Daily Bread for 4.30.22: Longwell on Why Trump Supporters Believe the Big Lie

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will see showers and thunderstorms with a high of 59.  Sunrise is 5:48 AM and sunset 7:54 PM for 14h 06m 04s of daytime.  The moon is new with 0.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1864, Joseph Bailey Saves a Union Fleet:

On this date, Joseph Bailey began to direct the men of six regiments, including the 23rd Wisconsin, in a dramatic attempt to save the heart of a Union fleet during the Civil War. Bailey, who was from Wisconsin Dells and an experienced lumberjack, served as an engineer in the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry.

In a doomed campaign against the Confederates on the Red River in Louisiana, Union warships found themselves trapped by low water and the rocky river bed. As Confederate soldiers approached, Bailey employed water control techniques used by loggers to construct a series of dams that successfully narrowed the river, raised the water level by six feet, and provided enough surge to free the trapped fleet of gunboats. For his role in this rescue, Bailey was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. He also received a Tiffany punch bowl from his fellow officers. 

Sarah Longwell writes Trump Supporters Explain Why They Believe the Big Lie:

Some 35 percent of Americans—including 68 percent of Republicans—believe the Big Lie, pushed relentlessly by former President Donald Trump and amplified by conservative media, that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. They think that Trump was the true victor and that he should still be in the White House today.

I regularly host focus groups to better understand how voters are thinking about key political topics. Recently, I decided to find out why Trump 2020 voters hold so strongly to the Big Lie.

For many of Trump’s voters, the belief that the election was stolen is not a fully formed thought. It’s more of an attitude, or a tribal pose. They know something nefarious occurred but can’t easily explain how or why. What’s more, they’re mystified and sometimes angry that other people don’t feel the same.


Long before Election Day, the media had warned about a “red mirage” and alerted Americans to the possibility that Trump would have a large lead on Election Night only to have it dissipate as mail-in ballots were counted. But if you were watching Fox News, you probably didn’t hear any of this. Instead, Trump, MAGA-friendly politicians, and conservative media outlets were priming voters to see a conspiracy.

Trump correctly assumed that the majority of the mail-in ballots that would be counted late at night would go to Biden. So he cast mail-in ballots as fraudulent almost by definition. The woman from Georgia told me that mail-in ballots were “a crock,” without elaborating further.

Attempts to set the record straight tend to backfire. When you tell Trump voters that the election wasn’t stolen, some of them tally that as evidence that it was stolen. A woman from Arizona told me, “I think what convinced me more that the election was fixed was how vehemently they have said it wasn’t.”

America — the most technologically advanced country on Earth — did not attain this position because her people struggle to offer a “fully formed thought” or insist that factual claims are “‘a crock,’ without elaborating further.”

A higher standard has brought America to her present, developed position; the lower standard of the Big Lie — should it persist — will drag America down.

In beautiful Whitewater: a public school district spending millions, and a public university spending many times as much, and yet some of our fellow residents share views that require no learning or reasoning at all.

We are undemanding in our educational expectations: the baseless political claims of the Big Lie merit no deference.

Moon, Planets and Space Stations:

Italian astronomer Gianluca Masi made the following observations from Rome: Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn and the Moon (26 April 2022); Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn and the International Space Station (27 April 2022): Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Saturn, the Moon and the China Space Station (27 April 2022); Venus, Jupiter and the Moon (27 April 2022). Credit: Gianluca Masi/The Virtual Telescope Project Music: “Seaside Piazza by Aaron Kenny” courtesy of YouTube Audio Library

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