All eyes are on Virginia ahead of Tuesday, the final day of voting in the state’s gubernatorial election between Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin and former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Among those viewing the state as a proxy for national politics is former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, “the insurrectionist in chief,” who on Monday dusted off his 2020 playbook with right-wing radio host John Fredericks, suggesting that “the only way Democrats can win is to steal elections.”
Fredericks, who hosts the right-wing Virginia talk show “The John Fredericks Radio Show,” has been traveling the state as part of a bus tour in support of Youngkin, a former business executive who has courted extremists in his bid for governor. Among those supporting his candidacy are the hard-right state Sen. Amanda Chase, former President Donald Trump, and Bannon, all of whom peddled the Big Lie that the election was stolen. In mid-October, Bannon hosted an event organized by Fredericks in support of Youngkin at which Trump made an appearance and attendees pledged allegiance to a flag organizers said had flown over the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6.
Speaking to Bannon from Lynchburg, Virginia, Monday morning, Fredericks shared his analysis of the race, predicting that McAuliffe will go into the race on Tuesday with as many as 350,000 more mail-in votes than Youngkin. The key for Youngkin, he said, was Trump voters. Otherwise, Democrats—with the help of voting rights lawyer Marc Elias—will try to steal the election, Fredericks alleged.
“Look, the only way that Youngkin and the Republicans win is by getting Trump voters out now,” Fredericks said. “And they need a huge game day vote. I mean, you saw they got outmaneuvered with the lawyers, the Fairfax ballots that, you know, coming—and being mailed out without the last four digits of Social Security numbers. J. Christian Adams filed a suit Friday, the judge dismisses it. Guess what, Steve? [It] didn’t have standing. These cases are never heard on the merits. So that gets dismissed. Now the McAuliffe campaign [is] desperate. They hire Marc Elias, his firm. He’s there, he’s now claiming that there’s 300,000 mail-out ballots that haven’t been mailed out, are just stuck in a post office. He wants to extend taking votes in for three weeks or something.”
The lawsuit filed by Marc Elias’ firm against USPS states that “more than 300,000 Virginians [are] likely to attempt to cast their votes by mail” and that “Thousands of absentee ballots”—not the 300,000 Fredericks claimed—“currently sit in at postal facilities throughout the Commonwealth, unprocessed for weeks on end.” The lawsuit does not call for extending voting.
“This is outrageous,” Fredericks continued. “I mean, this is basically, ‘We’re going to extend the mail-in vote until we have enough for McAuliffe to win.’ What does that sound like?”
“Sounds like 2020,” Bannon replied.
“They’re doing the same thing,” Fredericks agreed. “Just like they did in Philadelphia, Milwaukee. So, look, what is your message to deplorables today? Somebody is like well, ‘I don’t like this. I don’t like that they might steal my vote, Youngkin this, Youngkin that.’”
“Don’t whine about them stealing your vote; secure your vote by going and voting tomorrow,” Bannon replied. “Go and vote tomorrow, you may have to volunteer at the last second to be a poll watcher. Look, here is the thing that the Youngkin campaign and the RNC and the GOP in the state have done smartly. They put resources in to make sure this thing is going to be a fair election … votes of American citizens are going to count. But you can tell the Democrats are in complete freak-out mode.”
But if Democrats do win, Bannon says it’s only because they cheated.
“You know what Mark Elias is: Mark Elias’ business is stealing elections,” Bannon continued. “The only way Democrats can win is to steal elections. OK? They have to, they have to have all these funny votes. It’s incumbent for us tomorrow to show up. If we show up en masse, we will win this thing.”
Prior to the Jan. 6 insurrection, Bannon—whom the House committee investigating Jan. 6 recently voted to hold in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena— even bragged about “his behind-the-scenes efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election,” as Media Matters reported.