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A Crisis of Trust

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AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Irrespective of who puts his hand on the Bible at the January 20th inauguration to take the oath of office as president of the United States, we’re sure to experience a troubling crisis of trust in our divided country. From the election itself to the social media bias, from big tech’s intervention and alleged software manipulation to the mainstream media’s refusal to cover new evidence on election fraud and the Biden family improprieties in dealing with China and the Ukraine, half of America does not believe that Joe Biden is a fairly elected president. The other half believes that all this talk of fraud is an attempt to take Biden’s victory from him through the courts and a stacked U.S. Supreme Court. Welcome to a crisis of trust in America.


Under the guise of making it easy for voters to exercise their right to vote in this time of COVID isolation, election processes were dramatically changed in many key states. In some cases, ballots were sent indiscriminately to all registered voters whether they wanted them or not. Signature verification was waived or done by computers set to accept anything even close. Some ballots were not tallied while other ballots were accepted with near unanimous support for Biden. If the election was not so close, fraud would not be a factor. This election has proved on the surface to be very close.

The specifics of documented fraud will be shared in support of Trump lawsuits contending the election results in key swing states. The courts will be challenged to act fairly and quickly to help pave the way to certify a winner. But it’s clear that we are nowhere near the certainty needed to make such a determination. As a result, we face a crisis of trust that could threaten our very republic. 

Many Americans live in a social media universe, posting and responding in a vibrant exchange of ideas and opinions. But evidence of filtering out content from conservatives could easily have impacted this year’s election results. After the election, the CEO of Facebook admitted that the failure to share new information on Biden’s dealings in China and Ukraine was not appropriate. But that admission came AFTER the election. When content from one side of the political perspective is not allowed on a key social media platform, that coordinated censorship impacts votes and contributes to our widespread distrust.


The mainstream media is no less a factor. When I mentioned to a Biden supporter that there is significant evidence of fraud that could impact the eventual winner, his comment was predictable. He laughed and said, “You’re drinking the Kool-Aid! Biden is the winner, and you better deal with it.” The mainline media has done a terrible job of investigating and sharing easily obtained information on fraudulent voting in key swing states.

There is certainly the possibility that documented fraud will fall far short of turning around the results of this election, but it deserves to be fully investigated and covered. After years of questioning the legitimacy of the Trump election and suggesting Russian interference, there seems no room for doubt in the clear “Biden victory.” The media have become biased advocates, not searchers for the truth and fair reporting. Trust comes from a media that does not pick sides and asks the tough questions to all candidates.

President Trump has called for safety on our streets and offered additional help to liberal leaders in many of our Democrat-controlled big cities to stop the late-night rioting and looting. Most have refused that help. As a result, some citizens are moving, companies are boarding up their stores, and others are closing. Joe Biden has been reluctant to address the problem, but most Americans are troubled by the continuing violence and chaos on our streets. With law enforcement under attack, we no longer trust that law and order is secure. What else would explain the growing gun sales in America? If our government will not keep us safe, we look to protect our own homes and families.


Is there a way out of this crisis of trust? First, Joe Biden, the media-crowned “president-elect,” could prove his leadership potential by calling for a thorough investigation into election fraud instead of attacking President Trump for initiating election lawsuits. Biden’s early calls for unity are being met with derision and calls for resistance. Without confidence that this election was fairly won, the Biden presidency will suffer the lack of support and trust critical to any administration. He would be wise to join Trump’s call for an investigation of any and all election irregularities.

President Trump also has a role to play in healing this growing crisis of trust. He has a right and a responsibility to fight to ensure that the election was fair. But he should also make it clear that if investigations do not support a level of fraud that actually changes the certified winner, he should be ready to support the transition of power and be there for Biden’s inauguration.

This is the United States of America, and this shouldn’t be happening. Our leaders can either further divide us and fuel more distrust, or they can work together to give Americans confidence that the election results are fair. May they surprise us by doing so and give us reason to hope and trust again.

Terry Paulson is  PhD psychologist, author, and professional speaker on Earned Optimism, Making Change Work, Claiming Your American Dream, and Becoming a Conservative Values Voter. Contact him to speak before your group at


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