If the Big Lie Wins, We All Lose
The presidential election was not stolen from Donald Trump. Over fifty court cases have shown this, all the way up to the Supreme Court, including many judges nominated by Trump himself. Numerous state-run recounts have verified it. GOP Secretaries of State as well. There is no evidence to support the claim at all. Still, the Big Lie remains, a battering ram to knock down the defenses of our collective rationality. It has become the fault line along which our democracy will either persevere or fall.
This is a grave assertion, and yet it results from a simple thought experiment: What if the GOP, promulgating the Big Lie, wins?
In that case, a party that willfully trampled a court-backed truth will be in control. They will have the support of a segment of the population that is outraged at a nonexistent deep state that did something that didn’t actually happen.
Moreover, given the nature of the Big Lie, our electoral system will have been successfully impugned as fraudulent. Without a secure means to vote, the will of the people cannot be ascertained.
At the helm will be the cultish Trump, a demagogue who incubated the Big Lie many months before the 2020 elections. Sitting on an established throne of conspiracy theory, he need merely extend the Lie, or make up another, to curtail future challengers.
Trump refused to agree to a peaceful transition of power, both before and after he lost the election, saying only, “We’ll see what happens.” Indeed, on January 6, after he gave an inflammatory speech, his fanatic followers stormed the Capitol in an attempted insurrection. Nothing like it has happened since 1814, and then it was foreign invaders.
Trump’s rapacious need for praise is more important to him than the survival of the republic. His niece, Mary Trump, published a book titled “Too Much and Never Enough” in which she calls him “the most dangerous man in the world.” Experts in psychology nationwide published an anthology, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.” It diagnoses him as the most ruthless sort of narcissist, and warns of extreme peril if such a person takes over.
What happens if a leader turns a nation into an arena for self-glorification, regardless of damage to its people, traditions, and fortunes? For starters, the loss of the ability to wisely adapt to change. For someone who can never be wrong, there can be no error.
Remember Trump’s absurd, contradictory claims during the pandemic, even as the death toll rose? Now extend that to any sort of major challenge, whether crisis or opportunity. Climate, tech, infrastructure, economics, cyberattacks, foreign policy and on and on. There would be only the subjective, single-person strategy of someone focused on preening his own hungry ego.
When a constituency embraces their leader’s views, no matter how absurd, with the fervor of faith backed by a flimsy, deceitful logic of ‘alternate facts’, there is no need for competency, fairness, or accountability. Corruption runs rampant, as we’ve already seen during Trump’s time in the White House.
We have a recent historical example of what happens when god-complex leaders rise to power in the strongest countries. That example is World War II. We still ask today, “Why did all that awfulness and atrocity happen?”
Perhaps the answer lies in a perfect storm of dysfunctional swarm dynamics. When you instill a worshipful mindset of black or white, good or evil, with us or against us, love or hate, then prudence, adaptive thinking and even common sense have no place.