Musing about law, books, and politics

How Trump’s Lies Keep him in Power

When Trump lies, it energizes his base. This, for example, is a fairly obvious lie:

Many of Trump’s supporters and surrogates know he’s lying and they love it. Trump’s base sees his lies as “fighting back.”

This is how many of Trump’s supporters see him:

When Trump lies, his “enemies” become enraged. The “lions” spin in circles trying to disprove the lies. This creates a self-fulfilling loop: The more outraged Trump’s critics become, the more energized his base.

Trump’s supporters also understand that the lies are destructive—and they want to destroy. So the lies do double duty.

For more on why Trump’s base believes [or pretends to believe] all his lies, see my Slate article.

Trump’s support has remained steady for two years—despite everything we’ve learned. See @FiveThirtyEight‘s polling aggregate:

In early 2019, he dipped when he shut down the government. 2 years ago, he hit a low when the Manafort-Flynn details came out. He bounced back.

Trump’s lies help keep his support steady because of the effectiveness of what the Rand Institute calls the Firehose of Falsehood propaganda method.

The lies not only energize his base and help destroy democracy (by undermining truth and factuality) they also confuse people who are not paying close attention.

This helps keep his approval rating from falling.

So, here’s how Trump’s lies keep him in power:

  • The GOP leaders needs Trump’s base to get reelected.
  • Trump’s lies keep his base energized.
  • As long as his base is energized, he figures enough GOP Senators will vote to acquit, thus keeping Trump in power.

Two things will help combat this. First, put raincoats on the population to protect them from the Firehose of Falsehoods.

Second, the House drafts Articles of Impeachment so compelling that the GOP leadership splinters over how to respond.

So far, it looks to me like the House knows what it’s doing. I agree with this assessment of Pelosi:

The best outcome from the Senate trial is for the Fox-Trump-Reactionary Party to end up in disarray, and then smashed in 2020 so a true center-right party can arise from the ashes.

Of course, it could happen that the Senate removes. At this point, though, I lean toward “still unlikely.”

I think it’s important to have reasonable expectations. Unreasonable expectations leads to disappointment, cynicism and loss of faith in democracy, which helps kill democracy.

[View as a Twitter thread]