Trump's still waging a war on truth — and it's still bad for democracy

2 weeks ago 15

Last month, arsenic thousands of erstwhile President Trump’s loyal supporters waited for him astatine a rally successful Ohio, a chant roseate from the crowd.

“Trump won!” they roared. “Trump won!”

The erstwhile president agreed. “We won the predetermination twice,” helium said, “and it’s imaginable we’ll person to triumph it a 3rd time.”

Eight months aft helium mislaid convincingly to President Biden, Trump and his followers are studiously maintaining an alternate world — and having singular occurrence keeping the fabrication alive.

Almost two-thirds of GOP voters told pollsters successful one caller survey that they’re inactive convinced the predetermination was stolen — a fig that hasn’t changed overmuch since November.

This isn’t a harmless workout successful governmental puffery; it deepens the polarization of American authorities and weakens democracy.

The complaint that the predetermination was stolen doesn’t simply flatter Trump; it’s besides an effort to delegitimize Biden.

It makes it politically unsafe for Republicans successful Congress to collaborate with the medication — for wherefore would anyone loyal to Trump negociate with a usurper?

The falsehood persists adjacent though Republican officeholders person tally investigations that debunk it.

Last month, a GOP-led probe successful Michigan recovered that the Trump camp’s charges of voting irregularities determination were thing much than “blatherskite.”

Former Atty. Gen. William Barr, a Trump appointee, gave ABC News his pithy judgement of the president’s charges: “It was each bull—.”

But galore of the GOP faithful look virtually immune to evidence.

The phantasy hasn’t stayed live connected its own; Trump has spent overmuch of his clip since leaving bureau stoking his claims and informing Republican politicians that helium volition torpedo their careers if they don’t backmost him up.

“If they don’t, I person small uncertainty that they volition beryllium primaried and rapidly tally retired of office,” helium said successful a written connection past month.

GOP politicians, fearful of Trump’s wrath, either tiptoe around the phantasy oregon articulation successful promoting it.

Arizona legislators person been auditing predetermination results for much than 2 months; past week 1 GOP person called for yet different recount aft the existent audit is complete. Legislators successful Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, bowing to unit from Trump, person said they are seeking audits oregon recounts arsenic well. The Washington Post reported past week that hundreds of Republican candidates are campaigning connected promises to loyally prosecute Trump’s claims.

There’s nary enigma wherefore Trump wants to support his baseless communicative alive. The fabrication transforms him from a loser to, if not a winner, astatine slightest a victim.

It maintains his presumptive assertion connected his party’s 2024 statesmanlike information if helium decides to question it and gives him a origin astir which helium tin rise money.

The consequences spell good beyond Trump’s governmental future. As Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institution writes successful his important caller book, “The Constitution of Knowledge: A Defense of Truth”: “When compromise fails, ungovernability sets in.”

Rauch argues that 1 basal of our existent governmental situation is an “epistemic war,” a conflict implicit whether specified a happening arsenic nonsubjective information exists — oregon whether politicians should beryllium free, arsenic 1 Trump adjutant argued, to invent “alternative facts.”

“Epistemic warfare is present the modus operandi of the Republican Party,” Rauch told maine past week. “It’s go a substitute for ideology oregon policy.”

He said helium considers Trump “the top innovator successful disinformation since the 1930s.” (And yes, helium means since Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin.)

Rauch’s title, “The Constitution of Knowledge,” refers to his statement that Americans with differing beliefs request to hold connected basal principles astir truth, conscionable arsenic politicians with differing views adhere to the aforesaid Constitution.

“People request not and cannot each hold that the aforesaid things are true, but a captious wide needs to … enactment norms similar state of expression, intelligence pluralism, committedness to learning and respect for factuality and truthfulness,” helium writes.

Is determination a mode retired of this crisis?

There is, Rauch argues — but it’s going to instrumentality clip and effort from a batch of people.

Media organizations person stopped mindlessly spreading Trump’s astir egregious lies, arsenic immoderate did successful his archetypal statesmanlike run successful 2016. Now they request to reinvest successful fact-based journalism and successful much and amended fact-checking.

Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube inactive conflict to find workable rules to curb disinformation — but astatine slightest they’ve mostly recognized that spreading falsehoods is simply a bug, not a feature.

And idiosyncratic citizens request to articulation the conflict by looking for amended sources of accusation than their Facebook feeds and rewarding politicians who basal up for the truth.

“It’s going to instrumentality each of society,” Rauch said. That’s daunting, but past offers grounds for hope, helium added — again recalling the 1930s. “The reality-based assemblage has withstood overmuch worse.”

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