Donald Trump recently lied about voter fraud
. The political world can debate whether or not it matters that Trump lied; and there's room for discussion about why the president-elect told this particular lie; but there's no denying the unambiguous facts. Reality is reality.Or not
In an interview on "The Diane Rehm Show," Donald Trump supporter and CNN political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes declared the end of facts. Or, in her own words: "There's no such thing, unfortunately, anymore of facts."She explained that contention, too: "And so Mr. Trump's tweet amongst a certain crowd, a large -- a large part of the population, are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some -- in his -- amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up."
Hughes, a notable pro
. "One thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts, they're not really facts."Conservative support for relativity of the truth isn't entirely new, though we don't usually hear it articulated with quite this much candor. As the argument goes, Trump's lies aren't lies to the people who assume his lies are true.How can there be coherent debate over substantive policies when partisans and ideologues are, according to some pundits, welcome to embrace their own alternative version of reality? I haven't the foggiest idea.That said, the evidence of Trump followers embracing this post-truth approach
with great enthusiasm is hard to miss.
In a revealing Thursday morning segment on CNN, Donald Trump supporters claimed that 3 million people voted illegally in the recent presidential election and that President Barack Obama had urged non-citizens to cast ballots. Both claims are false.The segment featured just five Trump supporters, but highlighted a broader concern about the spread of fake news during the election, with bogus pro-Trump stories widely shared on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
One of the more common sentiments in the wake of this year's presidential election has been calls for "blue" America to spend more time listening to Trump voters, respecting their perspective, and understanding their motivations. At face value, it's hardly an outrageous suggestion -- I don't recall anyone urging "red" America to spend more time listening to Obama voters in 2008, but there's usually no harm in treating people with dignity and learning more about their perspective, especially if you hope to try to win them over to your side of the political divide in future elections.But what's to be gained from more conversations with people who believe demonstrable nonsense and those who believe "there's no such thing" as facts?