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Big Lie Believers Don’t Get How Ridiculous It Is, and They Are

FiveThirtyEight, the statistical website that tracks politics and elections, canvassed the country to find that nearly every state has candidates for office in this fall's election who agree with Donald Trump that the 2020 election was stolen from him (see their graphic below). They directly asked every Republican nominee for the House, Senate, governor, secretary of state or attorney general to express that belief.

Out of 552 total Republican nominees running for office, 201 either clearly stated that the election was stolen or had taken legal action such as
voting not to certify election results, or had joined lawsuits that sought to overturn its outcome. An additional 61 didn't go that far but expressed misgivings about the legitimacy of Biden's win.

Within the states, research by The New York Times plumbed votes, records and candidates' official statements to find in a report this May that at least 357 sitting Republican legislators in the nine most closely contested battleground states — 44% — have used their office "to discredit or try to overturn" the 2020 presidential election.

That's the picture of how deeply engrained is the Big Lie almost two years on from the 2020 election with the 2022 elections imminent.

Nothing will change their minds at this late date, but there might be some utility to spelling out just how absurd a lie millions in this country have subscribed to. Utility being that everyone who reads this could pass it on. Our article's length is already abbreviated. The Big Lie is a very big story.

THE HOAX

Beginning months before the election, former President Donald Trump began a campaign against expanded use of mail-in ballots. To mitigate the spread of COVID, the states had greatly augmented their use to relieve voters from congregating in polling places. Knowing that Democrats, being more risk averse, would be the heavier users of mailed ballots, Trump wanted his followers to think them somehow illicit: “There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent”, he tweeted.

There was no basis for this. There have always been absentee ballots. Instead of in-person voting, five states have for years been using mailed ballots exclusively without incident.


In a barrage of tweets, Trump was setting up to claim that, should he lose the election, he had actually won it, that the Biden campaign had planted hundreds of thousands of false ballots to steal the presidency. In a July rally, he told the crowd that Democrats cannot "win elections without cheating." In one week in June, Trump had tweeted four times of foreign sabotage.

THE ELECTION

Trump and the media knew that Republicans, defiant about mask mandates challenging their constitutional freedoms, would tend to go to the polls to vote in-person. That would give him an early lead in the key battleground states. Votes by Democrats, as the greater users of mailed ballots, would barely be counted early on election night. The wave would swell in the counts for Biden as the night turned to early morning. We reported this scenario, known as the "blue shift", in "Here's What's Coming in the Election from Hell" dated a month before the election.

Knowing the likelihood of a late Biden surge, Trump as far back as mid-summer had insisted, “Must know Election results on the night of the Election, not days, months, or even years later!” The plan was to declare victory well before midnight on election night and characterize as corrupt the flood of mailed ballots still being counted. As this played out in fact, Trump called for the states to "Stop the Count!". His personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani reportedly instructed Trump’s team to “Just say we won.”

A recently unearthed video has Trump's Rasputin, Steve Bannon, admitting the plot, saying three days before the election,

"What Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory, right?...But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner. He’s just gonna say he’s a winner…More of our people vote early,…theirs vote in mail, and… Trump’s going to take advantage of that. That’s our strategy."

THE ORIGIN

The Big Lie began at 2:30 AM as Biden took the lead past midnight. Feigning disbelief, Trump told his campaign workers:

"We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. We did win it…We were getting ready for a big celebration. We were winning everything, and all of a sudden it was just called off.”

Trump's followers wouldn't have been apprised of the "blue shift" in the days before the election nor the plot to make use of it. For all four years he had steered his flock away from knowing what was happening by slandering the media as "fake news". They had come to accept Trump's imagined truth as the only truth, that the hundreds of thousands of ballots tilting the race to Biden on election night were fraudulent.


Let's pause for a moment to realize that the election was stolen because Donald Trump said so. No one else said so. They only repeated what they heard him say. Every claim of fraud, of a rigged election, was fiction conjured by Trump. Others would climb aboard, seeing advantage for themselves or fearful of Trump's wrath if they failed to echo their leader, but no one else originated the stolen election theme.

