Opinion | Trump aides told him the truth. Now they are finally telling us.

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The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on Capitol Hill heard Monday from a cavalcade of former officials who worked for President Donald Trump at the time of the 2020 election. They all wanted Trump to win. However, all testified that they were confident the election was not stolen and that they told Trump so. Anyone at Trumpworld with an ounce of intellectual honesty apparently concluded that the claims made by Trump and other 2020 crackpots were patently untrue — “bullshit,” as former Attorney General William P. Barr put it. The lesson is that, in the age of social media and hyper-partisanship, it is disturbingly easy to fabricate national crises out of thin air. Americans must change the way they vote accordingly.

Long before the 2020 election, Trump campaign staffers knew that the first results would skew Republicans and then Democrats. They said they advised Trump not to declare a premature victory. Trump ignored them. He alleged gross fraud “from the get-go on election night,” Mr. Barr testified, “before there was even a chance to examine the evidence.”

As Trump denounced fraud, his staff weighed the facts. Former campaign manager Bill Stepien testified that he ran “Team Normal,” which concluded the allegations were false. Trump increasingly pushed these people aside in favor of crackpots who told him what he wanted to hear, like his attorney Rudy Giuliani. It is good that Mr. Stepien and others are now telling their stories. But why didn’t the “Normal Team” say more publicly in late 2020, when Trump’s attempt to subvert the election was underway?

Barr, who did speak at the time, said the false accusations came in so profusely that he had to play the “hit a mole” election conspiracy. Richard Donoghue, who served as acting deputy attorney general after Barr resigned in December 2020, said Trump, after being told one allegation was false, would simply obsess over another. Mr. Barr testified that Mr. Trump had become “detached from reality” and that “there was never any indication of interest in what the real facts were.” If there is a second Trump administration, it’s a good bet that only crackpots will be allowed in.

For too long, Americans have had the luxury of voting for leaders based on everyday issues, such as economic performance or fiscal, educational, or environmental policy, because nominees from all major parties have shared commitments to basic facts and to the system. American politician. We no longer have that luxury. Voters must now prioritize honesty on core issues and a commitment to democracy above all else. If we don’t repudiate politicians who lie or amplify lies about American democracy, more will. If more do so, the confusion and division will become more severe, and the likelihood of an undemocratic takeover will increase, perhaps as early as 2024.

In 2022, some candidates openly run with the most obvious fiction about 2020. But these are not the only villains. There are some who don’t speak out so explicitly, but cast doubt by objecting to the 2020 electoral college vote or raising concerns about the integrity of the election when they passed new voting restrictions. There are those who remain silent amidst this dishonesty and cynicism, hoping for a political breakthrough. And there are some, like the vice chair of the Jan. 6 caucus, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who have behaved patriotically. Whether we get another 2020, or worse, in 2024 largely depends on what voters do this November, not just with the conspiracy fanatics but with all those who have played the game with no guts.


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