The threat of the “Big Lie” hangs over the US midterm elections

Threat of the “Big Lie” U.S. mandate


All over the United States, Republican candidates in the imminent midterm elections are relaying the “Big Lie” theory propagated by Donald Trump – unfounded allegations that the 2020 presidential election has been stolen from him, illustrating the threat hanging over the democracy, experts warn. 

According to a tally by the Washington-based think tank Brookings Institution, 249 Republican candidates have expressed doubts over Democratic President Joe Biden's victory, out of the 567 main national and local elections.

Not since World War II has American democracy been in such “great danger of disintegration,” warns Mark Bayer, consultant and former chief of staff to a US senator.

“ Subscribing to the Big Lie has been an important campaign issue for many of those who deny the presidential result and are running for office. How will these candidates react if they legitimately lose their own ballot in November?” he worries.

The fraud allegations were never proven, but that didn't stop former President Donald Trump and his allies from successfully persuading a significant portion of Republican voters that Joe Biden was not legitimately elected. p>

For many of the Republican's supporters, like Terri Privett, recently met by AFP in Florida, the size of the crowds that flock to see him is indisputable proof of cheating.

Comparing Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the 50-year-old judges that the Democrat does not attract a massive audience, “when you go to a Trump meeting and there are thousands and thousands of people trying to get in”.< /p>

With that, “you know they stole the election,” she says.

Donald Trump, who backed more than 200 Republican candidates in the Nov. 8 election, has makes belief in the “Big Lie” a prerequisite.

“Political analyzes indicate that most democracies are not overthrown by revolutions or coups, but erode from inside,” says Barbara Wejnert, a political scientist at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

“And so could American democracy if those who deny the 2020 presidential outcome are elected, or if Trump is re-elected president.”

These concerns would be of little importance if the candidates in question were marginal.

But more than half of them have a good chance of winning their polls, according to the Brookings Institution.

Local elections, for example for the posts of governors or attorneys general, are seen as particularly crucial. front line.

According to the organization States United Action, 58% of Americans in 29 states will vote on November 8 in an election where at least one candidate rejecting the result of the presidential election of 2020 wishes to access these electoral functions.

If there is concern that these losing candidates will try to cast doubt on the results, the real problem will be the winners, who can then change the electoral rules to favor the next candidates who share their views, analyzes Ann Crigler, of the University of Southern California.

“Democracy is fragile and vulnerable to corruption if those involved in the voting and governing process are not vigilant and honest,” she said. to AFP.

“Telling lies or refusing to admit the facts is fundamentally undemocratic. In short, by denying the obvious, you are putting the very foundation of our democracy at risk,” says John Geer, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University.

Another element reinforces the concerns: the states where the most of these candidates refuting the 2020 result are running are key states — Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia — crucial to control of Congress and the White House.