FAKE NEWS, FAKE ELECTIONS

Posted in Quick Hits on July 27th, 2017 by Ed

For the handful of you who have been reading since like 2003 I hope you will join me in the thrill of seeing "Gin and Tacos" in the Washington Post. The opinion editor was kind enough to provide me with space to make a very important point based on one of the more useful and relevant findings in political science in recent years: conservative, anti-government parties benefit tremendously from undermining political trust and efficacy among the public. When people internalize the message that government is inept, incompetent, and unable to touch anything without ruining it, the party with the message, "Government sucks and should be torn down" inevitably benefits.

That has been the basis of conservative politics in the U.S. since the late 1970s. But now Trump is extending it to the electoral process – one of the few remaining aspects of our system that people had some modicum of faith in. By undermining confidence in election results he is setting up a future in which any and every election outcome can be cast as illegitimate because "everybody knows" that there's massive fraud and the votes are Fake anyway.

It's a dismal future. This is the dynamic in banana republics where the elections really are fake. And we see what it takes for power to change hands in that environment.