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Accelerating mendacity hasn’t hurt Trump’s approval ratings

President Donald Trump
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
President Donald Trump giving a speech alongside wife Melania Trump in Victory Lane prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday.

Forgive me, please. I put the link below aside a month ago, to write about when things calmed down, and lost track of it. But, don’t worry, except for a slight adjustment in the numbers, the point of the piece is as true as ever (if, that is, you think truth is knowable, which is above my pay-grade).

Anyway, here’s the link. It’s from the Washington Post’s Fact Checker operation, led by Glenn Kessler. But it took three writers to sum up the breathtaking mendacity of Donald John Trump, the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Mendacity, if you need a reminder, is a fancy noun for lying, especially applicable to someone who lies frequently and constantly and shamelessly.

As of Jan. 20, which marked three years of Trump’s incumbency, the Post’s fact-checkers had logged 16,200 false statements made by him since the day he took the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”


That’s an average of 14.8 falsehoods a day. But it gets worse, by which I mean the Trumpian lying gets more frequent over time.

If you take the fact-checkers’ word for it, in each of his three years, Trump has told more lies than the year before. In Year Three, which ended the day of that article’s publication, he added 8,155 to his lie total (according to the Post fact-checkers), which would be an average of 22.3 lies or falsehoods a day.

The lies are mostly incredibly easy to spot, to elucidate, to prove. Maybe you could quibble that some are less lies than exaggerations, or omissions of important contrary information, or something slightly less clearly untrue. But, there’s just no way you can honestly or sincerely compare many of the things Trump says with the known facts and not understand that he does not believe the rules of honesty or the most basic factual accuracy apply to him.

Twenty-two-times a day, on average, during his third year in office.

Sure, some of you might think it’s not possible to be this precise. I understand. Were they all truly falsehoods, or might some of them be lesser forms of prevarication, small fibs, minor exaggerations, maybe even some inadvertent errors? Or are the fact-checkers biased against this particular president, out of jealousy, liberal antagonism or sheer incompetence? You are free to believe what you like.

I have read a great many of their fact-checks over those years and found them very fair and credible. But I’m not the current incumbent’s biggest admirer, so maybe that’s just my bias piggybacking on their bias.

Still, assuming for the sake of discussion, that the Post Fact Checkers know something about checking facts, and that their methods enable them to tell real untruths from slips of the tongue — in other words assuming that the president tells a dozen or two certifiable fibs, lies and/or whoppers a day — the next question is why does this never seem to affect the size of his followership?

I’ve grown used to the fact that, as measured by approval rating, for example, it doesn’t. But why?

Do they not know he lies all the time? Not mind? Consider it not really cool but worth continuing to support him considering how great he is at making America great again? Do they think telling the truth is an overrated virtue, or no virtue at all, just a sucker trap?


I hope I don’t sound totally sarcastic, because this is one of things that most sincerely puzzles me about Trump and Trumpism. I can think of reasons some people might like some of his policies and actions more than I do, although I personally dislike and disagree with the majority of them.

But, until Trump came along, I would have said that, almost irrespective of policy differences, there was some level of lying (also bragging, shaming, blowhard-ism and other characterological problems) that would be such serious turn-offs that they would render a candidate unelectable, almost irrespective of their policy positions.

And I would have said that one of the likeliest of those characteristics was rampant, out-of-control, unabashed mendacity. I would have said that someone who lied constantly, by which I mean lied as often and as blatantly and unashamedly as Trump does, could not maintain the support and approval of 40 percent of Americans.

But I would have been wrong.

(That’s the end of my rant for today, but, speaking of Trump’s approval rating, I can save a whole extra post by updating you here.)

As of Tuesday morning, the fivethirtyeight.com average of approval polls on which I have long relied showed 43.9 percent approval as opposed to 51.9 disapproval. These are bad numbers for him, but they continue the basic normal since Trump took office. It is historically unprecedented, in the relatively short history of constant approval polling, for any president to be “under water” during his entire incumbency, and even more unusual when a president has been blessed with a fairly strong economy (although Trump constantly exaggerates how good the economic numbers are and how much better they are than comparable numbers under his predecessors).

