Scholars: Election Denial Becoming Official Republican PolicyHistorians in the News
tags: democracy, Donald Trump, Big Lie, Election Denial
A majority of Republican nominees on the ballot this November for the House, Senate and key statewide offices — 299 in all — have denied or questioned the outcome of the last presidential election, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Candidates who have challenged or refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory — 53 percent of the 569 analyzed by The Post — are running in every region of the country and in nearly every state. Republican voters in three states nominated election deniers in all federal and statewide races The Post examined.
Scholars said the predominance of election deniers in the GOP bears alarming similarities to authoritarian movements in other countries, which often begin with efforts to delegitimize elections. Many of those promoting the stolen-election narrative, they said, know that it is false and are using it to gain power.
“Election denialism is a form of corruption,” said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, the author of “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present” and a historian at New York University. “The party has now institutionalized this form of lying, this form of rejection of results. So it’s institutionalized illegal activity. These politicians are essentially conspiring to make party dogma the idea that it’s possible to reject certified results.”
In the short term, scholars said, that party dogma is likely to produce multiple election challenges this fall from deniers who lose. It could poison the 2024 presidential race, as well.
“It’s quite possible in 2022 we’re going to have a serious set of challenges before the new Congress is seated, and then this will escalate as we move toward 2024 and another presidential election, in which the candidates, again, almost required by the Trumpians, will be challenging election outcomes,” said Larry Jacobs, a politics professor at the University of Minnesota whose areas of study include legislative politics.
In the longer term, Jacobs said, the country’s democratic foundations are at risk.
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