Columnist Jay Bookman opines that unlike the widespread belief by Georgia Republicans that the state’s 2020 election was rife with fraud, there is at least some evidence for the existence of the tooth fairy. Getty Images
According to a poll conducted last month by the University of Georgia, 63% of Georgia Republican voters still claim to believe “there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.”
At this point, almost three years after the election, that’s like an adult believing in the Tooth Fairy, only worse. There’s at least some evidence of the existence of a Tooth Fairy: A child’s tooth disappears overnight, and is magically replaced by money? How do you explain that, other than by magic? In contrast, after multiple federal and state investigations, there remains zero evidence that such vote fraud occurred, not here in Georgia, not in Arizona or Michigan, not anywhere.
It simply did not happen.
At some level, far more Republicans know that than admit it. You can tell they know it by their behavior. Since January of 2022, the GOP has had majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives, with full power to subpoena witnesses and documents, hire investigators and commandeer attention to whatever media circus they care to put on.
Have they used those substantial resources to even attempt to find evidence of this widespread fraud that they are so certain exists? Have aggressive, combative committee chairs such as Jim Jordan and James Comer up in Washington shown even the slightest curiosity about how Democrats managed to pull off such an audacious heist, what would be the biggest crime in American history?
They have not.
Here at the state level, have legislative committees or Republican district attorneys launched investigations into how the supposed fraud was perpetrated, and by whom? If they are so certain it happened, shouldn’t they be demanding that those local, do-nothing Republican prosecutors be replaced with someone willing to do their jobs and ferret out evil?
They are not. They have not dared to look because they know beforehand that they would come up as empty as Marjorie Taylor Greene’s brain. Their only evidence that it happened is their belief that it happened, and it is that pretense that keeps them united and angry.
All human beings have the capacity to make themselves believe many things that aren’t true. Some people still believe that climate change is a hoax, that Elvis lives, that the world is flat and that Tom Cruise played a credible Jack Reacher. Much of the time such delusions are harmless, but sometimes, as with climate change, they are not. Sometimes such delusions have significant consequences.
That is certainly true of Republican insistence that the 2020 elections were stolen from them. It has warped our politics, fed into anger, raised the potential for violence and made the GOP look like an insane asylum to the overwhelming majority of Americans still willing to recognize truth when they see it. Within the party, the sense of being cheated, however delusional, is so powerful that whatever remains of rational leadership is cowed into silence. Telling the truth is seen as an act of betrayal, while selling the insanity is the pathway to power, riches, Fox News airtime and probably the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
The credibility of the presidency, the sole branch of government elected by all Americans, is now compromised based on lies and self-deception, not just here at home but internationally as well. The legislative branch has been rendered inoperable. The justice system, which ordinarily serves as our arbiter of fact, has determined in dozens of cases that claims of vote fraud have no credence whatsoever, which means that it too must now be depicted as corrupt.
In public life as well as private, the most destructive lies are those that we tell ourselves.
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