In response to a Yahoo/YouGov poll conducted before the election, 50% of registered voters who intended to vote for Trump answered "yes" to the question "do you believe that top Democrats are involved in elite child sex-trafficking rings," the central claim of QAnon's evidence-free conspiracy theory. Another 33% responded that they were not sure. Only 17% answered "no."

Regarding the election, a Politico/Morning Consult poll estimates that 70% of Republican voters don't believe the election was free and fair (i.e., that Biden won due to "voter fraud"). If that poll is even close to accurate, that would mean there's over 50 million voters across our country who have bought into a belief unsupported by fact. In the words of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who admits he wanted Trump to win, "[w]e keep trying to knock down these rumors. But it's like whack-a-mole. It's a rumor mill not supported by fact."

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"One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them." Aldous Huxley, "Brave New World." It saddens me that so large a segment of our electorate is so malleable. I think Trump would be harmless (and powerless) if this were not the case.

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Parise lives in Fargo.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.