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Robert Reich: A Personal Question To Powerful People Who Continue To Deny Results Of 2020 Election – OpEd

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I have a serious question for people who have power in America and who continue to deny the outcome of the 2020 election and enable Trump’s Big Lie: What are you saying to yourself in private? How are you justifying yourself in your own mind?

I don’t mean to be snide or snarky. I’m genuinely curious. 

I’m not interested in Trump’s answer to this question. He is too far gone — lost in the depths of his own pathological ego. I’m also not asking the millions of Trump followers, Fox News viewers, and rightwing social media fans who have been fed the Big Lie nonstop for almost two years. Two-thirds of registered Republicans now believe it. 

No, I am asking my question to people with power in our society, people who presumably know the truth. 

If you hold public office and still deny the outcome of the 2020 election, how are you explaining this to yourself? 

Are you telling yourself that despite the overwhelming evidence that Biden won and the lack of evidence of fraud, you still genuinely doubt the outcome?But you must know that sixty federal courts have found no basis in Trump’s claim, nor have any state so-called “audits,” and that even Trump’s own Attorney General found the claim baseless. 

Or are you telling yourself that it will soon be over — that Trump will fade, that the Big Lie will disappear, that your party and America will soon move on? 

But you must know you’re wrong. The Big Lie is growing. It has metastasized into a cancer that’s dividing the nation and devouring our democracy. 

Or are you telling yourself that you have no real choice but to support the lie if you want to keep or obtain political power?

Even if true, is power so intoxicating to you — so important as an end in itself — that you’ll do anything for it? 

Where will you draw the line? If Trump is reelected and imposes martial law? If he or another Republican president forbids public criticism of his administration? If he calls for violence against those who oppose him?

And what do you tell yourself about the measures your party is taking based on the Big Lie: suppression of votes, takeovers of election machinery, assertions that state legislatures can overturn voter preferences in the certification process, rejection of the January 6 committee’s findings?

You have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution. How do you defend yourself in your own mind? 

I’m asking you, Kevin McCarthy. And you, Lindsey Graham. And you, Marco Rubio, and Rick Scott and Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson. And others.

And I’m asking those of you with significant power in the GOP who have remained silent in the face of all this – such as you, Mitch McConnell, and you, Mitt Romney: How do you justify your silence?

And I ask those of you now running for office who are denying the 2020 election results and pushing other aspects of Republican authoritarianism – such as you, JD Vance, and Blake Masters, Mehmet Oz, Herschel Walker, Doug Mastriano, and Kari Lake: What are you telling yourself in private? How are you excusing yourself? Why are you even running? 

And I ask the billionaires and CEOs who are bankrolling these people: How do you rationalize spending millions, even tens of millions, helping them get or remain elected? 

I’m asking you, Peter Thiel, and you, Stephen Schwarzman, and Ken Griffin and Steve Wynn and Mike Lindell and Patrick Byrne and others: Is this really the way you want to spend your fortune? Is this your legacy to the nation?

And I ask all the people making money off this rot – the TV hosts and producers and media moguls who are raking it in while poisoning the minds of America with bald face lies – what are you telling yourself in private? 

I’m asking you, Rupert Murdoch, and you, Tucker Carlson, and you, Sean Hannity, and you, Laura Ingraham: How are you defending yourself to yourself? 

I don’t expect you to answer me. This is a question for you to answer to yourself, alone and in private. 

But before you do, may I have a confidential word with you? 

Whether you’re a politician supporting the Big Lie, a billionaire backer of it, or a broadcaster who’s pushing it, it is not too late for you to get off the road you are on. Joe Biden has given you an off-ramp. He has stated the choice as clearly as it can be stated: democracy or autocracy. 

Yet if you continue to promote or enable this lie, you are undermining our democracy and the norms of our society. The crisis you have helped create is worsening. You bear part of the responsibility for what comes next. 

Know this: When the history of this trying time is written, future generations of Americans will judge your actions and your silences harshly.

They will recall your cowardice and your self-justifications. They will remember your lust for power and your moral blindness. They will recollect your unwitting ignorance or your witting failure to come to democracy’s defense in this perilous time. 

