Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Nov. 30, 2022

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Jayne: Trump’s Big Lie easy to judge

By , Columbian Opinion Page Editor
Published:

It is a good idea.

Not that anything can stem the tidal wave of confirmation bias that has swamped our elections. Not that anything can change the minds of election deniers.

Still, it is a good idea.

“Go read the decisions of the judges from both parties who reviewed the cases,” Gov. Jay Inslee suggested Monday during a visit with The Columbian’s Editorial Board.

Inslee stopped by the office to talk about efforts to reduce homelessness. And about Washington’s economy. And about the prospects for a new Interstate 5 Bridge. But in the course of a 45-minute discussion, he was most passionate about the Big Lie and the threat it poses to American democracy.

That is understandable. There is an election Tuesday, and studies have shown that more than half of Republican candidates for Congress or state executive positions are election deniers. Joe Kent is among them.

The prospect is horrifying. We have already seen election deniers attack the U.S. Capitol, threaten the governor’s residence in Olympia, plot to kidnap the governor of Michigan, and physically assault the husband of the House Speaker in his home while looking for his wife.

In other words, there appears to be no end to the actions some will take in service of Donald Trump’s lies. And there appears to be no end to what a small but gullible segment of Americans will believe.

All of which has Inslee feeling concerned. It also has him flummoxed.

“They’re manipulating the electorate,” he said of candidates and Republican officials who echo Trump. “It’s hard to believe they actually believe it. If you are enabling election denialism, you are part of the insurgency, which is continuing. It is delusional. It’s just a bunch of horse feathers, and you’re being taken for a ride.”

Indeed, many Americans are being duped, and the situation raises perplexing questions.

One question is why anybody would believe Trump. He is a lifelong charlatan who told some 30,000 documented lies during his presidency. Believing him now, regarding election fraud, defies logic and will provide fodder for countless Ph.D. dissertations in the coming decades.

Another question is how so many people can ignore a complete lack of evidence supporting Trump’s claims. One explanation can be found in something the Leslie Knope character once said in “Parks and Recreation”: “I have the most valuable currency in America — a blind, stubborn belief that I’m 100 percent right.”

Which brings us back to Inslee’s suggestion. Read the facts. Some 60 judges — including many appointed by Trump — rejected his campaign’s claims of election fraud.

“Voters, not lawyers, choose the President,” one U.S. Circuit Court judge appointed by Trump wrote in a decision.

“A sitting president who did not prevail in his bid for reelection has asked for federal court help in setting aside the popular vote …,” a federal district judge wrote. “This Court has allowed plaintiff the chance to make his case and he has lost on the merits.”

Trump “did not prove under any standard of proof that illegal votes were cast and counted, or legal votes were not counted at all, due to voter fraud,” a state District Court judge in Nevada wrote.

“Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so,” a U.S. Circuit Court judge wrote. “Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

The rulings goes on and on. And they are relevant as Americans elect a new Congress on Tuesday.

Gov. Jay Inslee met with The Columbian's Editorial Board Oct. 31 in Vancouver. Due to a technical issue, video of the meeting is not available. Video

As one Republican strategist told The Washington Post: “We should all be very concerned about the escalating violent rhetoric leading to more violent real-world action. After Jan. 6, there’s all this concern about how election deniers getting elected will impact 2024. But I don’t think there’s enough focus on the risks of violence and danger in the next few weeks around elections.”

Or, as Inslee said: “I’m very concerned about democracy, certainly more than any time in my lifetime. If we lose democracy, how do we solve our problems?”

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