Republicans who buy into the Trump conspiracy rhetoric

Discussion in 'Politics' started by James R, Jan 4, 2021.


Would Trump really have won the 2020 US Presidental election, if it were not for electoral fraud?

Poll closed Feb 3, 2021.
  1. No doubt! Vote Trump 2024! Lock up Biden!

    0 vote(s)
  2. Yes.

    0 vote(s)
  3. No.

  4. Are you kidding? People who are *still* pushing that line are nuts.

  5. I'm not brave enough to venture an opinion on this. Just show me the results.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I happened to come across a 6-year-old thread I posted about the psychology of conspiracy theorists, here:

    This was posted before the election of Trump, before his 20,000+ in-office lies, long before the recent election of Joe Biden.

    At the current moment in time, I am bemused by the number of elected Republican representatives who are supporting Trump's conspiracy lies about the supposedly "stolen" presidential election of 2020, despite the multitude of failed lawsuits and the total absence of supporting evidence for any widespread electoral fraud.

    It is clear that a large segment of the Republican party has been completely captured by Trump and his followers, following on from the gradual takeover by the "tea party" movement.

    On the one hand, the people who are most vocally supporting Trump's empty claims of fraud have vested political interests. Some of them apparently have aspirations to run for President themselves in 2024. Understanding how the wind is blowing among the Republican base, many of whom these days live in an alternative universe of actual fake news, they want to tout their Trumpist credentials. On the other hand, by itself that doesn't explain the wholesale rejection of facts and the level to which these people appear to believe Trump's fantasy narrative of the election. These people wouldn't be so convincing if they were merely cynics jockeying for political influence. No, these people are true believers in a grand conspiracy - to the extent that they are actually willing to throw away the previously-cherished norms of liberal democracy on which America was founded and for which America used to be the light on the hill for other aspiring peoples.

    This brings me back to my list of typical characteristics of conspiracy theorists. I thought it might be useful to discuss the criteria from the previous thread, in the context of the current Trump capture of the Republican base and the party itself. As in the original thread, the word "believers" here is used to refer to those who accept the idea of a grand conspiracy (e.g. by "liberal elites" to steal the election).
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    • Believers aren't really skeptics. They are selective doubters. They favour a particular worldview, which they uncritically defend.
    The key word here is "uncritically". Notice how so few of Trump's supporters have ever bothered to try to gather actual evidence of widespread electoral fraud. Moreover, in the various law suits brought on Trump's behalf to try to overturn the collective will of the American people, for the most part the plaintiffs have not alleged widespread fraud. That is because the Republican lawyers (Giuliani excepted, of course) know that there is insufficient evidence to support those allegations. Hence, the lawsuits have tended to focus on minor procedural details for the most part, and even there they have been unsuccessful.

