The authors found that Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen from him had lasting consequences:
The lie is pervasive and sticky: The number of Republicans and independents who say they believe the election was fraudulent is large, and this proportion has not changed significantly over time or changed after major political developments. Belief in the lie may have boosted some of the self-esteem of Trump supporters.
In reaction to the lie, Arceneaux and Truex write, “there was a significant increase in support for violent political activism among Democrats, which only declined after efforts to nullify the election clearly failed.”
Supporting the lie pays off for Republicans, Arceneaux and Truex argue: “Republican voters reward politicians who perpetuate the lie, giving Republican candidates an incentive to continue doing so in the next election cycle.”
These trends are among the most striking developments that set the stage for the 2024 elections.
Among the additional conditions working to the advantage of Democrats is the rise of the Democratic Party loyalty and ideological consistency; the political mobilization of liberal constituencies by adverse decisions of the Supreme Court; initial edge in the battle for an Electoral College majority; and the increase in non-religious voters along with a decline in church believers.
These and other factors prompted two Democratic strategists, Celinda Lake and Mike Lux, to declare that “All the elements are in place for a big Democratic victory in 2024.” In “Democrats Could Win Trifecta in 2024,” a May 9 memo released to the public, the two even expressed optimism about the biggest obstacle facing Democrats, maintaining control of the Senate in 2024, when as many as eight Democratic-held seats are competitive while Republican seats are solid red states:
While these challenges are real, they can be overcome, and the problems are overstated. Remember that same tough Senate map produced a network of five Democratic pickups in the 2000 election, which Gore narrowly lost to Bush; six Democratic pickups in 2006, allowing Democrats to retake the Senate; and two more in 2012. If we have a good election year overall, we have a very good chance at Democrats holding the Senate.
Republican advantages include high rates of crime (albeit modestly declining in 2023 to present), homelessness and dysfunction in cities controlled by Democrats; parents’ rights movement opposed to teaching so-called critical race theory and gender fluid concepts; and declining public support for gay rights and especially trans rights.
There are, needless to say, a lot of uncertainties.
One key factor will be the importance on Election Day of issues closely tied to race in the minds of many voters, including school integration, affordable housing, the end of affirmative action, crime, urban disorder and government spending on social programs. As a general rule, the higher these issues rank on voters’ priorities, the better Republicans do. In that regard, the success of conservatives in barring the use of race in college admissions eliminated a Republican cause.