WHERE DID THE WAVE GO?

In the days after the election, we learned that Trump’s legal team set up a hotline in a frantic hunt to find Trump's alleged fraud that had given Biden the win. How's that again? Weren't we told that hundreds of thousands of phony Chinese ballots flowing in on election night would be the cause?

The Big Lie was already disintegrating and being reworked into a new Big Lie. Unverified tips from across the country evidently were cobbled into the complaints that Trump's lawyers took to court in the six contested states (Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin). They filed 64 lawsuits comprising 187 counts. The Big Lie had atomized into bits and pieces.

Trump's battalion of lawyers compiled a stunning record. They lost every case but one. (In the single victory, involving few ballots, Trump tweeted "Big legal win in Pennsylvania!"). Their problem? They brought no evidence.

You have to wonder why the believers didn't become suspicious, but of course they wouldn't have heard of the court cases from the likes of Fox News. Neither were courtroom losses the daily topic of conversation on talk radio. Trump loyalists were hearing from Mark Levin — his 11 million listeners —that stealing elections “is becoming the norm for the Democrat Party”. Bill Cunningham, syndicated from Cincinnati, was telling his audience that Trump would "never surrender…when hundreds of thousands have voted illegally". On his syndicated show, Dan Bongino said Democrats “rigged the rules to make sure that any potential outcome would go their way”.

So it's not unreasoned to ask whether the Trump faithful had ever even heard of Trump's total defeat at court and, if so, do they think even the courts were rigged, despite 39 judges in the 64 cases had been appointed by Trump?

THE BIG LIE HAD TO BE REBUILT

In less than three months, Biden would be inaugurated. Loony theories were given free license in the desperation to substantiate Trump's extravagant claims of fraud. Two weeks after the election, lawyers allied with Trump led by Sidney Powell

laid out delusional imaginings that could only be believed by the conspiracy-loving fringe. She proclaimed that voting machines... had used software developed in Venezuela that had been rigged to keep the now-deceased Cesar Chavez in power a dozen years earlier; that the leadership of Dominion Voting Services, which produced the vote-tabulating machines, had ties to George Soros and the left-wing movement antifa; that the Defense Department, which Powell contacted directly, needed to send a special operations team to Germany to grab CIA director, Gina Haspell, who was there to seize and destroy a computer server farm that had switched votes from Trump to Biden. "This is real! It is not made up", exclaimed Giuliani. "There's nobody here that engages in fantasies…You should be more astounded by the fact that our votes are counted in Germany and in Spain!"

And didn't Fox News hosts tell them this story was true — Carlson, Hannity, Pirro, Dobbs — who also repeatedly invited guests who made the same claims? A $1.6 billion defamation suit by Dominion against Fox and members of the owning Murdoch family is moving forward.

These absurdities formed part of the deniers' belief in a stolen election that they carry with them to this day. They were primed to believe it. QAnon, which preached an inverted reality world of conspiracies, had already made deep inroads among Republicans. A Forbes poll in September even before the 2020 election reported that 33% of Republicans said they believed the QAnon theory about a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles (consisting mostly of Hollywood celebrities, liberal politicians and "deep-state" government officials) running a secret child sex-trafficking ring is “mostly true”. Another 23% say “some parts” are true. (Only 4% of Democrats thought it even partly true).

Trump was consumed with coming up with something, anything, that could feed the Big Lie that the election was stolen.

Retired Gen. Mike Flynn, momentarily Trump's National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, who had pleaded guilty (twice) of lying to the FBI, had along with Sydney Powell been telling the president that the Chinese were using a hidden port in wall-mounted Google Nest thermostats to change votes in tabulating machines at voting sites. Predisposed to conspiracies, Trump went for this tale. (Incidentally, It had originally come from DOJ official Jeffrey Clarke, who Trump thought was the right sort to be his new attorney general.) In thrall of his boss, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows reached out with this fantasy to undoubtedly flabbergasted officials at the FBI, the Pentagon, National Security Council, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence to urge them to investigate.

