A Crisis in Confidence

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A new YouGov national tracking poll has some pretty bad news for our representative democracy. Fully 38% of the population do not believe that Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. Thirty-eight percent is more than one-third, and among some groups, such as non-college educated white women and independents, it’s over forty or even over fifty percent. That’s a lot of people. This gives the lie to the claim that those who think the 2020 election was rigged, or at least not completely fair, represent only a small lunatic fringe of radical Trump voters.

It doesn’t matter if you disagree with these people. It doesn’t matter if you think they’re crazy. Elections only work if people have confidence that they’re carried out fairly and objectively. If they’re not, people don’t regard their leaders as legitimate. Remember when Hilary Clinton called Donald Trump an illegitimate president? Why? Because she pushed the claim that Trump colluded with the Russians, whose help was supposedly instrumental in turning the election in his favor. For four years that narrative was pushed, and a lot of people believed it. Was it true? No. It was finally debunked, (though don’t try telling that to the true believers). No matter. It worked to discredit Trump as a legitimate president, which impacted his effectiveness as president.

Now, Trump and his cohorts have been shouting for months that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate. Is it true? The evidence says no. But, guess what? A lot of people believe it. 38% of the population is a lot of people.

This represents nothing less than a crisis in confidence and it needs to be fixed. We simply cannot have a workable system when almost four out of ten people think the fix is in on presidential elections. The country will never be able to claim a legitimate president, a president whose mere residence in the White House is considered above the pale, never mind his or her efforts to shape public policy, foreign and domestic. This may be one of the reasons Biden is having such a difficult time winning the support of the people for his agenda and getting that agenda through Congress. Well, that and his general incompetence. If people don’t believe the person in the White House belongs there because the election was not fairly won, people aren’t going to support his policies. This explains Biden’s affection for Executive Orders. Doubtless, he figures if he can’t win over the people or the Congress, he’ll just force the matter on whatever issues he can.

This is another reason the federal government cannot have control of elections. If it does, confidence in the results of elections will experience an even more precipitous free fall, because people will naturally conclude that, if the federal government controls elections, than whichever party is in control of the White House and Congress at the time of the election will simply employ the power of the federal government to throw the election in its favor. Sadly, they will have good reason to come to that conclusion. That is a quick road to one-party rule, and one-party rule is a quick road to political and fiscal disaster.

We can do better. We have to.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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