On Monday, prominent conservative writer and former member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board John Fund appeared with former Trump adviser and far-right provocateur Steve Bannon, discussing the virtually nonexistent threat of mass voter fraud in American elections. The very fact that this interview took place ought to make it clear that established conservative media voices such as Fund simply represent the more respectable face of the outright pro-insurrectionist rhetoric pushed by Bannon and others in the post-Trump era, as they each pursue the shared goal of destroying American democracy.
On Monday’s edition of Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic podcast, Bannon asked Fund what his audience would have to do in order to “make sure that we have a free and fair election” in November, and to “get the victory we know our votes are going to represent.”
Fund responded by urging Bannon’s audience to train to become election workers at local polling booths — an effort for which Bannon has previously organized, urging his followers to become an “army of the awakened.” According to Fund, the Trump campaign made a mistake in 2020 by only challenging votes after Election Day, rather than beforehand.
In fact, Trump and his allies in right-wing media waged a months-long propaganda campaign against mail-in ballots during the lead-up to the 2020 election, which culminated in a public effort to invalidate massive quantities of votes in order for Trump to stay in office after losing the election. But in Fund’s telling, these pre-election efforts should have been even more comprehensive.
The most revealing fact, however, is that somebody like Fund, who has been a longtime fixture of conservative discourse, would appear with Bannon at all.
Bannon played a major public role in promoting Trump’s attempted coup, using his show to push talk of civil war and revolution, and promoting the idea that then-Vice President Mike Pence could simply refuse to count the Electoral College votes. The House select committee investigating the insurrection has also revealed that Bannon and Trump spoke multiple times during the period that led up to the attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.
Since then, Bannon has waged a comprehensive campaign to undermine American democracy, including an unconstitutional push to decertify the 2020 election, spreading conspiracy theories about the January 6 insurrection, and promoting Big Lie candidates for the 2022 midterms. He was also convicted last month of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the committee. Just this past weekend, he called for a future House Republican majority to launch their own investigation that would include “adjudicating what happened on 3 November of 2020.”
Fund is currently a national affairs reporter for National Review, and previously spent more than two decades at The Wall Street Journal, where he was for a time a member of the paper’s editorial board. He has also written multiple books promoting the theory of widespread voter fraud, including 2004’s Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, followed in 2012 by Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, and then Our Broken Elections: How the Left Changed the Way You Vote in 2021. (Bannon also promoted the recent book during Monday’s interview.)
In pursuit of this relentless campaign, despite continued evidence showing that voter fraud is practically nonexistent, Fund has pushed anonymously sourced innuendo, and claims that collapse upon even the slightest scrutiny, while he has offered up burdensome voting restrictions as the solution in search of the problem. After his Stealing Elections book in 2004 was riddled with falsehoods, Fund released an updated edition during the 2008 election season that contained even more falsehoods.