At year-end, Meadows also bombarded new Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with emails pressing him to investigate yet another tale taken up by the election deniers that was being called "Italygate". Rudy Giuliani along with Powell had been pushing a story (it originated in a YouTube link) that conspirators in Italy associated with an Italian defense contractor had used satellites to cause voting machines in the U.S. to switch votes from Trump to Biden. Senior Justice Department official, Richard Donoghue, called it “pure Insanity”.

Some of the stories related above came to light well after the election, even as late as this summer's House select committee hearings. But learning of these ludicrous fantasies of fraud has apparently not dislodged any from their fanatical clinging to the Big Lie.
The chart tracks polls and shows that Republicans refuse to let it go — a steady 64% of them for whom facts and lack of any proof count for nothing in the cult of Donald Trump.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

Surely vote machines were rigged for Biden to have gotten more votes than Trump. In a notorious impromptu meeting December 18th at the White House, six weeks after the election, Flynn, backed by Powell, promoted using the military to confiscate voting machines. That was too much even for Giuliani, who said they'd all wind up in prison.

Nevertheless, video surfaced recently in a Georgia litigation that showed contractors hired by Sidney Powell did much the same, entering a Georgia county facility friendly to their cause a week after the Capitol insurrection where they were given rein to poke into voting equipment. It appears that equivalent groups had been sent to infiltrate voting premises in several swing states to crack open machines and copy their software.

They clearly came up with nothing else we would have heard about it triumphantly. That they thought they would come up with something showed their ignorance, or so we'll surmise. Would Dominion have installed readable, changeable code in all those machines for anyone to tamper with rather than code that had been compiled to unintelligible binary (zeros and ones)? Dominion's CEO shredded the absurd accusations with a message from the real world:

"Third-party test labs, chosen by the bipartisan Election Assistance Commission and accredited by a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, perform complete source-code reviews on every federally certified tabulation system. States replicate this process for their own certifications."

JUST CLAIMS, NO EVIDENCE

Nothing was working. A new Big Lie was needed. It became whatever Trump and his adulators could think of in the moment.

With all cases failing in the federal and state courts, a floundering Trump was left to say in a 46-minute speech posted in social media on December 3rd, two days after Barr quit, “This election is about great voter fraud, fraud that has never been seen like this before." Nor did we ever see it, because proof of that statement was never forthcoming.

"Evidence of voter fraud continues to grow, including 20,000 dead people on the Pennsylvania voters roll and many thousands all over the Country", Trump tweeted on November 19th, somehow knowing the unknowable. The growing evidence was never produced.

Russian-American lawyer and political strategist for Trump, Boris Epshteyn, offhandedly spoke of…

"the overwhelming amount of fraud that happened in the 2020 election…the 83,000 unlawful ballots in Maricopa County in Arizona, the 200,000 unlawful ballots in Wisconsin, the tens of thousands unlawful ballots in Georgia and the same in Pennsylvania".

No evidence? No matter. Trump told the Associated Press a "soon-to-come report" from an undisclosed source would support all of his claims. Promising future proof is a standard Trump device. Gullible minds do not follow up to check whether promises are delivered. Think back to his claim that Obama was not born in the U.S. He had sent (imaginary) investigators to Hawaii to check birth records "and they cannot believe what they're finding".

Three weeks after Trump's loss, an agitated Rudy Giuliani informed us, "There was a plan from a centralized place" for carrying out "various acts of voter fraud…the massive fraud" ", but evidence "at this point, I really can't reveal".

Sydney Powell warned us of "the massive influence of communist money through Venezuela, Cuba, and likely China in the interference with our elections here in the United States". At the infamous November 2020 news conference at the Republican National Committee she declared, “President Trump won by a landslide. We are going to prove it.” And later “I’m going to release the Kraken.”