Those ratings represent a slight improvement over where Trump stood a month ago, but not much, and they are mostly within range of where his approval/disapproval picture has stood throughout his term.


There was a bit of hype a couple of weeks ago when Gallup came out with an approval number of 49 percent for Trump (still under water, but only by a single percentage point, and much better than he has done in any credible poll for many, many months).

And, of course, the Trump microphone on channels and sites that promote him was full of suggestions that his bad approval days (which never existed anyway) were over. But now, two weeks and many more approval polls later, there has been plenty of evidence that the Gallup 49 percent number was an outlier on the high side.

The 538.com average, which by the time you read this may well have been updated, is viewable here.

Comments (66)

  1. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 02/18/2020 - 09:43 am.

    “Eleven years ago today, near the bottom of the worst recession in generations, I signed the Recovery Act, paving the way for more than a decade of economic growth and the longest streak of job creation in American history.” B. Obama.

    Now – let’s be fair and balanced.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 10:08 am.

      So we are now acknowledging that the strong economy under Trump is just a continuation of the economic recovery that began under Obama? Yes, it’s about time.

      If your post was supposed to be anti-Obama snark, it fails pretty miserably.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/18/2020 - 10:13 am.

      Again, rather than vague mutterings, look at the actual data:
      https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/PAYEMS
      Steady growth in employment since the 2008 recession, continuing with no major change under Trump.

    • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 02/18/2020 - 10:43 am.

      Post’s fact-checkers had logged 16,200 false statements made by him since the day he took the oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      Is it too much to ask trump supporters to be fair and balanced?
      What you posted wasn’t even a lie so I’m confused why you bothered.
      Now, point out 16,200 lies from any previous administration and you may have a point. The way it looks now is that false equivalency is your only chance of being balanced.

      • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 11:28 am.

        If you believe anything the Washington Post prints you’ve got other issues. That’s the problem with articles like this,, they never fact check the supposed fact checker. The WaPo puts out nothing but propaganda and lies.

        • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 02/18/2020 - 11:44 am.

          And what is the basis for your reasoning? Data please, not rhetoric.

        • Submitted by Kevin Schumacher on 02/18/2020 - 12:45 pm.

          I have bone spurs, I will release my taxes when the audit is over, Mexico will pay for it, you will have much, much better health insurance much, much cheaper…and on and on. The media only reports what our sociopathic president says.

        • Submitted by Mark Voorhees on 02/18/2020 - 05:48 pm.

          Bob, the question to you is ‘do you believe Trump tells the truth?” Generally speaking is he truthful?

        • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 02/19/2020 - 03:01 pm.

          Which “lies” are you referring to? As to propaganda, it is painfully evident that supporters of Donald Trump seem to believe that any reporting about Mr. Trump that does not follow the Trump/Republican line is “propaganda”. The Washington POST has earned our thanks and praise for keeping the public aware of what is happening to us during the Trump regime.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/18/2020 - 09:45 am.

    It’s truly a conundrum, for which I have no plausible explanation. I will only add that those same people, were a “liberal” politician to be the one doing the constant lying, would be foaming at the mouth in apoplectic rage at the chutzpah, not to mention the dire threat to our republic, displayed by an “America-hating libtard.” We live in strange times.

  3. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/18/2020 - 11:27 am.

    What if I acknowledge that Trump is a liar about anything and everything, while also saying most of what flows out of WaPo etc corporate media about economics or war is total BS?

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 02/18/2020 - 11:59 am.

      You can say whatever you like, but it’s more persuasive if you can back up your claims with facts. Kessler & the WaPost fact checkers cite data to back up their claims, which you’re disputing without supporting documentation. Frankly, there’s no contest.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/19/2020 - 08:10 am.

        What more evidence do I need than the growth in monopoly, income inequality, and our eternal war profiteering, that goes unquestioned and is in fact supported, in WaPo and corporate media?

