The Dangerous Spread Of Trump’s Lying Ways
Former President Donald Trump has done enormous damage to our political system with his never-ending Big Lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.
Neither Trump nor anyone else has provided a shred of evidence that voter fraud had any impact on the 2020 presidential election. Yet, polls have shown that the great majority of Republicans believe the election was stolen from Trump or that Biden is an illegitimate President — simply because Trump says it.
Trump has seriously undermined public confidence in the honesty and integrity of our elections by telling a lie over and over and over again — a classic propaganda technique used by autocrats and dictators to override the truth.
Distorting the truth in politics is not new. But straight-out lying as the norm is.
Trump’s compulsive lying also has had a far more destructive impact in our country than just on the credibility of our elections. According to The Washington Post Fact Checker team, Trump told 30,573 falsehoods during his presidency, an average of 21 per day.
By paying little, if any, price for his habitual lying, Trump has legitimized lying among his followers and most Republican officeholders and candidates.
Thus, J.D Vance, recently nominated for the Senate by Ohio Republicans, had zero problem blatantly lying to voters that President Biden is targeting MAGA voters and their kids with the deadly opioid fentanyl. This is a bald-faced lie.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is another bald-faced liar. He recently asserted that it was “totally false and wrong” that he told House GOP leaders he would call on Trump to resign following the January 6 insurrectionist attack on the Capitol.
An audio recording was quickly released that clearly showed McCarthy saying precisely that. The price paid by McCarthy for flatly lying to the American people — apparently none as far as his House Republican colleagues were concerned.
Trump has made lying perfectly acceptable and the norm for Republican officeholders who spout his line about fraudulent voting in 2020.
Trump’s lies were used by GOP-state legislators around the country as cover to enact the worst voter suppression and election sabotage laws since the Jim Crow era.
The Republican Party has become, in essence, the Trump Party, and has taken on his lying ways. Most Republican officeholders and candidates are afraid to challenge him in fear of the political threat that would cause for them with their voters.
Trump’s efforts to eliminate truth as a standard also has no doubt contributed to the fact that a Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) poll earlier this year showed that one in four Republicans believe in QAnon’s fantastical conspiracy views. QAnon’s alternative universe views include the belief, PRRI notes, that “the government, media, and financial sector are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation.”
With Trump as their leader, Republican officeholders apparently believe that there are no political consequences for lying, no matter how blatant the lie. And Trump’s followers apparently are only interested in what he has to say and not whether it is true or not.
This has created a dangerous moment for our political system and our culture, only exacerbated by the ever-growing disinformation that on a daily basis bombards the American people on social media.
The Bible says, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
That’s clearly not the view of Donald Trump.
And, it’s clearly not the view of the Republican officeholders and candidates who follow his lead.