You might review those criticisms and conclude that, even if accurate, none justify subversion of basic constitutional functions like the certification of presidential elections. But it’s not obvious that those functions were in good health before Trump stepped onto the stage. Belief that American governance has radically strayed from its original sources is a constitutive element of modern conservatism.
That old argument has been energized by the pandemic. Although they are nominally limited to advising legislatures and executive officers, medical bureaucrats like National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases chief Anthony Fauci and leaders of administrative agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have acquired an outsized role in determining the policy response to COVID — including at state and local levels. In addition to partial lockdowns and mask mandates, that influence extends to recommending changes to voting procedures including extended early voting, drive-up voting, and expanded mail-in voting. You can’t understand why so many Republicans believe the election was somehow “rigged” without acknowledging how arbitrary and confusing those changes were, even if they were opportunistically magnified by Trump and right-wing media.