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/19/2020 - 10:40 am.

          If what comes out of the corporate media is BS, where does your information come from?

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/19/2020 - 11:13 am.

            All across the spectrum. To name just a few: Truthdig, Truthout, American Conservative, NakedCapitalism, The Intercept, Yasha Levine, The Saker, Ian Welsh, Charles Hugh Smith…

            NakedCapitalism has a twice-daily list of links that is quite useful, plus original articles. I read widely from all perspectives left and right. There is a quite vibrany “ecosystem” of independent media, people reporting the reality of things, critiquing the manufactured-for-empire news of major media. There has been this lively on-line discussion, since 2008, when many people began to seriously question the status quo.

            Many in that realm will tell you, one of the more serious consequences of this Russia madness, so much of it manipulated by the media to initiate a new cold war, has been big tech and big gov conspiring to throttle traffic to these websites. Many of them appeared in an anonymously sourced article in WaPo in fact, in 2017, labled by a shadow group calked Prop or Not, as Russian propaganda. An elite crackdown on free speech and dissent. Traffic overnight for many of the dropped as much as 70%.

          • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 02/20/2020 - 12:36 pm.

            And John Michael Greer and James Howard Kunstler

  4. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 11:33 am.

    The Washington Post is not a serious source. To claim their fact checkers are accurate is beyond laughable. Like most of the left wing “fact checkers”, their facts aren’t facts which makes it easy to claim Trump is some grand liar.

    Fact-check dot org has vanished because they were caught lying about facts. Snopes is also on the way to irrelevance for the exact same issue. WaPo is no better.

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 02/18/2020 - 11:57 am.

      By golly, Bob, you’ve convinced me. From now on I’ll get my facts from Sean, Rush, Kellyanne, and, of course, your great leader. Interesting how the narrative has shifted among the cultists from “the lies don’t harm unlike Obama’s, remember you can keep your doctor,” to, “well, the fact-checkers are the liars.”

    • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 02/18/2020 - 12:00 pm.

      Uh – no – https://www.factcheck.org/ is still there.

      Or is that yet another example of Conservatives’ “alternative facts”?

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 02/18/2020 - 12:01 pm.

      I’m open to persuasion. Pick one of the inaccurate or misleading articles by the WaPost fact checkers & debunk their claims. Please cite your sources.

    • Submitted by Steve Roth on 02/18/2020 - 12:41 pm.

      Cults don’t believe in facts and when your leader tells you repeatedly that any other source but him is not to be believed, and when said leader knows he can say (and do) anything and the cult will still believe, well…

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 12:52 pm.

      This is a nice change from “what about that time Obama said if you like your doctor ,” etc. It’s no more convincing; in fact, it’s downright comical, but it’s still something new.

    • Submitted by Jack Lint on 02/18/2020 - 12:56 pm.

      Snopes was having legal problems with a question of who owns the site, but it’s still popular. My one problem with it, is that it reprints “satire” news items – outrageous claims designed to attract clicks. Just printing the headlines probably causes the “satire” to spread.

      The Trump presidency has been great for the fact checking industry. Everyone seems to be fact checking these days.

  5. Submitted by Misty Martin on 02/18/2020 - 12:16 pm.

    Eric:

    In response to your ninth paragraph about whether or not Trump’s supporters know or not whether he lies or whether they mind if he does . . . so many of the acquaintances and friends and fellow church-members of mine that approve of President Trump (no matter WHAT he says or does) seem to think that anything they hear outside of FOX news is simply: “fake news” and that’s the end of it. I find it extremely sad. I worry for our country if a charlatan and a snake-oil salesman can charm and continue to hold the loyalty of so many voters. I hope and pray that there is a ray of hope to be found in November of 2020, but I’m afraid to hope too much, lest I be devastated again as I was in November 2016.

    • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/18/2020 - 01:45 pm.

