Legal experts and commentators cry badly after Rasmussen Reports, a conservatively-minded electoral bureau, quoted a line attributed to Joseph Stalin, linked to right-wing comments arguing that Vice President Mike Pence might still try to get the legitimate results to reverse the presidential election.
On Sunday, Rasmussen Reports, once dubbed the president’s “favorite poll taker”, tweeted a thread from the conservative blogger, game media director, and self-described “internet super villain” Alexander Macris. A dubious theory has been put forward as to how the vice president, who will solemnly endorse the election results ahead of a joint congressional session on Jan. 6, could overturn the process and give the Trump administration a victory.
It began with a probably apocryphal quote from the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, which read: “Those who cast the votes do not decide anything. Those who count the votes decide everything. “
And it was also about an electoral theory that experts called a hoax, but which has gained importance in conservative circles since the elections.
“The vice president is not supposed to control the outcome of the process of counting votes from states,” said Edward Foley, a law professor at Ohio State University. told The Hill. “The Vice-President chairs the joint meeting, but does not decide which votes are to be counted.”
Upon learning of Mr Pence’s role, the President reportedly urged him to do something to postpone the inevitable. But the Washington Post reported that Mr. Pence has already told House Republicans and others pushing to reverse the results that he will do his constitutional duty and not create unnecessary drama. He is reportedly planning a trip abroad soon after.
Despite his assurances, online commentators were dismayed that the Rasmussen Post called the infamous dictator and explained how the elections could be overturned.
“Rasmussen Reports urges Mike Pence to give Josef Stalin some tips on how to steal an election,” wrote Matthew Sheffield, a self-described “former Conservative” writer. “This is the absolute state of American conservatism.”
Brendan Keefe, a Georgia-based reporter who has been the focus of so many unsubstantiated electoral conspiracy theories of the president, said honoring that way of thinking would mean, “At that point, democracy will cease to exist.”
Others like Mother jones The editor Clara Jefferey contrasted the Rasmussen tweets with the common right canard that liberals are becoming increasingly totalitarian or intolerant.
“Crazy, as @Rasmussen_Poll quoted Stalin, Amirite?” She tweeted in response to a post by former UN ambassador and Trump ally Nikki Haley, who warned of the Democratic Party’s allegedly socialist turnaround.
“The usual partisan hacks pretend that our analysis and comment by Alexander Macris yesterday contained a top quote from Stalin,” wrote Rasmussen on Monday. “Well it does. The hacks don’t want you READ this comment. They’d rather finger us as Staninists. What a sad bunch. “
Rasmussen did not respond to a request for comment from The independent.