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Trump’s denial is the second big lie. Ask Hillary Clinton.

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As the countdown to the midterms ticks, America awaits the electoral fallout of the Big Lie: Donald Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories about widespread fraud in 2020. The country enters Election Day with millions GOP voters ready to go distrust its results. For a country where the belief in elections is the cornerstone of democracy, it is a terrifying situation.

But it’s even worse than that.

These actions, while certainly not as dramatic or immediately damaging as the events leading up to January 6 (and today), have helped us achieve our current situation.

Trump’s lying might just be the Second Big lie. Four years earlier, the Hillary Clinton campaign and leading Democrats refused to recognize the outcome of the 2016 election, claiming that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president. These actions, while certainly not as dramatic or immediately damaging as the events leading up to January 6 (and today), have helped us achieve our current situation.

“He lost the election and was appointed because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” he said. ex-president Jimmy Carter said in 2019:and continue to deny Trump’s victory three years after the election.

“He knows he’s an illegitimate president,” he said Clintoneven three years later. Reiterating this sentiment in 2020, she told The Atlantic the election was “not up to par,” and again when… she called Trump’s victory illegal. She piled on this by saying:“You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you,” clearly referring to how she saw her 2016 campaign.

Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis went even further in 2017, saying, “I don’t see Trump as a legitimate president. … I think the Russians have been instrumental in helping this man get elected.”

Naturally, Russia did interfere in the elections through Facebook ads and cyber-attacks, among other things, but as the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian interference concluded, there was no “evidence that the votes had been rigged.”

The inconvenient reality is that Trump became president because 62 million Americans elected him. By denying this, we arrived today, where a 2016 Economist/YouGov poll found that half of Clinton voters have a foreign power tampered with the voting results, while more than 50%, and sometimes as much as 75% of Republicans said they think they think Joe Biden was chosen fraudulently, according to an analysis by the Washington Post.

These two phenomena are inextricably linked: the denial of the 2016 election paved the way for Trump’s lies four years later. It’s been a long time since we recognized this.

The refusal to recognize Trump’s victory started early, when Clinton refused to give a concession speech on election night, instead waiting until the next morning. (In contrast, Trump waited until after the Capitol riots months later to acknowledge the reality in a speech that never mentioned Biden by name.) By then, her campaign was already formulating a strategy to question Trump’s legitimacy. .

Clinton was not shy about shifting responsibility for her catastrophic loss. She accused Bernie SandersJill Stein and the media. She blamed racism, and she blamed Barack Obama; she blamed sexism and blamed too Ladies. But all that was secondary to the overarching narrative: that Trump was an “illegitimate president.”

According to reporters Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, the “strategy was determined within twenty-four hours of her concession speech” by campaign manager Robby Mook and chairman John Podesta, who met to “bring the matter up that the election was not quite up in the air” and “discussed the script they submitted to the press.” and present to the public. Russian hacking was already at the center of the argument.”

And that argument never really went away.

in 2016, representatives Nancy Pelosic and Adam Schiff of California, the House minority leader and the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called on Congress to investigate Russia’s “hacking” of the election. The following year, Rep. Barbara Lee, D California, argued that Michigan’s votes should be thrown out, sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., declined to say whether Trump was a legitimate president, and Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said she believed Russia had “changed the outcome of the election.” In the meantime, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D.N.Y., tried to get it from both sides, calling Trump “legally elected” while claiming his election was “illegitimate”. Two years later, Democrats were still using the same rhetoric, with Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., saying that Russia “hacked our elections.”

It’s no wonder that this year a Rasmussen survey found 47% of likely US voters believed it is likely that Russia changed the outcome of the 2016 election.

And those statements should effect on the 62 million Americans who voted for Trump in 2016: They were told time and again by high-ranking members of the Democratic Party that their president — and thus their vote — was at least partially illegitimate, that their vote may be controlled by Russia.

The denial of the GOP for 2020 has been debunked in a forceful and rigorous way. Fact checks of the 2016 denial were far more anemic and all too often unchallenged. How to be insane from Trump claims that “millions of ballots” were changed or that dead people “voted” in Michigan? As insane as the claims that the KGB Trump recruited in the 80s or that a bank server in Trump Tower beeped and beeped secret messages to Moscow or that Vladimir Putin a hidden blackmail tape of Trump being peed on by prostitutes?

It was child’s play for a master demagogue like Trump to turn all these doubts and conspiratorial thoughts in his favor.

It was child’s play for a master demagogue like Trump to turn all these doubts and conspiratorial thoughts in his favor.

This is not to say that Trump and Hillary Clinton are the same. Clinton, for example, did not instigate riots in the Capitol. Moreover, Trump’s doubts about the 2020 election were dangerously heightened by the fact that he was still in power, leading to fears of what would happen if he refused to leave the presidency.

But “at least we didn’t incite a crowd to storm the Capitol” is no defense for years of gnawing at public confidence in our elections.

Hillary Clinton and Democratic leaders were supposed to be the adults in the room, the ones who put democracy above all else. They failed miserably – this failure is now being used with devastating effect by Republicans.

At the heart of the current GOP conspiracy machine is a pervasive cynicism whose core message is, “Everybody is doing it; Nothing matters.” Trump and Fox News like to point out the hypocrisy of the Democrats to “justify” the spreading of lies. That’s why, when leading Republican election deniers are faced with attempts to control their lies, they often… answers by means of calling Clinton’s actions from 2016.

Until we honestly admit our mistakes, any attempts to reassure voters about electoral integrity will be framed as nothing more than hypocrisy. Just as importantly, we commit ourselves to proclaiming dangerous conspiracy theories, wherever they come from; otherwise the crucial quest to restore confidence in our elections will also fail.


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