      And yet you said nothing about the liar and snake oil salesman that was in office from 2009 thru 2016. Seems the hypocrisy knows no limits when it comes to politicians and political parties. Every politician lies. Trump is no worse than Obama or Bush or Clinton. It would have been nice to see said fact checkers doing the same during Obama’s time in office but no, that would be bad right?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 02:03 pm.

        They did fact-check Obama when he was President. Look it up.

        Do you think it is inconceivable that Trump really does lie as much as the media says he does, and that Obama didn’t lie anywhere near as much?

      • Submitted by Bob Johnson on 02/18/2020 - 02:19 pm.

        That ‘liar and snake oil salesman’ created the economic comeback from the Bush recession that Trump is now taking credit for doing.

        Refusing to see the truth is no excuse for lying, be it you or Trump.

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 02/18/2020 - 01:43 pm.

    “The Washington Post is not a serious source.”

    Really?

    Barnes, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 02/18/2020 - 02:45 pm.

    Give me an example of a Trump lie that has the same or greater consequence to my life as “If you like your plan you can keep your plan, period.” as told by Obama. Trump’s misstatements don’t bother me as much as his predecessor’s conspiracy to effect an election and the establishment’s efforts to cover it up.

    • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/18/2020 - 03:03 pm.

      Trade wars are easy to win! Now lets compare $-$
      300,000 jobs lost (How many chose your own doctor jobs were lost?)
      $46B in tariffs paid by Americans (How much did we pay extra in doctor choice?
      Average household cost $600-831 (How much did we each have to pay for the doctor choice?
      $28B for the farmers, ?(How much did those farmers have to pay for the doctor choice?)
      There you got it DT, a simple one: Show your cards.

      vs you can kieep your doctor, I’ll get th etrade war numbers yopu

    • Submitted by kurt nelson on 02/18/2020 - 03:06 pm.

      I had an over under on who was going to say “yeah, but Obama” first, and I’m surprised it took so long.
      But, in that vein, we did keep our health care plan, and our physician too, and truth be told, you probably did too, like so many commenters here. But it’s always a oldie but goodie.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 02/18/2020 - 03:32 pm.

      It is amusing that the right calls this an Obama lie. The ACA does not dictate which doctors you can see, your insurance company does. If you get your insurance through your employer, like most Americans, which doctors you can see is largely a result of which plans your employer makes available to you.

      Maybe instead of blaming Obama, why not encourage the Republican party to come up with a better plan? They’ve spent years failing to repeal it – perhaps because they haven’t yet bothered to come up with a better proposal. Or wait – Trump said he had a plan, didn’t he? I wonder if he’ll reveal it as part of campaign 2020. Surely that wasn’t a lie!

    • Submitted by Mike Chrun on 02/18/2020 - 09:47 pm.

      If this one isn’t more harmful it’s only because you’re not eligible yet.

      “President Donald Trump posted a tweet on Saturday vowing, “We will not be touching your Social Security and Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget.” One day later, the Wall Street Journal published a report indicating that Trump is doing exactly that with his budget proposal.”

      BTW, proper usage is “affect an election” not “effect an election.”

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/19/2020 - 03:22 pm.

        When you’re talking about Trump, ‘effect an election’ is probably appropriate.

        • Submitted by Todd Peterson on 02/20/2020 - 11:28 am.

          Trump 2016 “I alone can fix it,” on Obamacare and other problems he saw plaguing the country, at the Republican National Convention.

          Trump 2017 “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated” when hit by the sober reality that it is easy to fill the airwaves with hot air critiques and empty proclamations in his petty attempts to whitewash the legacy of our nation’s first African American president yet despite all the trash talking there are elements pushed forward by Obamacare that work for many Americans, Republicans included and it will endure long after every Republican attempt to sabatoge it. No matter what you think of Obamacare we can all agree that Americans have been screwed by the insurance industry for decades. Obamacare flawed as it may be threw a big wrench into that unethical machinery.

  8. Submitted by joe smith on 02/18/2020 - 02:49 pm.

    6 in 10 Americans feel their lives have improved the past 3 years…. Enough said.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/18/2020 - 03:55 pm.

