The Supreme Court delivered a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump and his lawyers. In a unanimous decision, the court declined to hear the case that Trump thought would overturn the election. It wasn’t just a rejection of Trump; it was a message to the Republican attorneys generals and Members of Congress who signed onto the lawsuit. It should have ended the whole saga. But it won’t. Instead, Trump tweeted that he’s just begun to fight and shouted about massive voter fraud.
In states across the country, Republican elected officials have certified the vote and acknowledged the election was fair. Judges at every level, including numerous ones appointed by Trump, have rejected Trump’s lawsuits as basically frivolous. His own lawyers have failed to produce any evidence of voter fraud. As conservative columnist Andrew McCarthy wrote in National Review, “But every time a court offers him an opportunity to establish by proof what he is promoting by Twitter, Team Trump folds.”
And yet Trump and his chorus of supporters continue to claim that the election is illegitimate and too many of Trump’s followers believe them. They’re following Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels’ rules for duping the populace. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Republican elected officials who support Trump’s claims are either stupid, cynical, or seditious.
The right has created an alternative reality based on alternative facts. They have rejected experts and rely on the opinions of people who agree with them. We see it in more than just the election. We’re about cross 300,000 dead from the coronavirus and most conservatives have spent the year either denying its existence, downplaying its impact, or criticizing government action to prevent the spread. They reject the advice and findings of organizations like the CDC and Sweden’s Royal Academy Science, which awards Nobel Prizes, and accept as truth the rantings of people like Sean Hannity. It’s confirmation bias run amok.
On Sunday morning news shows, Republicans like Rep. Steve Scalise would not say that Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. Scalise knows better but he’s willing to give truth to a lie in order to curry favor with Trump’s base. They’ll keep the lie about fraud alive so they can push through voter suppression laws to “regain” confidence in our electoral system. He’s an example of the cynic. Other cynics are people like Mark Walker who needs to win a Republican primary in 2022 to become the Republican Senate nominee in North Carolina.
Other Republicans like Texas Representative Louie Gohmert are so stupid they lack the critical thinking skills to discern fact from fiction. They just believe their biases. They are the Republicans abandoning Fox News for the fever swamps of OAN and Newsmax where lies and distortions are the bread and butter. In North Carolina, the stupid caucus includes people like Virginia Foxx, David Rouzer, Ted Budd, and probably Richard Hudson, though he might be considering a Senate bid, too, so he could be both cynical and stupid.
Regardless, we’ve reached an extraordinary point in our history. The President of the United States is attacking the integrity of our electoral system with baseless claims and a majority of his party seems to support him. It’s the new American exceptionalism. The exceptionally cynical have teamed up with the exceptionally stupid to form an exceptionally dangerous party.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >