Trump’s False Claims Endanger Our Democracy


Lukas Werner

Throughout his presidency, Trump has made persistent efforts to misconstrue the truth and generate distrust in the system.

Maddie Khaw, Editor in Chief

Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential election, and incumbent President Donald Trump lost.

This is just a simple fact. It’s not an opinion, it’s not debatable, and it’s not a fraudulent result. 

And yet, Trump is refusing to concede, and is using unwarranted and untrue claims to rally his millions of supporters to join him in discounting the election results. 

And it’s a serious danger to democracy.

Trump has been laying the foundation of this delegitimization for years. He planted some of the beginning seeds the moment he first uttered the words “fake news” in regards to instances where the media has held him accountable or pointed out his falsehoods.

He scattered some more of these seeds as soon as he was elected in 2016, falsely claiming that he won the popular vote in that election, “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” (This is not true; there is no evidence supporting this claim.)

And throughout his whole term, Trump continued to cultivate this bed of lies, pouring more and more falsehoods into his rhetoric — a damaging firehose of lies that proclaims that some of the most fundamental and imperative parts of our country’s democratic processes are not to be trusted. 

Throughout his presidency, Trump has made persistent efforts to misconstrue the truth and generate distrust in the system. 

By undermining the validity of the news media, he flipped the narrative so that millions of Americans now trust his blatant — and sometimes outrageous — lies and fabrications more than they trust established publications that prioritize serving the public by reporting the truth. 

By lying about his defeat in the popular vote in 2016 and continuing to push the idea that many of the votes against him are illegal and illegitimate, he has persuaded a large portion of his base to be suspicious of the electoral process on the basis of unfounded claims.

Now, we see these efforts culminating in his final push to discredit this election. For the past four years, he has laid brick after brick, planted lie after lie, to build a wall of denial in order to preserve his position of power and circumvent the moment that we now find ourselves facing — the moment where he is legitimately unseated, and by historic democratic and American standards, is expected to step aside and acknowledge the authenticity of his opponent’s victory. 

The result has been so clear that former President George W. Bush released a statement congratulating President-elect Biden on his win, and numerous world leaders have also called to congratulate Biden.

Refusing to accept the loss, Trump and his team have filed suit in multiple states, and hope to bring the election to the Supreme Court to challenge its results.

Although Trump has made incessant claims of election fraud and improper counting, there has been no proven evidence backing these allegations.

In fact, every allegation of voter fraud that Trump has made thus far has been thoroughly debunked.

Although some have made the comparison, this situation is not equivalent to the one in 2000, where George W. Bush faced off against Al Gore, and the Supreme Court ordered a manual recount in Florida. In fact, this year’s election differs from the Bush v. Gore case in several crucial ways.

Firstly, the outcome of the 2000 election came down to just one particularly close state: Florida. This year, the election was dependent on a number of different battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. That’s 11 states that played essential roles in determining this year’s election, and that together add up to 189 electoral votes, about 35 percent of the total electoral college.

This is a massive difference between the dynamics of the 2000 and 2020 elections. In 2000, the election hinged on just one vital state. Going into Election Day this year, there were several different states that would play decisive roles in determining the outcome. 

Secondly, the margin of Bush’s lead over Gore was much scarcer than the margin we see today between Trump and Biden’s vote counts. The recount in Florida was ordered in part because Bush’s lead was a matter of only 1,784 votes — not even one half of a percent of the total ballots cast in Florida that year. 

While Biden’s victory this year was by no means a landslide, he won in several states by a much more substantial margin than there was in 2000. Biden’s lead in contested states deals with thousands of votes, while Bush’s dealt with just hundreds. Since Bush’s lead was so minute in Florida, the recount was legitimately justified. 

This year, though, appeals for recounts are unwarranted for several reasons: Biden has won by an amount clear enough to safely call the election in his favor, and he has done so in multiple states that were decisive in determining the presidency. Moreover, there is no evidence that ballots were counted improperly in favor of one candidate over the other.

Not only are Trump’s demands for recounts and refusals to concede unjustified and illegitimate, but his actions pose a real danger to our democracy.  

The evidence is clear: All votes that have been counted have been counted fairly. To say that this is not the case is a lie. To say that this election was fraudulent, that the presidency was stolen from Trump, is a lie. To agree that Trump should pursue a Supreme Court case and challenge the election results, which are entirely fair and unequivocally accurate, is to challenge the fabric of democracy itself, and to place skepticism in a system that is deserving of our trust. 

Ultimately, Trump has effectively cast immense and unnecessary doubt on the process, leading people to believe that an election against Trump is a fraudulent election, and encouraging them to subscribe to his efforts to do all that he can to delegitimize any process that would put him fairly and squarely out of office.

Democrats and Republicans are so polarized at the moment, and yet in this situation, both parties want the same thing — a trustworthy system, and a trustworthy count. The obstacle in the way of this integrity is not voter fraud, it’s not Sharpie pens, it’s not absentee ballots, it’s not software glitches. The system already is trustworthy. Trump’s subversion of it, though, is not. 

We should have no qualms in trusting the reliability of the democratic process, but Trump has made it so. He is disrupting the ideals on which our nation was built — supreme power to the people — and trying to allocate power only to himself. 

Trump is needlessly undermining America’s confidence in our democracy, and the effects of his spreading of misinformation pose an alarming threat. We must reject Trump’s flood of false claims in order to preserve democracy, and ultimately, liberty and justice for all.