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On July 5th, the Post found what appears to be Trump’s most untruthful day yet: seventy-six per cent of the ninety-eight factual assertions he made in a campaign-style rally in Great Falls, Montana, were “false, misleading or unsupported by evidence.”



(The quote above is from the New York Times opinion piece by Bret Stephens on 8/3/18)

The underlying statements are nonsense intended to provoke an emotional reaction and partially made up on the spot — never reasonable assertions drawn from legitimate data or research.  Most statements made during the speech given at a rally are extemporaneous in character and driven by impressions caught during the viewing of Fox News pieces.

Observers have been alarmed by the nonsensical character of the underlying statements– many describe the language as “gibberish.”  Many have questioned his sanity or speculated that there is underlying progressive dementia.  While this is an attractive possibility, it seems unlikely based on his long-term use of this meta-language.  He is communicating with his base supporters, the population (between 30-40%) that believes every assertion, no matter how absurd, or else excuses the lies on the basis of the policies that have come out which align with their basic prejudices.  In other words, they don’t care what he says as long as he continues to “dismantle the administrative state” or put laws in place that reflect their conservative prejudices.

The meta-language used is designed to provoke an emotional reaction; for example, the phrase “Crooked Hillary” is supposed to evoke an image of the former Secretary of State as a corrupt, lying schemer who was only in office due to rampant nepotism; there is no room in this image for the native brilliance, extensive education and training nor the long experience in government, only the suspicious use of a private server and the corruption attached to the Clinton Foundation.  This triggering is so automatic that he need only mention “Crooked Hillary” and the rally crowd immediately begins to chant “Lock her up!  Lock her up!”

By skillful and repetitive use of this meta-language, he can whip the crowd into a fine frenzy and draw in susceptible outsiders who soon are carried away by the raw emotion of his supporters.  The truth or falsehood of any given statement is of no consequence to his supporters nor is it, at the end, of any importance to the speaker.  Thus there is no response to complaints about inaccuracy– the catch-phrases have had their ineluctable effect already.

(image courtesy of and gfkDSGN)

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