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The Big Lie and the Big Distortion: What do voter fraud and police shootings of unarmed Black men have in common?

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A few months ago, I was watching CNN when I heard Fareed Zakaria say that voter fraud in America is less common than getting struck by lightning. He added a video clip of Emory University historian Carol Anderson, who confirmed that fraud in elections is exceedingly rare.

That same evening I read an essay by Brown University economist Glenn Loury, who said police killings of unarmed African-Americans were equally rare. Like Anderson, Loury is Black. For him, he said, worrying about deadly harm from the police made as much sense as fearing that he’d be — yes — struck by lightning.

Who’s right? Actually, they both are. But in our bitterly polarized nation, millions of citizens — across the political spectrum — believe false or exaggerated narratives that blind them to the facts. This isn’t a Republican or Democratic problem; it’s an American one.

Start with the GOP, where over half of voters have embraced the Big Lie of Donald Trump: that he won the 2020 election. According to a survey conducted in May by Reuters/Ipsos, 53% of Republicans still blame Trump’s loss on electoral fraud.

There’s no evidence — none — that the election was stolen in this manner. But if you say it enough, over and over again, millions of people will believe you. And they will also back “electoral integrity” measures to restrict voting, all in the name of cleaning up a mess that doesn’t exist.


© NY Daily News

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