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Port: Republicans must stop being afraid of the truth

American Democracy isn't just about winning elections. It's about respecting the process even when it produces a result you don't like.

U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds
U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds
Forum News Service File Photo

MINOT, N.D. — "The election was fair, as fair as we have seen. We simply did not win the election, as Republicans, for the presidency," Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota told ABC News during a recent interview.

Not so long ago saying such a thing would not be an act of courage. But in today's GOP, where many Republicans content themselves to be sock puppets for disgraced former President Donald Trump, it is.

Rounds was promptly attacked by Trump and his various surrogates in a pathetic commentary on what the Republican Party has become. "Is he crazy or just stupid?" a characteristically juvenile Trump asked in his response.

But Rounds is right. The 2020 election, though it did have some irregularities, not a few having to do with the many changes to election law made to accommodate
the COVID-19 pandemic, did fairly elect Joe Biden as president.

That's the truth.


Why are so many Trump supporters afraid of the truth?

A school official frustrated with a reporter's coverage was able to convince a law enforcement agent to launch an investigation that included seizing that reporter's phone so she could comb through all the personal and professional information on it. That shouldn't have happened, and it cannot happen again.

I suspect it's because acknowledging the truth about the 2020 election means acknowledging another truth: That Trump is not the political mastermind he believes himself to be. He's a one-term loser whose sensitive ego cost Republicans the Senate in addition to the White House.

Republicans ought to be learning from that loss so they can run a better sort of candidate in 2024.

Frustratingly, many Republicans, including those who defended Rounds against the Trumpian pique, seem to know they need to move on, but remain afraid to acknowledge the truth of the 2020 election lest they run afoul of the Trump cult.

Some got it right — “I think Sen. Rounds told the truth about what happened in the 2020 election,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN , “and I agree with him" — but others merely said it's time to move on.

“I’ve moved on a long time ago, and most members of Congress have, including Mike," said Sen. Kevin Cramer.

“I don’t think re-litigating or rehashing the past is a winning strategy," said Sen. John Thune, South Dakota's other senator. "If we want to be a majority in 2023, we’ve got to get out and articulate what we’re going to do with respect to the future the American people are going to live and the things they’re going to care about when it comes to economic issues, national security issues."

That's right, but how can you move on without first acknowledging the truth?


Rounds didn't earn the enmity of Trump World by saying "let's move on." He earned it by speaking the truth of the 2020 election, which is that it produced Joe Biden as our lawfully elected president.

That's what Republicans have to accept.

Biden won.

Trump lost.

American Democracy isn't just about winning elections. It's about respecting the process even when it produces a result you don't like.

Both Republicans and Democrats have struggled with that in recent decades, but in the here and now, it's Republicans who need to swallow the bitter pill.

Rob Port, founder of, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort. He can be reached via email at

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a columnist and podcast host for the Forum News Service. Reach him at
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