2015 Lie of the Year: A big, beautiful trophy
by Tom Sullivan
It is Tuesday, and already it's tedious reading (and writing) about Donald Trump. Yesterday Trump received PolitiFact's annual Lie of the Year Award for 2015:
In considering our annual Lie of the Year, we found our only real contenders were Trump’s -- his various statements also led our Readers’ Poll. But it was hard to single one out from the others. So we have rolled them into one big trophy.
A big, beautiful trophy.
Trump has "perfected the outrageous untruth as a campaign tool," says Michael LaBossiere. The philosophy professor at Florida A&M University tells PolitiFact, "He makes a clearly false or even absurdly false claim, which draws the attention of the media. He then rides that wave until it comes time to call up another one."
Meanwhile, in an interview with NPR, President Obama made no apologies for combating ISIS "appropriately and in a way that is consistent with American values." We have to remember "who we are."
Good advice. We seem to have forgotten. Americans who once admired George Washington, who according to legend could not tell a lie, now prefer a candidate who cannot tell the truth. And they themselves cannot even tell the truth about that.
An analysis by Morning Consult finds that Trump's support may be more than what polls reflect. He does better in online polls than in those done over the phone. About six points better, according to Morning Consult's polling director, Kyle Dropp:
"People are slightly less likely to say that they support him when they're talking to a live human" than when they are in the "anonymous environment" of an online survey, Dropp said.Blue-collar voters are simply not embarrassed about supporting Trump. Take that, you lefty, politically correct, Muslim lovers.
The most telling part of the experiment, however, was that not all types of people responded the same way. Among blue-collar Republicans, who have formed the core of Trump's support, the polls were about the same regardless of method. But among college-educated Republicans, a bigger difference appeared, with Trump scoring 9 points better in the online poll.
Social-desirability bias — the well-known tendency of people to hesitate to confess certain unpopular views to a pollster — provides the most likely explanation for that education gap, Dropp and his colleagues believe.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank looks at how "political correctness" has become Republicans' one-size-fits-all evasion for any question in this election season:
The notion of political correctness became popular on college campuses a quarter-century ago but has recently grown into the mother of all straw men. Once a pejorative term applied to liberals’ determination not to offend any ethnic or other identity group, it now is used lazily by some conservatives to label everything classified under “that with which I disagree.” GOP candidates are now using the “politically correct” label to shut down debate — exactly what conservatives complained politically correct liberals were doing in the first place.But that's okay. When you're in love, the whole world is Trumpish. "I’m right and you’re wrong," writes Catherine Rampell writes (also at the Washington Post):
In a country that has become not just polarized, but also atomized; in which we root unwaveringly for our own political “teams” composed of those who look, think, vote and raise children exactly as we do; and in which we treat opposing viewpoints as motivated by malice or stupidity rather than honest disagreement, perhaps it is not so surprising that so many Americans have come down with a serious case of dictator envy, a longing for a political strongman (such as, say, Donald Trump) who will put our neighbors in their place and skirt the pluralistic niceties and nonsense of democracy.Trump himself respects a strongman like Vladimir Putin. When he's not boasting about how strong he is himself.
"Putin hasn’t changed," writes Dante Ramos of the Boston Globe. The GOP has. To defense hawks, Putin is a former KGB head who "stole an entire peninsula from a pro-Western government in Ukraine and joined the Syrian conflict on the side of Bashar al-Assad, the dictator whom the United States has tried to isolate." But to the Trump faction, Putin is their kind of guy, like Trump. They admire the kind of leader who would torture confessions out of prisoners (as seen on TV!). Stability. Strength. Casting aside niceties such as the rule of law for law by rulers.
Be careful, America. You are not so exceptional that it can't happen here.
Happy Hollandaise everyone!