    The Believers in the grand liberal conspiracy, rather than accepting that the evidence doesn't stack up in their favour, instead prefer the worldview in which the liberal "establishment" is cleverly acting in concert with the fraudulent Democrats, to support the false election result. This would appear to be a difficult idea to sustain, since many of the judges hearing the cases have been Trump appointees (or, more generally, Republican appointees), as have a few Republicans who have had enough integrity to uphold the truth (e.g. the Republican Raffensperger in Georgia). But if something doesn't fit the conspiracy narrative, it can't be allowed to stand, if you're a Believer; rather, "alternative facts" are needed - or the old standby that anybody who doesn't agree with you is secretly working for "Them".
    • Believers tend to think that elites are omnipotent - e.g. the government can, in utter secrecy, influence the flow of information to such an extent that it can "cover up" massive conspiracies of misinformation such as the existence of UFOs, the non-reality of climate change, that the US government brought down the World Trade Center, or the danger of vaccines to children.
    In this case, the Trumpian bogeyman is the "liberal elites", which would include most of the people who support the Democrats, along with the entirety of the elected Democrat representatives, past and present. The Believers accept that these people are clever enough to steal the election from under the Republicans' noses, leaving no trace of their illegal manoeuvers.
    • Believers tend to be low in trust of other people. This makes them more likely to believe that other people are colluding against them.
    Trumpism is based on fear. Fear of the "other" is a typical fear stoked by autocrats and would-be autocrats everywhere, and it has served Trump well. Trump Republicans cling desperately to their guns, believing that, when push comes to shove, they only have themselves to rely on.
    • Believers tend to be political cynics. That is, they are more inclined to think that politicians are liars, and that politics is a process for elites that is removed from the "common man".
    The genius of Trump is that he has somehow managed to convince his base that he is "draining the swamp", rather than trying to make it more comfortable for himself and his cronies (which is the reality). While Trump pardons his convicted fraudster buddies, the Republican base look the other way, believing the the evil "liberal elites" are the only ones who have something to gain from being in power.
    • Believers tend to believe that most people can be "bought off" so as to act dishonestly or to support a conspiracy. This is tied to their general lack of trust, especially in "the establishment".
    Again, the genius of Trump is that he has somehow managed to present an illusion to his followers that he is not part of "the establishment". It follows, or so the Believer thinking goes, that Trump is to be trusted implicitly, because "the establishment" is Them, and They are evil. This also requires a deliberate disregard for readily-available facts, of course.
    • Believers tend to think that random occurrences are actually intended by somebody.
    Take the state of Georgia, for instance. Historically, it has been a "red state". In the election just gone - and possibly in the senate run-off to come - a number of factors have led to it turning "blue". In reality, that is unlikely to be a random fluctuation, a statistical fluke, and in that case there certainly were many people trying to make it happen. But the belief that the state could only have "flipped" due to massive coordinated fraud has no basis in fact. Meanwhile, of course, the Trump Believers look the other way as evidence comes out that Trump deliberately tried to subvert the will of the Georgian voters by bullying state representatives to oops magically "find" an extra 11000 votes for Trump.
    • Believes tend to ignore complex causes, instead putting things down to overarching control by the omnipotent elites. Given the choice between a complex web of causes and a seemingly-simple explanation involving a conspiracy of powerful elites, believers will opt for the conspiracy theory most of the time.
    People vote one way or the other for many different reasons. When it comes to an election, polls of various kinds can give some insight into likely reasons why a district or state went to one party or the other, but people are individuals who are not reducible to stereotypes.

