Even after Mr. Trump’s loss, catering to the wishes of Republican voters has meant aping the president’s own paranoid style of politics by clinging to supposed examples of fraud even after they have been debunked in court.
For instance, last month Mr. Graham said during an interview on “Fox & Friends” that a signature verification machine in Clark County, Nevada, which encompasses Las Vegas, was used improperly to accept “every signature whether it was fraudulent or not.” In the same interview, he shared an allegation that people in the county were spotted filling out fraudulent ballots on “a Biden/Harris truck.”
Those allegations were contained in a lawsuit Republicans filed in the state. Last week a judge found that the signature machine in question had, in fact, sent 70 percent of the signatures it scanned back to election workers for human verification. “The record does not support” allegations that the machine “accepted signatures that should have been rejected,” wrote the judge, James T. Russell. Similarly, he ruled, a witness account about false ballots filled out on a Biden/Harris vehicle was “not credible.”
On Friday, a spokesman for Mr. Graham declined to address those findings and said the senator “continues to have grave concerns about the expanded use of mail in ballots.”
In a hearing about the 2020 election in Wisconsin led by statehouse Republicans on Friday, witnesses suggested the state faced election interference from the dead dictators Hugo Chavez and Joseph Stalin, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and Kanye West.
Some of the claims were similar to conspiracy theories contained in suits filed by a conservative lawyer, Sidney Powell, whose attempts to overturn the election results have been regularly rejected by judges. One wrote that a case she brought on behalf of Republican plaintiffs seemed to have been “more about the impact of their allegations on people’s faith in the democratic process” as well as “trust in our government.”
Tom Rath, a former Republican attorney general of New Hampshire, who endorsed Mr. Biden and opposed his party’s effort at the Supreme Court, lamented what seemed to be political incentives within his party to shake that trust. “It’s very unfortunate,’’ he said, “that some people tried to live off that chaos, perpetuate it and make it even more difficult for the average citizen to trust what government’s doing.”