* Erik’s Editorial: The Guilty Parties Who Put American Democracy At Risk In The Name Of Donald Trump

US White House upside down (public domain).

I do not fault stupid people for making the stupid decision to elect Donald Trump in 2016.

I do fault smart people for making stupid decisions. These include:

1. Senators who voted to acquit Donald Trump in his no-witnesses-allowed impeachment trial, including primarily Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell:

* Impeachment of Donald Trump (2020-02-05)

* Mitch McConnell (2020-02-05)

2. Members of the GOP who voted to disenfranchise voters in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin – before, during, and AFTER the 2021 storming of the United States Capitol – including Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jody Hice (R–GA-10), Mo Brooks (R–AL-05), Scott Perry (R–PA-10), Josh Hawley (R–MO), and Louie Gohmert (R–TX-01).

* 2021 Storming Of The United States Capitol (2021-01-06)

* 2020 United States Presidential Election Electoral College Count (2021-01-06 – 2021-01-07)

3. Donald Trump’s cabinet, who could have invoked the 25th Amendment to remove POTUS at any time:

* Cabinet Of Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

4. Social media, including especially Facebook and Twitter, for allowing their social networks to be used as platforms for hate speech.

* Donald Trump On Social Media (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

5. Mainstream media, including especially CNN (on the left) and Fox News (on the right) for not doing their jobs – asking questions until they get answers – and allowing POTUS to lie unchecked.

* Veracity Of Statements By Donald Trump (2017-01-21 – PRESENT)

6. Lawmakers at all levels, for failing to fix bad laws and for failing to enact good laws. Changes that must be made going forward include:

Limiting POTUS power:

  • Executive order power must be limited.
  • All cabinet members (acting/interim/actual) must be confirmed by Senate.
  • Treaties and tariffs must be the role of Congress so that POTUS cannot engage in trade wars.
  • War Powers Act must be updated to limit POTUS power to deploy the military.
  • Special Counsel Act must be updated to make clear that POTUS cannot fire special counsel.

Writing better and new laws:

  • Impeachment Act of 2021, to define how impeachment is conducted, including the requirement to have witnesses.
  • Follow the lead of The Restatements Of The Law project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restatements_of_the_Law) and codify major SCOTUS cases, including especially Roe v. Wade.
  • Fix the Census.
  • Fix immigration.
  • Fix SCOTUS processes, such as limiting appointments to 2 per POTUS with the number of SCOTUS justices fixed at the number of Federal Circuits (currently 13).
  • Election reform, including who is qualified to run for POTUS and that tax forms must be disclosed to do so.

Just to name a few.

Stupid people, bad laws, and lies got us into this mess.

Smart people, good laws, and the truth can get us out of this mess.



Some Still Believe Trump’s Falsehoods

Recent polls indicate a steady decline in the percentage of Americans who believe Donald Trump’s constant flow of falsehoods. (According to The Washington Post’s ongoing tally, Trump made 4,713 false or misleading statements in his first 592 days in office.) The most recent CNN poll conducted by SSRS shows that Trump’s credibility rating is at an all-time low, with only 32 percent of respondents in a random sampling saying that they see Trump as honest and trustworthy—that is, they believe him when he spouts those falsehoods.

The same poll asked respondents to compare Trump with “most other politicians in Washington” on these factors: honesty, intelligence, corruptness, and being “in touch” (presumably with what’s actually going on outside Trump’s own mind). Donald Trump was on the lower end of each of these comparisons. Regarding honesty, 45 percent feel that Trump is less honest than most other Washington politicians. 47 percent view Trump as less intelligent, 41 percent see him as more corrupt, and 47 percent say Trump is less “in touch.” On the other hand, 27 percent say that Trump is more honest, as well as less corrupt, 28 percent say that he is more “in touch,” and 22 percent say that Donald Trump is more intelligent than other politicians in Washington.

So, what about that 32 percent who still see Donald Trump’s falsehoods as truths (27 percent of whom said he is more honest as well as less corrupt than most other Washington politicians)? How is it that, even in the face of blatant falsehoods (also known as lies), even this small percentage of people continue to put their trust in the veracity of what Donald Trump says and does?

A plausible explanation might be what Michael Shermer proposes in his 2011 book, The Believing Brain:

“Simply put, beliefs come first and explanations for beliefs follow. The brain…is a belief engine. Using sensory data that flow in through the senses, the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning, forming beliefs. Once beliefs are formed, the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, accelerating the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive-feedback loop.”

In other words, once we form a belief, we continue to look for “evidence” that supports that belief. And to reinforce the “truth” of that belief, we reject data that contradicts the validity of that belief.

This could explain why, even when presented with evidence of corruptness and exposure of falsehood, supporters of Donald Trump continue to support him, no matter what. All humans, as a matter of fact, tend to nourish the foundation of their beliefs in this way, rejecting anything that contradicts them.

One would hope, though, that most of us, at least when confronted with evidence of someone’s dishonesty, corruptness, and lack of integrity, might find it logical to change our minds about that person. Trump supporters, however, go one step further in rejecting contradicting evidence. They reject even the notion that Donald Trump’s falsehoods are, in fact, falsehoods. This allows them to pinch off their receptiveness to even obvious, proven facts when those facts contradict what Trump has said, thus stopping even a trickle of truth before it threatens them.

Donald Trump’s supporters ignore his many, many falsehoods because they have perhaps arrived at the point where they are unable to recognize them as such. Or, if they recognize his statements as false or misleading, they easily explain them away. Or, if they can’t, they find a way to simply dismiss them. Trump supporters feel that they have found someone who represents them – who “has their backs,” however far from reality that idea is. So, despite Trump’s (now more than) 4,713 falsehoods, they will do whatever it takes to support their belief in him.

Unraveling President Trump’s top 5 claims | Fact Checker
Washington Post  [2018-09-04]

Despite Scandals, Trump Supporters Remain Committed | VOA News [2018-09-10]