We’re living in a post-truth world. It’s official: the folks at Oxford Dictionaries picked “post-truth” as the 2016 Word of the Year and, being a dictionary, even defined it:
“Post-truth” — relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief
During the primary election campaign, Politico had its reporters listen to every word of the president-elect’s primary campaign speeches for a week. Politico found that The Donald “offered a lie, half-truth, or outright exaggeration approximately once every five minutes—for an entire week.”
From that astonishing, appalling base the Trumpster escalated in the general election. Politico performed the same exercise during the general election campaign and found the Trumpster had “progressed to fibs of various magnitudes just about once every three minutes.”
Nor did The Donald stop after the election. As recently as Thursday, he told a rally in Ohio he had won the election “in a landslide.” In fact, he got 56.9% of the electoral votes, ranking him 46th out of 58. Nixon got 99% in 1972; Reagan got 97% in 1984; even George H. W. Bush in 1988 got 79%. Those were landslides. 56.9%? Not so much.
And, of course, Trump trails in the popular vote by some 2.5 million votes. You have to go back to Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876 to find a bigger spread between the popular vote and the electoral results. The Trumpster famously tweeted that he’d have won the popular vote, too, if not for one million illegal votes. Which proves two things: (1) Trump doesn’t need facts, because he doesn’t have any evidence of illegal voting; and (2) Trump is even worse at arithmetic than at telling the truth. But WC has digressed.
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this latest post-election lie is that it was uttered as a part of Trump’s gloating. If a stupid lie is one that it easily disproven, what is a stupid, unnecessary lie? What does it tell you about the moral fiber and personal values of the president-elect that he will tell a stupid lie for the stupid purpose of gloating?
When someone like Scottie Nell Hughes, a reality-challenged Trump apologist, can call in to The Diane Rehm Show and, on the air, claim “there are no such things as facts,” the nation may have bigger problems than Donald Trump. And given the size of the Trump problem, that’s a terrifying idea.