      Again; citation?

      • Submitted by joe smith on 02/18/2020 - 06:25 pm.

        Wow, do you watch the news at all? Gallup poll 2/13/20.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/19/2020 - 03:29 pm.

          To quote from the conclusions stated in the Gallup poll you cite:
          “Bottom Line: Americans’ overall satisfaction with the country’s direction is at its highest point since 2005. However, the 41% satisfied with the country today leaves 58% dissatisfied, and the detailed satisfaction measures reported here help reveal the source of that discontent.”
          I’m not sure where you got your 60% from.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/18/2020 - 05:02 pm.

      And yet Trump’s approval rating remains underwater.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 02/18/2020 - 09:39 pm.

        They don’t attribute these results to President Trump. But they feel that their lives have improved so let us look at the glass half full and be glad for 60% of the people. The 40% who don’t have the Democrats on their side.

        • Submitted by joe smith on 02/19/2020 - 08:53 am.

          The question was is your life better in the past three years, 60% said yes. Do you actually feel Americans don’t associate that with the Trump economy? You think their life is better by a failed Mueller report, a failed impeachment, a call for open borders, a call for folks in jail to vote, a call for healthcare for illegals? That is what the Democrats have brought to the table the past 3 years.

          • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/19/2020 - 04:03 pm.

            My life is different than my country! Your suggesting because I sell water in a desert and business is good and because I’m not one of the 40% dying of thirst that these are great times!

    • Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 02/19/2020 - 03:09 pm.

      The same as 2011-2013 and 2014-2016.

  9. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/18/2020 - 04:59 pm.

    Mr. Black – Your error is what I believe philosophers call a “category mistake.”

    As the long lineage of U.S. Supreme Court 1st Amendment cases relates, the core of democratic self-government is democratic speech. It’s a use of words that rests on certain norms – principally the offering of facts and reasons to argue why a particular policy will best advance the shared values of the society, and a mutual respect between speaker and listener as civic participants of equal standing, who may reason differently but are working together, in good faith, toward a common goal. Democratic speech is judged by whether it serves the collective project of moving toward a society that embodies our shared values, and by whether, at the same time, it nourishes the engaged relationship of civic participants. A lie – an intended misstatement of fact or an insincere argument – is noteworthy, as it both undermines the common enterprise and violates the democratic norm of mutual respect.

    Authoritarian speech is different. It is simply a tool among many wielded to serve the will to power. Because the individually powerless may contest the powerful few only through a collective commitment to political goals and acts, the principal purpose of authoritarian speech is to undermine shared factual reality, impede collective reasoning toward action, intimidate those who would lead, and create division among the many. Because it is no more than the voice of power seeking its advantage, authoritarian speech is judged only by whether it is effective for its ends. Thus, the concept of the lie has no meaning. And because authoritarian speech seeks advantage and nothing more, there is no norm of good faith or mutual respect that a lie can violate. Authoritarian speech is nakedly apparent, whether it comes from Trump’s orifice, or from those of his factotums or party leaders, or from his followers in on-line forums. Yet we continue to apply the norms of democratic speech to it and scratch our heads.

    There has been much hand-wringing, of course, about the traditional media’s perplexity in accommodating Mr Trump’s fantastical mendacity. Print journalism, news and opinion panels, press conferences, coverage of speeches are formats that developed to serve (at least formally) democratic speech and its norms of good-faith argument from differing perspectives based on mutual facts, principles of reasoning and shared basic values. Authoritarian speech uses words, but here the comparison to democratic speech ends. The media should not serve authoritarianism by implicitly representing authoritarian speech as democratic speech to those not sufficiently attentive to make the distinction on their own. If the media choose to give a platform to authoritarian speech, it should be only for the purpose of allowing us collectively to examine and become knowledgeable as to the motive and intent of the speaker.

    • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/19/2020 - 09:50 am.

