What led to the acceptance of the final biggest lie or the “big lie” as Joe Biden coined it, was a glut of little of daily distortions, some to deflect a negative impression or to acquire support for a policy, some to denigrate or provoke anger, or others, simply to muddy issue and to confuse less educated individuals.
On Friday 8th, during a meeting with the press, just two days after the storming of the Capitol by a horde of core Trump supporters, President elect Joe Biden spent the majority of his time expounding his priorities for the first period of his administration. Towards the end of the conference, he talked of the need of a strong and honorable republican party. When asked if senators Josh Hawley, the instigator of the challenge to the electoral vote results and Ted Cruz, his principal ally, should resign or be forced out of the Senate, Joe Biden said that the verdict should come from the people at the next elections.
“The American public has a real good clear look at who they are,” Biden said. “They’re part of the big lie, the big lie.”
This was enough for the pair of senators to accuse the President elect to have cast them as Nazis. In fact, Biden was probably referring only to the “Big Lie” of stolen elections, which had been repeated so many times by the lame- duck President and his acolytes that it had become ingrained in the mind of a large portion of the Republican party voters, mainly Trump supporters.
On a National poll carried by Fox at the time of the Presidential elections, on a poll that was balanced 50% between responders of each party, 31% answered that they were not too/Not at all confident that votes would be counted accurately. Although not apportioned in the poll, one can conservatively speculate that a large majority were republicans as the negative total figures are not far removed from the post election poll results.
A month after the November 3rd elections, polls were revealing that a staggering number of voters still believed that the elections had been fraudulent. A Fox News poll found that over a third of voters answered that the election had been stolen from Trump. Even more alarming, over 3/4 of the Republican voters believed that Joe Biden’s victory was illegitimate.
This shows that, in spite of numerous recounts in disputed States and of some 6O lawsuits challenging the results of the elections but also statements by former Attorney General Barr and other officials that there had been no significant voting fraud that could have altered the results, a large portion of the Trump voters still persisted in believing that the election had been stolen from them.
To maintain this level of incredulity leads one to suspect that they had been conditioned to believe in repeated lies perpetrated by Trump and his cronies over a long time, through methods employed by all totalitarian regimes whether Marxists, Nazis or simply dictatorial.
Ever since his 2016 election, Trump was vexed that he had lost the national electoral vote by almost 3 million votes. Even before his inauguration, he started planting doubts about fraudulent voting of million of illegal voters that cost him the popular vote and alleged serious voter fraud in states like California, Virginia, and New Hampshire. And to add a bit of pepper, he blamed the press for not reporting on something that basically did not exist, but he was already introducing his corrosive debasing of the press.
These beliefs of stolen elections, so firmly anchored amongst the Trump core supporters, are the results of months of portraying mailing ballots as a major source of fraud. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, at the time of the primaries that select candidates for the Presidential elections, some States changed their practices for absentee ballots, but others did not. In particular Wisconsin, a swing state narrowly won by Trump in 2016, despite objections insisted to proceed with in-person voting. This caused controversy and on the 7th of April Trump was quick to defend the in-person voting saying:
“Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country because they’re cheaters”.
“They’re fraudulent in many cases.”
When cross-questioned by a reporter, as to why he had voted absentee — by mail! — in the Florida primary the previous month, Trump of course had an easy excuse: he happened to be in the White House and had been unable to go to Florida and vote. He also was reported to have voted absentee in New York in the 2018 election.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, five states (Washington, Utah, Hawaii, Oregon and Colorado) conducted all-mail elections, and three (California, North Dakota, and Nebraska) gave counties the ability to determine their rules. Twenty-nine other states plus Washington, D.C. have no-excuse absentee voting, which means voters do not need to provide a reason to request an absentee ballot. Although he had tweeted in April: “Get rid of ballot harvesting, it is rampant with fraud”, instead of mailing it, he submitted his Florida primary ballot by giving it to a third party to return (to the authorities). Meanwhile his campaign filed a suit against The Nevada Governor that had joined 8 other states and the District of Columbia on a plan to automatically send voters mail ballots. Nevada was the only swing state he was hoping to gain in the 2020 elections.
Trump during his presidency propelled the art of deforming truths and professing absolute lies, to a level which hopefully will never be equalled. News organizations developed a fact-checking system to call out his misleading claims and exaggerations and catalogued the many thousands of falsehoods. It took President Trump 827 days to top 10,000 false and misleading claim butt by July 9th, 2020. Just 440 days later, the president crossed the 20,000 line, no doubt facilitated by his deliberate misrepresentations of the Coronavirus. Most of his detractors expected him to break the 25,000 mark before January 20th, but he may have escaped this dubious honour, thanks to his tweeter account emasculation. By comparison, using the same criteria, in his 8 years tenure, President Obama is recorded with 18 false claims.
If one were to classify his lies into categories, those associated with the Coronavirus would probably be the largest. It was this series of lies that pushed his administration in misguided policies that would cost him his re-election because he politicized the crisis. Because of his refusal to encourage mask-wearing, social distancing and tracing/isolating policies, he will be judged by historians as responsible for the excessive death toll that is about to surpass all the US fatalities during World War 2.
So used were his supporters to his comforting lies, designed to nourish their frustrations, and bolster their anger, that they would succumb in ecstasy to his “biggest lie”: the stolen election. What is truly amazing in the wake of the 6th of January events is the inability of the Trump voters to recognize and acknowledge the wrongdoings of their Idol.
The poll released by Huffington Post- You Gov polling, reveals that less than 25% of Republican voters regard last week actions as mostly wrong and that amongst the Trump voters the strong disapproval is just above 10%
A Minority of Republicans and independents see the actions as mostly wrong.
What led to the acceptance of the final biggest lie or the “big lie” as Joe Biden coined it, was a glut of little of daily distortions, some to deflect a negative impression or to acquire support for a policy, some to denigrate or provoke anger, or others, simply to muddy issue and to confuse less educated individuals. Particular attention was given to neutralize the serious press and cable channels to concentrate the projection of a warped reality through the dedicated Fox News TV channel and the mother of all communication weapons, “Twitter”, which was Trump’s dedicated conduit to the mind of his followers. If Goebbels had had that weapon, he would have radicalized Germany even sooner.
Better than removing the President, the confiscation of his Twitter account has cut the grass under his feet and reduced his ability to fan the frustrations of his appropriated supporters. This defining move by the social media managements may engender some reforms in the policing in such media, to weaken the radicalisation of extreme groups whether domestic or foreign.
FOR A HEALTHY DEMOCRACY TO PERDURE, BIG LIES MUST BE EXPURGATED
14 January 2021
See also: Deliverance