GOP politicians fuel flames of anti-democratic sentiment, with daily editorials
The constant drumbeat of the Big Lie – that last year’s presidential election was fraudulent or illegitimate because Donald Trump did not win – has implications beyond the January 6 violence on Capitol Hill. Conspiracy theories and disinformation about the electoral system have undermined confidence at all levels of government. Lies and disinformation not only undermine American democracy, but can lead to other acts of political violence.
A Department of Homeland Security warning about one of the more persistent theories – that Trump is going to be reinstated – has increased calls for violence if the former president is not returned to the White House. ABC News obtained the department’s bulletin, which read, “Some conspiracy theories associated with the reinstatement of former President Trump have included calls for violence if desired results are not achieved.” Many on the right are increasingly comfortable with violence as an acceptable mechanism to achieve their political ends.
The University of Chicago Security and Threats Project tracked insurgent sentiments among American adults, most recently in surveys conducted in June. They found that nearly one in five respondents agreed with the claim that “the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president.” Of these, nearly one in 10 respondents also agree that “the use of force is justified to restore Donald J. Trump to the presidency”.
It is scary to think that so many Americans would be prepared to resort to violence. If the sample is representative of the entire population, that means tens of millions of Americans believe it is acceptable to re-impose Trump’s rule by violence, regardless of the vote count.
Republican elected officials continue to promote the narrative that the election was stolen, although recount after recount have claimed it was not. Former disgraced Missouri governor Eric Greitens, now a candidate for the US Senate, traveled to Arizona as the results of a Republican audit were announced, saying Biden had won the state by more than 300 votes out of official results. Greitens immediately tweeted: “Arizona must withdraw!”
The other Missouri Senate candidates are doing their part to further the myth of voter fraud. Missouri representatives Billy Long and Vicky Hartzler voted against certifying Biden’s election victory. State Attorney General Eric Schmitt has participated in lawsuits challenging the 2020 results. In January, attorney Mark McCloskey tweeted: “There is no doubt that the election was the result of a massive fraud. There is no doubt that Donald Trump won the legitimate vote. “
Republicans who still care about democracy must question how far enough this destructive rhetoric is, and whether the drumbeat stolen by candidates and elected officials – who know best – encourages discourse among grassroots Republicans in support of them. acts of political violence. Republican politicians play with a loaded gun, recklessly aiming it at America’s democratic future.
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