To the exclusion of almost all other issues, Donald Trump focuses his speeches and postings on the discredited claim that he won the 2020 election, then had it stolen by massive fraud involving hundreds of thousands of votes. This continues despite Team Trump’s failure to provide compelling evidence of its fraud claims. A willingness to join Mr. Trump in condemning the 2020 results—or at least raising doubts about the outcome—often seems to be a precondition for his endorsement. This appears to be particularly true in races for secretary of state—the officer who, in most states, oversees part or all of the election process. As a result, some Republican primaries will serve as preliminary tests of how this message could play in battleground states in 2024.
One notable example was the race to be the GOP nominee for secretary of state in Nevada, a state Joe Biden won by 33,596 votes (2.4% of the total vote). The candidate who won, Jim Marchant, made claims of 2020 election fraud the centerpiece of his primary. “My work exposing” it, he said, “has a lot of people very nervous. The Communist/Socialist/RINO Cabal is coming after me hard.” Mr. Marchant organized the America First Secretary of State Coalition, or AFSOSC, to back like-minded candidates. He is more radical on this point even than Mr. Trump, arguing that “your vote hasn’t counted for decades, you haven’t elected anybody.” The president tends to confine himself to lamenting his own loss.