According to an analysis by MSNBC's Zeeshan Aleem, the enduring legacy of Donald Trump's four years as president will have nothing to do with what he did while in office, but what came after he lost to Joe Biden.
As the Biden administration picks up the pieces following the chaotic Trump years, Aleem claims the "audit" of the 2020 presidential ballots in Maricopa County -- and Trump's lies about what it supposedly found -- will resonate for years as a tool for Republicans to make voters suspicious -- and therefore hesitant -- about voting.
Pointing to the ex-president's speech in Arizona on Saturday and describing it as a "nearly two-hour speech [that] alternated between fantastical self-aggrandizement and falsehood-packed rants about his perceived political adversaries," Aleem said the big takeaway was his comments about the audit.
"...as Trump spoke before a roaring audience of loyalists and a wide set of Arizona Republican politicians keen to ride on the coattails of his popularity, Trump's agenda to triple down on his election fraud lies looked like more than just an attempt to burnish his legacy," the columnist explained. "It showed his commitment and capacity to turbocharge the GOP's agenda to unravel voting rights and underscored how his ability to do lasting damage to the republic is far from over," the analyst wrote before adding, "Of course, none of this hysteria about rigged election results is based in reality."
Nonetheless, because Trump lies so easily and because his rabid base takes his claims as gospel, Republicans at the state level will use his claims to do all they can to make it harder to vote.
Writing, "Trump, of course, has never particularly prioritized facts and had no qualms spreading misleading data and disinformation about Arizona's tally of votes," Aleem predicted, "...the mythology of a stolen election is accelerating a long-term GOP strategic mission to make voting increasingly difficult, based on the belief that Democrats thrive when the voting booth is more accessible."
"Trump may never run for president again," the columnist added before warning, "But it's clear that he's relishing his role as Republican kingmaker, and his insistence that the narrative of a stolen election is a top criterion for his approval could end up being of even greater consequence than much of his presidency."
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