Donald Trump is “of the people” perhaps because he practices a common vice: he lies sportively.
People lie all the time. Normal people do; Everyman and Everywoman. And, surely, Every Kid. Sociologists have studied normal, everyday behavior, and have discovered that most people prevaricate many, many times a day.
And it is not just white lies. The fibs are not just out to save others’ feelings, telling them look good when they look like a wreck, or saying you have said something funny when you have squeezed out the world’s lamest pun. And it is not just to make themselves look better, in CYA fashion. Much of their lying is sportive. It is POYA — “pulled out of your ass.”
Everybody, I dare say, has done it. But at some point, most virtuous people forswear the practice. The virtuous make do with telling stories that lack that special, sense-of-an-ending/money-shot touch. They didn’t meet Celebrity X that time. They did not have the snappy comeback. When they forget a funny story . . . they don’t tell it.
Trump, however, makes lying part of his schtick. He runs with it. He “makes shit up.” Not remembering the accurate detail, or the apt statistic — or perhaps like most Ameicans he has no idea what the most relevant fact to cite is — he invents one, on the spot.
And the people roar their approval.
Trump supporters don’t care, in part because the Trump Show is entertaining, in part because they run their own, lamer version of the show nightly, and in part because it annoys the people they hate: leftists and insiders. The Establishment.
And Americans need a liar, because they do not want to confront the truth — that citizens and voters are caught up in the same mess as their politicians, they cannot simply vote their way out of their mess without cost, and that they are morally culpable for the frauds and mass murders their government perpetrates on a daily basis.
Americans for Trump want to feel good about themselves.
They are reacting against some foolish and dangerous people, sure, but they are also reacting against the usual scapegoats as well. Trump plays up some of the most idiotic elements of modern democratic bigotry, the anti-furiner bias and the anti-market bias, for starters. And that is where his lies come in handy.
Indeed, more than just handy. Necessary.