Wednesday, November 29, 2017


In The New York Times, there's a new story from Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin about President Trump's delusions. Yesterday, after Haberman previewed the story on CNN, I gave you my thoughts about Trump's recent assertions that the Access Hollywood tape in which he boasts about groping women was fabricated or doctored -- Trump, I said, has trained himself not to process reality the way the rest of us do, and simply doesn't believe what he'd rather not believe, even when an unpleasant fact is incontrovertibly true.

Trump has to perform a lot of mental gymnastics to make himself believe that he didn't say the things he said on that tape -- but I don't think a couple of other Haberman/Martin revelations imply unhealthy thought processes on Trump's part:
Advisers say he continues to privately harbor a handful of conspiracy theories that have no grounding in fact.

In recent months, they say, Mr. Trump has used closed-door conversations to question the authenticity of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate. He has also repeatedly claimed that he lost the popular vote last year because of widespread voter fraud, according to advisers and lawmakers.
You don't have to be mentally ill to be a birther -- you just have to be a Republican. In a 2016 NBC/Survey Monkey poll, only about a quarter of Republicans said that Obama was born in the U.S.; the rest didn't believe it or weren't sure.

And voter fraud? The Republican Party has been telling us since the Bush years that voter fraud is rampant. One GOP-run state after another has enacted laws to make registering and voting more difficult for groups that are disproportionately Democratic, all in an effort to wipe out this scourge. If you're in the conservative media bubble, you're not insane to believe that voter fraud is widespread -- you just believe what you're told by people you trust.

If Trump doesn't think the Access Hollywood tape is genuine, he's lying to himself about himself. But if he believes in birtherism and thinks there's a voter fraud epidemic, that just means he's like millions of other Republicans. Falling for effective, relentless propaganda is not a sign of mental illness.

No comments: