Here in the United States we're facing a scary prospect in upcoming elections, especially the next presidential election in November 2024.
A recent Forbes story captures the problem in its headline: "Poll Finds Most Americans Think An Election Will Be Overturned Because Of Partisan Sour Grapes."
In a CNN/SRSS poll of 2,119 U.S. adults released Wednesday, 51% of respondents said it is somewhat or very likely that some elected officials will “successfully overturn the results of an election” in the U.S. in the future “because their party did not win.”
That belief was held by 49% of Democratic respondents and 57% of Republicans, as Democrats have fretted about new laws in GOP-controlled states that increase partisan officials’ power over election administrators and restrict ballot access.
Republican skepticism appears to be drawn from former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen: 78% of Republicans agreed that President Joe Biden “did not legitimately win enough votes to win,” while 63% overall said he did.
Recent moves by Trump and his allies are likely to only worsen Republican voters’ faith in elections. Trump and California recall candidate Larry Elder, a right-wing radio host, repeatedly and baselessly claimed in the run-up to the vote that it would be stolen through widespread fraud. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, handily beat back the recall effort on Tuesday.
Religious believers like to claim that there's nothing wrong with blind faith. Actually, there is.
Even though Donald Trump lost a free and fair 2020 election to President Biden, Trump has never stopped making the utterly false claim that the election was stolen from him.
This Big Lie has infected the minds of the vast majority of Republicans -- 78% according to the poll referenced above. That's a highly disturbing number. Over three-fourths of those who belong to one of the two main political parties in the United States have lost touch with electoral reality.
Why? It isn't that the truth of the 2020 election is difficult to find. It's plain to see by anyone with vision that isn't clouded by blind faith in the utterances of Trump, who still commands the loyalty of most members of the Republican Party.
There are clear parallels between the Cult of Trump and a religious cult.
Both cults are led by an authoritarian leader who lives by the sentiment, "My way or the highway." Meaning, you either agree with me, or you should leave the cult, because obedience to the leader is non-negotiable.
Both cults tell their followers to distrust facts disseminated by mainstream sources: scientists, journalists, academics, government agencies. Anyone who fact-checks the falsehoods spewed by the cult leader is branded as "fake news."
Both cults promise wonderful things to those who commit to blind faith in the cult teachings. Trump's devotees are told that he'll become president again, maybe even before the 2024 election, once the truth of his 2020 victory is revealed. This is akin to a Second Coming where the faithful will be rewarded and unbelievers cast into hell.
Both cults punish heretics. Republican politicians who disagree with Trump are banished from leadership positions in their party and face a primary challenge from someone more faithful. Religious cults shame and threaten those who leave the cult.
Now, I'm not saying that all fundamentalist religious people act in cultish ways. Nor am I saying that all Trump supporters worship him as their Dear Leader.
However, it seems unarguable that when unquestioning blind faith replaces reason and independent thinking, bad things happen in both politics and religion.