Ben Ginsberg is Sarah Longwell’s guest on her “Focus Group” podcast. Having listened to it on my drive to work this morning, I recommend it as a “must listen” for anyone concerned about protecting American democracy from the consequence that, because of Trump’s “Big Lie” claims, that a large percentage of Republican voters (two-thirds or more, depending on the particular poll) believe that the 2020 election was stolen.
Part of what’s valuable about the podcast is the focus groups themselves: we get to hear, in their own words, voters who embrace the “Big Lie” claim or at least doubt the legitimacy of Biden’s victory, including their explanations for their views. Hearing their tone of voice as well as what they say provides a richer portrait than just reading about the results of public opinion surveys.
But even more valuable is the analysis that Ginsberg and Longwell provide. They discuss why rebuilding trust in the electoral process is essential if American democracy is to survive. They recognize the formidable challenge of this task, given the destructive effect that the “Big Lie” has had, as well as fragmented media environment that currently prevails. But they offer encouragement for those of us who maintain that there’s no alternative but to persist in this effort, including by focusing on those measures and practices that are likely to maximize increased trust among the cohort of voters who currently are most disbelieving in the validity of the 2020 result.