Although Trump cannot substantiate his electoral fraud allegations, his supporters continue to rally behind their president. About half of all Republicans questioned in a Reuters/Ipsos poll say that Trump is the real winner of the US presidential election and that Biden could only win thanks to large-scale fraud.
However, evidence to the contrary continues to accumulate. But because of growing mistrust in the media and democratic institutions, Trump fans are holding their own. “Worrying”, experts say.
Trumps’ efforts to influence the outcome of the elections have so far yielded nothing. He persistently claims that fraud has been committed, but no evidence to substantiate that claim has been forthcoming. His team is losing court case after court case, or judges do not see sufficient ground in the indictment to allow the case to proceed. What is more, more and more lawyers are turning their backs on him. In Georgia, a recount of the votes could not turn the tide either: Biden officially remains the winner.
With his shouts and clamor, and thousands of reports and statements about the “fake news media”, Trump has managed to further undermine the people’s trust in the media and is eroding their faith in the electoral authorities that must guarantee in every state. that every citizen can exercise his right to vote.
The US Senate has a total of 53 Republicans, the House of Representatives currently has 197 Republicans. Only a handful of them back Trump’s allegations of electoral fraud, while the majority are silent. Barely twenty members of Congress officially recognize Biden as the winner of the election.
Many Republicans recognize that attacks on election integrity are one way to win electoral campaigns in the future, a Republican with close ties to the Trump campaign told Reuters. He also indicated that Trump or a successor appointed by him is likely to run for election in 2024.
Reuters interviewed 50 Trump voters, all of whom were convinced that the election results were falsified or invalid. Twenty of them said they would accept Biden as president if there is evidence that the election was fair. However, the majority reiterated the conspiracy theories spread by Trump, some Republicans, and conservative media, which have now been dismissed as nonsense, claiming that Biden was falsely awarded extra votes in the struggling states by dishonest election officials and hacked voting computers.
Many voters interviewed by Reuters say they base their opinions on information from conservative media outlets such as the far-right opinion website Newsmax and the far-right cable channel One American News Network. Some respondents say they are boycotting Fox News because the network also declared Biden the winner and because some news anchors – unlike their talk show hosts – are skeptical of Trump’s claims.
The fact that so many Americans do not recognize the election results points to a new and dangerous trend in US politics: the normalization of false and increasingly extreme conspiracy theories by tens of millions of voters. The trend has very troubling long-term implications for American political and civic institutions, said Paul Light, a political scientist at New York University (NYU). “This is dystopian,” he says. “America could break.”
Republican MP Adam Kinzinger is one of the few party members to congratulate Biden on his victory. His colleagues’ refusal to distance themselves from Trump’s lies threatens to undermine American democracy.
If citizens lose faith in the integrity of the elections, it could have very serious consequences, such as violence and social unrest, he warns.