(CNN) – The Big Lie is already contaminating the elections of 2022 and 2024. The tireless efforts of former President Donald …
(CNN) – The Big Lie is already contaminating the 2022 and 2024 elections.
The tireless efforts of former President Donald Trump and his true believers in politics and the media have convinced millions of Americans that Joe Biden is a rogue president who took power in a stolen election.
This deep-seated suspicion about last November’s vote, which threatens to corrode the foundations of American democracy, reflects the message adopted by the former president months before he clearly lost a free and fair election against Biden.
It has immediate political implications: the lie that the last election was rigged is already shaping the terrain in which candidates, especially Republicans, run in the 2022 midterm elections. And the widespread belief that there was cheating For Trump to leave power, he is building a platform to mount a Republican presidential primary in 2024 if he wishes.
In the long run, the fact that tens of millions of Americans were seduced by Trump’s lies about voter fraud raises serious questions about the future of America’s own democratic political architecture. Ultimately, if a large minority of the population no longer has faith in the government of the people for the people, how long can that system survive? And if the will of millions of people is no longer expressed through voting, what other means are there? The insurrection of January 6 has already shown what happens when aggrieved groups, in this case incited by a giant lie, take action on the matter.
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Trump’s huge success in creating his own version of a new truth about the election and his still magnetic talent for creating myths that his supporters can believe is revealed in a new CNN poll released Wednesday.
The poll finds that 36% of Americans don’t think Biden legitimately got enough votes to win last November. On the one hand, that means that a practical majority believe that Biden won fairly. On the other hand, however, a disgruntled minority representing one-third in a nation of 330 million can be a powerful and destructive force. Among Republicans, 78% believe that Biden did not win the election and 54% believe that there is strong evidence to support such a view, according to the poll, despite the fact that there is no evidence and multiple courts and states and Congress of The US certified a victory that the Trump Justice Department said was not tainted by significant fraud.
Among Republicans who say Trump should be the party leader, 88% believe that Biden lost the election. And in a sign that many Americans think the former president’s efforts are causing more permanent damage, 51% say U.S. elected officials are likely to successfully overturn the results of a future election because their party did not win.
Paradoxically, Republicans are more likely to say that democracy is under attack than Democrats. That’s despite the fact that any fair reading of the past few years shows that Trump has repeatedly hit the pillars of the democratic political system. The twice-challenged former president repeatedly abused power, politicized the Justice Department and sided with tyrants rather than democratic leaders. When it was the will of the people to expel him from office, he tried to stay, was on the verge of a coup, and destroyed the elections that ended his presidency.
Such is the power of Trump, and the conservative media propaganda machine that created an alternate reality for his followers, that the president can reinvent the truth in plain sight and get away with it. The former president actually writes the script.
“I am not the one who is trying to undermine American democracy, I am the one who is trying to save it. Please remember that, ”Trump said at a rally in Arizona in June that in turn highlighted a Republican-orchestrated bogus audit of the 2020 electoral votes in crucial Maricopa County that helped Biden win the state.
‘Democracy is not a soccer ball’
Most Americans don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on democracy and constitutional barriers, a topic that has become an obsession for the Washington media and lawmakers in the Trump era. The cost of health care, the pandemic, children trying to return to school, expiration of unemployment benefits and eviction moratoriums, and a homeless crisis highlighted by the recall election in California are most likely to that concern most of the people. But ultimately, these problems are more difficult to solve if people’s faith in their political systems fails.
And the daily erosion of democratic standards, thanks to Trump’s lies and the actions of his Republican enablers on Capitol Hill, may reach critical mass over time. The experiences of other nations, in Eastern Europe for example, that have seen democracy tarnished is that incremental damage adds up, and it becomes obvious only at a point where it is impossible to reverse it.
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California Governor Gavin Newsom, who had just defeated the impeachment effort that critics see as the epitome of an undemocratic exercise, reflected on how political freedoms should be protected from people like Trump, who had said the California elections were “Rigged” even before the results came in. The Democratic governor sought a message that could be the basis for a broader attempt by his party to confront the extremism of some Republicans.
“Democracy is not a soccer ball. You don’t get thrown around, ”Newsom said Tuesday night. “It’s more like an, I don’t know, an antique vase. You can drop it and break it into a million pieces. “
Trump is ready to reap the fruits of his own anti-democratic campaign. His lock on the party ranks appears to give him a prohibitive advantage in the upcoming presidential primary campaign if he decides to run. It’s easy to imagine a presidential debate when Trump forces his rivals to buy into their own false assumption that they stole the 2020 election. There is no political incentive for any Republican rising star to take the wrong side of Trump. Some, like the third Republican in the House, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, have already chosen between the truth and their own skyrocketing careers, which can thrive in the shadow of Trump.
Republicans who have challenged the former president and pointed out the reality of his authoritarian impulses, however, such as former Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona or Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, whom Stefanik ousted as conference chair, find their political perspectives darkening. .
The next presidential election is three years away, and the political winds may change. And Republican voters may grow weary of Trump’s antics and seek a new face. Perhaps Trump’s increasingly extreme stance on voter fraud would backfire in a national election and create more momentum against him than he currently does in his own party.
According to Woodward and Costa’s book, General Milley feared that Trump would “rebel,” so he took steps to protect nuclear weapons.
Democracy will be tested in the midterm elections
But there is no doubt that the former president’s attacks on democracy are helping to keep him politically relevant, and his ability to create a false narrative in which he won is a tangible sign of his power.
Before the next presidential election, the impact of the Big Lie is already being felt in the run-up to next year’s congressional and gubernatorial elections. Many of those races will be contested under conditions set by new voting laws passed by conservative legislatures that often discriminate against minority voters and are inspired by Trump’s Big Lie. If California’s recall election is any guide, Trump’s acolytes will enter the midterm elections warning that any Democratic victory, especially where voting by mail is heavily used, will be fraudulent, although Republicans are predicted to do well.
The former president has also worked hard, using the carrot of his valuable endorsement, to ensure that top-down Republican candidates on the midterm ballot buy into his false and face-saving narrative that he won the last election.
For example, he has endorsed Alabama Representative Mo Brooks, who is running for Senate and was a famous speaker at the January 6 rally in Washington that incited the United States Capitol uprising. Last week, the former president backed Michigan Rep. Steve Carra, who is challenging Rep. Fred Upton, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to convict Trump of the mob’s attack on Congress in the primaries. early this year. In another of his many endorsements across the country, Trump this week endorsed Kristina Karamo, a Republican running for secretary of state in Michigan, praising her as “strong against crime, including the massive crime of voter fraud.” It was a move that underscored how, along with the ideological chasms between Republicans and Democrats, there is a new divide, between political hopefuls who support democracy and those who are willing to deny it.
It is a new dimension in American politics that has shocked many people who have been involved in it for years, and it is drawing grim historical analogies.
56% of those interviewed consider that the democracy of the United States is under attack, according to a survey
“I think of … those democracies that were lost in the middle part, the first part of the 20th century, where democracy was not adequately defended and authoritarian regimes emerged,” former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder told Wolf Blitzer of CNN on Tuesday.
And it wasn’t because democracy was unpopular. You know, democracy was strong. But the reality is that the defense of democracy was weak, and we cannot allow that to happen in this country ”.
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