How Trump Changed America
We now live in a country where facts have become partisan, our identities are tied to our parties and many have lost faith in our democracy. Trump's presidency rocked the nation; the country is the most polarized it’s been in recent history.
Trump has caused a new distrust of our democracy and more specifically in our electoral system, he has repeatedly spread false information about mail in voting, voter fraud and more without proof. According to a POLITICO poll, 70% of Republicans don’t think the election was free and fair. Many argue that it is normal for the opposite party not to accept the results of an election, but we have not seen as drastic actions done to question the legitimacy of past elections. There is so much distrust in the election results that in Arizona, a company called Cyber Ninjas is conducting an audit. They are testing ballots for substances that would supposedly prove conspiracy theories about them, including by putting them under UV light. One conspiracy theory is that bamboo is in the paper ballots, supposedly linking them to China.
Joe Biden was the first democrat to win Arizona in nearly 25 years. Although allegations of election fraud were rejected by Arizona state and federal judges last year, Republican Senate President Karen Fann initiated the audit. She said, “‘[the audit’s] goal is not to try to undo President Biden’s narrow victory in Arizona but instead identify areas where state elections could be improved”. Others disagree, including Maricopa County (Phoenix) Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Sellers, a Republican who opposes the audit. He states it “insults the voters’ intelligence and fuels the imaginations of those who wish to tear our democracy apart”.
The audit was finally finished Friday, Sept 24. The results came in with 99 more votes for Biden and 261 fewer votes for Trump. The Cyber Ninjas did a presentation to the Senate explaining their results. According to the New York Times, “The review officials did not focus on the numbers showing Mr. Biden’s victory but instead presented a blizzard of hypotheticals, none verified, most hinting darkly at a tainted election. They came prepared with slides, ballot scans and discussions of arcane election rules”. In response to the results hundreds of Trump supporters congregated at Arizona’s capital on the 24th.
The Cyber Ninjas presented other baseless claims such as possible duplicate ballots being counted, 23,344 ballots sent to the wrong address, 10,342 voters possibly voting in multiple counties, thousands of voters having moved out of state and 282 voters having been dead. After the presentation, Karen Fann ordered their Attorney General (a Republican) to investigate these conspiracy theories and none of them had factual evidence to back the theories up.
Republican Benny White, an expert on election administration, said “There is a series of complaints about voter registration and election administration, most all of which could have been easily resolved with an actual conversation with an election official. But we’re six or seven million dollars down the road from that.”
The Cyber Ninjas were not certified by the state or federal government and the auditing process had been drawn out much longer than expected. Many claimed they would prove some of the conspiracy theories Trump has flooded the media with and that his supporters have been sharing on social media. Trump claimed California was sending ballots to “anyone living in the state no matter who they are or how they got there” and even tweeted “I WON THE ELECTION!” after he lost to Joe Biden. Trump’s most common two word phrases in his tweets were “fake news”.
Not only has Trump's presidency changed how America views its democracy but also how the world views us. A PEW Research Center study highlighted how much people from other countries trust various world leaders. Trump is rated the worst with the highest number of people having “no confidence” in him, at 83 percent of those surveyed.
Trump was a president America had never seen before, he had no political experience, he has an extreme disdain for the media and has changed how we view the presidency. Trump’s qualifications before he got elected did not fill what we thought a president was, he also did things very differently after he got elected. Trump views up to seven hours of cable news in the morning before arriving at the Oval Office as late as noon, when he finally gets to his intelligence briefing, says The New York Times. Trump also claimed he didn’t need daily intelligence briefings because he is a “smart person”. The job of president seems less serious now with the new distrust in our elections and frivolousness of his conduct in office.