Julia Maher ’23
When the Associated Press (AP) announced Joe Biden’s victory as President-elect after many long days of anticipation and stress, both positive and negative uproar ensued. Those who logically settled for Biden danced in the streets, completely overjoyed, while Trump duped his supporters into believing that it was a rigged election caused by fraudulent mail-in voting ballots.
First, there is plenty of evidence that voting by mail is safe, legal, and secure. In fact, many states have been voting by mail for years, and they retain an elaborate and systematic approach to collecting and counting mail-in ballots.
So why, all of a sudden, is mail-in voting seemingly fraudulent, according to Trump’s conspiracy theory? The only reason that Trump made allegations of voter fraud is to fulfill his egotistical, narcissistic personality and curb his cravings for power and control in this time of embarrassment and utter failure for himself. Trump desires to make everything about himself, which he displayed through his false allegations. He is a sore loser.
Furthermore, he avoids vulnerability at all costs; so, instead of accepting defeat and conceding, Trump will do anything to prove his false victory and flex his toxic masculinity to remain “manly.” In fact, he even refused to confirm that he would concede to a peaceful transfer of power if he did not win, which is a hallmark of American democracy, so he will most likely be escorted out of the White House as a trespasser—what a comical scene.
Second, mostly Democrats voted by mail because more blue states have mail-in voting options, and Trump even strongly discouraged his base to vote through mail due to false allegations of voter fraud. Since he told his supporters to not vote by mail, there are disproportionately more Democrats who voted by mail. It makes sense, therefore, that when all the mail-in ballots were finally counted, Biden gained more votes.
Although mostly Democrats comprised the population of mail-in voters, a small amount of Trump supporters inevitably voted by mail, as well. Trump, however, fails to acknowledge this fact. He only claims that the election was rigged for Joe Biden’s victory due to Democrats voting by mail, but going by that logic, some of his votes received by mail are fraudulent, too. He even tweeted, “71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES,” but it is inevitable that at least some of those were mail-in ballots. So, if all mail-in ballots are fraudulent to him, then he needs to lower his number of “legal” votes to establish any semblance of logic.
Trump’s ridiculous lies about voter fraud provide further evidence to support the fact that we are living in a post-truth world. Sparked by Sarah Palin during Obama’s presidential terms, conservatives are being brainwashed and manipulated by numerous figures in the GOP, mainly Trump and right-wing media, to believe complete lies. One of the main perpetrators of this is Trump’s gaslighting of his base to believe that legitimate media sources are actually “fake news” and that Fox News, instead, is entirely factual. Trump’s gaslighting not only makes his supporters question their sanity, but it also makes all Americans stop and think about the accuracy of their reality. His claim of all mail-in ballots being fraudulent is just a continuation of this psychological manipulation. This begs the question: how can we cope in a world where our politicians favor disinformation over truth and even claim that disinformation is truth? We certainly dodged a bullet by preventing our country’s descent into an authoritarian demagogue under Trump, but it will take us many years to recover from the insidious psychological and emotional abuse that we all endured during his lone presidential term.