Do American voters assume that lies are par for the course for politicians? Would such an assumption explain why Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have gotten as far as they have politically?
In his 08/10/16 column, John Stossel spells out how the two presidential candidates lie:
“I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president. She’s a liar. But I can’t vote for Donald Trump. He lies almost as often. Trump denies he ever said things, claiming he never used terms like “fat pig” to describe women, that he never was open to using nuclear weapons against ISIS, that he never mocked Jon Stewart for changing his name. Smears big and small — Trump just denies he said them. . . Clinton lies even more than Trump. She lies about her emails, running from sniper fire, making $100,000 from a $1,000 investment in cattle futures, etc. This column doesn’t have room for all her lies.”
Sure, it is common for a political candidate to accuse a rival of dishonesty, but the false claims Trump and Clinton have been thoroughly exposed by American journalists. Yet, the two candidates keep on going like Energizer bunnies.
What enables them to get away with the falsehoods? Could it be the willful blindness of their supporters?
For example, The Hill quotes Ann Coulter as saying, “Trump has made some mistakes during this campaign, but he hasn’t done anything wrong for months now.”
Trump hasn’t done anything wrong for months now? What alternate reality is Coulter living in? Trump has put his foot in his mouth so often that he now has athlete’s tongue. Coulter proves that denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.
In Clinton’s case, her supporters may be admitting in private that she lies, but they may be tolerating her fibs in order to prevent Trump from winning in November. It is as if Clinton’s supporters are saying, “Sure, Clinton lies like the devil, but Trump is the devil.”
Does the disapproval of a politician’s rival justify the fibs of that politician?
What excuse do politicians have for fibbing? Do politicians deliberately tell falsehoods out of pure selfishness on their part, or do they do so because they think that voters can’t handle the truth?
Whatever the case may be, politicians don’t get away with fibs without help from enablers. Perhaps the latter are the real political villains.