If Republicans truly care about “fair” elections, they should expel George Santos

by Nikhil Dewitt (’24) | February 3, 2023

Art by Kiana Allard (’23)

In a year where Democrats managed to largely stave off a massive Republican wave during the midterm elections, New York stood out as a glaring exception; a surprising amount of voters supported Republicans in a state dominated by liberal New York City’s population. One of the beneficiaries of this pro-Republican surge was George Santos, who ran on his impressive resumé and won his race by over seven points (in a district Biden previously won by eight). However, he lied profusely; George Santos did not work at Goldman Sachs, nor did he have relatives who suffered through the Holocaust or during 9/11. Instead, he was an ordinary guy wanted in Brazil for criminal fraud. Republicans, including party leaders, would prefer not to be represented by Santos, but the bad optics of expelling a member coupled with the possibility of losing the upcoming special election has made it a hard sell. Despite this, if they truly want “fair” elections, it is imperative that they step up and dismiss him. 

Ever since 2020, Republicans have lamented that they lost that election because it was “unfair.” Propelled by Donald Trump and his supporters, they refused to accept that they lacked the support to win another four-year term and pointed to changed laws and misleading data to claim that Democrats rigged the election against them. Of course, these claims were all false; most voting changes played a minimal role in the outcome, and many of them were essential to maintaining safety during the pandemic. However, what was decidedly unfair was voters electing a candidate who not only was not as accomplished as he claimed but also was wanted for fraud in Brazil, especially when most voters were not particularly attached to the party under which he ran. 

Perhaps the most glaring question about Santos’s background is how he even managed to procure the money to finance his campaign. Recently, Santos released new financial forms that contradict each other at every turn, furthering the debate over whether he financed his own campaign or had another source of funds. If any election is “unfair,” it’s this one. Santos lied about his record and didn’t play by the rules.

By expelling Santos for his multiple violations of financial rules and blatant lies in his campaign, Republicans can demonstrate a true commitment to “fair” elections. Unfortunately, Republicans seem to be taking the opposite path by simply ignoring Santos and putting him on committees like they would any other member of Congress. Although Santos may be ousted in a primary soon, leaving him on the job sets a very dangerous precedent for future candidates. Santos continues to relish the media attention from his embarrassing tenure, and he has become a meme in internet circles. This is exactly why people like Santos must be expelled instead of ignored: letting individuals lie or hoodwink their way into Congress to capture the media’s attention degrades our institutions of government, making it harder for legitimate candidates to establish themselves in the government and work to improve our country.

Categories: Opinions

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