Letter to the editor: Trump’s ‘big lie’ on election results isn’t his first

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The big lie of the last election is still believed and reported in opinion pages everywhere. They continue to support the former president in his claims, without clear evidence, that this year's election was "rigged" and that there was massive amounts of voter fraud (and “bad” vote by mail systems) nationwide that cost him victory. I would note here that Washington and Oregon both use a vote by mail system, but these election results were not challenged. 

However, this is not the first time Trump has made claims about election fraud when the results do not please him, and he has a longstanding history of calling elections “rigged” long before he entered politics. Perhaps reviewing this history, and by reading his own words, will help us understand the reasons this belief in the big lie continues. 

In 2012, when President Barack Obama was reelected, Trump said that the election was a "total sham" and a "travesty," while also making the claim that the United States is "not a democracy" and later tweeted, "We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!"

There was no evidence given to support that claim. In 2016, Trump said he did not lose to then primary challenger, tweeting "Sen. Ted Cruz didn't win Iowa, he stole it. That is why all of the polls were so wrong and why he got far more votes than anticipated. Bad!" 

He also wrote, "Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.” 

There was no evidence given to support that claim. 

In 2016, just weeks before the general election, Trump wanted to cast doubt on the results by tweeting, "The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD." 

Even after the election ended and it was clear that Clinton had lost and conceded victory, he quickly made the claim that he also won the popular vote over Clinton, stating "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” 

There was no evidence given to support this claim.  

It would be naïve to think there are no mistakes made in elections. For example, after the election in Georgia, a hand audit found some votes that were not counted. Trump gained votes but Biden still won the state. However, there is no truth to the claims that there was enough widespread voter fraud to overturn the 2020 election, yet Trump, his campaign and the Republican National Committee still pursued many lawsuits in several states claiming that there was. They all failed in court because they did not produce the required evidence. Making an election fraud claim without evidence is a lie. Doing this repeatedly without any evidence, and having millions believe it, is a big lie. 

 

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