Trump and Truth

On November 29 Donald Trump tweeted out three misleading and hateful videos, meant to stoke fear of all Muslims all around the world. One did not depict what he said it did, and the other two were presented with no context. This was not an attempt to use rational argument, but rather a naked and obvious attempt to use propaganda as a tool of mental manipulation.

Analogies to Hitler are often over-used. Just because someone disagrees with you about the what top marginal tax rate should be does not make them the second coming of Adolf Hitler. But with these videos Trump is edging up to that line, in a way that would make Hitler’s film-maker Leni Riefenstahl proud.

As was needed and necessary, people in the US and around the world responded promptly and with outrage. There is no responsible way to avoid the President’s provocations entirely, even if the very act of response plays into his trap. When your opponent lives in the sewer you have to climb in there with him, and clean yourself up later.

While I am happy with the prompt and appropriate response to the President’s tweets, the very sad reality is that it will have little impact in weakening Trump’s support. Those who are in with the President are all in, never to be shaken by arguments of this type. Indeed, calling the President a liar will only burnish his credentials among his core supporters. We are now living— more than ever — in a time when people concoct their own realities. Truth is on the back foot, and decency with it.

So while I admire the criticisms of the administration and want them to keep coming, we should be cautious about thinking they will bring the President down. What will bring him down is the gradual realization among Trump’s supporters that he is actually a shill for the rich who only pretended to care about the working man. That will be one truth which, eventually, even Trump will be powerless to deny.