Recent surveys suggest that over half of Republicans believe that the election was stolen from soon-to-be former President Donald J. Trump. There are a number of reasons why this might be, not the least of which is that Trump himself, his lawyers, and a number of his allies in Congress have all been parading themselves in front of TV cameras lying about how the election was fraudulent. To some, it would seem unthinkable that these lies could be believed by anybody else considering how easy they are to fact check.
But the truth becomes more obvious when you look at other surveys that have asked thousands of Republicans where they find the news. Some will say Fox News, of course, but the vast majority look to the president himself for insight into what’s happening in the world. And that’s a problem since he’s the primary source of misinformation.
Conspiracy theories have also run rampant during this election cycle. QAnon is a favorite of the far-right fringe, no matter how many of the “Q” claims have been debunked. Dozens of QAnon events have been predicted on or around exact dates, and virtually all of them have passed without notice. But conspiracy theorists continue to believe that predicted events leading up until the next presidential inauguration (only six days from today) will result in Trump’s second term in office.
Psychologists also suggest that part of the reason for Trumpism’s influence on politics is the simple redundancy of the lies he spews on a daily basis. Even people who were at first skeptical of some of the things that Trump says have come to take him at his word. This is because, psychologically, if we hear a lie repeated often enough, about half of us will begin to believe it.
Trump lost the election, and his repeated attempts to subvert the American democracy have led to two impeachments. Will the violence continue? Will Trumpism outlive his presidency? Scarily, it seems the answer is “yes” to both questions.