In a scorching column for the New York Times, economist Paul Krugman said that members of the Republican Party who used to twist facts and use bad faith arguments to win over voters now just blatantly lie because they see President Donald Trump getting away with it.
According to the Nobel Prize-winning Krugman, GOP lawmakers used to employ “spin” — alternative narratives manipulating facts — to sell their policies, but that has all changed in the current political atmosphere.
“Do you remember political spin? Politicians used to deceive voters by describing their policies in misleading ways. For example, the Bush administration was prone to things like claiming that tax breaks for the wealthy were really all about helping seniors — because extremely rich Americans tend to be quite old,” he explained, before getting to the point: “But Republicans no longer bother with deceptive presentations of facts. Instead, they just flat-out lie.”
He then laid out his case.
“What do they lie about? Lots of things, from crowd sizes to immigrant crime, from steel plants to the Supreme Court,” Krugman wrote. “But right now the most intense, coordinated effort at deception involves health care — an issue where Republicans are lying nonstop about both their own position and that of Democrats.”
According to the columnist, “Republicans have a problem here: The policies they hate, and Democrats love, are extremely popular. Medicare has overwhelming support. So does protection for pre-existing conditions, which is even supported by a large majority of Republicans.”
“Now, you might imagine that Republicans would respond to the manifest unpopularity of their health care position by, you know, actually changing their position,” he caustically added. “But that would be hopelessly old-fashioned. As I said, what they’ve chosen to do instead is lie, insisting that black is white and up is down.”
Case in point, he notes, is President Donald Trump’s lie-filled op-ed in USA Today where he blatantly spread falsehoods about the Democrats.
After questioning whether the president — noted for his short attention span — actually wrote the piece, Krugman asserted. “Mostly it was an attack on proposals for ‘Medicare for all,’ a slogan that refers to a variety of proposals, from universal single-payer to some form of public option.”
“And what did ‘Trump’ say Democrats would do?” he continued. “Why, that they would ‘eviscerate’ the current Medicare program. Oh, and that they would turn America into Venezuela. Because that’s what has happened to countries that really do have single-payer, like Canada and Denmark.”
“Why do Republicans think they can get away with such blatant lies?” he asked rhetorically. “Partly it’s because they expect their Fox-watching followers to believe anything they’re told.”
According to Krugman, the media is also complicit in spreading Trump and GOP lies.
“They [the GOP] can still count on enablers in the mainstream news media,” he wrote. “After all, why did USA Today approve this piece? Letting Trump express his opinion is one thing; giving him a platform for blatant lies is another.”
According to the columnist, the GOP’s “big lie” might well work and that we will all know if the public bought it when the midterm election rolls around.
You can read the whole piece here.