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A marathon Senate session begins to pass COVID relief; Sanders plans a $15 minimum wage amendment; and work continues to approve Biden's cabinet choices.

Despite Bitter Election Fallout, Longer View Suggests Time Heals

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A new Politico poll confirms that voters' views of whether the 2020 election was fair depends largely on which presidential candidate they voted for. (Larry/Adobe Stock)
A new Politico poll confirms that voters' views of whether the 2020 election was fair depends largely on which presidential candidate they voted for. (Larry/Adobe Stock)
November 13, 2020

EUGENE, Ore. - There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the U.S. election, despite President Donald Trump's claims. But fraud allegations from Trump and some members of the Republican Party are affecting the nation's perception of the voting process.

A Politico poll found 70% of Republicans don't believe the 2020 election was free and fair. However, Alison Gash, associate professor of political science at the University of Oregon, said this isn't necessarily cause for alarm.

"We've always had roughly half the country not supportive of a president who wins, either the incumbent president or a new president," said Gash. "And the country's been able to move forward and deal with it, even if the base of that particular opposition party is not happy with it."

Gash said she believes the media plays a key role in changing the perception of this election. She added she thinks news organizations should shift the story more toward President-elect Joe Biden, rather than continuing to focus on allegations of voter fraud.

Gash noted many elections have been heavily disputed and bitter, noting the U.S. Supreme Court was involved in the 2000 presidential race. And she said back then, most Americans didn't see it as the death knell to democracy.

Gash predicted it will take time for some Trump supporters - including four in ten Oregonians - to accept Biden.

"I do think that there's going to be an approach that has been used by presidents from time immemorial to just move on with the business of the country," said Gash. "And to hope that, even though the outcome wasn't the outcome that they wanted, nevertheless we need to sort of serve the public interest and move forward."

While President Trump has broken norms like refusing to concede, Gash said the focus on the post-election tumult is taking away from critical coverage of other, pressing issues - like the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country.

Support for this reporting was provided by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR