The Big Lie

Table of Contents

  1. The Big Lie
  2. Two-thirds of Republicans believe the Big Lie
  3. Demographics of the True Believers
  4. What Republican Politicians say about the Big Lie
  5. Trump’s Claims of Election Fraud in Earlier Elections
  6. Disinformation
The Big Lie

That Biden was not legitimately elected president

Two-thirds of Republicans believe the Big Lie
  • Nearly 700 days later, most Republicans still believe Trump’s big lie, 9/28/22, Philip Bump WaPo
    • Since the election, Monmouth University has asked Americans whether they attribute President Biden’s 2020 victory to his winning fair and square or his winning due to voter fraud. 
    • And since they started asking that question in November 2020, the percentage of Republicans who claim that Biden only won due to voter fraud has hardly budged at all. On Nov. 18, 2020, 70 percent of Republicans said Biden won only due to voter fraud. This month, 61 percent did. On average, over the course of those nine polls, 64 percent of Republicans have blamed voter fraud — just shy of two-thirds of the total.
Demographics of the True Believers
  • Trump True Believers Have Their Reasons, Thomas Edsall NYT
    • Just who believes the claim that Donald Trump won in 2020 and that the election was stolen from him?
    • Three sources provided The Times with survey data:
    • With minor exceptions, the data from all three polls is similar.
    • Alexander Theodoridis, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts, summed it up:
      • About 35 percent of Americans believed in April that Biden’s victory was illegitimate, with another 6 percent saying they are not sure. What can we say about the Americans who do not think Biden’s victory was legitimate? Compared to the overall voting-age population, they are disproportionately
        • white
        • Republican
        • older
        • less educated
        • more conservative
        • more religious (particularly more Protestant and more likely to describe themselves as born again).
    • P.R.R.I. also tested agreement or disagreement with a view that drives replacement theory, that:
      • “Immigrants are invading our country and replacing our cultural and ethnic background”
    • They found that 60 percent of Republicans agreed, as do 55 percent of conservatives.
    • The Reuters/Ipsos data showed that
      • 69 percent of white Republicans without college degrees agreed “that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump,”
      • 51 percent of white Republicans with college degrees agreed, and
      • the level of this belief remained consistently strong (over 60 percent) among Republicans of all ages living in rural, suburban or urban areas.
What Republican Politicians say about the Big Lie
  • Republican politicians by and large say things like:
    • The election was stolen. Biden won only because of election fraud and is therefore not the legitimately elected president.
    • There were many election irregularities and questions that need to be addressed
    • People have a lot of doubts about the integrity of the election and those doubts need to be allayed.
    • Yeah, Biden’s the president.
    • Crickets
  • Only a few Republican politicians have spoken the truth as bluntly as Liz Cheney:
    • “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system,” USA Today
  • Republicans’ conflicting message: Embracing Trump election lie is key to prominence, just stop asking us about it WaPo
    • Geoff Kabaservice, who chronicled the transformation of the GOP in his 2012 book, “Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party,” said of Republican party members that:
      • “These people are afraid of their base. They know that if they actually come out and forthrightly tell these 70 percent of Republicans who believe Joe Biden did not legitimately win the election, that the base will turn against them, that they’ll end up with a primary challenge, Trump himself will get involved and they’ll lose and they’ll be out of politics.”
  • Rep. Claudia Tenney (R.-N.Y.), asked in an interview with The Post what she thought about Cheney’s statement that it is a lie to say the election was stolen, responded:
    • “I think there are a lot of irregularities and questions that need to be answered. I don’t know why anybody would reject an audit. We need to go back and look at whether or not things were done properly, why rules were changed at the last minute.” WaPo
  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
    • “Yeah, he’s the president. I’ve said that all along … I do think we should look at the election results, but yeah, he’s the president of the United States.” WaPo
  • Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.)
    • Said it is a “gotcha question” to ask whether Biden was legitimately elected. He said that he does believe Biden is legitimate, “but it’s also true that many of us have concerns about how the election was conducted in November, and the country demands a debate about election integrity, and we shouldn’t shy away from that.” WaPo
  • Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.)
    • Said many Republicans want to focus on “election irregularities. There are a lot of things that people are still pursuing — I think they should pursue them to their conclusion.” WaPo
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)
    • “All right, I just want to check something,” Greene said. “I just want to make sure I’m in the right place. Tell me. Who is your president?”
    • The crowd shouts, “Donald Trump!”
    • “That’s my president, too, OK,” she added. WaPo
Trump’s Claims of Election Fraud in Earlier Elections
  • 2016 Primary
    • Ted Cruz in Iowa
      • Ted Cruz didn’t win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!” WaPo
  • 2016 General Election
    • New Hampshire
      • The president claimed that he would have been victorious in the Granite State if not for the “thousands” of people who were “brought in on buses” from neighboring Massachusetts to “illegally” vote in New Hampshire. Politico
    • Popular Vote
      • “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally” WaPo
      • Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity Wikipedia
  • Disinformation is dangerous
    • “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” — Voltaire
  • Disinformation works
    • It can lead people to do what they otherwise would not do, e.g. change the vote count.
  • View Disinformation
  • A Threat to Our Democracy: Election Subversion in the 2021 Legislative Session, September 29, 2021 Voting Rights Lab (The Voting Rights Lab is a nonpartisan organization that brings state advocacy, policy, and legislative expertise to the fight for voting rights.)
    • Election subversion bills have either been enacted or seen significant momentum in key battleground states, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin, and others. Taken together, these actions – legislative and otherwise – threaten to inject partisanship where it never belongs: into our election systems themselves. This dangerous crop of legislation has driven toward several alarming outcomes:
      • Increased Partisanship in Election Administration
      • Partisan Election Reviews
      • Criminalization of Election Officials & Civil Causes of Action