Responding to the voting-machine lawsuit, Powell’s attorneys argued that “reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact”. She even said that her legal opponents calling her claims “wild accusations” and “outlandish” only reinforced that the claims were not to be taken literally.

Giuliani told us of a rumor that ballots were smuggled into Detroit’s TCF Center to be counted when Republican observers had gone home for the night. “It was thousands and thousands of ballots,” Giuliani said, “in garbage cans, boxes, paper bags.” He said there were “300,000 illegitimate ballots we can identify” in Wayne County, which is Detroit. The ballots were never identified.

Giuliani also claimed to Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers that there were hundreds of thousands of undocumented people and thousands of dead people who had purportedly voted in that state's election. Bowers asked for proof "on multiple occasions". Bowers was asked in the January 6 hearings, "Did you ever receive from him that evidence?" Bowers answered, "Never".

Separately, Giuliani had said to Bowers, "We’ve got lots of theories. We just don’t have the evidence.” Bowers, told the January 6 committee, “I don’t know if that was a gaffe. Or maybe he didn’t think through what he said."

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell claims he has indisputable evidence of foreign influence in the election. Foreign actors changed votes over the Internet. But on every occasion when he’s feinted toward allowing independent experts to review his purported evidence, he has backed off.

Trump made unfounded claims in Georgia. “Dead people,” Trump said. “So dead people voted, and I think the number is close to 5,000 people". Georgia's Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, would have none of it. After state officials combed the records he said, “The actual number were two. Two. Two people that were dead that voted". Trump said there were 66,000 underage voters. Georgia investigators found the actual number was zero.

Trump claimed that “a tremendous number of dead people” voted in Michigan. “I think it was … 18,000. Some unbelievably high number". His fabricated numbers were taken up by the faithful, passed around as truth on social media, with no thought to authentication.

The Michigan Senate Oversight Committee, chaired by a 2016 Trump delegate, issued a scathing report in May of 2021 based on interviews with 90 people and thousands of pages of documents that found no proof of either "significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters." Further, that "The Committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain" and recommended that the state attorney general investigate. As for Trump's 18,000 dead voters, the committee's tracking found 2. Biden won Michigan by 154,000 votes.

But election dead-enders still bring up Michigan's Antrim County as proof the nationwide election was rigged. The rock-ribbed Republican county on the state's northern rim had impossibly voted for Biden. An exhausted county clerk had submitted election results at 5:30 AM too bleary to notice something was amiss. She was shocked to wake up to the news the next morning and sped back to the polling center. It took a couple of days to find that a candidate for village trustee had been added to the ballot at the last minute but not to the tallying spreadsheet, causing votes to flow into the wrong columns. The revised results, fortified by a hand count, had Trump ahead by 4,000 votes.

"The Senate 'investigation' of the election is a cover up", said Trump, so the fraud claim about Antrim lives on among the keepers of the Big Lie. The Michigan Senate report said,

"those promoting Antrim County as the prime evidence of a nationwide conspiracy to steal the election place all other statements and actions they make in a position of zero credibility.”

COUNTING ALL OVER AGAIN

Arizona began a much ballyhooed recount in April 2021. Trump said at a $2,900 per person fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago,

“I wouldn’t be surprised if they found thousands and thousands and thousands of [fraudulent] votes. So we’re going to watch that very closely. And after that, you’ll watch Pennsylvania and you’ll watch Georgia and you’re going to watch Michigan and Wisconsin. You’re watching New Hampshire. Because this was a rigged election. Everybody knows it.”

So believing in Trump's lie was the outfit hired for the Arizona recount, Cyber Ninjas, that poll workers were told to use magnifiers to look for traces of bamboo in ballot paper to prove they had been brought in from China, and to use ultraviolet light to validate QAnon followers' claim that official ballots were secretly watermarked by the Trump administration to isolate fraudulent ballots.

