Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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Trump Supporters Clarify Why They Imagine the Large Lie


Some 35 p.c of Individuals—together with 68 p.c of Republicans—imagine the Large 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 Home at the moment.

I recurrently host focus teams to higher perceive how voters are fascinated with key political subjects. Just lately, I made a decision to seek out out why Trump 2020 voters maintain so strongly to the Large Lie.

For a lot of of Trump’s voters, the idea that the election was stolen is just not 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 actually put my finger on it, however one thing simply doesn’t really feel proper.” A person from Pennsylvania stated, “One thing about it simply didn’t appear proper.” A person from Arizona stated, “It didn’t scent proper.”

The precise 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 concept extra sturdy, not much less. No matter plausibility, the extra questions which are raised, the extra mistrustful Trump voters are of the official outcomes.

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

Keep in mind 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 seemed on the numbers and couldn’t make sense of them. How might 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 extra votes for Trump on this final election than he obtained in 2016. You’re telling me that [Joe] Biden obtained that many?”

To the extent that Large Lie believers attempt to clarify their skepticism over hundreds of thousands 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 had been filling stadiums, after which Biden can’t even fill a freaking library. Like, no, it’s not true. I don’t imagine it. Don’t purchase it.”

One other frequent chorus is that the votes “flipped” in the course of Election Night time. Trump supporters went to mattress pondering 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, “After I went to mattress, Trump was so within the lead after which [I got] up and he’s not within the lead. I imply, that’s loopy.”

Lengthy earlier than Election Day, the media had warned a few “purple mirage” and alerted Individuals to the chance that Trump would have a big lead on Election Night time solely to have it dissipate as mail-in ballots had been counted. However if you happen to had been watching Fox Information, you most likely didn’t hear any of this. As an alternative, 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 evening would go to Biden. So he forged 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.

Makes an attempt to set the document straight are inclined to backfire. While 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 believe what satisfied me extra that the election was fastened was how vehemently they’ve stated it wasn’t.”

These voters aren’t unhealthy or unintelligent individuals. The issue is that the Large 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 imagine the Large Lie. And so long as Republicans main the celebration preserve selling and indulging the Large Lie, that may proceed to be the case. If I’ve realized something from my focus teams, it’s that one thing doesn’t should make sense for voters to imagine it’s true.

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