by Emma Maple | Staff Writer
From the second Trump first thought that he might lose the 2020 presidential election, he has been purporting claims of voter fraud.
And his supporters, for the most part, have believed him.
This problem exists on a grander scale than the slowdown that it has caused Biden’s transition to the presidency. False claims of widespread voter fraud can cause people to lose faith in our electoral system.
November 3, Election Night: Trump Claims Widespread Voter fraud, Biden Calls for Patience
Trump’s speech on election night was a victory speech, plain and simple. For nearly the entire eight minutes of his speech, Trump claimed victory, despite the inconclusive numbers. At the end of his speech, he announced the dangerous idea that he continues to broadcast — widespread voter fraud is why the votes haven’t declared him victor.
Trump’s main claim? “We did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity for the good of our nation… we want all voting to stop.”
Biden’s speech stood in sharp contrast. His first action in his speech was to congratulate everyone on their patience. Due to mail in ballots, he knew the wait until they got the results might be long. Was he hopeful that he would win? Yes. But he never once made any preemptive claims to victory. He preferred to let the facts speak for themselves.
The key phrase from his speech? “It ain’t over until every vote is counted, every ballot is counted.”
November 7: Biden Projected to Win Presidential Election
Votes are counted and once again, Trump sticks to his narrative. He has won — he will not concede.
According to the New York Times, “Since the election, surveys have consistently found that about 70 percent to 80 percent of Republicans don’t buy the results.”
November 29: Trump’s Wisconsin Recount Results are Reported
Trump, bolstered by his claims that states were making up votes, spent $3 million on a recount in Wisconsin. The result? According to AP News, Biden was awarded 87 more votes and no evidence was found that widespread voter fraud had been perpetrated. After the recount, Trump claimed that recounts are “not about finding mistakes in the count; it is about finding people who have voted illegally.”
Claims like these threaten the future of our nation’s voting system. Despite running into roadblock after roadblock, Trump refuses to let the American people move forward.
Dale Soden, professor of history at Whitworth, said “The problem here…is the constant claim that the election is rigged…If Americans do not believe that their vote matters, then that can cause a lot of trouble.”
2020: The Phenomenon of Record Turnout is Threatening to be Reversed
This election is not over. Arguably as important as the presidential election is the Georgia senatorial senate which will take place in January 2021. But the amount of people who still believe Trump’s false claims is causing Republicans running for Senate to worry. The New York Times reported that one voter from Georgia messaged Buzz Brockway, a former Republican state representative, saying “Nope, I’m done. Can’t trust the election. Never voting again.”
The 2020 presidential election had record voter turnout, the highest any American election has had in more than a century. But Trump’s claims of voter fraud are threatening to reverse this phenomenon. When people don’t believe in the system, they have no motivation to vote.
Such is the legacy with which Trump leaves us.