Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, speaks at an event at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Friday, July 1, 2022 (AP Photo/Marc Levy)
Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, speaks at an event at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa., on Friday, July 1, 2022 (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

No matter how many times right-wing politicians and talking heads say otherwise, there was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

That said, many politicians on the right have taken this baseless fever dream and turned it into a brand. So after the conspiracy theories were debunked, they had a choice – admit their mistakes, or double down on them.

Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, is doubling down in a very big way.

Mastriano’s plan is simple. If elected, he promises to remove everyone from the voting rolls.

That’s right, he’ll deregister the entire state. Every single Pennsylvanian will lose the right to vote.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor, has a few very specific things to say about the Mastriano plan:

The Mastriano plan is an obvious and ham-fisted attempt to undo the voter registration gains made by Pennsylvania Democrats in the last several election cycles. It is also a rather transparent attack on working class voters, older voters, and especially voters of color and the 11% of Pennsylvanians who live below the poverty line.

These populations tend to have more difficulty overcoming obstacles in the voting process, have less of a voice in opposing suppression efforts, and they also tend to vote blue. It’s a combination of factors that makes them the perfect target for voter suppression efforts like the Mastriano plan.

“We might have to reset, as far as registration, start that whole process over here,” Mastriano said in an interview last month. “There’s still a lot of dead [people] on the rolls … and there’s ghost phantom voters that we found, as well, at various addresses.”

None of this is true, but the Trumpian doubling down on lies, even after they are known to be lies, is becoming a trademark of the Mastriano campaign.

Most experts explain voter suppression not as a direct attack on voters, but rather as a series of small and ever-changing obstacles, each designed to peel off small pieces of the electorate in order to engineer a desired outcome. Simply put, Mastriano’s plan is to remove voting rights from all because he believes more Republicans than Democrats will climb those obstacles. And he may be correct.

If the campaign of lies and conspiracy theories succeeds and propels Mastriano to the Governor’s Residence in November, the first thing he will do is steal the vote from hard working Pennsylvania families and force everyone to jump through his hoops to reclaim their fundamental rights.