The audit of Arizona's most populous county didn’t merely confirm that Biden won. It counted 99 more votes for Biden and 261 fewer votes for Trump than the election's count. But Trump said the audit found “incomprehensible Fraud at an Election Changing level,” and demanded that Arizona “immediately decertify their 2020 results". An editorial in the conservative Wall Street Journal asked:

”Is anyone surprised? This is what Mr. Trump does, regardless of the facts. The GOP should quit chasing him down rabbit holes. Perhaps Mr. Trump can’t even admit to himself that he lost, and in his final days he’ll be raging on the heath about 'ballot dumps.'"

There had been audits of the two most populous counties of Wisconsin immediately after the election. The Trump campaign paid for them. Again a net gain for Biden — 67 votes. He had won the state by some 20,682 votes.

Pennsylvania reviewed a statistical sample of over 45,000 randomly selected ballots. They mirrored the election results within a fraction of a percentage.

Georgia conducted three recounts — by machine, by hand, and signature verification — all confirming Biden as the winner with remarkably matching counts. When he asked, indeed threatened, Secretary of State Raffensperger to find 11,780 votes to overcome his loss, we have Trump pleading on a recorded phone call that fraudulent ballots be created in his favor — the basis for a likely indictment of vote tampering — while inveighing against Democrats' supposed fraud.

"As you know, every single state, we won every state", he said to Raffensperger. He had thought the audits taking place in Arizona and Georgia would result in his reinstatement as president by August of last year. That there is no mechanism for reinstatement isn't what should bother you.

In September he said on the rightist Gateway Pundit, "We won the election by a lot, and it's a terrible thing, and I do believe they're going to decertify this election".

NUMBERS GAME

Trump all along issued fusillades of unsourced numbers:

In his speech January 6th to the crowd about to march on the Capitol, he made a number of claims about Pennsylvania:

"Over 8,000 ballots in Pennsylvania were cast by people whose names and dates of birth match individuals who died in 2020 and prior to the election. Think of that. Dead people, lots of dead people, thousands."

"Over 14,000 ballots were cast by out-of-state voters".

"They took the date [of 60,000 ballots] and they moved it back so that it no longer is after Election Day... They got back before they were ever supposedly mailed out".

"71,893 mail-in ballots were returned after Nov. 3, 2020, at 8 p.m., according to Audit the Vote PA. None of these should have been counted."

They weren't, in compliance with a directive from Justice Samuel Alito.

A torrent of imaginary numbers, precise to the last digit — "51,792 voters with inactive registrations, 39,911 underage" — to convince his devotees they must be true, filled a letter sent to the Journal almost a year after the election, again all about Pennsylvania. Imaginary because no one has since proven any of them. Imaginary because his list totals a preposterous 931,530 fraudulent votes, to which Trump added "hundreds of thousands" more "unlawfully counted in secret".

But the believers go on believing. So-called mainstream media were ineffectual. They were unfortunately content simply to characterize such claims as "baseless" or "debunked" without analysis of why baseless or how debunked.

One exception: A week after the election, reporters at The New York Times sought out election officials in all 50 states to ask if they were aware of any voter fraud. The top officials in 45 states replied directly and either lesser officials or public comments filled in for four more states, all saying they were not aware of any fraud. (Texas failed to respond.) Four days later Trump tweeted, "There is tremendous evidence of widespread voter fraud…"

DENIERS' GREATEST HITS

Election deniers fastened on a number of incidents and will proffer them as proof of fraud and malfeasance to this day despite their having been roundly disproven.

In Arizona, Sharpie pens caused Trump's loss of the state. His voters had been encouraged to use them because they spoiled ballots. That quickly taken up rumor was traced to a Three Percenter video on Facebook that went viral. Any source will do if it reinforces the cause. Maricopa County's Elections Department nixed that, saying Sharpies and other felt-tipped pens were the best to use.

The Postal Service handling of ballots was suspect. A Pennsylvania postal worker said he had been instructed to backdate ballots mailed after Election Day. Lindsey Graham asked the Justice Department to investigate. But then the worker recanted to service investigators.

