In a replay of Donald Trump’s greatest hit, “The Big Lie,” California Republican recall candidate Larry Elder, radio talk show host and conservative firebrand, and his Fox News and online advocates began claiming election fraud before the election was over. It becomes an embarrassment given the landslide result.
Trump and now Elder are attacking the legitimacy of elections – a core element of democracy. Trump, of course, is looking for allies for his “Big Lie” message and the next round of elections, especially a possible 2024 rerun. Elder is mainly thinking about the media benefits from being California’s and now the country’s leading radio host-cum-politician. Beneficial for both of them, damaging to the election confidence.
More than half of Americans believe democracy is under attack (56%) in a new CNN poll. Nearly the same percentage believe election officials in the U.S. will overturn the results of a future election because their party did not win (51%).
The latest AP/NORC survey shows one of the few issues both Democrats and Republicans are worried about, albeit for difference reasons, is the right to vote. The percentage of people say the “U.S. government is doing a good job protecting the right to vote” declined from 84 percent in 2011 to 43 percent today. And both parties agree.
Republicans increasingly believe the fraud charges from their party leaders and news sources. Democrats see Republican state-level efforts to change voting administration as restrictions and possible nullification.
In general, it’s clear that the next few election cycles will be a real test for election access and integrity.