The Trump Con and Fake News

Last week I posted a suggestion that the Electoral College might consider honoring the popular vote and select the winner as president. Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory has passed a million votes and is increasing.

As Alexander Hamilton said, it should ensure “that the office of president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

Time for them to do their job.

The response to my post was fascinating. It seems that any negative post about Donald Trump is almost instantly met with a blizzard of contrary and often bizarre, semi-literate responses. I was rapidly informed that…

  • Trump “won the popular vote in the latest count.”
  • There were millions of votes cast by dead people and illegal immigrants.
  • That our country is not a “demacracy,” but a republic. (As if that means that our representatives did not need to be chosen according to who receives the most votes.)

There were dozens of offensive, often profane comments. (I’ve deleted the most egregious ones.) But the blizzard was instructive. Here’s what I learned:

  • The Trump troll rapid response team is organized and will take on anyone who criticizes the boss.
  • Their posts show a remarkable lack of interest in facts.
  • Insults and crude references reign. These seem to be a substitute for making a coherent argument.
  • Fake news has won the day among these folks. Many of them cite made-up statistics or refer to things that never happened.
  • Challenging them is pointless…you just get accused of being a gullible consumer of “lamestream media.”

The impact of fake news on the election is gradually becoming clear. It was enormously effective at spreading myths and lies about Hillary Clinton. Fake news spread on social media like a disease, and those who read it absorbed its relentless, often-ludicrous, sometimes-monstrous assertions.

As sucker was born every minute.

Someone who has been conned spends a long time in denial, even when faced with the facts of the con. It may take a long time for the voters who wanted to send a message by electing Trump to realize that he will sell them out at every opportunity.

But when their jobs don’t come back, and a trade war costs them more jobs; when the wealthy get enormous new tax breaks and working people lose their health insurance; when their non-white neighbors lose their rights, and when a presidential temper tantrum leads us into a new war, the world may look different than it does now.

And then, hell will have no fury like a voter conned.

For a good article on the election and the Electoral College, see this article in the San Francisco Chronicle by John Diaz.

How much do elections matter? Read about the way the election of 1968 transformed America in Some Way Outa Here.

It’s Time for a Main Street Movement

My pal Darcie Lamond just published a call to beat Trump at his own game, with a message and a movement. It’s a call for the majority – yes, a clear majority voted against him – to band together around our shared values.

A Main Street Movement to Challenge Trump’s Brand

by Darcie Lamondmain-street

Post election divisions continue to grow deeper and more pronounced, yet this trend does not seem to be motivating our president-elect to broaden his appeal and heal the wounds. With each passing day and each announcement, the battle lines are being drawn and we are being asked to choose sides. The Trump team is either determined to inflame or is just tone deaf with picks like Steve Bannon as strategic advisor. Forget Lincoln’s Band of Rivals favored by Obama, the Trump team is willing to float the likes of Sarah Palin as Secretary of the Interior. While these lighting rod characters keep the Trump team in the news, now that the election is over, the shock-jock tactics that helped elect him only fuel resistance and serve to remind us that we are bitterly divided.

Without a candidate to rally behind and without a majority in congress, there are few paths left open to the opposition. For many, the stakes seem extremely high with policies that will result in irreversible damage to the environment, women’s reproductive rights, universal healthcare and immigration reform. Such core principles do motivate people to action. Joining a resistance takes tremendous energy, drive, and deeply held commitments. Election campaigns have funding to maintain key staff and to run effective communication efforts that are required to brand and define a movement. Still, movements do come out of moments like this. The Tea Party is an extremely successful example of a movement that managed to brand itself and amass tremendous political power.

An anti-Trump movement could be quite successful, if it were to align with positions that actually enjoy majority support – abortion rights, responsible gun control, reasonable immigration, sensible environmental protection and tax cuts for the middle class. The movement could brand itself as The Main Street movement and lay claim to the mainstream values that it supported.

Read the whole article…