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Senator Rick Scott Insists GOP Civil War 'Absolutely Canceled' Despite Ongoing Tensions .
The Florida Republican doubled down in dismissing the GOP's divisions over former president Donald Trump.Trump spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday, asserting his continued dominance over the GOP—which he said is united even as he attacked Republican leaders who've crossed him—despite the violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol by his supporters on January 6. While a number of leading Republican lawmakers have come out strongly against Trump in the wake of the violent mob attack targeting Congress, most GOP voters and lawmakers continue to align themselves with the former president.

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