Frank Luntz

Donald Trump's 'Big Lie' is working, may cost GOP votes

“What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it's not worth it to vote"

“What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it's not worth it to vote. Donald Trump single-handedly may cause people not to vote. And he may be the greatest tool in the Democrats' arsenal to keep control of the House and Senate in 2022,” Frank Luntz said

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POLITICS PRESS GROUP

Veteran GOP pollster Frank Luntz warned that former President Trump’s repeated assertions that the 2020 presidential election was rigged against him could hurt Republican efforts to take back the House in 2022. Luntz noted in an interview on the New York Times podcast “Sway” released Thursday that “more than two-thirds of Republicans believe that the election was stolen,” warning that a widespread and unproven belief that there was rampant fraud last November could turn Republicans off from voting in the midterm elections.

“What Donald Trump is saying is actually telling people it's not worth it to vote. Donald Trump single-handedly may cause people not to vote. And he may be the greatest tool in the Democrats' arsenal to keep control of the House and Senate in 2022,” Luntz said.

The warning comes as Republicans face an intra-party debate over the future of Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 House Republican.

Cheney has repeatedly clashed with Trump in recent weeks over his unfounded claims that the November election was “stolen” from him, setting up an expected vote within the House Republican Conference to oust her from her leadership position.

The favorite to replace Cheney as chair of the conference appears to be Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a member with a more moderate voting record who morphed into a staunch Trump backer during his 2019 impeachment.

The dynamic has led to a flood of Democratic criticism that Republicans are shrugging off the facts of the election in favor of currying favor with Trump, and Cheney has vowed she will not stop rebuking the former president over his election fraud claims.

“History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be,” she wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday afternoon.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), an ardent Trump supporter, earlier this week confirmed he rented a room from Luntz during the coronavirus pandemic, news that was first reported by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

"Why do Republican officials listen more carefully to Frank Luntz than they do their own voters?" Carlson had asked one night earlier, saying the living arrangement would give Luntz an "outsized influence over the Republican Party's policy positions."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a critic of Facebook and other tech giants, on Thursday called Donald Trump “a danger to democracy” and applauded a decision by Facebook’s Oversight Board to uphold the company’s ban on the former president.

Warren urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to keep the ban in place when Facebook revisits the question of allowing Trump back on its social media platform in another six months.

“I am much happier with Donald Trump off the air, off Facebook. I don’t like having to get up every morning and go through what he’s done. I think he poses a lot of risk,” she said in an interview with The Washington Post Live.

Asked if Trump should now be treated as an “ordinary American” by social media companies now that he’s out of office, Warren said: “He poses much more risk than an ordinary American.”

“He spreads lies,” she said, referring to Trump’s baseless claims that President Biden won the 2020 election because of widespread fraud.

“Indeed, he is now forcing, evidently, everybody else in the Republican Party to agree to say the lie out loud. He spreads misinformation. He is truly a danger to our democracy,” she added.

A CNN-SSRS nationwide poll of 1,004 people conducted April 21 to 26 found that 70 percent of Republicans believe Biden did not legitimately win enough votes to win the presidency, even though Republican leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) have said repeatedly that Biden did legitimately win the election.

At the same time, Warren, who has called for breaking up Big Tech companies, expressed unease about the power of Facebook and other social media companies to have huge influence on the national debate.

“I see this and think about the amount of power that Facebook has,” she said, noting that Facebook internally refers to its independent Oversight Board, which upheld its Trump decision, as the “Supreme Court.”

Cheney hits 'Trump cult of personality,' says she'll keep speaking out
“Does that tell you how much power they see themselves as having? More power than government. Last I saw, nobody did advise and consent, nobody nominated those people other than Mark Zuckerberg,” she added.

“This is a reminder for me about two reasons that we need to break up Big Tech, including Facebook.”

She said big companies such as Amazon “destroy economic competition” and “suck information” out of consumers who use their services.

“The giants need to be broken up,” she said. “It’s time right now for the Department of Justice to pick up the antitrust rule that have been on the books for a century and break up these giant tech companies.”

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