Donald Trump is now in a neck-and-neck race with Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
How is this possible, given the stream of blatant lies, distortions, and half-truths that continuously billow forth from his mouth, not to mention the unbroken stream of unforgivable insults and offenses that are his trademark?
First, the fact that he is even with Hillary Clinton tells us something important about the electorate and the way political opinion is formed in 2016.
The old rules where character and truthfulness were critical factors in the choice of a president no longer seem to apply.
In part, this phenomenon is the result of the impact of “the infnite expansion of the present moment” with the advent of social media and electronic media that seem devoid of historical context, or even the context of what happened two weeks ago.
In part, it is the result of a failure of educational institutions in the project of civic education. The latter represens the greatest challenge and most important responsiblity of the educational system.
There is no more important task than turning a potential barbarian into an educated citizen who can think about politics, morality, and political choices in an analytical manner, and make decisions rationally.
In part, it may also be the product of the cowardice and lack of principles of many political leaders who have failed to oppose Trump, and to call him out for his lies and distortions and unforgiveable insults and obscenities.
Taking advantage of this new political arena, Trump seems to have learned a great deal from Vladimir Putin. The latter’s countless fabrications and distortions in the Russian media and its echoes in the West, have provided a striking contemporary example of the effective use of lies and propaganda.
Putin, like German leaders from 1932-1945 and Soviet leaders since Lenin, has used the propaganda methods of telling big lies, and repeating big and smaller lies continuously. This desensitizes audiences over time, so that new lies just seem to be “more of the same”.
This profusion of lies and distortions continues incessantly, seemingly allowing no opportunity for fact-checking or rebuttal, until the senses of listeners are overwhelmed.
Putin, the KGB man, has perfected these techniques and used them effectively in the Crimea, the Ukraine, Syria, in Russia, and elsewhere.
Trump appears to have enhanced his innate abilities as a B.S. master by learning from Putin. Is it any wonder that he so admires the Russian authoritarian leader?
Trumps’s election in November would represent a major and portentous historical development. Yet it looms.
What would be the consequences of entrusting the nuclear codes to Donald Trump? No one knows, but given his ignorance of international affairs and his personality, there is ample cause for grave concern.
Could he navigate his way through a Cuban Missile Crisis like John F. Kennedy did in 1962?
Who could stop Trump from recognizing the Russian annexation of the Crimea, or in effect destroying NATO?
The scenario of a Trump victory approaches.
The Trenchant Observer