For their next trick, Republicans will try to convince Americans not to believe their own eyes and that Donald Trump’s coup attempt was just like that time when Al Gore graciously presided over Congress when he certified his own loss.
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Republican officials seem determined to take their multi-year “Gaslighting of America” project to the next level following former President Donald Trump’s indictment for trying to prevent the duly elected president from assuming power.
In the past, with varying degrees of success, GOP leaders have tried to sell Americans all kinds of lies. Usually, they are pretty successful in convincing their own voters that whatever they say is the truth, e.g., that Trump won that election.
Even though there is no evidence to support that claim, and dozens of courts have rejected every attempt to challenge the results, 69 percent of Republicans believe that Joe Biden did not have enough votes to win the presidency. And more than half of the people who hold that view also think that, contrary to reality, there is “solid evidence” backing up that claim.
Generally, the response from non-Republicans is more mixed. Still, in many cases, plenty of independents and Democrats also believe things that, with very little effort, they could determine to be false.
The current plan appears to be to convince Americans that Trump was just exercising his right to free speech when he perpetuated the Big Lie and that what he did was no different from past cases in which Democrats claimed an election was stolen, for example Al Gore in 2000 or Hillary Clinton in 2016.
And it’s not just right-wing talking heads making that point but also GOP leaders like House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CA), the country’s highest-ranking Republican.
McCarthy: I can say the same thing that Hillary Clinton says about her election that she lost. I can say the same thing about the DNC who said it about the 2016 race. But were any of them prosecuted? Were any of them put in jail? pic.twitter.com/t1jVWJF43J
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 4, 2023
Watch the clip, and you will see McCarthy work himself up into a rage while making an argument that is obviously false. Even worse, he must know that it is.
Although the Supreme Court, and not the voters, decided his election following weeks of legal battles, Gore not only conceded but then presided over the certification of his opponent’s election. His actions were honorable and not despicable like Trump’s.
To compare them to each other is not just false but offensive. And McCarthy doesn’t only do just that but he is indignant about it. And he told his bold-faced lie in front of copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It is surprising they didn’t self-combust.
Here is where McCarthy, any anybody making the same claim going forward, is wrong.
Most importantly, Trump won’t go on trial for incessantly lying about the election but rather for all of the steps he took beyond legal challenges to overturn the will of the people. Gore did neither of these things even though the 2000 election was actually close. He went to court, ultimately lost, and then conceded.
What makes this attempt at gaslighting the country so brazen is that it all played out in public. What McCarthy and the rest of Trump’s defenders are trying to do is to convince Americans to not believe their own eyes.
They will make it sound as though the former president was merely unhappy about the outcome, just like Gore or Clinton. That, in itself is a lie because of the number, scope, and truth of their respective statements.
Clinton’s primary gripe was that Russia helped Trump win. That is true. Multiple investigations, including those involving Republicans, have determined that to be the case. But it is not grounds on which to challenge an election, so Clinton conceded.
Trump made up or latched onto lie after lie after lie and kept amplifying them any way he could.
Those differences, however, don’t even matter because the indictment makes it very clear that the former president wasn’t charged with lying, he was charged with various schemes to overturn the results of the election, which is something neither Clinton nor Gore ever did.