The "Stolen Election": Trump's Big Lie


The "Stolen Election": Trump's Big Lie

By Gregory Stanton

Founding President

Genocide Watch


Genocide Watch was founded in 1999 to predict and prevent genocide. We use a model of how genocide develops to warn about processes that make genocide possible. The Ten Stages (or Processes) of Genocide include:

· Classification: "us" versus "them," exclusion from citizenship

· Symbolization: IDs, naming, color, language, yellow stars

· Discrimination: exclusion from voting, jobs, civil rights

· Dehumanization: calling people criminals, terrorists, vermin, cockroaches

· Organization: hate groups, armed militias, mobs

· Polarization: hate radio and TV, social media hate campaigns

· Preparation: planning, violent attacks, coups d'état

· Persecution: ghettos, starvation, untreated epidemics, trial massacres, terrorism

· Extermination: mass murders, genocide

· Denial: Big Lies denying or justifying crimes

The processes are not linear. They often occur simultaneously. Together they lead to genocide.


Donald Trump has promoted all of these processes, but another American genocide has not begun. Restraints in the American Constitution have checked the process at Polarization, Preparation, and Persecution.


Classification: Under Stephen Miller's racist policies, ICE holds asylum seekers in detention camps and separates children from their parents. Ten million immigrants in the US are denied citizenship.

Symbolization: Without documents, these ten million long-term residents cannot register to vote.

Discrimination: One in six Black American men cannot vote. Native Americans are on reservations.

Visitors from many Muslim countries are barred from the US.

Dehumanization: Trump calls immigrants at the southern border "murderers", "rapists", "illegal aliens." [What planet did they come from?] Trump labels his opponents "Antifa", "communists,""far-letists."

Organization: The Proud Boys and white supremacists parade openly, brandishing automatic weapons.

Polarization: FOX news, right-wing radio, and over 130 members of Congress and the Senate amplify Trump's Big Lie that he won the election and that his followers should "Stop the Steal." He denounces reports of his election defeat as "Fake News."

Preparation: White supremacists post hate speech on Facebook, Twitter, Gab, Signal, and Telegram. They planned the takeover of the US Capitol. They are planning more violence for Biden's inauguration.

Persecution: Black and Native Americans are dying from Covid-19 at a mortality rate per capita over twice as high as for whites. White police shoot Black people with police union-backed impunity.

Extermination: The mob that took over the Capitol was led by terrorists, intent on murdering the Speaker of the House and the Vice President. They tried to enable a coup d'état to keep Trump in power.

Denial: Trump's Big Lie is that he won the 2020 election "by a landslide," but it was a "Stolen Election." His followers believe "the steal" justifies their invasion of the Capitol to prevent certification of the election.


The parallels are ominous. The Nazis claimed that Jews "stabbed Germany in the back" and made Germany lose World War I. Victory for Germany was "stolen." The Nazis used this Big Lie to rise to power. Nazis failed to win an outright majority in the elections of 1932, but as leader of the largest party, Hitler became Chancellor. On February 27, 1933, Nazis burned the Reichstag (German parliament.) Hitler dissolved parliament and declared emergency powers.


· The Nazis re-classified Jews, stripping them of German citizenship.

· The Nazis required Jews to carry IDs marked "Jude" and made them wear symbolic yellow stars.

· The Nazis discriminated against Jews, excluding them from government and academic jobs.

· They dehumanized Jews as "vermin," and as vampires who drank the blood of Christian children.

· The Nazi Party seized power and the SS was organized to kill Jews.

· Nazi radio and newspapers spewed polarizing hate propaganda. Opponents were the "lying press."

· On Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) November 9-10, 1938, Nazi stormtroopers and mobs burned 1000 synagogues, looted 7,500 Jewish businesses, and sent 30,000 Jewish men to concentration camps.

· Nazi leaders planned "The Final Solution" and tested methods of extermination.

· The Nazis forced Jews into ghettos where they starved and perished. Nazi slaves built the death camps.

· Nazi troops invaded Eastern Europe, where Einsatzgruppen and Police Units murdered 1.3 million Jews. During the Holocaust the Nazis transported and murdered over six million Jews, Roma, LGBT, and disabled people, and other minorities.

· The Nazis denied their crimes from start to finish. Holocaust deniers still deny the Nazi crimes. Holocaust denial is still dominant among neo-Nazis in Europe and America, in Iran, and in much of the Middle East.


Some of the rioters who seized the Capitol on January 6 wore 6MNE T-shirts.("Six Million is Not Enough.") Another wore a Camp Auschwitz sweatshirt. Many believe the QAnon neo-Nazi cult's conspiracy theory that Jewish, Democrat, and Hollywood pedophiles kidnap children to drink their blood. QAnon revived the Nazi Jewish conspiracy myth in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the Blood Libel that claimed Jews kidnap and murder Christian children, and then mix their blood in matzos at Passover. There are now even QAnon cultists in Congress.


The parallels to Nazism should make your blood run cold. Trump has promoted policies that are chillingly similar to Nazi policies. He is supported by neo-Nazis and Congressmen and Senators too cowardly to oppose him.


Trump himself suffers from the same Narcissistic Personality Disorder that deranged Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Saddam Hussein and other tyrants. He is most at home with murderous dictators like Kim Jong-un, Putin, Xi Jinping, Erdoğan, and Mohammed bin Salman.


Like all narcissists, Trump can never admit he is wrong or that he has lost. Trump's worst fear is that he will be branded a "Loser." That is why Trump's Big Lie that he did not lose the 2020 election is vital to his narcissistic self-image. He is trying to inflict that Big Lie on America.


Make no mistake about it. The January 6th invasion of the Capitol was the prelude to a Trump attempted coup d'état. By a 232 to197 vote to impeach supported by only ten Republican Congresspersons, Trump was stopped. For now. Take Trump's intended insurrection seriously. It can happen here.




Dr. Gregory Stanton is the Founding President of Genocide Watch. He was Research Professor in Genocide Studies at George Mason University, and the James Farmer Professor of Human Rights at the University of Mary Washington. He was President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.


Photo credit: Ashley Gilbertson for The New York Times


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