Last month, as thousands of former President Donald Trump’s loyal supporters waited for him at a rally in Ohio, a chant rose from the crowd.
“Trump won!” they roared. “Trump won!” The former president agreed. “We won the election twice,” he said, “and it’s possible we’ll have to win it a third time.”
Eight months after he lost convincingly to President Joe Biden, Trump and his followers are studiously maintaining an alternative reality — and having remarkable success keeping the fiction alive. Almost two-thirds of GOP voters told pollsters in one recent survey that they’re still convinced the election was stolen — a number that hasn’t changed much since November.
This isn’t a harmless exercise in political puffery; it deepens the polarization of American politics and weakens democracy. The charge that the election was stolen doesn’t merely flatter Trump; it’s also an attempt to delegitimize Biden. It makes it politically dangerous for Republicans in Congress to collaborate with the administration — for why would anyone loyal to Trump negotiate with a usurper?
The falsehood persists even though Republican officeholders have run investigations that debunk it.
Last month, a GOP-led probe in Michigan found that the Trump camp’s charges of voting irregularities there were nothing more than “blatherskite.”