For the last several days my news feed has been filled with stories about 3-5 million illegal immigrants, dead people, and others that apparently swung the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. In a country where not even 60% of the country bothers to vote, the Trump administration has the balls to claim that millions went to the extra effort of voting illegally, risking felonies and fines. Really think about that, it should be all you need in order to realize how insane it is to claim that so many people committed voter fraud. Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer refused to answer if he personally believed that massive voter fraud had occurred in Thursday’s press briefing, and erroneously cited a pew report that actually did not find evidence of voter fraud. Trump seems to be throwing a series of hissy fits, from the crowd size at his inauguration , to his relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies, and back to his popular vote loss. In his ABC interview with David Muir Wednesday, Trump first said that his claims on illegal voting was “so misrepresented”. And then immediately confirmed that he indeed believes exactly what the news outlets had reported he said. Even attacking the author of the report that Donald obviously has not read, saying he was groveling.
Lindsey Graham, Paul Ryan, The Association of Secretaries of State and innumerable others have all said there is no evidence of voter fraud. As a political scientist I did my own short survey of the literature on voting and voter fraud and found what every news agency that bothered to look found. There is no evidence, no studies that support the assertion, and absolutely no reason to believe that this alleged voter fraud took place. There is, however, a very clear reason why Trump would make these assertions. he knows that his followers will believe and support almost every statement he makes.
That is the depth of polarization that our country has gotten to. The Washington post recently did a survey trying to see how trump supporters would indeed deny a truth that is right in front of them in order to support their preconceived notions about trumps greatness. When looking at the photos of Trump’s inauguration and Obama’s, Trump supporters denied what is a clearly visible truth that Trump’s inauguration did not have as many spectators. In the political science field we have been watching, writing on, and pulling our hair out over the extreme political polarization that has exploded in this country. The two sides, liberals and conservatives, just continue to grow further and further apart.
The division has dragged down the level of political discourse in the country. We have gone from debating foreign policy and trade issues to personal attacks and arguing over crowd sizes.
We have degenerated from having one of the most eloquent individuals of the century in the white house, to someone whose speaking style can best be described as schizophrenic and combative.
It is saddening that our new president seems to have a desire to continue to lower the level of discourse. Dragging it down into the muck. But this is what we are stuck with for the next four years unless (fingers crossed) Trump gets impeached.
For now, keep your head up. Do anything you can to resist his policies. Just remember to vote for the midterms in two years, and don’t let him drive you to needless hate.