There’s an interesting nugget buried in the new CNN national poll that shows just how much election denialism has fused with what most people think it means to be a Republican.
Almost 6 in 10 (59%) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said that “believing that Donald Trump won the 2020 election” was very or somewhat important to what being a Republican meant to them.
While that number was lower than those who said a less powerful federal government was important to what being a Republican means to them (86%) or supporting Republicans in Congress (81%), it’s still a remarkably high number when you consider what, exactly, we are talking about here.
And that is this: that, somehow, the 2020 election was fraudulent and Trump actually won. That belief is directly rebutted by widely accepted facts about the 2020 election – most notably that there is ZERO evidence of widespread voter fraud. None.
The idea, then, that the election was stolen is a wild conspiracy theory. But it’s also a wild conspiracy theory that Trump very much continues to push. And that much of the base of the party continues to believe because, well, Trump told them to believe it.
What the poll makes clear, then, is that for a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, believing the Big Lie is an important part of calling oneself a “Republican.”
Which is a remarkable thing when you consider that we are talking about one of the two major parties in this country. Sit with that for a minute. One of the two major parties in this country sees its identity entwined with a much-disproven lie that aims to directly undermine the foundations of American democracy.
What’s even more amazing is that Republican leaders – not named Donald Trump – are either unwilling or incapable of steering the party in another direction.
The Point: This sort of stuff is how parties die in the medium and long term. Or evolve to become something that bears no resemblance to what they once were.