Donald Trump's "big lie" about his election loss has already reshaped U.S. politics, and Americans will soon find out whether democracy survived his assault, according to a reporter for CNN Politics.
The twice-impeached one-term president has baselessly convinced about 36 percent of Americans that Joe Biden seized power through election fraud, and slightly more than half -- 51 percent -- believe elected officials will successfully overturn the results of an election their party did not win, reported CNN.
"Before the next presidential election, the impact of the Big Lie is already being felt in the run-up to the congressional and gubernatorial elections next year," reported CNN's Stephen Collinson. "Many of those races will be fought under conditions set by new voting laws passed by conservative legislatures that often discriminate against minority voters and are inspired by Trump's Big Lie. If the California recall election is any guide, Trump acolytes will go into the midterms warning that any Democratic victories, especially where mail-in voting is heavily used, will be fraudulent even though Republicans are predicted to do well."
About 78 percent of Republicans believe Biden did not win the election fair and square, although only 54 percent believe there is solid evidence to justify that view, and Trump has ensured that GOP candidates promote his lies by endorsing candidates who do.
"Alongside the ideological gulfs between Republicans and Democrats, there is a new divide -- between political hopefuls who support democracy and those prepared to deny it," Collinson reported. "It is a new dimension in American politics that has shocked many people who have been involved in it for years, and it is drawing grim historical analogies."
Those endorsements -- and the voting restriction laws passed by Republican legislatures based on baseless fraud claims --- ensure that Trump's lie will be one of the major issues in the midterm elections, and the results may determine whether U.S. democracy survives.
"I think about ... those democracies that were lost in the middle part, the early part of the 20th century where democracy was not adequately defended and authoritarian regimes rose," former attorney general Eric Holder told CNN this week, "and it wasn't because democracy was unpopular. You know, democracy was strong. But the reality is the defense of democracy was weak, and we cannot allow that to happen in this country."