Senior Producer, Op-Ed Videos

A week after Joe Biden secured enough votes for news organizations (and a growing number of Republican figures) to call him the president-elect, thousands of Trump supporters traveled to D.C. to reject that conclusion. Video journalist Joy Sharon Yi and I filmed the march to better understand those who disagree with the outcome.

[See the ‘Million MAGA March’ as we did in the video above.]

It wasn’t just White men carrying the Trump flags and banners. Korean and Vietnamese immigrants, young gay couples and Black, White and Latina women, many with children, marched alongside conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and members of the Proud Boys hate group. They wound slowly from Freedom Plaza to the Capitol to the Supreme Court, demanding, among other things, that Biden be sent to prison and the election be handed to Trump.

For hours, we talked to protesters who weren’t merely skeptical of the election outcome; they believed it to be a total fraud. They distrusted the count, the voting machines, the media that reported the results, even the state officials, many of them Republican, charged with certifying the outcome.

And while some were calm and appreciated my questions, others looked at me as if I was crazy.

Watching relatives and strangers fall under President Trump’s spell can be like watching a friend navigate an abusive relationship. They rationalize the lies and gaslighting, and they can pull away when you ask them to consider the facts. Nobody’s perfect, they’d say. Yes, he’s rough, but he has overcome so much.

The difference between Trump and an abusive boyfriend, though, is that millions of Americans are in this relationship. They come from all walks of life. Conspiracy theories and misinformation partly reinforce why they stand by their man.

But people can love whoever they want. And the voters I talked to made one thing clear: It will be some time before they are ready to walk out on Trump — if they ever do.

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