Jesse Morgan, a truck driver for the service, asserted that two weeks before the election his 18-wheeler had been loaded with "completed" ballots “with return addresses filled out, thousands of them, thousands" to be driven from Bethpage, N.Y., to Lancaster, Pa. But once there his trailer vanished after he parked it in a Lancaster postal facility.

Media on the right seized upon his story, extrapolating that 280,000 ballots had been mysteriously transported (the driver's affidavit mentioned 2,500). A Lou Dobbs interview on "Fox Business" was viewed some 628,000 times on his Facebook and Twitter pages. Trump tweeted the Dobbs interview and another by Fox News's Sean Hannity, together viewed more than 2 million times.

But the Postal Service's Inspector General's office found from GPS tracking that Morgan drove a different trailer to Lancaster than the one Morgan claimed; that most if not all its contents were packages, not letters or ballots; that all were properly transported, accounted for, and processed as was the trailer. Of the many employees interviewed, none could corroborate Morgan's story. More was learned about Morgan. He had been a drug addict and had served prison time. He believes his family has been stalked cross-country by ghosts, and he commands the ghost living in his house "to leave in the name of Jesus Christ".

But the 18-wheeler packed with 280,000 ballots continues to be a conclusive story of proven fraud for election deniers.

Another favorite that wouldn't go away: the "suitcase" stuffed with ballots in Atlanta:

Rudy Giuliani said it was the smoking gun. “The video tape doesn’t lie. Fulton County Democrats stole the election. It’s now beyond doubt.” Trump himself later amplified the claim at a rally.

The video that Giuliani offered up as proof showed that after most poll workers left State Farm Arena in Atlanta at 10:30 on election night, the few who remained pulled "suitcases" out from under a table and began processing the ballots they held. There they were, the phony ballots that cost Trump Georgia.

The video was aired day and night on right-wing media such as Fox News. Stolen election believers were shown only a short clip. They wouldn't have watched left-wing media that followed up with the full story shown in the timespan before the abbreviated video. It showed workers packing what were official ballot boxes, not suitcases, and storing them under the table in the expectation that they were finished for the day. We then see the manager receiving a phone call telling him that those still there needed to continue working. The short segment begins at this point, showing the crew pulling the containers out from under the table to continue processing.

Georgia Election System Implementation Manager Gabriel Sterling was irate. "The president's attorneys had the exact same video and they chose to mislead state senators and the public about what was on that video. They knew it was untrue."

DROP BOX MANIA

Still no fraud discovered. The search tried everything. Election deniers are somehow convinced that masses of fraudulent ballots were dumped into drop-off boxes set up for the election.

Dinesh D’Souza, described by Wikipedia as a "right-wing political commentator, author, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist", made a film that sought to prove people had stuffed postal drop boxes with ballots other than their own, and that these must be the fraudulent ballots that accounted for Biden's disputed win. The film relies on cell phone data collected by True the Vote, a Texas outfit started by Catherine Engelbrecht, who says the surge of mail-in voting in 2020 was part of a Marxist plot aided by billionaires including George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg.

If between October 1 and Election Day 2020 a cell phone went near a drop box more than 10 times and near an election-involved "nongovernmental organization” more than five times, True the Vote assumed the phone's owner was a “mule", adopting the trafficking term for drug carriers. The group says the data found 2000 phone carriers who qualified. Hence the film's title, "2000 Mules". We are asked to conclude that this small army was enlisted to "harvest ballots”, to repeatedly drop off batches of ballots for Biden.

The film shows minimal video evidence — multiple shots, but proven by analysis to be the same drop box, and only one example alleged to show the same person at more than one drop box while admitting it's difficult to tell if it’s the same person.

The cell phone approach is imaginative but cannot be called proof. Drop boxes are deliberately placed at busy locations that any number of vehicles, especially delivery drivers, postal workers, cab drivers, may have passed by more than 10 times in a month. And proximity does not mean a stop at a drop box. And if anything was dropped off in some of those pass-bys, virtually none seen in the film, what is to say that what was dropped off was illegitimate?

