The reason why people believe Trump’s lies

Business Insider’s Josh Barrow explains:

The conservative information sphere has long been full of lies. The reason for this is that lying has been the most effective way to promote many of the policies favored by donor-class conservatives, and so they built an apparatus to invent and spread the best lies.

For example, wealthy conservatives favor lower taxes on themselves for the obvious reason that this lets them keep more wealth for themselves. …

So, conservatives built a network of think tanks and magazines and pressure groups funded by wealthy donors whose job was to come up with arguments that would sell the donor-class agenda to the masses. …

For example, conservative think tanks have put out elaborate models, purporting to show enormously positive economic benefits from Republican plans to cut taxes on owners of capital and spending on social programs. The point of these models is to show that fiscal policy that would seem to be regressive is actually good for everyone.

These models rely on assumptions that are outside the mainstream of economic opinion and overstate the economic benefits of regressive fiscal policy. That is, they lie. …

Trump’s contribution to conservative messaging has not been the introduction of widespread lying. Rather, it has been his realization that you don’t have to just lie about what the donors want lied about, and you don’t need a fake model, because nobody’s paying attention to the numbers anyway.

You don’t need an elaborate approach to “dynamic scoring.” You can just say, “I’ll make us so rich,” and mutter some nonsense about the trade deficit, and you can convince approximately the same set of voters.

You don’t need a clever replotting of climate data when you can just say the whole thing is a conspiracy invented by the Chinese.

Trump lies and lies and lies and lies and lies and he does not even respect his supporters enough to lie well. You would think he would get in trouble for this, but Republican elites have spent so many years intentionally discrediting the media and policy experts and others who would dare to tell the truth about the public policy that his lies are, in fact, convincing enough for the conservative base.

Trump talks about a (fake) crime epidemic and a (fake) invasion of Mexican criminals and a (fake) Chinese trade conspiracy and a (fake) plot to rig the election. Do conservative elites hate these claims because they are lies, or because they are lies that do nothing in particular to advance the interests of elite conservatives?

A fact-full environment wouldn’t just stop candidates from running on a platform of bombing ISIS to take the oil and getting Mexico to pay for the wall so we can beat China and be so rich. A fact-full environment will also be very inhospitable for ordinary Republican policy platforms of the sort advanced by Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush.

Bush’s promise of 4% growth wasn’t more honest than Donald Trump’s promises; it was just more artful.

If Republicans want to tell the truth and win elections, they will have to advance different policy ideas — and that’s why they lie.

And this isn’t the first time we’ve been told that most Republican platforms have been based on lies. This was common knowledge after Mitt Romney lost in 2012:

People on the right are lied to all the time. The billionaire hemorrhoid’s lies were just more appealing to the GOP base.

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