      Your comment echoes an opinion piece by Michael Tomasky in the NY Times about “competitive authoritarianism” in the US. “Competitive authoritarianism” is how Harvard scholars Steven Levistky and Lucan Way described the authoritarian regimes that have emerged around the world since the 1990’s. Tomasky sees “competitive authoritarianism” rising in the US by the methods, like “authoritarian speech” as you describe. I agree with your comment: “authoritarian speech” is in a completely different category from speech in a democracy with shared fundamental values.
      https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/01/opinion/republicans-trump-democracy.html

      • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/19/2020 - 11:27 am.

        Jon – Thank you for the link. Mr. Tomasky doesn’t relate very well the authors’ definition of “competitive authoritarianism,” but it appears to be something like the use of state power, by those with access to it, to gain an advantage within a formally democratic system. My chief critique would be that this is implicitly presented as a quasi-equilibrium state, when it can’t at all be stable. In the nature of things, absent great incompetence, the advantage of power augments itself continually. There’s no such thing as “democracy, with a little bit of authoritarianism.” There’s simply a progression from (aspirational) democracy to authoritarianism. We’ve observed it in plain sight since 1980; what’s new is simply the acceleration. In that regard, it is simply comical to observe the tip-toeing that polite society requires even to approach mentioning our existential crisis of governance, from the absurd tentativeness of the piece’s title (“Do the Republicans even believe in democracy anymore?”) to Mr. Tomasky’s invocation of our nation’s “strong institutions and traditions” that he suggests will save us from concentrated power going for broke.

    • Submitted by Linda Hildebrant on 02/25/2020 - 03:05 pm.

      Thank you for an exceptionally helpful answer to a long-held question. Unfortunately the explanation is much scarier than my previous unsatisfactory head-banging.

  10. Submitted by Terry McPartland on 02/18/2020 - 06:07 pm.

    So if it’s a sunny day and I say, look at all the blue sky. You still may find clouds. Therefore you find mendacity in my statement. Trump says Mexico pays for it … You mean literally or by putting 20,000 plus. Mexican armed forces to stop migrants instead of us doing it. Again. Make America Great Again, it’s definitional , I may like a strong military and safe streets. You may say militaristic state and police brutality. You may say good people on both sides of issue. You may take it I like racist statues. I may take it you don’t like history that you find objectionable though factual. You may see as objectionable, I could do this to a woman and get away with it. I could look at Trump, Bezos, a 100 billionaires or a 100 Hollywood men and say objectively true statement. I argue the fact checkers are subjective in their truths. Example above , Obama did dig us out of job doldrums. But Trump accelerated employment and those coming back in the workforce are being paid more. As for me proving my point. Only those who seek the truth will bother to find it. Others will try to sell statistics.

  11. Submitted by Joe Musich on 02/18/2020 - 07:20 pm.

    The gop has been denigrating reality for sometime now. That is not an unknown. What we are now witnessing is a result of their long game which we can see still continues. The populace or at least a good proportion of it has fallen into place. The economic condition hardly matters to this crowd although their a rapidly declining number who try to defend the trickle down theories. What keeps the economy going are business that are pretty much independent of government. As the lack of regulation evolved more throughly their independence increased. They put their jobs and monies off shore. They invested very little here. These were not ideas necessarily supported by democrats with either a capital or small d. We will see in very short order that this independence is going to crumble as bigger economies over power the playing field. We had an opportunity in trying to create a world economy for the good of humanity. But we seem to have blown it.

    • Submitted by joe smith on 02/19/2020 - 08:47 am.

      Trump cut taxes and reduced regulations (GOP standard playbook) the economy took off. Less folks on welfare, middle class average salary up from 2016 60k to present 65k, historic low employment numbers for Blacks/Latinos, got rid of NAFTA disaster….. Trump has done the job he said he would do….. What is the Democrats plan for the economy? Nobody on the debate stage can articulate a coherent plan.

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 02/19/2020 - 09:56 am.

