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Even after all the lawsuits, the recounts, the audits, and a half-baked coup attempt at the Capitol, nearly a third of Republicans still think Donald Trump is the rightful president and will be reinstated this year, according to a new poll.
Most of the GOP, at this point, doesn’t think he’s coming back, according to a Wednesday survey from Politico-Morning Consult, but 29 per cent of Republicans think Mr Trump will be back in the White House this year, as he’s reportedly been telling allies this year.
Democrats and independents were much more skeptical of this outlandish claim, with 84 per cent and 70 per cent of each group dismissing it.
The poll also captures a larger sense of crisis among the American electorate, with more than 75 per cent of both Republicans and Democrats saying they think US democracy as a whole is under threat, with GOPers even more likely to believe the claim. That’s even though it was their party who consistently backed 2020 election conspiracies, stormed the Capitol, and have now launched bills across the country tightening voting access.
Mr Trump only formally conceded the election after the Capitol riots in January, months after it was clear he lost to Joe Biden, but quickly returned to spreading lies about the 2020 contest.
“The 2020 presidential election, that election, the 2020 presidential election, was by far the most corrupt election in the history of our country,” he said at a recent comeback speech in North Carolina.
He’s also thrown his weight behind quixotic Republican-led efforts to uncover voter fraud—an essentially non-existent problem—in jurisdictions like Arizona and Georgia where he lost close contests.
"It is outrageous that Fulton County continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year’s election," Robb Pitts, county chairman in Fulton County, Georgia, the home of one such effort, told CNN. "The votes have been counted three times, including a hand recount, and no evidence of fraud has been found. The fact remains that Fulton County safely and securely carried out an election in the midst of a public health pandemic. It’s a shame to see that the ‘Big Lie’ lives on and could cost the hardworking taxpayers of this county."
Neither the recounts in Georgia or Arizona would undue the presidential election results, which have already been certified, and are more accurately understood as political posturing on the part of the ex-president, firing up a base still animated by his blatant lies about the election.
He hasn’t said he’s going to run again in 2024 just yet, but has signaled he has major announcements coming soon.
"As you know, it’s very early. But I think people are going to be very, very happy when I make a certain announcement," Mr Trump said last month.
According to the poll, that’s another area where the GOP base has his back: 59 percent of Republicans said they hope to see Mr Trump play a major role in the party going forward.