Colson: A critical look at ‘The Big Lie’
I’ve been thinking a lot over the past couple of years about the internal inconsistencies behind “The Big Lie,” and it seems others in the news business have been doing the same thing.
I’m not referring to the new Jon Hamm theatrical podcast about the notorious McCarthyite blacklisting debacle of the 1950s.
No, we’re discussing the much more notorious (in today’s political landscape, anyway) lie perpetrated by erstwhile President Donald Trump and his feckless, fact-less supporters about the supposed 2020 voter fraud that the liars claim put Joe Biden in the White House.
I say “supposed” because dozens of court cases brought by angry Trump supporters, many heard by judges appointed by Trump’s crowd, found that there was no such massive fraud to be found in the 2020 election results, and the people who make these claims obviously know it but persist with their lying ways regardless of the truth.
And it is this Big Lie that is the driving force behind so much of the current anti-democratic activity in states around the nation, including the Jan. 6, 2021, terror attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Interestingly enough, given our heated electoral environment on this point, there seemed to be as many or maybe more examples of voter fraud among Trump supporters in 2020 than there were among those who voted for Biden.
In just one example, as outlined in a July 7 report in The New York Times, investigations into real voter fraud in that troubled election resulted in charges against three registered Republicans living in a Florida retirement community (known as The Villages), who were prosecuted over allegations of having voted more than once for Trump.
One of the three, Jay Ketcik, has pleaded guilty to voting for Trump in Florida, and also casting an absentee ballot for him in Michigan. The other two cases, which also involve allegations of voting in Florida as well as in other states, apparently are ongoing, according to a report on an Orlando-based News 6.
Another inherent inconsistency in all the caterwauling about voter fraud, as the Times piece points out, is the fact that none of those doing all the yelling have ever explained how Republicans could have done so well in 2020 if the voting was rigged against them.
In the 2020 election, as was widely reported soon after the votes were counted, Republicans picked up 14 seats in the House of Representatives, thus chipping away at the much-reported “blue wave” of 2018. If the voting was rigged, how could that have happened?
In fact, it was Republicans who have been rigging elections for years, through the twin evils of gerrymandering and state-sponsored suppression of votes in what are still called “minority districts” boasting large numbers of students, ethnic groups other than whites, and women.
Back in 2016, when Trump narrowly bested Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, you may recall that in the weeks leading up to election day Trump loudly proclaimed that the fix was in and that Clinton’s Democratic machine had somehow engineered it.
Once the numbers came out, of course, Trump simply switched his dishonest rhetoric to a new track — he won, he said, by a “landslide” that would have been much higher if the Clinton machine had not cheated in a variety of ways.
Once again, Trump did not provide any evidence, just a bunch of categorical declarations that had no basis in fact.
One final inconsistency outlined in the Times piece, and referred to by pundits around the nation in the last couple of years, was the bald fact that most Republicans who won their 2020 bids for office have quietly accepted those results with no reference to the “voter fraud” gambit at all.
Convenient, isn’t it?
What it comes down to is the realization that the Republican Party has no qualms about undermining our faith in elections. And in fact they will point to “election fraud” as a campaign rallying cry, counting on their addled, undereducated and frantically frightened white “base” to simply accept the lie without question.
As we wallow our way through the 2022 midterms, we already are hearing from Trumpist Republicans who lost their primary bids against more moderate foes, claiming that they were somehow cheated of their rightful victories and that some kind of voter-fraud shenanigans must be to blame.
Pundits of a non-Trumpian bent may point out that Trump, admittedly his own worst enemy when it comes to politics, may be the real problem in such cases, when voters choose a more moderate candidate as a sign they are fed up with his antics.