Trump & the Big Lie must be exposed and cast out

Thom plus logo The GOP's Big Lie is tearing America apart, as Trump expanded it to assault American democracy.

A 40-year Republican Big Lie brought us to this crisis point in America.

When Ronald Reagan was running for president in 1980, one of his biggest boosters was the political heavy hitter Paul Weyrich, who was also a cofounder of the Heritage Foundation and multiple other rightwing think tanks and operations.

Weyrich told a group of political activist in a church basement in Dallas that the GOP was changing their strategy to win elections.

No longer would the Republican Party try to win elections through high-minded policy goals or wonky speeches about the importance of fiscal austerity, like Barry Goldwater had tried to do in 1964.

No more would the GOP embrace the goal that as many people vote as possible, and the GOP would no longer support widespread voter registration like Nixon had done in 1968 and 1972, cooperating with the League of Women Voters.

"I don't want everybody to vote," Weyrich bluntly told the assembled Republican operatives. "Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populous goes down."

The job going forward for the Republican Party would be to make it harder for people to vote rather than easier, particularly people who typically vote Democratic. In order to justify that, they had to create the Big Lie of the fraudulent voter.

"Voter fraud" had never been an issue or a reality in American elections. While our history has a few instances of scattered ballot-box stuffing in the past (what could be called "election fraud"), no national election had ever been altered or changed as a result of people voting twice or non-citizens voting. It had never happened in any meaningful way.

But for Republicans to successfully suppress the Democratic vote, they needed an excuse. Merging Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy of bringing white racists into the GOP (after Democrats pushed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts through Congress) with this new electoral strategy, in 1980 Republicans began saying that Black people were voting multiple times and Hispanics who were not citizens were voting in huge numbers.

They knew it wasn't true, but it was a convenient Big Lie that justified passing laws in state after state to make it harder for Democratic constituencies to vote.

Low-income people who lived in cities and used public transportation often never spent the time and money to get a driver's license, because they couldn't afford a car to drive.

Elderly people, who tended to vote Democratic because Democrats brought them Social Security and Medicare, often had to let their driver's licenses expire because they could no longer drive.

Requiring current, unexpired driver's licenses, therefore, would be a great way to prevent big-city Black people and older Social Security voters from casting their ballots. The GOP went all in.

For most of the 20th century, the way the identity of eligible voters had been authenticated was with biometrics.

My mom used to volunteer every election to work the polls, and I remember being seven years old and sitting next to her as she compared voters' signatures with the signatures she had on file from when they first had proven their identity and residency and registered to vote.

It was a system that worked well for decades. While it's fairly easy to buy a phony driver's license or birth certificate, it's almost impossible to fake a signature. This biometric authentication was extremely effective and the system worked well.

But to pass laws in state after state requiring a drivers license, and in many cases even multiple other pieces of ID to vote, the GOP had to amplify their Big Lie, claiming that massive numbers of undocumented immigrants and formerly felonious African-Americans were illegally voting.

Using this Big Lie, they tightened the screws on voters in mostly Democratic-leaning cities and succeeded in preventing many elderly citizens from voting.

They brought back post-Reconstruction Jim Crow strategies of closing polling places in African-American and Hispanic communities, and stripping people off the voting rolls.

One of the most effective strategies for this was a new system called "caging" that Karl Rove used to great effect in the 1980s, mailing a postcard into targeted neighborhoods and when the postcard wasn't returned with an affirmation that the person was legally registered, pulling their name off the voting rolls.

Democrats got a court order preventing Republicans from doing this that lasted for over 20 years, and was only struck down when the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013 with their Shelby County decision.

Recently in another case involving Ohio, the Supreme Court legalized caging.

But caging also required the Big Lie of "voter fraud": Rove's argument was that people were not only voting multiple times in the same place, but that they were also voting multiple times in different states!

It's true that many people are registered to vote in multiple states, because most people don't bother to notify states when they move. What's not true is that those people vote in multiple states. It just doesn't happen.

Of course this new variation on the Big Lie wasn't true, but it made it very convenient for Republican Secretaries of State to purge their voting rolls.

The nation is in a crisis right now large because Donald Trump took this 40-year GOP Big Lie and extended it all the way out to its logical end-point consequence.

