The Atlantic article by Sarada Peri assumes an event will occur that is endemic. Trump has destabilized facts and their media frames. If he’s going to cheat what was he doing before this moment, starting with when he lied about the wealth inherited from his father.
Democratic primary voters care deeply about electability. What most want is simple: a candidate who can beat President Donald Trump in November. So they worry about whether former Vice President Joe Biden will inspire young people, and about whether Senator Bernie Sanders will scare away old people. They debate whether a political revolution is necessary to energize the base, or whether the revolution will dissuade independents. Will the historic candidacy of a woman or a gay man take off or implode?
But these concerns about policy and broad cultural appeal are secondary to the true “electability” crisis facing whichever Democrat wins the nomination: He or she will need to run against a president seemingly prepared, and empowered, to lie and cheat his way to reelection.
Factually, Trump’s position is rather weak. A stronger candidate would be flying higher, given the economic recovery that began (and yielded greater success) under President Barack Obama’s watch. While Trump remains an untouchable, vengeful god within the Republican Party and is competitive in crucial battleground states, he is relentlessly divisive. He must win back the suburban voters who handed the House of Representatives to Democrats in 2018—an especially difficult task now that he’s released an Achilles’ heel of a budget that would cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, and a host of other popular programs.
But—and this must be said out loud—the facts may not matter.
If past is prologue, Trump will say absolutely anything necessary to attract and maintain support, including patent untruths. His pathological lying has been well documented and yet never ceases to stun. By one count, he has told more than 15,000 lies since taking office. A small sampling: After falsely declaring that Hurricane Dorian was headed toward Alabama, he displayed a doctored map to cover his tracks, and his chief of staff made the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration release a statement defending his lie. Trump also recently claimed that he rescued health coverage for people with preexisting conditions—even though he has gutted the Affordable Care Act and is suing to overturn it. One day after tweeting, “We will not be touching your Social Security or Medicare in Fiscal 2021 Budget,” his budget revealed cuts to both.
How can Democrats run against a candidate who will simply deny his unpopular positions and make up nonexistent accomplishments? No amount of fact-checking can counter his constant stream of mendacity, which has become white noise in our political culture.
— Adam Schiff (@AdamSchiff) February 23, 2020