There are lots of insights to be gained, classes to be discovered, and tales to be informed in regards to the 2022 midterm elections. One, nonetheless, has not a single factor to do with any candidate or coverage. It has to do with phrases.
Everyone knows that phrases matter. That is why in any dialogue, management of the language is essential. Thus, as a substitute of speaking about abortion, we discuss when it comes to “alternative” and “life,” and we have now “local weather change” as a substitute of “world warming.”
Such was the case throughout the midterms. Two phrases have been centrally featured within the runup to the election, all through the day itself, proper by way of to the post-mortems: “election denier.”
If you happen to watched any protection of election day, you heard that time period repeatedly. It turned a synonym for crackpot, right-wing, mega-MAGA candidates. The media fell over themselves highlighting simply what number of of those crazies have been working on GOP tickets. CBS Information set the quantity at 308; the Washington Publish claimed 291; the New York Instances, apparently much less diligent of their analysis, may solely discover “greater than” 220. (The Brookings Institute claimed there have been as many as 345 of those deviants on the poll.)
With a selection like that, it would lead one to marvel: what precisely is an election denier? Whereas a good query, that is oftentimes the toughest a part of any investigation into language. What a phrase means, it appears, is usually subjective. Simply as usually, it’s unclear on objective, as shut scrutiny may undermine its worth.
So, it was considerably shocking to see that not less than one media outlet really had the honesty to outline, on election evening, what it meant by the time period. Per CBS Information, it means exactly this:
1) Saying the 2020 election was stolen
2) Repeating disproven claims relating to voter fraud in 2020
3) Supporting an audit of the 2020 election
4) Signing onto the Texas lawsuit relating to the 2020 election
5) Objecting to the certification of the Electoral Faculty leads to 2020, or
6) Being “unclear” as as to if Biden was legitimately elected in 2020
The legal professionals studying this may know that the “or” on the finish implies that you solely want to fulfill a type of standards to fulfill the check. So, one remark that the election was stolen, and you’re an “election denier.” And CBS, once more to their credit score, confirmed that on-air.
The repetition of the limiting “in 2020” or “Biden” can also be instructive. We’ve had elections for a very long time, it appears. Fairly often, in actual fact. And once we are coping with one thing as elementary to the functioning of our Republic as questioning the result of the democratic course of, there doesn’t appear to be purpose to restrict these elements to simply the final 24 months.
Curiously, if that “within the 2020 election” goes away, the listing of culprits modifications dramatically. With the limitation, you seize such towering nationwide figures as Mark Fincham and Kristina Karamo. However when you drop it, the listing of loopy misfits appears much more acquainted:
Barack Obama. Jimmy Carter. Invoice Clinton. Joe Biden. Hillary Clinton. Kamala Harris. Bernie Sanders. Jesse Jackson. Nancy Pelosi. Ted Kennedy. Harry Reid. Dianne Feinstein. Sherrod Brown. Dick Durbin. Debbie Stabenow. Cory Booker. John Lewis. Jerry Nadler. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Alcee Hastings. Lacy Clay. Marcia Fudge. Ted Lieu. Maxine Waters. Jamie Raskin. Raúl Grijalva. Sheila Jackson Lee. Terry McAuliffe. Howard Dean. Stacey Abrams.
Making use of the CBS standards to elections aside from 2020, all of them, each single one, is an election denier. Certainly, a few of them, a number of instances over. President Carter appeared to make a interest of it, questioning the legitimacy of the 2000, 2004, and 2016 elections. Or, extra concisely, each Republican presidential victory this century.
Which, after all, is most of what this complete “election denier” mania is all about: discovering yet one more option to undermine Republican candidates for public workplace. Certainly, one is left to marvel if the media shouldn’t simply drop the façade of claiming there are too many election deniers on the GOP ticket, and simply get to the center of their criticism: there are too many Republicans on the Republican ticket.
Jan. 6 was a travesty, and the Republican Social gathering will likely be working for years to undo the injury it did to this nation, and to take away that stain by itself popularity. And with out query, unsubstantiated and debunked claims of a stolen election contributed on to what occurred that day. However to claim that one celebration, and one celebration alone, is accountable for the undermining of confidence within the integrity of elections, is to revise historical past. And to abuse the language.
Sooner or later we might begin to acknowledge that each events are accountable in some measure for the challenges we face in our polity. And in some unspecified time in the future we’d start to handle these challenges. However we received’t be capable to try this if we can not even agree on what phrases imply.
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