Former President Donald Trump speaks to a capacity crowd at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage on July 9, 2022. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Former President Donald Trump speaks to a capacity crowd at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage on July 9, 2022. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Opinion: A primary election of ill-informed voters

On Tuesday, Republicans across the state will help anoint Donald Trump as their party’s nominee for president. But if national polling reasonably reflects the views of Alaska voters, tens of thousands of them still believe the 2020 election was stolen. And even if they don’t believe it themselves, Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Attorney General Treg Taylor are happy to let them remain ignorant.

That’s the main purpose of an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court two weeks ago by Alaska and 21 other states. It involves the case in which Trump has been charged with conspiring to overturn the 2020 election. They asked the court to stay trial proceedings until his claim of absolute immunity is resolved.

According to the Alabama attorneys who prepared the brief, delaying a hearing and decision on that question “may be just what this case needs to counteract the reasonable perception of irregularity” which they claim is being caused by the “prosecution’s unexplained zeal” for proceeding to trial.

That’s like saying it’s entirely normal to have a major party’s presidential candidate under one criminal indictment, let alone the 91 counts Trump faces in four separate cases.

This week the Supreme Court set April 22 as the date for oral arguments. If they don’t issue a decision soon after that the trial may be pushed back until after the general election November.

Their ruling will also have a direct impact on another election-related case. On Aug. 15, Trump and 18 others were indicted by a Fulton County grand jury for conspiring to overturn the results in Georgia.

Almost immediately after those indictments were unsealed, Trump announced he would release “A Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT on the Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia.” Three days later, he changed his mind and stated his lawyers would present it later in a legal filing.

If there was any merit to the findings in that report, one would have expected House Republicans to jump all over it. After all, committing massive fraud to steal an election was, in Trump’s words, “the crime of the century.” They could have presented the evidence to every American via televised hearings. Biden and his entire administration could be forced to resign. The mainstream news media would lose all credibility. And Republicans would be guaranteed to win control of the White and both chambers of Congress.

Instead, a month after Trump’s statement, they opened an impeachment inquiry based on evidence “suggesting that President Biden knew of, participated in, and profited from his family’s international business activities” while he was the vice president. Among it was the execution of a “bribery scheme” witnessed by an FBI informant which was undermined last week after that same informant was indicted for lying to the FBI about that very allegation.

Meanwhile, in defense of his absolute immunity argument, Trump’s attorneys provided the DC Court of Appeals Court with a link to a report titled “Summary of Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election in the Swing States.” Supposedly, it was “compiled by the most highly qualified Election Experts in the Country.” When Trump posted on social media, he called on Republicans to “step forward and address this ATROCITY.”

But the 32-page unauthored document was nothing more than a repeat of already easily disproven claims. Which is why it was completely ignored by congressional Republicans and every reputable conservative news outlet.

Republicans, including Dunleavy, Taylor and their fellow amicus brief collaborators, can’t endorse Trump’s utter nonsense without putting themselves in legal jeopardy. They can’t tell the truth without risking his wrath and undermining their own credibility. So they’ve turned to dredging up distractions in hopes of keeping a significant share of the electorate thoroughly confused or entirely detached from reality.

That’s not how the founders envisioned a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Thomas Jefferson explained it best — “whenever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.”

Thanks to Trump and his defenders, a third of America today doesn’t know what’s wrong or who in government should be held accountable.

• Rich Moniak is a Juneau resident and retired civil engineer with more than 25 years of experience working in the public sector. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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