In surreal moment, Trump told CPAC the truth about his lies
In a speech filled with lies, bragging and intimidating attacks that observers have come to expect, former President Donald Trump offered a rare moment of erased honesty over the weekend to the CPAC audience .
He referred to the conservative conference’s practice of holding a straw poll to see who participants prefer to be the next Republican Party presidential candidate – a contest other polls suggest he still dominates. But as he spoke, the poll was not yet complete, so he telegraphed exactly how he would react, regardless of the results.
“You have a poll coming out, unfortunately – I want to know what it is,” he said. “Now, if it’s bad, I deny – I say it’s wrong. If it’s right, I say this is perhaps the most accurate poll ever.”
None of this is a revelation, of course. Since at least 2015, Trump has always transparently inflated polls that showed he was doing well and attacked polls that showed him underperforming as fake. And he has at times playfully suggested that his critiques were driven by self-interest and ego rather than genuine concerns about the validity of a poll, though perhaps never as directly as he did. done this weekend.
Why would he admit something like that? It’s, like crying out loud about disappointing polls, another power game. It shows his dominance over his fans that he can admit that part of his tactics to them directly, and they laugh and eat him. It proves how much they are in his grip on him that he can tell them that he will lie to their face and that they will ask for more. And for them, it provides a psychological defense mechanism whenever they see that he is lying. Since he can admit that he sometimes lies, they can persuade themselves that his lies prove even more how powerful he is. It’s a display of domination, and anyone on the team can feel like they are part of the dominant group. With this mindset, critical writers like myself or TV pundits who bemoan the death of the truth are just sore losers, sad not to be on the team.
It’s a well-established fact of the psychology of Trump and his supporters, so I don’t normally think it’s worth mentioning in the days of his post-presidency. His remarks carry much less weight now than they did when he was leading the US military. But in this case, those assertions, that admission, matter because of the main reason Trump is still relevant in American politics: the Big Lie.
The lie that Trump won the election is pushing the Republican legislatures to enact new election laws that they hope will bolster their advantage, and the Big Lie can even potentially trick them into circumventing election results that they don’t. not like in the near future. This could inspire future violence, as we saw on January 6. These are major threats to American democracy.
But Trump’s big lie is based on exactly the same kind of lie he just admitted in the polls. In November 2020, he looked at the results in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, and he didn’t like what he saw. When the counting was in progress, he urged those states that he saw as good to stop counting, and he urged those states that he saw as bad to keep counting, hoping the outcome would change. He and his team were outraged by the voting procedures and the changes in the states where he lost, but they remained silent on those same changes in the states where he won. It was always transparent frivolity.
Now he admits, as has always been obvious, that he is indulging in exactly this kind of lie – this selfish confirmation bias – that anyone should be able to objectively admit to be flawed and intentionally misleading. . No one would accept it from their political opponents, and few others would openly admit that it is what they themselves do.
And yet, the 2021 GOP will hear this confession, and it will applaud. It will prioritize around the obvious and intentional lie, and it will demand that the rest of the country respect those choices. This is what the modern American electorate must face.
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