No matter which of the many forms in which it appears, no matter whether it comes from obviously partisan members of the establishment media or supposedly unbiased debate moderators, it has become the question of the 2022 midterm cycle: Is this Republican candidate an “election denier”?
The best answer may have come this weekend from Virginia Republican congressional candidate Hung Cao during Sunday night’s debate with his Democratic opponent, Rep. Jennifer Wexton.
“Do you believe the 2020 election was free, fair and untainted, and Joe Biden is the duly elected president of the United States?” the moderator asked. “And do you feel confident about the election process this year?”
“Sir, Joe Biden is the president of the United States,” Cao responded. “If you don’t believe me, go to your gas pumps, or go to your grocery stores, and that’ll tell you who is.”
It was a crowd-pleasing response.
“Every American citizen should have confidence in the election process,” the retired Navy captain and former special operator added.
“We did that in Iraq and Afghanistan with just this,” he said, holding up his index finger. “Right? A blue finger to prove that everybody had voted once. And I don’t know why we can’t do this in the United States, where we can make sure that this — This American institution, so vital to our country, is not protected.”
“But again, Joe Biden is president of the United States, let’s not make a mistake about it. I mean, the economy proves it, the inflation rate proves that too.”
Wexton, of course, also answered the question — but I’m not going to bother to quote her here, because she said the same thing Democratic politicians and their allies in the establishment media have been claiming about former President Donald Trump, his supporters and the events of Jan. 6, 2021, that all the others have been. You’ve heard every word of it already.
I will note that her response — delivered in rapid-fire fashion over about 75 seconds, during much of which she offered viewers a disturbingly unblinking, Mark Zuckerberg-like stare — was met by silence from the audience, as opposed to the laughter and applause Cao’s had engendered.
And it’s not like Cao was on particularly friendly ground.
The Prince Williams Times described the organization of the debate:
“The debate was the first sponsored by Motivate Organize Virginians for Engagement, or MOVE, which is described as a chamber of commerce for Muslim-owned businesses in Northern Virginia, according to Raheel Sheikh, of Manassas, who serves on the organization’s board of directors.
“The debate was moderated by Shuja Nawaz, a Pakistani author and former director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asian Center, and Ayan Sheikh, a Somali journalist and a news editor and producer for WAMU 88.5, the region’s public radio station.
“Questions came from both the moderators and the audience members. The event drew a crowd of about 300 people and was also streamed online.”
I’ll let you decide for yourself whether you think that forum was likely to treat both candidates in a manner any objective American could describe as “free, fair and untainted.”
The good folks at MOVE have decided, for whatever reason, that you should only be allowed to watch their video on YouTube, so you can do that here if you wish. We’ve cued it up to the question and response detailed above, but you can also watch the entire event at that link if you wish (and if you’re a resident of Wexton’s district, I’d encourage you to do so).
So, did Hung Cao, a Vietnamese refugee who told The Washington Post that his family came to the U.S. “with nothing,” answer the question? Is he an “election denier” — whatever that means?
That’s for the voters to decide.
But those same voters would have to be in significantly more denial than that to look around at this country and miss the damage being done to her by President Joe Biden and his Democratic allies like Jennifer Wexton.
And, either way, you have to give Cao credit for having the best answer to that question this year.
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