An excellent...must read...... for anyone trying to understand how we got here with Trump.
Part of the article:
"Did his voters know that his hogwash was hogwash? Yes and no, the way people paying to visit P. T. Barnum’s exhibitions 175 years ago didn’t much care whether the black woman on display was really George Washington’s 161-year-old former nanny or whether the stitched-together fish/ape was actually a mermaid; or the way today we immerse in the real-life fictions of Disney World. Trump waited to run for president until he sensed that a critical mass of Americans had decided politics were all a show and a sham. If the whole thing is rigged, Trump’s brilliance was calling that out in the most impolitic ways possible, deriding his straight-arrow competitors as fakers and losers and liars—because that bullshit-calling was uniquely candid and authentic in the age of fake.
Trump took a key piece of cynical wisdom about show business—the most important thing is sincerity, and once you can fake that, you’ve got it made—to a new level: His actual thuggish sincerity is the opposite of the old-fashioned, goody-goody sanctimony that people hate in politicians.
If he were just a truth-telling wise guy, however, he wouldn’t have won. Trump’s genius was to exploit the skeptical disillusion with politics—there’s too much equivocating; democracy’s a charade—but also to pander to Americans’ magical thinking about national greatness. Extreme credulity is a fraternal twin of extreme skepticism.
“I will give you everything,” Trump actually promised during the campaign. Yes: “Every dream you’ve ever dreamed for your country” will come true.
Just as the internet enabled full Fantasyland, it made possible Trump as candidate and president, feeding him pseudo-news on his phone and letting him feed those untruths directly to his Twitter followers. He is the poster boy for the downside of digital life. “Forget the press,” he advised supporters—just “read the internet.” After he wrongly declared on Twitter that one anti-Trump protester “has ties to isis,” he was asked whether he regretted tweeting that falsehood. “What do I know about it?” he replied. “All I know is what’s on the internet.”
Trump launched his political career by embracing a brand-new conspiracy theory twisted around two American taproots—fear and loathing of foreigners and of nonwhites. In 2011, he became the chief promoter of the fantasy that Barack Obama was born in Kenya, a fringe idea that he brought into the mainstream. Only in the fall of 2016 did he grudgingly admit that the president was indeed a native-born American—at the same moment a YouGov/Huffington Post survey found that a majority of Republicans still believed Obama probably or definitely had been born in Kenya. Conspiracies, conspiracies, still more conspiracies. OnFox & Friends Trump discussed, as if it were fact, the National Enquirer’s suggestion that Ted Cruz’s father was connected to JFK’s assassination: “What was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting? It’s horrible.” The Fox News anchors interviewing him didn’t challenge him or follow up. He revived the 1993 fantasy about the Clintons’ friend Vince Foster—his death, Trump said, was “very fishy,” because Foster “had intimate knowledge of what was going on. He knew everything that was going on, and then all of a sudden he committed suicide … I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder.” He has also promised to make sure that “you will find out who really knocked down the World Trade Center.” And it has all worked for him, because so many Americans are eager to believe almost any conspiracy theory, no matter how implausible, as long as it jibes with their opinions and feelings.
Not all lies are fantasies and not all fantasies are lies; people who believe untrue things can pass lie-detector tests. For instance, Trump probably really believed that “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years,” the total falsehood he told leaders of the National Sheriffs’ Association at the White House in early February. The fact-checking website PolitiFact looked at more than 400 of his statements as a candidate and as president and found that almost 50 percent were false and another 20 percent were mostly false.
He gets away with this as he wouldn’t have in the 1980s or ’90s, when he first talked about running for president, because now factual truth really is just one option. After Trump won the election, he began referring to all unflattering or inconvenient journalism as “fake news.” When his approval rating began declining, Trump simply refused to believe it: “Any negative polls” that may appear, the president tweeted at dawn one morning from Mar-a-Lago, “are fake news.”
The people who speak on Trump’s behalf to journalists and the rest of the reality-based world struggle to defend or explain his assertions. Asked about “the president’s statements that are … demonstrably not true,” the White House counselor Kellyanne Conway asked CNN’s Jake Tapper to please remember “the many things that he says that are true.” According to The New York Times, the people around Trump say his baseless certainty “that he was bugged in some way” by Obama in Trump Tower is driven by “a sense of persecution bordering on faith.” And indeed, their most honest defense of his false statements has been to cast them practically as matters of religious conviction—he deeply believesthem, so … there. When White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked at a press conference about the millions of people who the president insists voted illegally, he earnestly reminded reporters that Trump “has believed that for a while” and “does believe that” and it’s “been a long-standing belief that he’s maintained” and “it’s a belief that he has maintained for a while.”
Which is why nearly half of Americans subscribe to that preposterous belief themselves. And in Trump’s view, that overrides any requirement for facts."
What the article pointed out is that the reason Trump got people to vote for him is that they wanted to believe him,they were already pre-disposed to believing in lies....even if he and his reality was totally false.