In early August, word first broke of a breach of election systems security in Mesa County involving Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, after Secretary of State Jena Griswold became aware of passwords and eventually the complete image of the operating system installed on the county’s Dominion Voting Systems election hardware had been leaked to election conspiracy theory website The Gateway Pundit and Ron Watkins, believed credibly by many to be the fabricator of the “QAnon” urban legend.
The data was stolen as part of what Clerk Peters now freely admits was her plan to “investigate” the belief expressed to her by some of “her constituents” that the 2020 elections had been decided unfairly against Donald Trump. In January, Peters had joined in the chorus of election second-guessing despite her own certification of the election in Mesa County as trouble-free. By May, as we know now, Peters had progressed beyond speculating about the election to a half-baked plan to “prove” the grand fraud of 2020 with a little help from local friends–including Rep. Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager Sherronna Bishop.
Which didn’t happen, of course. It was quickly determined that the passwords leaked to conspiracy websites don’t work remotely, debunking a key contention of the conspiracy theorists. A further amateur-hour “inspection” of hard drive images obtained of the operating system of a Dominion computer initially claimed that “thousands of files were deleted,” with no apparent comprehension of how operating systems work or what is legally required to be retained as election data. The pilfered Mesa County data was celebrated by “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell as the latest in his string of “bombshell” developments–which have all fallen apart under light scrutiny.
Up the food chain, Republican candidates like Heidi Ganahl are flopping like fishes trying to reconcile their own participation in the election process with the belief of a majority of Republican primary voters that the process is rigged against them. Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 elections has made it impossible for Republicans to move on, imposing a litmus test on all Republican candidates that alienates the majority of general election voters.
In mid-November, the FBI and local law enforcement executed search warrants against Clerk Peters, Sherronna Bishop, and several others of interest in what was subsequently disclosed as a federal wire fraud investigation. After months of silence, Rep. Lauren Boebert announced that she had held a meeting with Mesa County DA Dan Rubenstein, who had assured her to her satisfaction that the investigation was being carried out lawfully–a crushing blow not just to Peters and Bishop but also to the “Big Lie” election conspiracy theory movement. After all, if Peters is not a heroic whistleblower who should be given a medal instead of felony charges, what has all of this been for?
The rest of us know the answer: these people sacrificed themselves–possibly their literal freedom–to appease Donald Trump’s ego. Exactly like the January 6th insurrectionists Trump incited to violence and then left to twist in the judicial system, it’s the little people like Tina Peters who pay dearest for the “Big Lie.”