        The economy was humming along quite nicely in 2000 when George W. Bush stole the Presidency. This didn’t stop him from claiming and getting all the credit in 2004. Then came 2008. Trump and the GOP learned nothing from this, except maybe that government does pay if you’re rich.

        Those who have ears will listen to what the Democratic challengers have to say about fixing the economy, which is broken for most of the people in this country. Those who choose to listen to and believe lies will close their eyes, their ears and their minds.

        • Submitted by Bob Barnes on 02/20/2020 - 10:55 am.

          Not to defend Bush but you seem to forget the numerous times he called for reforming Fannie and Freddie which Dodd and Frank stonewalled in Congress. It was mainly the Democrats in control of Congress that failed to act to prevent the housing bubble and subsequent collapse.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 02/19/2020 - 02:06 pm.

        Yep, $T+ deficits during the best of the best of the best economies ever, and near 0 interest rates, economy looks more like an addict/junky hooked on financial opiates as the fix to keep functioning. But then economics ( a liberal art) doesn’t look like much of a strong suit for the right wingnut folks.

  12. Submitted by Roy Everson on 02/19/2020 - 02:16 am.

    Perhaps what we’re in the midst of is a “cold civil war.” Like the saying goes, “all’s fair in love and war.” So, if one side senses loss of power for some reason it might feel desperate enough to compromise its own principles in order to achieve victory.
    Among these reasons could include changing demographics that turn whites from majority to minority; or losing the long-fought culture wars, ie legal recognition of same-sex marriage, males using women’s bathrooms and high school girls sports teams; a decline in religious values; legal marijuana; immigrants who talk and look different.
    Believing their values are mocked by Big Hollywood and the MSM the rebs drift to their own reality bubbles. To win the cold civil war they’ll compromise truth, democracy and the social progress that’s made the country once a shining city on the hill. They cheer Trump as their Jefferson Davis who awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to today’s version of John Wilkes Booth. The prospect of popular vote losers ruling as authoritarians bothers them not a bit, at least not until Steve Colbert surrenders to Sean Hannity in a Virginia courthouse.

    (BTW thought “cold civil war” was an original term until a quick Google search found Carl Bernstein using it in July ’19)

  13. Submitted by Dan Handke on 02/19/2020 - 06:24 am.

    Observing the tRUmp White House is like watching an episode of Batman where the Penguin becomes president.

  14. Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/19/2020 - 10:15 am.

    Wonderful comments by Mr Holtman and Mr. Everson, thank you.

    There really isn’t much left to say on this. Trump is a mentally unbalanced, pathological liar, but the entire conservative movement has been mired in lies and known falsehoods for so long that the American frog has long since boiled to death. The existence of the 46% who voted for the unqualified conman and political criminal makes this abundantly clear. Like Lady Macbeth, we can never wash away the blood, no matter how we may try.

    What we have in 2020 is the open and obvious rise of an American fascist party that advocates an ethno-nationalist state, one that gives a free hand to plutocrats while wrecking the fiscal position of the federal government as a way to keep the image of a “great economy!” in view. The question is merely how long the smoke and mirrors can last. Trump imagines that the situation we be: “Apres moi, les deluge”.

    The minority faction that adheres to this reactionary vision has abandoned democratic means in favor of any tactic that preserves its (democratically illegitimate) hold on power as an “end”. Every norm is happily sacrificed on the alter of retaining that power. Thus every Trump outrage and incident of misrule (such as the incessant lying and lawbreaking) is either celebrated, tolerated as a means to an end, or merely dispassionately observed by political prognosticators as an interesting political experiment.

    The goal of the tsunami of lies is to create an alternate reality for the cultist faction. They thus have an “answer” for everything (and a revisionist history for everything), since there is a lie for everything. And every organ for determining truth is obviously to be viewed with suspicion, contempt and disdain because it does not mimic or produce the alternate reality—as we can see with Mr. Barnes’ serial fact-checker hobby horse. (That he has nothing to put in its place is of no consequence.) But conservatives have derided MSM “fact-checking” attempts for a very long time now, this is standard fare.

