"Democracy falls": Michigan GOP nominates two election conspiracists to protect elections

If one wins, "it's easy to imagine Republican electoral losses being overturned," ex-Ted Cruz aide warns

By Alex Henderson

Published April 26, 2022 11:59PM (EDT)

Kristina Karamo, who is running for Michigan Republican party's nomination for secretary of state, speaks at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on April 02, 2022 near Washington, Michigan. Trump is in Michigan to promote his America First agenda and is expected to voice his support of Karamo and Matthew DePerno, who is running for the Michigan Republican party's nomination for state attorney general. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Kristina Karamo, who is running for Michigan Republican party's nomination for secretary of state, speaks at a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump on April 02, 2022 near Washington, Michigan. Trump is in Michigan to promote his America First agenda and is expected to voice his support of Karamo and Matthew DePerno, who is running for the Michigan Republican party's nomination for state attorney general. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

When the Michigan Republican Party held its convention in Grand Rapids on Saturday, April 23, two of the far-right "Stop the Steal" extremists who were featured were Matt DePerno (who is running for Michigan attorney general) and Michigan secretary of state candidate Kristina Karamo — both of whom former President Donald Trump has endorsed. Never Trump conservative Amanda Carpenter, in an article published by The Bulwark on April 25, warns that democracy will suffer in Michigan if either DePerno or Karamo is elected in the 2022 midterms.

"Reasonable people would have to hope DePerno and Karamo get blown out in the general election and are never heard from again," Carpenter argues. "Their outlandish insistence that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump has led to considerable fractures within the Michigan Republican Party. As such, they're viewed as longshots who will be unable to unite the party, win over independents, and beat the incumbent Democrats, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson."

Carpenter continues, "That said, DePerno and Karamo were never really considered serious candidates, yet they managed to clinch their races, thanks to Trump's backing. And in a midterm year in which Democrats are struggling nationally, it would be unwise to write off any of these races."

DePerno and Karamo, Carpenter notes, "became 'Stop the Steal' stars in the contentious period after November 3, 2020, making a name for themselves in MAGA circles."

"Unlike in most other states, Michigan Republicans choose their candidates for down-ballot races through an 'endorsement convention' for party delegates rather than a primary election for voters," Carpenter explains. "It was that endorsement convention that was held in Grand Rapids this weekend. Pending any major event, DePerno and Karamo will receive the party's formal nominations in August."

At the Michigan GOP convention on April 23, one of the MAGA Republicans who endorsed DePerno was far-right conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. DePerno, like Karamo, continues to relentlessly promote the Big Lie, falsely claiming that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump — and he has promised to jail Democratic Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, if elected, for being a part of that conspiracy. Nessel, of course, did no such thing.

Karamo is as unhinged as DePerno. Carpenter notes that Karamo "supported Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's efforts to cancel votes in the swing states Trump lost; said it was 'Antifa posing as Trump supporters' who were responsible for the violence on January 6th; attended a QAnon convention; and went to Arizona to support 'audit' leaders such as Wendy Rogers."

Carpenter writes, "This, mind you, is the person Republicans want to be Michigan's top elections official…. Michigan Democrats are eager to point to Karamo's comments that police officers and others who testified to the House January 6th Committee were 'actors and actresses,' that Republicans who don't support her are 'traitors,' and that Democrats are 'Satanic.'"

According to Carpenter, dismissing DePerno and Karamo as "flukes" is dangerous because "Michigan Republicans sought them out and supported them precisely because of their ideas."

"If one MAGA conspiracy theorist were to occupy the state's highest law enforcement office and another were the state's top elections official, it's easy to imagine Republican electoral losses being overturned," Carpenter warns. "The fix would be in."


Alex Henderson

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2022 Elections Alternet Donald Trump Kristina Karamo Matt Deperno Partner