Trump holds campaign-style rallies spreading false information about voter fraud
I wrote a book called Divided Politics, Divided Nation: Hyperconflict in the Trump Era a year ago, based on my experiences growing up in a conservative rural community in Ohio and then teaching at liberal Brown University for many years. He chronicled the rise of polarization in the United States over the past 40 years, highlighting how dangerous divisions are to our democracy’s ability to function and address major issues.
Moving on now, and it’s chilling to see how the situation has deteriorated since then, and the role misinformation has played in escalating political division. There were erroneous claims made in the 2020 election, for example, that mail-in ballots would lead to huge voter fraud and that wearing masks would protect voters.
Two weeks before Biden’s inauguration, disgruntled Trump supporters came to Washington to express their displeasure at Trump’s loss. After a highly inflammatory speech from Trump, they marched to the Capitol, smashed windows and doors, stormed the building, assaulted police officers, stole federal property and temporarily prevented members of Congress from certifying Biden’s victory. .
A stunned nation could not believe the mob violence, the desecration of a federal building and the temporarily successful effort to halt the legislative process. It was the first time since the War of 1812 that the Capitol had been invaded, but this time it was not a foreign enemy that had occupied the space but fellow Americans. It was the ultimate polarization of Americans turning on other Americans and engaging in violence that left people dead and injured.
These are not innocent lies without consequences. These false accounts allow those who saw the Capitol invasion to believe that Trump supporters refrained from violence and that progressive activists were the culprits. They help the president’s side turn the violent attack into an argument about why Trump supporters are being unfairly framed. From their point of view, this version has the merit of turning the culprit into liberal Democrats, of opposing unfair media coverage and of turning this episode into one more grievance against Trump supporters.
Yet on social media, Trump supporters continue to spread outright lies. People I know argue that the violence was committed by ultra-liberal antifa supporters who infiltrated what they claimed was a peaceful Trump protest. Others are telling their friends to turn off the auto-update feature on their phones because carriers will remove Trump’s access to the Emergency Broadcast System. Some even suggest that some of the more extreme actions were staged and did not play out the way they are portrayed by the media.
Ultimately, indictments and criminal trials will confirm the truth and provide evidence regarding the specific individuals who violated the peace and sanctity of the Capitol. Those who have already been charged have turned out to be members of far-right organizations who, in the weeks leading up to the insurgency, talked online about marching to the Capitol, taking over the building, engaging in violence
Summary of news:
- Trump holds campaign-style rallies spreading false information about voter fraud
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