Loren Culp should be pleased that he received 43% of the vote in his losing campaign as the Republican candidate for governor of Washington. That’s pretty good for an irregularly employed cop from a tiny town in a far corner of the state. Instead, he’s pulling a Trump and refusing to concede an election he claims was rigged.

Apparently, Culp cannot believe that he lost by more than 545,000 votes. He and his campaign manager, Chris Gergen, claim there were serious irregularities in the vote, though they have offered no proof, and they have attacked Republican leaders – House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox and Secretary of State Kim Wyman, in particular – for not being supportive of Culp’s candidacy or his claims of foul play.

Gergen has threatened retribution on Wilcox and any other Republican who is insufficiently supportive of the populist voters who made Culp and President Donald Trump their champions.

Culp and Gergen clearly share the mindset that has spread through much of the GOP base, both in Washington and across the country. Riled up by anger and paranoia-driven right-wing media, and a cesspool of internet conspiracy theories, they see dark forces at work everywhere. They eagerly buy into the preposterous claims that both Trump and Culp had elections stolen from them, and they perceive more moderate conservatives who operate in the real world of ordinary governmental work as traitors to their cause.

Culp and Trump have lost – and lost in fair contests – but the Republican Party remains in the grip of voters whose heads are filled with elaborate delusions about American politics. They are likely to rally around other terrible candidates in future elections and, in this state anyway, that will guarantee the Republican Party more disasters at the polls.

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