Throughout his life and career, Donald Trump has lived in an alternate reality. He claims he never backs down [he does when forced to settle in the face of losing in court], that he always wins [he doesn’t], and that everyone loves him [we don’t]. During the campaign, journalists found it very difficult to do traditional fact-checking, because the untruths came so thick and fast.
Seventy year old men don’t really change, especially in the face of what Trump can claim is a resounding victory. Most recently, he has posted on Twitter that the New York Times is losing subscriptions because of the anger of his voters at their coverage of the election. No, says the Times. The day after the election, online subscriptions increased six times faster than normal. Both of those things can’t be true.
Trump’s ability to lie convincingly, pathologically in my view, is a huge problem going forward. He’s going to be the president, with the biggest bully pulpit in the world. The press can’t call him a liar every day; they simply won’t be believed. And, for Trump voters, fact checking seems entirely irrelevant from the get-go.
We all know how hard it is to solved problems even when we agree on what the problem is. Having a president who lives in an alternate reality, and half the country eager to follow him there, is an ominous sign.