SUNDOWN, Texas – Brett Fryar is a middle-class Republic. A 50-year-old medical doctor in this city in western Texas, owns a small business. He holds two undergraduate and master’s degrees in organic chemistry. He attends Southcrest Baptist Church in nearby Lubbock.
Fryar did not like Donald Trump very much at first, during the U.S. presidential campaign. In 2016. He voted for Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the Republican election.
Now, Fryar says he will go to war with Trump. He joined the newly formed South Plains Patriots, a group of a few hundred members including a group of about 30 “responding” troops – including Fryar and his son, Caleb – who trained firearms.
Nothing will convince Fryar and many others here in Sundown – including the city mayor, another Patriot member – that Democrat Joe Biden unfairly won the November 3 presidential election. They believe in Trump’s spread of allegations of electoral fraud and say they are preparing for a possible “civil war” with the American political left.
“If President Trump comes out and says: ‘Guys, I have incontrovertible evidence of fraud, the courts will not listen, now I am calling on Americans to take up arms,’ ‘we will go,” said Fryar, wearing a button-down shirt, pressed trousers and a parody tie during a recent interview in his office.
Trump’s unwavering reliance on the city of about 1,400 residents reflects what is happening across the country for many Republicans, although there is no evidence available in most of the post-election court cases by the president and his allies. About half of the Republicans surveyed by Ipsos say that Trump “won the right” election but stole it from him in a fraudulent bid for Biden, according to a survey conducted between November 13 and 17. Only 29% of Republicans say Biden won. Some polls in the election have reported that a very high percentage – up to 80% – of Republicans rely on Trump’s baseless allegations of fraud.
Trump’s legal attacks have so far erupted, with judges quickly dismissing numerous cases and his lawyers falling or withdrawing from others. None of these cases containing allegations – a lack of evidence – could have cast enough votes to overturn the election, election experts said.
And then allegations of electoral fraud prove that they have political power. All but a handful of Republican athletes have backed Trump’s allegations of fraud or silence, successfully carrying out a change of power as the president refused to accept. Trump has succeeded in sowing further public mistrust in the media, which often calls for elections, and has undermined the trust of citizens in the government and local electoral authorities in support of American democracy.
In interviews with and 50 Trump voters, they all said they believed the election was rigged or somehow illegal. Of those, 20 said they would consider accepting Biden as their president, but only in light of the evidence that the election was fair. Proposed conspiracy theories raised by Trump, Republican officials and conservative media claiming that millions of votes were diverted to Biden in key countries by elected polling officials and hacked voting machines.
Many voters interviewed by said they formed their views by looking at high-profile media outlets such as Newsmax and One American News Network that have raised Trump allegations of fraud. Some have fired Fox News out of anger that the network called Biden the winner of the election and that some of its news anchors – contrary to their stellar proportions – were questioning Trump’s allegations of fraud.
“I just sent an Fox News email,” Fryar told the network: “I’m the only one who’s watched the last six years, but I won’t be watching you again.”
The widespread rejection of the election results between the Republicans points to a new and dangerous force in American politics: the prevalence of false and growing superstitions among tens of millions of ordinary voters, according to government experts, analysts and other lawmakers on both sides of the political divide. The practice has long haunted American political and social institutions, says Paul Light, a veteran political scientist at New York University (NYU).
“This is a dystopian,” Light said. “America can split.”
Adam Kinzinger, a member of the U.S. Republic House of Representatives, is among a few party members who have openly acknowledged Biden’s victory. He called on his Republican counterparts to reject Trump’s conspiracy, a failure of political courage that threatens to undermine American democracy for years. If citizens lose confidence in the credibility of the election, that could lead to “worse things,” including violence and civil unrest, he said in a statement.
David Gergen – an adviser to four former U.S. presidents, two Democrats and two Republicans – said Trump was trying to “bring down” Biden’s administration before it took power, seeing it as the first time the US president had tried to overturn the election results.
It may not be the last. Many Republicans see an attack on electoral integrity as a matter of victory in future campaigns – including the next presidential race, according to a Republican official close to Trump’s campaign. The party, the man said, is launching a “very serious monitoring of voting procedures by 2024,” in which the party’s nominee may be Trump or his successor, the anointed.
Some Republicans have called for patience and faith in the government. Charlie Black, a veteran Republican strategist, does not believe Republicans will continue to support Trump’s fraud claims after Biden’s inauguration. They will need the White House’s cooperation in basic government functions, such as the allocation of funds and security bills, he said.
