Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) sounds like he lives in a self-induced fairy tale. During a Saturday appearance at this year’s edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, Nunes pushed, among other things, conspiracy theories about agriculture, mail-in voting, and economic relief funds, insisting that there’s some kind of Democratic conspiracy behind a whole host of his personal grievances.
He complained, for starters, about the so-called green movement in his home state of California, pointing to plans for idling farmland in the state — and he did not mention that plans for leaving farmland idle have emerged in response to very real world issues like potential serious water shortages. What is anyone going to do with any land at all without water?
Instead of acknowledging this reality, Nunes characterized Democrats as harboring some kind of conspiratorial animosity against agriculture, commenting as follows:
‘We were essentially the guinea pigs because they used the “green” movement, right? Which is really what I call the watermelon movement — it’s green on the outside, and red on the inside. And they targeted farmers, right? And it was always to save the little fish, and who wants to kill the little animals, and they turned it into that agriculture is somehow bad, and slowly they’ve been taking farmland out of production… I’ve been warning people that what you see in California is coming to the rest of the country.’
As Nunes went on, he characterized the economic stimulus package that Congress enacted during the early part of the Obama administration as an effort to “buy votes,” and he said that “most” of the money didn’t go to Republican-leaning areas. It’s unclear whether he has any tangible evidence at all for the claim that Republicans were left out, but as for the claim that the money bought votes — he doesn’t appear to have been alleging that there was actual grassroots level bribery of individual voters, but his broader allegation that stimulus money constituted a so-called slush fund just isn’t accurate.
Next, Nunes launched into election-related conspiracy theories. He complained about automatic voter registration in his home state of California — but in Georgia, where Republicans are in charge, there’s also automatic voter registration! Nunes complained about ballots “flying out everywhere” in the wake of automatic voter registration, but there remains no meaningful evidence of any kind of systematic electoral malfeasance related to unused ballots. Suggesting that printing more ballots than voters end up using automatically connects to potential fraud is wild and reveals thoroughly rooted ignorance.
Nunes’s conspiratorial insinuations about the electoral process are dangerous, and they’re the same kind of lies that led to the recent deadly rioting at the U.S. Capitol, where Trump supporters lashed out under the false pretense that the 2020 presidential election was rigged for Joe Biden.