Generations to come will sit in judgment about what you have wrought. And if the democratic experiment called America continues to unravel because of what you did or failed to do, you will live in infamy. 

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies, and writes at robertreich.substack.com. Reich served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

5 thoughts on “Robert Reich: A Personal Question To Powerful People Who Continue To Deny Results Of 2020 Election – OpEd

  • September 10, 2022 at 5:39 am
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    You are using the idea of the best defence is an attack. The truth is lost with you. Obviously you need to support the socialist democrats being a government funded lecturer. Biden won by cheating. You use the term “big lie” in the hope that if used often enough people will think democrats won fairly. True democracy needs to be defended and that means the truth needs to be held up even if you don’t like it. You live in the great democracy of our times. Treasure it and help it to be a true correct vote count.

    Reply
    • September 11, 2022 at 6:32 am
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      Rob, what in your mind is the “truth” that is lost to Robert Reich? What cheating did Biden do to win? What is your factual basis for (evidently) believing that Democrats did not win fairly? Are you referring to all Democrats — or just Biden — or just Senators — or just Congress members? What is your documentation for saying that? What, in your mind, is “true” democracy? How do you definte a “fair” election? Do you measure elections by anything other than whether the outcome suits your personal ideas, as an individual, without regard to what anybody else thinks who doesn’t agree with you? What makes you so special? What makes you right and so many other people wrong? I’m trying to understand your thinking and honestly would like to know.

      Reply
      • October 10, 2022 at 2:43 am
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        We’ll start with the thousands of mail in ballots that have affidavits swearing that they were never folded. Somehow, judges have been afraid to open the ballot boxes and allow those ballots to be inspected by live people. It’s a simple thing for reasonable people to see and judge. Why can’t we see them and make that judgement?

        Since we don’t have access to those original ballots, at least not in GA we looked at the images. There are long papers written by people that have genuine expertise that tell a story you won’t want to hear. There’s even more from AZ. PA has video pf election officials tearing up evidence. That is in court and may be about to blow. Were you aware of the Dominion Errors found in TN that then were also found in most GA counties? I thought not.

        When will I think an election is fair? When I can see into every dark corner and I find no shadows. Until then, I’m looking for the biggest light I can find.

        Reply
  • October 10, 2022 at 2:36 am
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    This is the most disingenuous nonsense I’ve read. There’s no attempt here to really examine the issue. This “opinion piece” is designed strictly to tickle those you would listen to this guy. Using the term the “big lie” as often as the statists do, smacks of protesting too much.

    They have already lost the argument. The narrative on COVID has fallen apart and before it’s over they will be facing repercussions. The narrative on the border has been trashed so badly, they are losing the Hispanic vote. Their intention with energy and spending policies are becoming obvious in their attempt to destroy the country. The Russia, Russia, Russia lie has been exposed as the nonsense sensible people knew it was from the beginning.

    The big lie that Biden won the election is coming apart too. There are significant cracks there. Go talk to Garland Favrito about how there’s no evidence of fraud in GA. I’ll give you the names of a half dozen people in the know about AZ. PA has things about read to break, TN has news of machine issues that spill into GA at least. Should we talk about illegal drop boxes in MN? Does anyone want to get on a stage and debate the people that actually did the investigation that resulted in the 2000 Mules Movie? I’m betting you won’t. Can we talk about Konnech and Poll Chief for a bit.

    Keep talking Reich. I’ve given up my retirement to make certain you’ll have an opportunity o eat those words. I had other plans, but there has not been a day I’ve spent on this that I didn’t think I was on the right track. Me an my keyboard are coming Reich, and there’s thousands more just like me. Better go find a rock to hide under.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2022 at 3:43 am
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    Yes, I agree he”doth protest too much”. There is plenty of evidence that the election was fraudulent but he and his supporters have participated in the biggest undercover campaign the country has ever known – calling everything that justifies doubts misinformation and censoring it all in the main stream media. Just like Cuba, there is a source of truth available, but those in charge from the misbegotten power will persist

    Reply

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