Would Republicans believe election conspiracy theories without Trump?

How have we gotten to this point — with the just-defeated president claiming without any verifiable evidence that the election has been stolen from him in an unprecedented act of voter fraud and a solid majority of his party’s voters inclined to believe the conspiracy?

Most pundits have placed the blame squarely on Donald Trump himself, the man who made a point of spreading distrust in the electoral system months before the counting began and who clearly stated in the weeks leading up to the vote that he would not accept any outcome other than his own victory.

Yet in a lengthy, insightful column published over the weekend, The New York Times’ Ross Douthat suggested an alternative explanation.



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