Trump, eyeing 2024, is doubling down on voice conspiracy theories

Trump, eyeing 2024, is doubling down on voice conspiracy theories


After his followers stormed the US Capitol, he launched Twitter and Facebook, eventually launching his own platform Truth Social, which in April 2022, after a rocky start, declared, “I’m back! #COVFEFE.”

To admit his loss to Joe Biden, Trump is now signaling that he will visit the White House again in 2024.

And with Tuesday’s midterm elections, he’s doubling down on the electoral conspiracy theories he’s used since the 2016 election he won and reinforced since his defeat four years later.

In the past 58 days, Trump has shared about 100 posts on Truth Social that cast doubt on the integrity of the US election, according to an AFP analysis of the former president’s more than 1,200 interactions over the period.

“Here we go again!” Writing Nov. 1, Trump shared a misleading headline about ballots in Pennsylvania, a swing state he lost to Biden but which could decide next week whether Republicans win back the Senate.

“Fixed Election!” added Trump.

The tactic mirrors his 2020 playbook, as he repeatedly tweeted ahead of the election that mail-in ballots were riddled with fraud. Dozens of court cases have since decided otherwise.

But such misinformation could erode confidence when Americans vote in the Capitol in the first national polls since the Jan. 6, 2021 riot, experts say.

“When leaders tell their supporters that elections are unreliable, their supporters believe them,” Russell Muirhead, a professor of politics and democracy at Dartmouth College, told AFP.

“Trump’s insistence that elections are flawed (when they aren’t) does one thing: It corrodes American democracy.”

Trump posts frequently on Truth Social, sometimes dozens of times a day.

For the past two months, he has attacked Biden and the Democrats, criticized ongoing investigations against him, and glorified his own rallies and accomplishments.

Trump has also praised Republicans who support his claims of stolen elections, such as Kari Lake, who has signaled she could reject the results if she loses her bid for Arizona governor.

And he has grappled with extremist content bolder than ever, including dozens of posts by proponents of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Though Trump’s reach on Truth Social is relatively small — 4.46 million compared to the 88.8 million he had on Twitter — experts say the misinformation he’s spreading is reverberating around the internet.

“After Trump put the poison in the water, the whole lake went tainted,” said Muirhead, who was elected a Democrat to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2020 after publishing a book on conspiracy called A Lot Of People Are Saying. had written. – a game with a Trump catchphrase.

Trump’s office and main political action committee, Save America, did not respond to requests for comment.

– Trump’s influence –

The former president has promoted hundreds of pro-Trump articles, polls and memes — including some related to QAnon, coming from accounts with names like “Patriotic American Alpha Sauce.” One post he shared titled Biden “#PedoHitler.”

“Trump still has an outsized influence in the Republican Party and the broader right-wing media ecosystem, and every claim he makes is bolstered,” said Rebekah Tromble, director of George Washington University’s Institute for Data, Democracy and Politics.

In October, Trump sponsored several posts by Melody Jennings, founder of a group that organized ballot box staking in Arizona to uncover suspected fraud.

The posts included Jennings’ claim of “mules” at a box office near Phoenix – a reference to a discredited film’s conspiracy theory about people-smuggling illegal votes – and a picture of a voter.

The voter in question deposited ballots for himself and his wife, who was in the car, according to testimony he gave in a lawsuit against Jennings’ group Clean Elections USA. He also filed a state voter intimidation complaint.

The incident is reminiscent of Trump’s false claims in 2020 that Georgia poll workers were caught counting “suitcases” of fraudulent ballots in the middle of the night. The video retweeted by Trump showed normal processing of legal votes, state officials concluded.

Poll worker Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss received death threats. At the FBI’s urging, Freeman left home for two months.

Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, has hinted that he plans to lift Trump’s ban — though not before the midterms.

If Trump announces another presidential bid, both Twitter and Facebook could feel the pressure to hand the megaphone back to the once-prolific ex-president.

“This is not a game,” said Ben Berwick, an attorney with Protect Democracy, a nonprofit group that supported the lawsuit against Clean Elections USA. “Debunked conspiracy theories like that about so-called election couriers are doing real harm to innocent Americans.”

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