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Trump and his base rally around conspiracy theories as Georgia votes



In Trump’s world, however, that isn’t a bug — it’s a feature.

Throughout his presidency and during his failed re-election campaign, Trump trafficked in internet rumors, doctored videos, and helped propel fringe conspiracy theories into the national conversation.

Now he’s using the same tactics to try an overturn an American election. And, as his supporters outside the rally he held in Georgia Monday night made clear to me, those tactics are working, convincing people of blatant untruths about the presidential election and undermining American democracy in a real and potentially dangerous way.

“Biden is not the next president, Trump is the next president,” one Georgia voter who was in line early for Trump’s rally told me. Another said she had booked her trip to Washington DC for the inauguration to before the election and still planned on going because she still believed, wrongly, that Trump would be the one sworn in rather than Biden.

So pervasive and dangerous is the extent of the conspiracy theory about election rigging, and so much do some Republican voters in Georgia now distrust how elections are run here despite mountains of proof that the election was conducted freely and fairly while being overseen by Republicans, that some had considered not voting in the Senate run-off elections here.

Kathleen Thorman, the chair of the Gordon County Republican Party in Georgia, who also believes the election was stolen from Trump, told me Monday, “People have been demoralized and have actually told me that they do not want to vote because they feel like their vote is not going to count.”

Thorman said she encouraged her fellow Republicans to go out and vote anyway and that the people she had spoken to ultimately ended up voting.

It’s a tightrope the Republican Party has been trying to walk for the past two months: Telling their voters to show up in Georgia while Trump tells them Georgia elections are rigged.

A couple of people I spoke to in Dalton said it was time for Trump to concede to Biden or that they believed he would eventually ultimately accept Biden had won.

But on stage on Monday night, Trump declared, “I don’t concede.” Then he launched into a monologue about Congress’ vote to certify the election results on Wednesday — baselessly suggesting that the election result could still legally be overturned. It can’t.



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