    Ultimately the singular goal of the reactionary minority faction (to retain power at any cost) must bring the Constitution into public contempt. The five conservative activists on the Supreme Court (two of whom are democratically illegitimate) also lean heavily on the oar here, with their rulings (among many) that campaign finance cannot be meaningfully regulated, that the Congress may not enforce the voting rights of the 15th Amendment, and that gerrymandering is not forbidden by the Constitution. And now the open (and boastful) reliance by the faction upon the absurd electoral college as the means to power, without the slightest thought of Herr Trump trying to win the popular vote.

    Tolerance of Trump’s fire-hose of lies is actually small potatoes to this faction.

    • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 02/19/2020 - 06:18 pm.

      And to you, also. Quite well said.

      All I might offer differently is that you suggest a public divided between a slim majority of basic democrats and an ethno-nationalist cult of almost as many. To me, it is more descriptive to think of 1/3 1/3 1/3. That is, 1/3 cult, 1/3 basic democrats, and a crucial 1/3 who due to inadequate civic education; the seductions of Netflix, SmartPhone games and Snapchat; or the strain of daily existence, but abetted crucially by the Both Sides laundering of the mainstream media, have no ability, and perhaps no interest, to discern that one of our parties, and not the other, is digging, digging, digging furiously and without cease at the foundations of ordered society. If these folks were to acquire a basic awareness and get themselves down the street once every two years to vote, there’d be still a strong majority in favor of trying to salvage a democracy.

    • Submitted by Roy Everson on 02/20/2020 - 02:28 am.

      “There really isn’t much left to say on this.”

      Must disagree!

  15. Submitted by Todd Peterson on 02/20/2020 - 08:57 am.

    “Oh what a web we weave when we play the game of deceive.” Trump has an allergic reaction to the truth. He tells lies on top of lies to cover the lies he just throws out there and then will go to great lengths to make it stick. He has rather obvious traits, blame Hillary or Obama, denial, more facts come out then he blatantly will admit it in attempts to get ahead of the story and look transparent and nullify the original denial as if the denial lie had never even been told, he’ll do or say something even crazier to distract from what may have been a more serious matter or he’ll throw someone under the bus or attack his accusers and brand them so his cult sees red at the very mention of any one of his long list of enemies. It is straight out of Mien Kampf. This hate and division is not making us great it is making Americans hate fellow Americans. His lies are so numerous by the time the truth starts to take root he’s on to the next lie. Within days he can be on camera denying something and later shamelessly admitting it. Does he have amnesia or does he believe that the public does? Or that everyone especially his own supporters are that gullible? Or that truth just doesn’t even matter? Does he honestly believe his own bs? To his credit he is such a good snake oil salesman he remains popular and party loyalty has saved his skin. It is incredible that his supporters would accept such dishonesty that they would never accept from a Democrat. Dishonesty is common in Washington but this takes it to a whole new level. At the heart of it all is Fox News which had been his state run propaganda machine which has aided and abetted creating a fictional National Enquirer-like parallel universe where fiction is fact and not the reverse. At least some at Fox are growing tired of playing our nation for fools as seen in the amazing segment “Fox doesn’t work for you” and Trump’s recent Twit fits trying to get Fox to tow the party line. History will show that Trump was under Russian influence and the Republican party was in in total denial with the exception of a few. The cracks are being exposed. Like a tattoo and a bad hangover from a night of excess down the road many good and reasonable Trumpers who supported him for his supposed business prowess will have their buyers remorse and come to their senses and say to themselves “my god what was I thinking?”

    • Submitted by BK Anderson on 02/21/2020 - 10:16 am.

      Excellent summary of Trumpism, but I have to say I doubt that even 10% of the 46% who voted for him are ever likely to confess error or reform their spiteful thinking.

      They are American authoritarians through and through. This is what comes of 40+ years of consuming “conservative” nonsense 24/7.

  16. Submitted by Todd Peterson on 02/20/2020 - 10:12 am.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwc9K5W6fgw

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