Friday, November 4, 2016

Trump/GOP Strategy: The Big Lie

"If you tell a lie big enough, and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." --Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda

In a political system where the most honest politicians tell the truth about half the time (according to, Donald Trump has set a new standard for lying. Multiple news outlets have chronicled Trump's lies (here, here, here, here, here, here and here).

Yet a cornerstone of his campaign for President is accusing opponent Hillary Clinton of being dishonest and untrustworthy. Ironically, Politifact rates her among its more honest political figures. Undeterred, the Trump campaign doubles down on the Big Lie: "crooked Hillary" is the one you can't trust.

This is not new. Movement conservatives have embraced falsehoods for years, fed by Fox News and right-wing media. As non-partisan scholars Ornstein and Mann wrote in 2012:

The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.

This is the party that Swift-Boated John Kerry in 2004 and produced the Willie Horton ad in 1988.

Trump's lies cover the fact that he has zero experience in elective office and has run a policy-free campaign. What are his policy proposals on most any issue? "It's going to be great" and meaningless, rambling, dog-ate-my-homework, word salad answers don't count. Neither do wildly unrealistic (Mexico will pay for the border wall) or un-Constitutional (ban on Muslims) proposals.

When you are running a joke of a campaign, why not base it on a Big Lie? What do you have to lose?

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