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VIDEO: McCain Institute Hosts CBS’ Major Garrett & David Becker to Discuss Their Book on the 2020 Election

In 2020, the election process was “placed under more pressure than ever since the Civil War… was carried out with the highest turnout ever, the most diverse populace ever to participate in a presidential election in our history… those things are signs of success not failure.” – Major Garrett

Evelyn Farkas, Major Garrett and David Becker sitting together.

Click here or the image above to watch the event.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the latest installment of the McCain Institute’s Authors & Insights series, CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett and national election expert David Becker discussed their book, “The Big Truth: Upholding Democracy in the Age of ‘The Big Lie,’” with Executive Director of the McCain Institute Dr. Evelyn Farkas.

The discussion between Dr. Farkas, Garrett, and Becker followed the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and focused on what actually happened in the 2020 election, which was an impressive example of democracy at work, despite attempts to overshadow its success. They discussed the misinformation designed to con and beguile Americans into chasing phantom allegations of election crimes.

“This book, although it was written in 2022, is incredibly timely… [b]ecause right now… we have the former president of the United States in D.C.’s court of appeals sitting there listening to an argument about whether he should have immunity for actions that he took, things that he said in the 2020 election,” Dr. Farkas said during the event.

Garrett responded, “So I’ve been covering presidential politics… since 1992, and Evelyn, every election year… when it was my job to cover a presidential campaign, I took that day for granted… until 2020 when that process, placed under more pressure than ever since the Civil War… was carried out with the highest turnout ever, the most diverse populace ever to participate in a presidential election in our history… those things are signs of success not failure. We have this radiant example of participatory democracy, that was immediately and caustically slandered by the sitting president of the United States. [In this book] I didn’t want to talk about the lie; I wanted to talk about the fundamental truth… that truth is something that David and I wanted to have on the bookshelf forever. What happened, why it’s the truth, and why the truth will outlive the lie.”

Notable quotes from Major Garrett and David Becker during the Authors & Insights event:

On the 2020 election: “This country trained… over 400,000 new poll workers over Zoom… This was an exquisite example of Americans facing a huge problem, solving it with new people coming in, new technology… all under super high pressure… We rose to the challenge — it happened. That’s really great; it’s not a topic to slander,” said Garrett.

On election confusion: “If you have any questions about this or you just want to support democracy, volunteer to be a poll worker,” said Becker.

On disinformation: “People who spread disinformation don’t necessarily have to convince you of the lie, they just have to convince you that nothing is true,” said Becker.

Click HERE to view the full conversation.


In 2020, the McCain Institute launched the book talk series Authors & Insights. Through this “reverse book tour,” McCain Institute leaders interview authors of important books on American politics, policy, and leadership with the intention of engaging the American people in a dialogue that affirms the importance of character-driven leadership and America’s role in the international community. Previous participants have included the late former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Mark Esper, World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain, CNN’s Jake Tapper, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and more.

About the McCain Institute at Arizona State University

The McCain Institute is a nonpartisan organization inspired by Senator John McCain and his family’s dedication to public service. We are part of Arizona State University and based in Washington, D.C. Our programs advance democracy and human rights, empower character-driven leaders, combat human trafficking, and prevent targeted violence. Our unique power to convene leaders across the global political spectrum enables us to make a real impact on the world’s most pressing challenges. Our goal is action, not talk, and like Senator McCain, we are fighting to create a free, safe, and just world for all.

About Arizona State University

Arizona State University has developed a new model for the American research university, creating an institution that is committed to access, excellence and impact. ASU measures itself by those it includes, not by those it excludes. As the prototype for a New American University, ASU pursues research that contributes to the public good, and ASU assumes major responsibility for the economic, social and cultural vitality of the communities that surround it.

Publish Date
January 12, 2024