The Trump Party’s war on reality

The perverse joke at the heart of so-called reality TV is that it is totally fake — full of cartoonish heroes and villains and contrived dramas. Just like pro wrestling, the Trump presidency, and this week’s Republican National Convention.

It was a slickly produced, flag-bedecked exercise in mass delusion. In the squalid, everyday reality of his presidency, Donald Trump is a fumbling, dissembling, chaotic mess of a “leader” whose MO is denying the nation’s most urgent problems and deflecting blame on others for his failure to manage them effectively.

In the spectacle of the last four nights, however, Trump was anointed America’s only hope for salvation. Speaker after speaker extolled a beaming Trump for his “decisive action” against COVID-19, an inversion of reality that would make George Orwell dizzy. In his acceptance speech last night, Trump lauded himself, with characteristic hyperbole, for having ordered an “unprecedented national mobilization” against the “China virus,” even as the United States leads the world in COVID-19 deaths and infections.

The week featured what you would expect from the Trump Party: a Niagara of lies about the fictitious evils stalking America — socialism, anarchy in the streets, a plot to abolish the suburbs, Chinese leaders who deliberately loosed a deadly disease on the world, the betrayal of U.S. workers and assaults on religion and gun rights, etc. — and about Trump’s supposedly heroic, solitary battles on behalf of embattled Americans who still love their country.

The most overtly bigoted president in modern U.S. history trotted out people of color to pay tribute to his color-blind compassion, and Trump shamelessly repeated his risible claim to have done more for Black Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln.

In cult-like fashion, family members and administration flunkies parroted the Great Leader’s own talking points, such as his easily disproven claim that Trump had built the “greatest economy in world history” before the Chinese bushwacked him with the coronavirus. In the absence of a record of real accomplishments to run on, as Barack Obama said at the Democratic Convention, Trump just “makes stuff up.”

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