The ‘big lie,’ loyalty to Trump – and the defense of democracy

The “big lie”, may get bigger. With former President Donald Trump moving down and his supporters pushing up from their local states, this stolen-election lie has reached lower levels of politics.

  • In California, Trump-backing talk show host Larry Elder posted a “Stop Fraud” page on his campaign website where voters could post affidavits of suspicious activity prior to the Sept. 14 recall, won handily by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
  • In Nevada, Senate candidate Adam Laxalt – whose father and grandfather were senators – has talked about mounting preemptive legal challenges, 13 months prior to elections.
  • In Pennsylvania, the gubernatorial hopeful Lou Barletta stated that while it was known for years that deceased people had voted in Pennsylvania’s elections, “we recently made it so that they don’t have to even leave the cemetery to vote .”

The bottom line is that false Fraud charges have created real distrust about U.S. Elections – further distorting an already divided nation. It seems that the fight for additional political office will not end with Election Day.

” We are entering an era in which once-unipartisan, widely recognized means of determining the outcome of elections have become partisan and contested,” said David Hopkins, a Boston College political scientist.

Washington

The “big lie” may get bigger.

Former President Donald Trump has long claimed without evidence that Democrats stole the 2020 election, a falsehood that his opponents have dubbed the “big lie.” At a rally in Georgia last week, Mr. Trump expanded this claim to hint – also without evidence – that former President Barack Obama actually lost his reelection race in 2012.

“Nowadays, with these elections. “Who knows if Obama won?” said Mr. Trump in Perry to the cheers of his supporters.

Why We Wrote this

What does it mean, to be a Republican after Trump? Less than a year after 2020, a poll finds that claiming the election was stolen is now a defining characteristic.

It has been almost 11 months since last November’s presidential vote. Since then, Mr. Trump has worked hard to broaden and deepen the reach of his false election night statement that “frankly, we did win this election.”

He has continued to push for reexamination of the votes in key states, despite the recent “forensic audit” in Arizona’s Maricopa County, increasing President Joe Biden’s winning margin. He is pushing for preferred candidates to be secretary of state in many states. This post oversees election processes.

Republicans across the nation are spreading “big lies” in the form of vague and unfounded allegations that they committed fraud during their elections. In the California recall election earlier this month, for instance, GOP candidate Larry Elder said of Democrats, “They’re going to cheat. Before Gov. Gavin Newsom won by a historic margin.

The bottom line is that false Fraud Charges have created real distrust about U.S. Elections – further polarizing an already divided nation. It seems that the fight for political office will continue on Election Day. We are entering an era in which the methods that were previously nonpartisan and accepted by most voters to determine election results have become partisan and contestable,” said David Hopkins, an associate professor at Boston College.

Michael Green waits for the start of former President Donald Trump’s Save America rally in Perry, Georgia, on Sept. 25, 2021.

The Eastman memo

Mr. Trump’s Georgia rally is not the only event that has raised the salience of the false stolen-election claim in recent days. Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, and Robert Costa released “Peril” a book about the final days of Trump’s administration. It revealed that John Eastman, a prominent conservative lawyer gave Mike Pence six steps to overturn the election at the count of the electoral votes. 6 .

Mr. 6.

Mr. According to the book, Trump was angry about Pence’s denial.

In addition, last week the Republican-led effort to reexamine the vote in Arizona’s Maricopa County released its long-awaited final report. Trump and his allies had long claimed that this audit would uncover “thousands of thousands” fake Biden votes. It produced an end result that increased Mr. Biden’s win in the state by just a few hundred votes.

Trump supporters pointed out the claim in the report that thousands of ballots could be at risk due to alleged issues such as the large number of mail-in votes that were sent from voters with prior addresses.

However, Maricopa County officials denied these claims, claiming that they were largely due to flawed methodology or an misunderstanding of electoral laws. Cyber Ninjas was the company that conducted the partisan review. They had no experience or qualifications in recounts. Although there were legal reasons for many of the discrepancies, Cyber Ninjas did not mention that the disputed votes were nearly equally split between Republican voters and Democratic voters. This meant that neither party would be disadvantaged even if it was thrown out.

Despite the fact that Maricopa was not successful, Donald Trump and his allies still claim it as a major victory. His efforts to promote similar reexaminations are gaining momentum across many states. A similar study is well underway in Wisconsin. In Pennsylvania, Republican state senators have voted to subpoena vote records and nonpublic personal information from up to 9 million registered voters.

Subscribing for parts of Donald Trump’s stolen election claim is an important test. It is a demand of many grassroots GOP voters. A recent CNN poll found that 78% of Republicans do not believe that Mr. Biden won the election. And 54% believe there is solid evidence of this, though no such evidence exists. Some 59% of GOP voters say that believing the election was stolen is an important part of their own partisan identity. “Long after the election was over, and the results were clear, many people continued to make these claims,” says Matt Grossmann of Michigan State University’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research. “And politicians were asked to repeat them – or face electoral challengers.”

Spreading to other political contests

With former President Trump pushing down from the top, and voters from his base pushing up from their states and local areas, the stolen-election falsehood has spread beyond the presidential level into lower political contests.

  • In California, Trump-backing talk show host Larry Elder posted a “Stop Fraud” page on his campaign website where voters could post affidavits of suspicious activity prior to the Sept. 14 recall election, won handily by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. Mr. Elder, however, did concede on election night.
  • In Nevada, Senate candidate Adam Laxalt – whose father and grandfather were both senators – has raised fears of voter fraud and talked about mounting preemptive legal challenges, 13 months prior to midterm elections.
  • In Pennsylvania, former GOP member of Congress and current gubernatorial candidate Lou Barletta wrote in an opinion piece earlier this year that “we’ve always known that dead people have voted in Pennsylvania elections, but recently we’ve made it so they don’t even have to leave the cemetery to do so.”

In addition, Mr. Trump has endorsed allies to try to topple elected Republicans who deny his claims of election fraud, such as GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. In Georgia, the former president has endorsed GOP Rep. Jody Hice to run against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who refused Mr. Trump’s request to find votes to overturn Mr. Biden’s win in the state.

The post of secretary of state is an important one, in that it controls the election process in most states. Last week Reuters examined the backgrounds of all 15 Republicans running for secretary of state in five battleground states. Ten of them continue to question whether Mr. Trump lost in 2020, according to the news service. Professor Hopkins says

“Trump loyalty has been the central issue in the Republican Party.”

Wrap all this together, and what the United States is experiencing is a crisis of governance, an attempt to turn previously accepted methods for determining who runs America into new battlegrounds, said speakers at a conference on election subversion held last week by the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at the University of California Irvine School of Law.

Partisan audits, spurious fraud charges and frivolous lawsuits all add a new politicized method to counting votes and certifying elections. This was said by Bob Bauer, former general counsel for Obama’s campaign.

” If that happens, it would be absolutely devastating,” stated Mr. Bauer.

The goal of Trump’s “big lie” was not to just adjudicate an already-held election. It’s to prepare the way for further such actions in the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election. The goal is to create confusion and smoke,” stated Sarah Longwell (a Republican strategist and editor of The Bulwark). “Donald Trump is winning a narrative war.”

Overall, the U.S. is facing perhaps a 30% chance that the country will experience a breakdown of democracy by 2024, said Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and author of “Ill Winds: Saving Democracy From Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency.”

“The imperative is the defense of democracy over all else,” Professor Diamond said.