After losing the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump spewed an onslaught of disinformation as to why victory was "stolen" from him through Democrats engaging in widespread election fraud. Like his pre-election efforts to sow doubt in American election security and voting by mail, Trump rattled off delusion after delusion without providing any proof of his deranged election fantasies.
But a significant portion of his base believed the conspiracy theories, and eventually a mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the United States Capitol in a deadly failed insurrection, hoping to overthrow the peaceful transfer of power.
Sadly, Trump continues to peddle the delusion that he, a historically unpopular President, is the legitimate winner of the 2020 election. As a result, every election henceforth that doesn't go the way of the Republican candidate can be smeared as another instance of voter fraud to supporters still buying the absurdity.
Take a recent exchange on the conservative Fox News network, where pundits were discussing the California recall election, for which voting is already underway.
Democratic governor Gavin Newsom is hoping enough Californians vote against the recall in order to keep his position, while a crowded pool of mostly Republican candidates, such as conservative radio host Larry Elder, are hoping to take his place.
Polls indicate that Newsom is narrowly favored to survive the recall, but that hasn't stopped far-right provocateur Tomi Lahren from once again exploiting delusions of voter fraud to appease the base that made her relevant.
"The only thing that will save Gavin Newsom is voter fraud. So, as they say, stay woke. Pay attention to the voter fraud going on in California, because it's gonna have big consequences not only for that state, but for upcoming elections."
It's unclear what "voter fraud" Lahren was referring to. One city council election in California was upended after a candidate won by one vote, but three improper ballots were discovered.
The chances of enough voter fraud in a statewide election to sway the election are nonexistent. Nevertheless, California officials and activists alike are working to dispel the myth of voter fraud.
Meanwhile, Lahren's rehearsed paranoia was met with widespread criticism.
Trump's cries of voter fraud—and the right's embrace of them—have set a dangerous precedent.
The cutoff date to vote in the California recall election is September 14.