CNN

Democrats have spent months insisting that the aftermath of the 2020 election – and January 6 in particular – amounted to a fundamental threat to American democracy and was, therefore, above petty partisan politics.

Which is true!

But, the actions of Democratic campaigns and committees – meddling in Republican primaries to try to ensure election deniers wind up as the party’s nominee so they can run against supposedly weaker candidates – suggests that all of those pledges about democracy are mere words, not borne out by action.

The latest example of this hypocrisy comes in Michigan where Republican Rep. Peter Meijer is trying to fend off a challenge from John Gibbs, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump.

Meijer was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump over his conduct on January 6. For that apostasy, Trump weighed in for Gibbs, who has repeatedly questioned the validity of the 2020 election despite providing zero evidence to back up that claim.

“I’ll be honest, this is something I agonized over,” Meijer said in explaining his vote to impeach Trump. “You know, I read the articles [of impeachment] and they were appropriate. They were what we experienced and what happened. I had to vote ‘yes’ and support that impeachment.”

The race, in the Grand Rapids-based seat, is expected to be close. Which is what makes the news reported by a variety of outlets on Monday – that the House Democratic campaign arm had placed a major ad buy in advance of the state’s August 2 primary – all the more intriguing.

As Politico reported:

“[Meijer’s] Western Michigan district is one of the party’s top offensive targets this election, and Democratic strategists believe if they can boost Meijer’s pro-Trump challenger to victory next week, they will have an easier time this fall trying to flip a seat President Joe Biden carried by nine points in 2020.”

The Meijer move is far from the first time this election cycle that Democrats have actively meddled in a Republican primary to help elect an election denier over someone who says that the election was fair and free.

In Maryland earlier this month, the Democratic Governors Association spent more than $1 million on ads touting Dan Cox’s conservative credentials in a race against a more moderate Republican. Cox has repeatedly insisted the 2020 election was stolen and helped organize buses to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6. Cox won the primary.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic nominee Josh Shapiro spent nearlty $1 million on ads highlighting the ultra-conservtaive views of state Sen. Doug Mastriano, one of the highest-profile election deniers in the country. Mastriano won the primary and will face Shapiro in the fall.

In Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the DGA dropped upwards of $35 million to boost the candidacy of conservative state Sen. Darren Bailey over the more moderate Richard Irvin. (Bailey was endorsed by Trump.)

There are more examples but you get the idea. Over and over again. Democrats have shown a willingness to wade into Republican primaries to boost the chances of candidates who are either major election deniers, Trump-endorsed candidates or both.

This is smart politics. There’s no question, for example, that Cox will have a harder time appealing to the Democratic-tilting state of Maryland than would the more moderate candidate he beat in the primary. Ditto Mastriano. And Bailey.

But, remember: Democrats have expressly said that the 2020 election and its aftermath are about more than hardball politics. Those events threatened the fabric of our democracy and the people who pushed them need to be punished. That’s the whole point of the January 6 committee – and those who are urging it to make criminal referrals on members of Trumpworld.

Playing politics – as Democrats are doing – elevates these false views about both the election and January 6 whether or not the Republican nominees spouting those opinions wind up winning.

You can’t have it both ways. Either the lies about the election – and those who propagate them – are an active danger to our democracy or they’re not.

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