Why Trump’s Big Lie Is Alive and Well

Some 35 p.c of Americans—together with 68 p.c of Republicans—consider the Big Lie, pushed relentlessly by former President Donald Trump and amplified by conservative media, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. They assume that Trump was the true victor and that he ought to nonetheless be within the White House right this moment.

I often host focus teams to higher perceive how voters are desirous about key political matters. Recently, I made a decision to search out out why Trump 2020 voters maintain so strongly to the Big Lie.

For a lot of Trump’s voters, the assumption that the election was stolen shouldn’t be a completely fashioned thought. It’s extra of an perspective, or a tribal pose. They know one thing nefarious occurred however can’t simply clarify how or why. What’s extra, they’re mystified and typically indignant that different individuals don’t really feel the identical.

As a lady from Wisconsin informed me, “I can’t really put my finger on it, but something just doesn’t feel right.” A person from Pennsylvania stated, “Something about it just didn’t seem right.” A person from Arizona stated, “It didn’t smell right.”

The actual particulars of the story range—was it Hugo Chávez who stole the election? Or the CIA? Or Italian protection contractors? Outlandish claims like these appear to have made this conspiracy principle extra sturdy, not much less. Regardless of plausibility, the extra questions which are raised, the extra mistrustful Trump voters are of the official outcomes.

Perhaps that’s as a result of the Big Lie has been a part of their background noise for years.

Remember that Trump started spreading the notion that America’s elections had been “rigged” in 2016—when he thought he would lose. Many Republicans firmly believed that the Democrats would steal an election if given the possibility. When the 2020 election got here and Trump did lose, his voters had been able to doubt the end result.

Some Trump voters appeared on the numbers and couldn’t make sense of them. How may so many extra individuals have voted in 2020 than in 2016? A person from North Carolina, when requested why he thought the election was stolen, stated, “There was 10 million more votes for Trump in this last election than he got in 2016. You’re telling me that [Joe] Biden got that many?”

To the extent that Big Lie believers attempt to clarify their skepticism over tens of millions extra individuals voting for Biden than for Trump, they usually level to relative crowd sizes at rallies. As the person from North Carolina put it, “I personally went to Trump rallies that were filling stadiums, and then Biden can’t even fill a freaking library. Like, no, it’s not true. I don’t believe it. Don’t buy it.”

Another widespread chorus is that the votes “flipped” in the course of Election Night. Trump supporters went to mattress considering that their man had gained after which woke as much as a special actuality—which to them was startling and deeply suspicious. A lady from Georgia informed me, “When I went to bed, Trump was so in the lead and then [I got] up and he’s not in the lead. I mean, that’s crazy.”

Long earlier than Election Day, the media had warned a couple of “red mirage” and alerted Americans to the chance that Trump would have a big lead on Election Night solely to have it dissipate as mail-in ballots had been counted. But when you had been watching Fox News, you most likely didn’t hear any of this. Instead, Trump, MAGA-friendly politicians, and conservative media shops had been priming voters to see a conspiracy.

Trump accurately assumed that almost all of the mail-in ballots that may be counted late at night time would go to Biden. So he solid mail-in ballots as fraudulent virtually by definition. The lady from Georgia informed me that mail-in ballots had been “a crock,” with out elaborating additional.

Attempts to set the report straight are inclined to backfire. When you inform Trump voters that the election wasn’t stolen, a few of them tally that as proof that it was stolen. A lady from Arizona informed me, “I think what convinced me more that the election was fixed was how vehemently they have said it wasn’t.”

These voters aren’t dangerous or unintelligent individuals. The drawback is that the Big Lie is embedded of their day by day life. They hear from Trump-aligned politicians, their like-minded friends, and MAGA-friendly media shops—and from these sources they hear the identical false claims repeated advert infinitum.

Now we’re on the level the place to be a Republican means to consider the Big Lie. And so long as Republicans main the social gathering preserve selling and indulging the Big Lie, that may proceed to be the case. If I’ve realized something from my focus teams, it’s that one thing doesn’t must make sense for voters to consider it’s true.

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