“People will see that we still have a working government,” said Black, and Republicans “will resign from Biden, and see that it is not the end of the world.”
The Biden campaign declined to comment on the matter. Boris Epshteyn, a strategic adviser to Trump’s campaign, said: “The president and his campaign are confident that when all official votes are counted, and all illegal votes are cast, it will be determined that President Trump has won a second re-election. ”
Media outlets announced Biden as the winner of the election on November 7. As calls were made to the battlefield, Biden’s leadership at the Electoral College deciding that the presidency would be increased to 306 to 232.
Many Republican voters ridicule those results, believing that Trump has been deceived. Raymond Fontaine, owner of a hardware store in Oakville, Connecticut, said Biden’s vote – the highest number of candidates in a presidential election in history – made no sense because the 78-year-old Democrat made fewer appearances in the campaign and seemed less mentally deranged.
“Will you tell me that the Americans voted for him to be 77 million? There is no way, ”said Fontaine, 50.
Biden’s latest popular vote has grown to 79 million, compared to Trump’s 73 million.
Like many of Trump’s supporters interviewed by Fontaine was highly critical of computerized voting machines. Trump and his allies have accused, without proving, a conspiracy to manipulate votes with software used in many areas of war.
In Grant County, West Virginia – a mountainous region where more than 88% of voters support the president – trust in Trump is deeply entrenched. Janet Hedrick, co-owner of the Smoke Hole Caverns log cabin resort in the small town of Cabins, said she would never accept Biden as the official president.
“There are millions and millions of Trump votes already thrown out,” said Hedrick, 70, a retired schoolteacher and librarian. “That computer was taking them out.”
At Sunset Restaurant in Moorefield, West Virginia – a restaurant with omelettes, hotcakes and waitresses remembering your order – the announcement of the election sparked a heated debate at one table. Gene See, a retired highway construction inspector, and Bob Hyson, a retired commercial manager, said Trump was deceived, that Biden was rational and that Democrats always planned to quickly replace Biden with his more liberal partner as vice president. , Kamala Harris.
“I think that if they get to the end of it, they’ll get a lot of fraud,” said one of the eaters, Larry Kessel, a 67-year-old farmer.
Kessel’s wife, Jane, patted him on the arm, trying to silence him, as he grew increasingly angry as he threatened the bias of the anti-Trump media.
Trump’s outrage at the media recently included allegations against Fox News. He has pushed his supporters to more right-wing restaurants such as Newsmax and the One America News Network, which are in line with the president’s fraud claims.
Rory Wells, 51, a New Jersey lawyer who attended Trump’s “stop theft” protest in Trenton last week, said he was now looking at Newsmax because Fox was not saving enough.
“I would love to hear from Rudy Giuliani and others who can be quickly removed as insane,” he said through a senior Trump candidate.
Newsmax chief executive Chris Ruddy said viewing of the network had exploded since the election, with nearly three million viewers per night via television cables and video streaming devices.
Ruddy said Newsmax did not claim Biden stole the election – but also did not call him the winner because Trump had a formal lawsuit. “The same media that says Biden will win by a landslide now wants to be free of stories,” he said in a telephone interview.
Charles Hering, president of the One America News Network, said in a statement that his network had seen a three-week record rating, as “frustrated Fox News viewers” were stunned.
‘There is no way to hell’
Some Trump supporters say they will accept Biden as a winner if that is the final, official result. Janel Henritz, 36, and others said he believed the election was rigged, but probably not enough to change the outcome. Henritz, who works with his mother Janet Hedrick at their log cabin residence in West Virginia, said he would accept the result if Biden continued to win after the count and court challenges.
“He then won equally and equally,” he said.
In Sundown, Texas, Mayor Jonathan Strickland said “there is no way to hell” Biden won equally. The only way he’ll believe you, he said, is if Trump himself says so.
“Trump is the only one we have been able to trust for the past four years,” said Strickland, an oil production engineer. “As far as the civil war is concerned, I don’t think it’s on the table.”
When it comes to fighting, Caleb Fryar is ready. But Brett Fryar’s 26-year-old son, a medical doctor, said he hoped Trump’s allegations of fraud would spark a large gathering of Republican voters in the upcoming election.
Asked if Trump could deceive his supporters, he said it was difficult to understand.
“If I’m driven by Trump … then he’s the greatest man who ever lived in America,” said Caleb Fryar. “I think he’s the greatest fanatic he’s ever lived.”
(This story prepares to remove the first reference to Brett Fryar who teaches Sunday school and bible studies at Southcrest Baptist Church. He taught those classes in another church.)