A simple explanation of why Trump lies, and why his base loves his lies

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/01/25/a-simple-explanation-of-why-trump-lies-and-why-his-base-loves-his-lies.html



How does this explain “why his base loves his lies?!” It’s appalling! Oh yeah, lie to me trumpy I’m all yours babe uwu :two_hearts:

ETA: like, I know Biden lies, the media lie, I’m being fed lies all the time, no I don’t like it, but what makes trumps lies so palatable, oh gee wonder what it is :thinking:


this is crack reporting on a story that was published, what, 7 years ago.






That’s a good list but I already see a hip-deep layer of BS over the turf before they plant the potent stuff.

  1. Trump’s message of “If you lie, and you’re very good at it, you can have anything you want! Just look at me! … and then look at me some more, aren’t I wonderful?” resonates with the “Gee, I sure wish I had everything I wanted!” crowd.

  2. It’s okay if you lie to the enemy, weakling or someone you plan to swindle later.

  3. It’s especially okay and entertaining if you even imagine heads are exploding. It always makes for a good story later. “Hell ya, I’m a christian!”

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… more like “it’s not a lie if no reasonable person would believe it” :thinking:


“…he can say anything he wants and get away with it”

But the FOX network couldn’t. That’s the weak link. Go after right-wing media and sue 'em when they f-up as FOX did.


I never read the report, and I don’t buy the GOPish “That’s old news; let’s move on” crap.


Yes, plenty of BS too. He often doesn’t care about what the truth is.


And it’s important to keep shining a light on the fact that he lies, lies, and keeps on lying. It’s part of his fundamental self, and informs everything he thinks, says, and does. We must keep calling it out.


Normally I’m very interested in the “why” of things, even things I don’t particurlly like, and would like gone.

Somehow I’ve gotten far more then my fill here.

I don’t care why he lies, why it works for him, why other enjoy his lying. I want to know what will break the cycle. What will make his les unpalatable, what will make people turn away. It clearly isn’t “oh wow that’s a total lie”.

I’ve had it suggested to me that you “can’t reason people out of a position they haven’t reasoned themselves into in the first place; if they got there with emotion not logic they will only leave because of emotion not logic”

The few times I’ve ended up needing to interact with someone spouting MAGA nonsense (hey one nice thing about COVID is I almost never need to see people anymore, which isn’t really nice because a lot of people are nice and humans are social, but it also means I see very few not-nice people either) it seems like the only things that actually get through are “oh, didn’t that hurt you personally…didn’t that hurt your friends?”. It isn’t really all that useful. It takes far too long to focus in on someone I don’t want to interact with in order to poke one small hole in a bubble. I want some mass deployable men style weapon that actually moves the needle here.

Maybe I’m asking too much, but it is still what I want. Something useful.


Yeah, Orwell made this point explicitly decades ago in his novel 1984 with the 2+2=5 bit. Cultists tolerate, rationalize, or are even entertained by the lies so long as he harms/insults/angers those they have been persuaded to hate.

Too few (and often too late) are those who support the face-eating leopards who get to the “But I never thought they’d eat my face” stage.


Yes and.


While watching the news coverage of Steve Bannon’s initial appearance in federal court on Monday, I kept thinking about his 2018 confession to the acclaimed writer Michael Lewis. His quote is like a compass that orients this crazy era of American politics. “The Democrats don’t matter,” Bannon told Lewis. “The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.”

That’s the Bannon business model: Flood the zone. Stink up the joint. As Jonathan Rauch once said, citing Bannon’s infamous quote, “This is not about persuasion: This is about disorientation.”


You’ve got to cultivate your asshole followers. Training is important if you want them to do vile things without remorse.


I had the good fortune of giving a talk a few months back on emotional appeals and campaign language, it came out of successfully selling a tax increase in an overwhelmingly conservative area.

We had some luck with creating wiggle room by going back and forth between confirming and subverting someone’s preconceived notions. “You know A, B, C, and D, but did you know X?” Where X is the message we’re actively trying to push, and C is something that they didn’t actually know, but we want them to internalize and associate with us.

We also had some luck getting emotion to overrule logic to our own benefit. Because we absolutely played on existing anxiety and anti-government sentiment. “Those jackwagons down in the statehouse aren’t funding us, they don’t care if you get left behind, we have to fix this ourselves.” Sure, the audiences we were talking to were the same people who voted those jackwagons into office, but the idea of a government that only helps people who aren’t you is pervasive enough that they just rolled with it.


A fair point. I’m still interested academically, but this doesn’t give answers to what to do. What strikes me is not just that the followers have gotten themselves into this instinctively but also the leaders probably started doing this instinctively too, even if it becomes more deliberate. It’s a story as old as time and pop psychology about cults is a far younger discipline than demagoguery.

I think it can kinda help you understand where they’re coming from? Which could be useful if your goal is an empathic understanding of a person you care about who has gone down a rabbit hole. Or maybe in the unlikely even you’re a politician trying to make a bargain with the house - knowing what motivates the people you gotta bargain with might help you figure out where they will and won’t give (and whether it’s worth trying) - see: Biden negotiating with McCarthy and giving symbolic victories in exchange for real benefits. Or maybe as a first step of “name the problem” before you go “okay, now let’s think of solutions. How to deprogram. How to write media laws. How to convince your (former?) friend.”

But yeah. A lot of the “name the problem” and “why arguing or giving facts doesn’t help” and not enough focus on the next step of “okay now what”. There’s not none - you can find interviews and writers that cover it. But amplifying the message too often that these shitstains are inevitable and there’s no point stating the truth, or that their followers are cultists that are no longer “like us” and beyond beating through argument and engagement with the democratic process can be harmful in itself - achieves their goals (even when the latter parts are sometimes true)

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The cultists like being lied to because they have convinced themselves that it is an honor to be lied to and defrauded by someone who calls himself a manly man.

Trump lies to the cultists because they enjoy it.

There is an element of “If he kicks us in the face even while we’re licking his jackboots, imagine how much harder he will kick the faces of the people we hate!”