“How Trump drove the lie that the election was stolen, undermining voter trust in the outcome”

WaPo:

Trump is continuing to press his case, even now that the electoral college has formally elected Biden. In a meeting with allies on Friday, the president discussed deploying the military to rerun the election and appointing attorney Sidney Powell, whose conspiracy theories about election fraud have been widely discredited, as a special counsel to investigate the outcome.

Along the way, Trump has willfully damaged two bedrocks of American democracy that he has been going after for years: confidence in the media as a source of trusted information and faith in systems of government. It might be one of his lasting legacies.

A Fox News poll releasedon Dec. 11shows that more than a third of registered voters believe the election was stolen from Trump — a number that rises to 77 percent among those who voted for Trump. Conversely, 56 percent of voters believe Trump weakened American democracy by contesting election results in various states, with the number rising to 85 percent among those who voted for Biden, according to the poll.

Trump’s campaign spokesman, Tim Murtaugh, declined to answer specific questions about the damage the president has done or the untruths he embraced…

Nathaniel Persily, a professor at Stanford Law School and co-director of the Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project, said that kind of rhetoric has emboldened some in the country to doubt the results merely because their preferred candidate lost.

“We’re entering a very dangerous phase where a sizable share of the population has no faith in the basic mechanics of the democracy,” Persily said. Millions of voters, he added, now see the fight over who should lead the country as a function of “the willingness to exert power as opposed to playing by fair rules of the game.”

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