    It is obviously much easier for Trump Believers to put Democrat wins (e.g. in Georgia or Arizona) down to the Conspiracy, rather than trying to pick through the complex actual causes. Conspiracists are nothing if not lazy in their beliefs.
    • Believers tend to think that people behave in certain ways because they have certain objectives (aligned with the conspiracy, typically), and/or personality traits (untrustworthiness, seeking to enrich or empower themselves). Believers downplay the importance of situational factors and chance in how people act.
    This practically speaks for itself. That Trump conspiracists routinely characterise Democrats as having conspiratorial objectives and untrustworthy personality traits should go without saying.
    • Believers tend to be imaginative and prone to fantasising.
    I'll wager that there are more Republican believers in the ridiculous QAnon conspiracy theory than there are Democrats, which should be obvious since the theory explicitly posits the existence of evil Democrats who drink baby blood in pizza parlour basements. If the Trumpian "stolen election" fantasy doesn't push one's buttons, a more bizarre and extreme conspiracy theory like QAnon might well do the trick. Besides, if you accept one conspiracy theory (it doesn't matter much which one), you're far more likely to accept many others as well.
    • If you believe that the world is full of malice and planning instead of circumstance and coincidence, you are more likely to buy into belief in a conspiracy theory. And once you believe in one, you're far more likely to believe in others.
    Like I said.
    • Believers are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories that actually contradict one another than to accept a straightforward explanation. For example, the more you believe that Princess Diana faked her own death, you more likely you are believe that, if she didn't fake her own death, then she was probably murdered.
    The spectacle of Trump supporters in different states calling at the same time for the election supervisors to "count all the votes" and to "stop the count", depending on whether Trump had won the state according to the official count, is an obvious contradiction, though not one that seems to bother the typical Trump supporter.
    • A study showed that "The strongest predictor of belief in an entirely fictitious conspiracy theory was belief in other real-world conspiracy theories."
    No comment.
    • Believers feel alienated from mainstream society. They don't trust the government or the media.
    Again, the genius of Trump. He managed to turn "fake news" into an attack on legitimate media sources. Since his conspiracist base already distrusts perceived elites (which includes most the fact-based mainstream media), it was easy for Trump to stoke the flames. At the same time, there's that double-think of the Trumpian somehow managing to believe that "the media" had the power while Trump himself was not "the government" and was an "outsider".
    • Believers concentrate on finding "holes" in official explanations. However, they do not look for holes in the "alternative" (conspiracy theory) explanations, tending instead to accept them at face value.
    I've written enough on this above. Never mind that the vote counts have been shown to be overwhelmingly fair, probably making the recent election results among the most reliable in US history. Trumpians will continue to allege widespread fraud, without ever requiring any evidence of it.
    • Conspiracy believers are the ultimate motivated skeptics. Their curse is that they apply this selective scrutiny not to the left or right, but to the mainstream. They tell themselves that they’re the ones who see the lies, and the rest of us are sheep. But believing that everybody’s lying is just another kind of gullibility.
    A political motivation is a very strong motivation. American politics at the present time is very much tied up with identity politics. Trump supporters are people who live fearful lives. They fear their fellow Americans. They fear their own government. Their fear motivates them to believe a web of comforting lies.
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Seems like you're blogging James?
    And why start another thread about a has been?

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  7. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I suppose that could be a blog post, now that you mention it. Thanks, paddo!

    I was hoping that some of our members might find this particular take on Trumpism interesting enough to want to venture their own opinions, which might start an interesting discussion.

    If nothing in the content interests you, you have no obligation to participate in the thread. Goodbye!

    Trumpism isn't about to go away any time soon. Did you think it would end once Trump leaves office?
  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    tut tut James....

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    you seem angry?
    Mostly yes, but obviously all countries still have their extremists movements, including ours and the US, and on both sides of the political spectrum.Trump will be gone, period...most of his stuff and nonsense will be rescinded in time.
    And you couldn't say what you wanted to say in the many other Trump threads?

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    I don't believe you James.
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The takeover happened between 1978 and 1992, and has been complete (within reason) since 1994.

    The Tea Party tactic was a successful propaganda operation by the Republican Party to isolate the W&Cheney disasters, separate them from the Republican Party and if possible attach them to the Democratic Party that had failed to prevent them. ("Both sides", "government", "Washington", "elites", "bipartisan", etc.) There was no "takeover" - there was camouflage. The Republican Party invented the Tea Party, which was never anything except a media feed propaganda meme.

    Briefly: There was no Tea Party.
    There is overwhelming evidence of electoral fraud of various kinds, on a large scale and over the last few national elections in the US: by the Republican Party and its corporate backing.

    At least two Presidential elections - W&Cheney in 2000 and Trump in 2016 - appear to have been outright stolen on the margin (voter suppression to get close enough to steal).

    Manipulating the 2016 Democratic Party leadership into insisting that there was no electoral fraud in the 2016 election, in advance of the ballot count, was a masterful propaganda stroke. Likewise now - in addition to the obvious vote suppression and rigging (registration hassles, long voting lines, monkeywrenching the Post Office, etc etc etc, which is public information and not hidden), several of the results of last November's election cycle look like products of hidden and hacker fraud:

    the statistics of Mitch McConnell's recent re-election, for example, would have triggered an automatic investigation as evidence of an apparent crime if the US had ordinary and common sense laws pertaining to such matters.

