National Guard members in the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., January 2021
Joshua Roberts / Reuters

For several months, millions of people in the United States have been living in an alternate reality—one in which President Donald Trump has been fighting off a coordinated effort to steal the presidency from him and give it to Joe Biden. The idea first took root in the weeks prior to the election, when Trump looked likely to lose. States were reworking their voting processes in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and purveyors of the alternate narrative portrayed those efforts as a Democratic attempt to steal the vote. Doing so preemptively delegitimized voting procedures, such that when Trump lost,

Finish reading this article for free.

Enter your email and we'll send a paywall-free link directly to your inbox.

In addition to your unlocked article, you will receive our flagship weekly newsletter Foreign Affairs This Week, as well as occasional updates and offers from Foreign Affairs. You can unsubscribe at any time. For more information, visit our user agreement and privacy policy.

Get unlimited access to all Foreign Affairs. Subscribe now.

Are you already a subscriber? Sign in.