Trump’s Lies are Sweet White Supremacist Truths
Cynics have always believed politicians lie. Trump is saying “yeah, and?”
Another day, another Donald Trump ring-led circus. At a press conference to announce Alexander Acosta as his new Labor Secretary nominee, he proclaimed that he had the “biggest Electoral College win since Reagan,” but three of the four Presidents after Reagan have had bigger margins of victory than Trump’s. He said “jobs have started to surge since my election,” when there have already been 83 straight months of American job growth. He accuses the media of creating “fake news,” but he misleads or lies 96% of the time he opens his mouth. His “truthful hyberbole” is a figment of a perceptive reality straight out of a KKK recruitment pamphlet.
Donald Trump has said that the murder rate is the highest its been in “45 to 47 years,” and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions promises to fight the “great threat” of rising crime rates. In reality, the violent crime rates are as low as they’ve been in 30 years. There has been a slight rise in violent crime over the past two years — attributable to a couple cities — but criminologists maintain that the stats indicate there’s no “great threat” at all.
A similar rise took place in the mid 2000s before rates lowered again. Crime analysts do research in 10–15 year pockets to minimize the impact of such anomalies — yet Trump is using the numbers to maximize the merit of his flawed “law & order” platform. That’s if he’s even seen the numbers. As we’ve continuously seen from Trump and his administration’s officials, they don’t deal in substance or stats.
Kellyanne Conway — coiner of “alternative facts” — infamously fabricated a “Bowling Green Massacre” as an adhominem defense of Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. Trump, whose own biographer called a pathological liar, has a running list of outright lies he’s spewed at campaign rallies. Sean Spicer, the administration’s Press Secretary, works hard to protect the lies. The press has worked even harder to debunk them. But it doesn’t matter.
As doltish as Trump and his cabinet appears in public, there is a sinister strategy at play that is reminiscent of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels’ agenda. Goebbels once wrote:
“It would not be impossible to prove with sufficient repetition and a psychological understanding of the people concerned that a square is in fact a circle. They are mere words, and words can be molded until they clothe ideas and disguise.”
“Alternative facts” are mere words. For the white people Trump is targeting, who are scared to death of losing their ironclad grip on the American establishment, a square is to a circle as multi-ethnic equality is to the illusion of their oppression. Goebbles used his genius as the basis for a program of mass genocide. “President Agent Orange” and his team’s bluster are figurative tufts of populist rhetoric meant to stoke the flames of hate needed to advance a 1% serving, rights-stripping agenda that will destroy most of his white, working class supporters along with the people of color they hate.
This is why decrying Trump’s lies mean nothing. His falsehoods might as well be true to his supporters. Maria Konnikova wrote for Politico that the brain processes statements in two parts, and that “we must actively choose to accept or reject each statement we hear. In certain circumstances, that verification simply fails to take place.” This is especially so in the mind of bigots who don’t want it to take place in the context of socioeconomic dialogue, and covet opportunities to weaponize “illusory truths” as justification for a wall, or a Muslim ban, or stop-and-frisk, or a militarized police state. Any statements that vindicate xenophobic pathology are readily accepted.
For Trump, continuous lies also act as a diversion from the abhorrence of his actions. That’s why Trump put on a spectacle today, right as the heat is picking up on his administration’s dealings with Russia. As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank noted in a recent op-ed, “distraction has long been Trump’s modus operandi” and the administration is adept at “removing attention from things Trump has done that will have direct and often severe consequences.”
The only reason any of the Trump autocracy’s initiatives are taking place is hate — the same hate that the lie of white supremacy and a “superior race” is built on. It’s little wonder that the Trump administration is resolving to sustain the lie with even more lies. The onus to vindicate the truth rests with the House of Representatives, who must overcome their cowardice and privileged blinders to penalize his falsehoods with impeachment.