The movie was praised by Donald Trump as exposing “great election fraud".

Voting machines were tampered with, observers were denied access, ballot boxes were disproportionally placed, election results improperly certified — a long list of claims, none of which ever shown to be true. Many were procedural complaints such as extended election deadlines that would have had no effect on the vote count. As Georgia's Raffensperger would rebuff a Donald Trump claim in their phone conversation, "a procedure violation would not invalidate the ballots themselves." (And why, as was the Trump campaign's default assumption in all such cases, would the votes all be for Biden?).

Trump complained that that the processing of 700,000 ballots was not allowed to be viewed closely enough in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but the same distancing applied to Democrat observers, and what says the 700,000 votes were fraudulent?

It fell to eight stalwart conservatives, a group that included their most revered judge, J. Michael Luttig, to produce an exhaustive, heavily referenced analysis of every case in the six disputed states. The report details all 64 cases and the 187 counts the lawyers brought to justify their complaints, mostly along the lines of someone thought they saw something but with little or no evidence. At one point the report says, "Few elections in history have been so thoroughly fly-specked after the fact with so little evidence of fraud or of miscounted ballots".

But the report was not issued until July, 2022, barely noticed, and by which time no truth would dislodge the notion of the stolen election among the Trump faithful. "Lost Not Stolen" can be downloaded at lostnotstolen.org.

LOGIC MAKES FOOLS OF ELECTION DENIERS

Here's an item that illuminates our final comment: "Michigan auditors turned up 41 ballots out of 5.5 million identified as potential 'duplicate' votes."

Deniers seem to have given no thought to how elections work. That subject could be gone into in detail but suffice to say that for a vote to count it must be from a registered voter. Whether in-person or mailed, the vote is checked off on the voter rolls. So a few hundred thousand false ballots, spread on half a dozen battleground states in vast surplus because it could not be known beforehand in which states they would most be needed to swing the vote, would all need to be in the names and addresses of authentic registered voters that the nefarious Biden fraud team had somehow hacked and stolen for the purpose.

What then happens when the actual voter shows up and finds his or her vote has already been recorded? Or the poll worker receives a second ballot in the mail from the same name and address as already recorded? If there was Trump's massive fraud, why no outcry about hundreds of thousands of duplicate votes, of citizens saying their vote had been stolen by imposters? That should be the most convincing argument of all, but we've not seen it mentioned.

Truth has ceased to matter for the election deniers. Agreeing with Trump's claim of a stolen election was mandatory for candidates for office to gain his endorsement for the midterm elections. Many and possibly most actually do believe the Big Lie. It has become myth. They long ago convinced themselves that Trump had won. Hitler's propagandist Joseph Goebbels unavoidably comes to mind: "If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself." That so many have bought into QAnon conspiracies is indicative enough that they are willingly delusional about the 2020 election results. They believed Trump had been cheated because they wanted to believe in conspiracy. Lies have become their truth. America's elections have become irreparably damaged by a cult that will say, and likely say it with violence, that whenever they lose, the election was stolen.

7 Comments for “Big Lie Believers Don’t Get How Ridiculous It Is, and They Are”

  1. David Barnett

    While the Sidney Powell stuff about Dominion was nonsense, the problems of sloppy early and mail-in ballot processing, lacking signature verification and chain-or-custody security, and extra-constitutional rule changes by city officials etc.were real and significant.

    The Sidney Powell stuff was a distraction (deliberately planted?) which prevent proper public scrutiny of the real problems with the mail-in and early voting ballots.

    The courts consistently abdicated their duty to examine the evidence with dismissals on trumped up procedural grounds such as “standing”.

    The real BIG LIES were “Most secure election in history” and “No evidence of fraud” and “The courts ruled that there were no problems”.

    We now have the existentially serious problem that half the country has lost faith in the election system, which the problem denial drumbeat such as the above only exacerbates.

