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.

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