    The preemptive accusation has been remarkably effective in deflecting attention from that and other Partisan wrongdoing, and there is no mystery about the spread and ubiquity of such effective tactics - disloyal Republican politicians have been routinely purged from the Party since the 1980s.[/QUOTE]
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  10. LazarusLong Registered Member

    What happens to the trump cult when this is all over?

    The Georgia runoff tomorrow should be pretty interesting. Half of the Republican Party is fully cultified. Will they even bother to vote? They have been convinced it’s rigged. My prediction is that the dems win, which fuels even more of this nonsense.
  11. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    What’s ironic about Trump ranting now about election fraud was that when he started bringing this up a few years ago (the topic of election fraud), those on the left thought that he was setting the stage for a Republican take over, by planting seeds of doubt over the US electoral college system. If Covid didn’t happen, I’m wondering if he would have won the election based on those seeds of doubts?

    It’s obvious to us now though, that his early tweets about possible election fraud worked against him in the end.
  12. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    all i have to say is expect violence
  13. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Ignorance, stupidity and delusion do not know the color of your skin or how much money you make.

    Conservatives who follow Trump blindly are cowards and fools who will only go out and humiliate themselves further, who will continue to stir up shit because that's all they know how to do. No brains whatsoever. If Rudy Giuliani, Sydney Powell and Lin Wood are your heroes, then you're as bat shit crazy as them.
  14. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

    It really depends on what Republican politicians do. Trump may be gone, but apparently there are a fair number of Republican politicians that want those Trump supporters for themselves, and thus are willing to feed them the same garbage in order to win them over.
    For example: In the State to the North to me, the Republican challenger failed to unseat the incumbent Democratic governor in a Blue state, coming short by more than 10 points. As of the last I heard, he has refused to concede, saying the election was rigged. He is not the only one. In another state, a Republican candidate running in a heavily Democratic district in which no Republican had a snowball's chance of winning, lost by an overwhelming margin. She likewise claimed a rigged election. So it's not even about "How could a Republican lose in Arizona or Georgia?" These people are "How could I have lost a race that I had no reasonable chance of winning?"
  15. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    remember to the rightwing in the US any non rightwing governance is inherently illegitimate
  16. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    There are extremes of political agenda everywhere...and of course Trump's cronies will keep on fighting their good fight in their eyes, just as some delusional people here, pretend they are fighting a good fight by pushing agendas/causes that the majority just don't accept.
    The facts are that he and/or his cronies will not be in such a prominent position to push such causes and agendas.
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    In the US: Yes, it does.
    Often that's all it knows.
    More than 85%. Partially and significantly "cultified" - 100%, within reason.
    Anyone who suggests that there was a normal, conservative, honorable, coherent, reasonable, competent Republican plurality (any significant faction within the Republican establishment or voting base capable of anything "bipartisan", say) at any time after 1994, is a cult member.
    So is anyone who remained a registered member of the Republican Party after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the 2004 elections.
    - - - -
    Trump hasn't said or done anything unusual for a national Republican figure - media or political. He acts like Reagan, he talks like Limbaugh, he self-deals and threatens like WCheney or McConnell or Gingrich or pick one - and that list can be retyped with the verbs swapped around.

    Trump is a centrist, mainstream, middle of the road, fifty year familiar, standard Republican politician - just as Reagan and Bush and W and Cheney were and are. Here's where MAGA started, according to the people who celebrate it and its originator:
    There was no Tea Party. There is no Trumpism. There is a Party, the Republican Party, that has adopted (had imposed upon it, knuckled under to, if you prefer to avoid blaming the conned and ignorant) fascism as its governing "ideology" ( meta ideology, if you prefer philosophical clarity). That Party is well and truly and centrally represented by Donald Trump - he is a nearly stereotypical fascist demagogue, and in that role (which he has not concealed or downplayed in the slightest) fully and even ecstatically supported by a larger proportion of his Party than any other national politician.

