Trump tells lies, and everyone knows it. He utters easily provable falsehoods because they reveal his unlimited capital; he can say anything he wants and get away with it. His surrogates echo these lies as a display of loyalty. And his followers enjoy the lies, because it’s a way to own the libs.
Tyler Cowan’s OpEd in Bloomberg describes why lies are a valuable medium exchange in MAGA land:
- Undercutting Independence and Building Dependency: “By requiring subordinates to speak untruths, a leader can undercut their independent standing, including their standing with the public, with the media and with other members of the administration. That makes those individuals grow more dependent on the leader and less likely to mount independent rebellions against the structure of command.”
- Loyalty Testing and Trust Building: “Another reason for promoting lying is what economists sometimes call loyalty filters. If you want to ascertain if someone is truly loyal to you, ask them to do something outrageous or stupid. If they balk, then you know right away they aren’t fully with you.”
- Signaling Power and Solidifying Support: “Trump specializes in lower-status lies, typically more of the bald-faced sort, namely stating “x” when obviously “not x” is the case. They are proclamations of power, and signals that the opinions of mainstream media and political opponents will be disregarded.”