    It is not clear how to restore faith in elections, but acknowledgment of the real problems would be a start.

    • Kenneth Whittemore

      The real BIG LIE was no evidence of fraud? What? The entire point that makes the Big Lie nonsense is that no evidence of fraud has ever been produced, none. Where is it? Or do you mean the single vote stuff, like widow submits husband’s ballot who died just before election – and we even know of same because even such low level fraud gets caught.

      Your comment about courts caused me to have a look at lostnotstolen.org mentioned in the article. I suggest you do the same. There are all the cases, taken up one-by-one which you sweepingly dismiss. I suppose all those Trump-appointed judges were on the take.

      None of the issues you cite s so problematic affected the actual VOTES. If you think all the unverified signature ballots were fraudulent or chain of custody ballots were swapped, I further suggest you go to the third para from the end of the piece and chew of the illogic of how the few hundred thousand phony ballots needed for Biden to win would have made it through.

      And Sidney Powell’s ravings were planted? Can’t make any sense of that.

      That half the country has lost faith in the election system is because half the country has gone down the rabbit hole of Trump’s Big Lie.

      • David Barnett

        Judges do not need to be “on the take” to be cowards. In earlier eras, (when the problems were not as widespread), a judicial “blind eye” might have been appropriate to preserve the the impression of integrity.

        Even wronged candidates sometimes took this view. For example, Mayor Daly’s corrupt Chicago machine tipped Illinois to JFK, but Nixon chose not to press the point as hard as he could for the sake of the prestige of the office.

        Today, the “blind eye” approach will not do. And mere assertions of “no evidence” will not suffice. “2,000 mules” indicates the tip of an iceberg. Given the relentless anti-Trump hate propaganda, you don’t even need to look for a coordinated conspiracy, rather a kind of religious fanaticism which saw it as a higher public “duty” to “fortify the election” to prevent Trump’s re-election – even at the cost of trashing election integrity.
        —————————
        P.S. The Republican establishment may not have been too disturbed by the election result because (1) They hated Trump and (2) The fallout from the daft Covid policies left the winner with a poison chalice of an economy.

        • Alex Klein

          “Mere assertions of no evidence will not suffice.” That’s novel. If we are to forget Trump’s claims of hundreds of thousands of phony ballots now that they cannot be found two years on, then there’s no disputing Biden’s win. It now seems to come down to an election that was fortified against Trump that did it.
          Covid struck in spring 2020. Decisions to expand use of mail-in ballots and drop boxes weren’t made the day before the election but months before (ballots had to be printed, drop boxes made) when – have we already forgotten? – the death counts were fearful and these steps were taken to reduce contact. But instead it was all a conspiracy to defeat Trump; nothing was simply what it said to be. It was a kind of religious fanaticism on the left. The cult of Donald is of course not a kind of religious fanaticism, I suppose.

          • David Barnett

            You are right that there are Trump supporters who are every bit as religiously fanatical as the Trump haters, and might well be prepared to resort to their own form of “election fortification.” The only difference is that currently the Democrat machines dominate most of the big cities in America and so those fanatical partisans had the opportunity in 2020 which their opponents did not.

            Your complacency over the election integrity issue is truly frightening, as it is clear you are not alone. America divided cannot be reunited as long as complacent contemptuous attitudes like yours remain so common.

            • Alex Klein

              We now have your “election integrity” a-plenty with the red states having put forth hundreds of measures to make voting difficult with particular groups the target. “Election integrity” has become a code to make this seem fair and honorable. And on top we have extreme gerrymandering — on on both sides, but more on the right — to lock in the one party and make elections uncompetitive. Is that not enough “election integrity” for you?

        • Cam

          So the 10 trump appointees who ruled against Trump “looked the other way” to take part in the stolen election? That what you’re saying?

          D’Souza’s garbage is so trashed at the moment I can not believe anyone has the gall to bring it up. Seriously, a mediocre high school student could invent better agitprop.

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