The danger of cynically distrusting elections

Undermining the legitimacy of our elections indeed has consequences. Typically, it “just” further alienates an already distrusting public from their government, and disrespects election officials — your neighbors — who serve honorably. But January 2021 raised the stakes.

By

Opinion

January 22, 2021 - 2:16 PM

Rioters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump break into the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Photo by (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

Many in the politics industry profit from claiming that fraud and illegality plague our elections. Some probably think that they can push that false narrative with no consequences, at least for themselves. If the tactic works and their audience believes it, then why stop? 

Undermining the legitimacy of our elections indeed has consequences. Typically, it “just” further alienates an already distrusting public from their government, and disrespects election officials — your neighbors — who serve honorably.  

But January 2021 raised the stakes. A lie about a stolen election caused a pro-Trump mob to attack the US Capitol. Some shouted for the Vice President to be hanged. Their riot left six dead, including two police officers.  

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