    There is no other Republican Party than the one that has been unified behind Trump since 2015. There is no other Republican Party to go back to, when Trump's disasters have been buried in the same "Tomb of the Bothside Presidencies" as Iran/Contra, the crack and AIDs epidemics, 9/11, the military conquest of Iraq, Katrina, the Crash of 2008, and so forth.

    Trump=Republican. Republican=Trump. This will remain the case until at least one of those two has been banished from public life.

    And unless it's the Republican Party, unless the Republican Party is crippled and prosecuted for its crimes, the ascension of yet another Reagan/Bush/WCheney/Trump within the Republican Party will mark the ascension of yet another Reagan/Bush/WCheney/Trump to national power.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  18. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    No fact! He is obviously even just going by this last phone call and his tweets a raving extreme right wing loony, who supports the NRA and other loony right movements. That may seem normal for someone from the US, it's certainly not centrists or normal from where I sit, otherwise he would have the support of his whole party.
    [No personal insults there? Apologies if there is

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  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Supporting the NRA is standard, mainstream, centrist, ordinary Republican Party politics.
    Trump has the full support of almost all US Republicans and a reasonable percentage of others. He has the full support of more than a third of the US adult population. The Party that nominated him and whose members voted overwhelmingly for him currently controls a majority of the governments (State, City, Federal, County, etc) in the US.

    The Republican Party is a mainstream US political Party, representing a near plurality of US citizens. Standard Republican Party positions are by definition not extreme political positions. Trump is no more an extremist in US politics than Reagan or W were.
    This assertion, from me, is simply and plainly accurate:
  20. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    Any orginization that sees it as normal for citizens to carry weapons, and military weapons at that, is as far from centrists and mainstream politics as one could least in most civilised countries.
    Almost all?
    I actually thought it was closer to around half...Still, in the view of most civilised countries outside the US, Trump, their leader from the day he was elected, drew gasps and WTF's!
    What we know of Trump, what the contents of his daily tweets have been, what international actions he has taken on issues such as the WHO, the latest phone call debacle, says I believe otherwise.
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Yes. I'm angry that you presume to tell me that I'm not allowed to start a thread on sciforums, particularly when you feign disinterest in the topic, then become one of the most active posters in the thread.

    For every thread I start on this forum, you probably start about 20, so don't you dare try to tell me that I'm not allowed to post threads here. Get back in your box.

    Obviously, you don't know much about US politics. In the Republican party, Trump is not an extremist. His follows don't regard him as an extremist. He is their hero. They want an autocratic leader - a strongman bully who, for some deluded reason, they believe will somehow make their lives better. [He will make/has made some of their lives better, of course, because typical autocrats always have favored cronies that they buy off to maintain loyalty.]

    I don't think you understand the concept of a thread topic. This thread isn't about Trump, in case you didn't notice.

    More Americans voted for Trump in the recent election than have voted for any other Republican presidential candidate in the history of the United States. Trump gained 46.8% of all votes cast for President in the recent election. That's a very near majority. If you think you can now write him or his influence off, you're delusional.

    Wrong. The Republican Party is now the Party of Trump, whether or not Trump is President.

    The Second Amendment to the US Constitution enshrines gun rights. The NRA is not a lunatic organisation. It is, first and foremost, a political lobby group whose opinions cannot be discounted if you want to get elected in the US.

    We're not talking about "most countries" here, although even there you might be on shakey ground. Gun ownership, gun carrying and the use of guns, is "normal" for a large portion of Americans. The harms that are caused by guns every day in America are acceptable to most Americans. If they weren't, they would have taken steps by now to impose more reasonable measures of gun control.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
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  22. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    I specifically mentioned the 2020 election, not those previous elections.

    Interesting. I'm not aware of allegations of fraud in McConnell's recent re-election. Could you point me towards a relevant report or such?
  23. river



    Who are these " most Americans " ?

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