Mike Johnson and the Power of the Big Lie
The Washington Roundtable: It’s been a major week for the unfounded idea that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. First, House Republicans elevated Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, who was formerly almost unknown on the national level, to be Speaker of the House. Johnson is a creationist and a climate-change denier, and he was a key figure in the effort to keep Trump in power—which certainly helped in his bid for leadership this week. On the other hand, as some of the former President’s most loyal associates have faced the threat of jail time in Georgia, they have renounced their false election theories. “You have to lie about the election to rise in power if you’re a Republican in the House,” the staff writer Jane Mayer says, “but when you face potential sentencing in a court yourself, the truth finally comes out.” Mayer joins the New Yorker staff writers Susan B. Glasser and Evan Osnos to look at the current dynamics of election denialism in Republican politics.