Disinformation is an issue everywhere but as a Republican stronghold (voter registration almost 2:1) Coronado should address our own problems first. Various polls of Republican and Republican-leaning voters indicate that:
• Two thirds (65%) continue to believe that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and “was stolen” (Reuters, YouGov, MorningConsult) and that “solid evidence exists of widespread fraud”. (Pew)
• Almost half (48%) said that “left wing protesters trying to make Trump look bad” were largely at fault for the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. (YouGov)
• Half (51%) say GOP leaders didn’t go far enough in supporting efforts to overturn the 2020 election (Pew) and almost 6 in 10 say that now, along with low taxes and limited government, “believing Donald Trump won the 2020 election” is an important part of being a Republican. (CNN)
• A full third of those who believe the 2020 election was stolen also agree that “the use of force is justified to restore Donald Trump to the presidency”. (NORC/Univ of Chicago)
Yes, polls will be polls, but such astounding findings across multiple sources demand our attention. Coronado has a highly educated population with many residents who have sworn oaths to support and defend the Constitution. So we can hope that our community does not reflect these opinions at such scale. Nonetheless, we need to face the likelihood that a significant number of our fellow citizens hold dangerously false beliefs and anti-democratic values.
Conspiracy theories can be amusing (Microchips in vaccines, anyone? Cannibalistic cabals of pedophiles?) but election falsehoods and support for armed insurrection are daggers to the heart of the republic. Let’s actively encourage our neighbors and friends to seek out credible sources for their news and turn off the evening cable shows that promulgate and wink at disinformation. Most importantly, before we commit our votes and donations, we should insist that every one of our local elected officials---particularly those vying for national office—speak out forcefully and without equivocation, condemning the Big Lie and the seditious elements that travel with it.