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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 28, 2021

Angry about Fraud: How Congress Took up Trump’s Claims of Fraud

Heath Brown and Lindsey Cormack
From the journal The Forum

Abstract

Talk of fraud dominated President Donald J. Trump’s campaign and time in office. In this article, we explore whether members of Congress followed Trump’s lead in discussing all types of fraud, including electoral fraud as well as fraud, waste, and abuse. Using a unique dataset of the universe of congressional electronic newsletters from 2010 to 2021, we show that Republicans wrote to constituents about fraud much more than Democrats, especially about electoral fraud after Trump’s election, but it was Democrats who used angrier rhetoric to discuss fraud, a check on the President and many of the false claims about voter fraud in 2016 and 2020. These findings show an important aspect of the inter-party and inter-branch dynamics at play during Trump’s presidency; once keen to focus on fraud, waste and abuse in government congressional Republican attention shifted once the head of the executive branch was a co-partisan to parroting the claims of electoral and voter fraud made by the President.


Corresponding author: Heath Brown, Associate Professor, City University of New York, Grad Center and John Jay College, New York, NY, USA, E-mail:

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Published Online: 2021-07-28

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