“President Trump’s continuing attempts to overturn an election he lost decisively more than a month ago is, like so much of what he’s done in office, shocking but not surprising. Who imagined that he would go quietly?
What some people may not have been fully prepared for is the way Trump’s party as a whole has backed his dangerous delusions. According to a survey by The Washington Post, only 27 Republican members of Congress are willing to say that Joe Biden won. Despite the complete lack of evidence of significant fraud, two-thirds of self-identified Republicans said in a Reuters/Ipsos poll that the election was rigged.
But you really shouldn’t be surprised by this willingness to indulge malicious, democracy-endangering lies. After all, when was the last time Republicans accepted a politically inconvenient fact? It has been clear for years that the modern G.O.P. is a party that can’t handle the truth.
Most obviously, Republican refusal to accept the election results follows months of refusal to acknowledge the dangers of the coronavirus, even as Covid-19 has become the nation’s leading cause of death, and even as a startling number of people in Trump’s orbit have been infected.
Sure enough, virus denial and vote enial converged almost perfectly on Saturday, when Trump addressed a large, mostly unmasked crowd in Georgia — creating a potential superspreader event — and demanded that the governor overturn the state’s election results. The next day Rudy Giuliani, who has been directing Trump’s efforts to cling to office, was hospitalized with the virus.
The thing is, Republican rejection of reality didn’t start in 2020, or even with the Trump era. Climate change denial — including claims that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by an international cabal of scientists — has been a badge of partisan identity for many years. Crazy conspiracy theories about the Clintons were mainstream on the right through much of the 1990s.”