Trump argued that even though the official result from state after state indicated that he had lost the national election by 7 million votes and lost the Electoral College by the same margin Hillary Clinton had four years earlier, the corruption of our voter system extended all the way into the offices of state election officials and Secretaries of State.

Republican voters have been primed by 40 years of the "voter fraud" Big Lie to believe this final, massive extension of that Big Lie.

Trump told them over and over that he didn't actually lose the election, but "won it by a landslide."

This new variation on the older Republican Big Lie was echoed across the rightwing media landscape and by Republican politicians, particularly at the federal level.

To this day, most elected Republicans refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden was selected in a free and fair election. They continue to cling to the Republican Big Lie of "voter fraud" because without massive suppression of Democratic voters in their own states many will never get elected again.

Repeatedly, yesterday, during the House Rules Committee debate to bring a resolution forward asking Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, Democrats begged their Republican colleagues to simply say, "The election was not stolen." Republicans repeatedly refused.

The Republican Big Lie is now tearing America apart, as Donald Trump has picked it up and used it as a club to try to beat democracy to death.

If our American democracy is to survive and move forward, Republicans must admit to an repudiate their Big Lie. It's been very useful and productive for them for over 40 years, but it must come to an end now.

-Thom

Originally posted at Medium.com.

Comments

Bonnie Frank 46 weeks 5 days ago
#1

Exactly! Expel all 147 and entire trump admin and trump. Disbar all attorneys immediately. Trump needs to be fully expelled from our Country. Apply our laws now! And indict, of course. All felonious criminal behavior. That people believe otherwise is frightening and another reason to take quick and definitive action now.

these people supposedly work for us not the president. He works for us too. All need to be ousted. Anything less will lead to graver behavior.

NEVER FORGET. THESE ARE NAZIs nothing better.

Octer007's picture
Octer007 46 weeks 5 days ago
#3

Exceptional situation, exceptional measures! Let's put them all out! What times we live in... I am afraid for the future.

aucoin2474's picture
aucoin2474 46 weeks 5 days ago
#4

The election was so clean It could whitten teeth. Dictatorships are created in environments where there is division and societal confusion; Including those living in decadence and others in poverty. Unfortunately, We've been ripe for this.

RepubliCult's picture
RepubliCult 46 weeks 5 days ago
#5

Reduce the GOP to the size where it can be dragged into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub!

alis volat's picture
alis volat 46 weeks 5 days ago
#6

The six that died this time over the Big Lie are a small part of lives lost over it. Add in the people who died in Bush's false flag Iraq War. The delay on climate change action, as well as roll-backs on environmental regs, will also result in deaths. But most of all, ending up with Trump and his incompetents' botched Corona virus response is probably the most grievous loss in our history. We are just getting an idea of the number of precious lives lost and shattered. I know a President Hillary Clinton would not have had a perfect plan, but she would have had a skillful one executed quickly and honestly. Health care was just one of her areas of expertise.

The Big Lie brought us a president that took us from number one in the world to a country laughed at, pitied, and frankly put in peril. If you are only 4.4% of the world population, it might be prudent to have some great democratic allies to boost your odds if you find yourself in a war. I'm hopeful we can charm our friends once again with some diplomacy and sane leadership.

Thom does such a great job hitting his point home on this subject and bringing us Palast and other experts. This is a subject we could all be working on. Letters to the editor, educating friends, relatives, and get out the vote programs are some avenues for this work. Updated voting rights legislation is needed. Along the way, we need to be able to explain the Big Lie, its history, and replace it with The Truth.

Legend 46 weeks 5 days ago
#7

Capitol Building guided tours prior to the insurrection. The FBI will be looking at video. They are on the trail of 3 Congressmen. One has family against him. We all ready know that the head of the Proud Boys visted the White House before the insurrection.

63 Billionaires that supported Trump and other Republicans. They expect and get a return on their investment. How many Billionaires do you think were in that insurrection. These are the grunts. Why does anybody other than these billionaire support Trump. You do not get a return on your investment.

The references in Post #2 are well worth reading. You will not see it on Fox News. 2016 was probably a fraud.

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