By Steve Denning – Assisted by the least qualified White House staff in history, Trump has continued to breach conventional wisdom and practice. Yet Liberal analysts have watched with dismay as polls have showed stable support from Trump’s base, no matter how outrageous the behavior. Surely, they said, the economic reality of what Trump is up to must eventually kick in.
Now a trifecta of bad economic news for his base raises the question whether that time has finally arrived:
- Millions of Americans are surprised to find their tax refunds shrinking or disappearing.
- Farm incomes are declining at a record pace.
- The longest government shutdown in history had an abrupt economic impact on millions of government employees and subcontractors.
The comfort offered by Trump’s fictions is too seductive to be undermined by facts. To Trump’s base, the beautiful myth of “the Wall” is, and remains, more attractive than the real world.
In this way, “the Wall” has become a code-name for the racist, anti-immigrant isolationist policies of Trump’s presidency and a symbol of multiple toxic policies,
There’s a catch with the use of fictions in politics. “The chief disability of propaganda,” wrote Hannah Arendt in her classic book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, “is that it cannot fulfill the longing of the masses for a completely consistent, comprehensible, and predictable world without seriously conflicting with common sense.”
For a time, common sense can be held at bay and prevented from intruding into the cocoon of reassuring fiction. Yet the deliberate distortion of reality is also the cause of propaganda’s inevitable downfall. It is the inexorable collision with reality that eventually ruins the cocoon. It’s not a matter of whether. It’s only a question of when. more>