How Donald Trump Used Disinformation and Self-Orchestrated Scandals as a Political Strategy


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Donald Trump

For the last four years Donald Trump made more than 20,000 false or misleading claims. Simply, he is a vessel filled with lies and more lies. He cannot help him because it is embedded in his core. Therefore, everything he utters is disoriented, unintelligent and misaligned with reality. With the help of Sean Hannity of Fox News, Trump hit the 20,000 mark. He racked up 62 claims on July 9, 2020, and that was from the Hannity interview. Trump’s statements in the interview cover a substantial number of bogus baseless attacks, conspiracy theories, boasts and inaccurate information.

Although, it was shocking to some supporters, it was not for those who did not voted for him in 2016. Throughout his presidency, his misleading claims became prevalent. Eventually some supporters began to lose confidence in his ability to lead.  Unfortunately, the damage was already done.  The country became more divided. There were those who recognized the hypocrisies and reported on them. Others deliberately ignored fact and opt for more colorful misleading commentaries. This became the era for the rise of conspiracy theories in politics.

Trump And Conspiracy Theories

Trump was a magnet for conspiracy theories and he often shared misleading stories that were unverified and easily debunked. He capitalize on disinformation and made it apart of his political strategy.  As a result, it became harder for voters to know what was real from fake. In the end, his supporters believed his false claims. Everyone else was looking puzzled at the absurdity of his claims.

Most presidents are aware of the impact of their words and are caution about what they say and do. Trump did not exercise caution as president nor did he seek advise before making unsubstantiated claims that had serious implications. He often get his information from watching Fox News then shares them online without vetting the information. What was more ridiculous, was his attraction to conspiracy theories. Even worse, he takes what he saw and tries to influence public policy.

For example is how ‘SharpieGate’ went from online chatter to Trumpworld strategy in Arizona after the 2020 election.

The hypocrisies of Trump & Senate Republicans

It is amazing how often Trump lies, but more concerning is his unwillingness to admit that he lied or misspoke.  Trump and his loyalists often subvert the truth. They would contradict their previous positions on key issues and also bypass legislative rules for their political gains. Trump and senate republicans like Mitch McConnell and Lindsay Graham were leaders of the pathological liars pack. Apparently there supporters were not concern, because more than 70 million people voted for them in the 2020 election. This means, their supporters condone their bad behavior and dishonesty. It appears, they are willing to allow democratic protections for minority groups to falter so long as Republicans remain in power.

There are mounting evidences to support claims of Trump and Senate republicans hypocrisy. For example, a Supreme Court justice died, and the president, in his last year in office, quickly nominated a replacement. But the unlucky nominee’s bid was forestalled by the U.S. Senate, blocked due to the hostile politics of the time. This actually happened in 1852. But the doomed confirmation battle sounds exactly like what happen to President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016.

However, in 2020, Trump and the Republican controlled senate fast-tracked their nominee to the court, blatantly contradicting their 2016 position. They made up rules to block Obama’s nominee but forego those rules to benefit their party’s nominee. This type of dishonest rhetoric should not be in politics. Unfortunately Republicans successfully uses it as a strategy to hold on to power. This led to the rise in the division of the political parties.

The Fake News Culture Created by Trump

Donald Trump destroyed all political norms and during his reign, trust in the systems of government eroded. As a result, the rise of conspiracy theories and disinformation in politics threatened the existence of the democracy.   Frankly, the spreading of disinformation is being used as a weapon. Its goal is to mislead voters and create distrust in institutions that traditionally holds the government accountable. 

Trump popularized the term “fake news” and labeled mainstream media as enemy of the people and fake news. He did it during the 2016 election and while as president. When reporters ask tough questions that challenge the administrations false and misleading claims they are always labeled “fake news”. What makes it worse, are media commentators fueling the divide by sharing lies and conspiracies to their millions of viewers. As a result, many fear that “fake news” have gradually become a powerful and sinister force. It has serious implications both in the news media as well as in the fair and free elections.        

Using disinformation to de-legitimize media and legal institutions is another way of breaking down democratic checks and balances.  What is not in the constitution is the use of dishonest political tactics to win votes. What is clear, the Trump administration uses dishonest political tactics to distract the American people by creating self-scandals almost everyday.

The Avalanche of Scandals of the Donald Trump Presidency

Every president had at least one scandal. But while most presidents are only known for one big one, Donald Trump create avalanches of scandals. After a while Americans became accustomed to news serious investigations into the president, his cabinet, and former associates. There are a laundry list of investigations ongoing and some were outlined in the Surviving the presidential wreckage of Donald J. Trump article published in 2019.

At some point, we had to wonder if any of it was real. The disinformation ran rampart throughout his presidency and during the presidential campaign when Trump began to oppose the use of mail-in ballot. He purposely derided mail-in voting and advised his supporters to vote in person.  

The Lie That Ended the Trump Presidency

The Trump campaign purposely ignored the fact that absentee ballots has been around since the American Civil War. Today mail-in votes are used for people who are not able to go to the polling stations on election day. Some states allowed them simply for convenience. But during the COVID pandemic more people desired to vote by mail to avoid contracting the virus. But the Trump campaign derided vote by mail and used disinformation as an attempt to suppress voting. In April 2020, Trump made more than 150 false claims about fraudulent ballots or the alleged dangers of mail-in voting. Trump misled supporters to believing vote by mail was flawed and urged them to vote election day.

Fortunately, Democrats rebuked Trump’s claims and majority vote by mail. Trump supporters abstained from using mail-in ballots and vote in person on election day. As a result in more than 150 million Americans voting and majority were from mail-in votes cast by Democrats.

Trump was happy when he was leading after polling stations closed on election day. However, once mail-in ballots were being counted, Joe Biden started to lead in key battleground states. Trump became frustrated. He felt only election day votes should be counted because he held the lead so he falsely claimed victory. He urged states that he led in to stop the count and those where he was behind to continue counting. The inconsistency in his message was clear, he was knew he was losing. Once it was apparent he had lost, he began to allege voting irregularities in battleground states where Joe Biden won.

Trump filed lawsuits in an attempt to reverse the outcome in his favor. He even stated he will take his case to the supreme court. He telegraphed this strategy when he and the republicans fast tracked their supreme court nominees confirmation. Trump is hoping the new Justice would rule in his favor, regardless if they lack evidence of fraud.

Trump continues to use lies, disinformation and conspiracies theories to fuel is false claims. This is to maintain the support from his followers. They are offering them false hope of victory, knowing well enough that his path to the presidency is mathematically impossible. His disbelief that Americans would rather Joe Biden as president is a bruise on his ego.

Joe Biden begins transition plans, while Trump refuses to concede the race. He believes it is far from over. His refusal to accept defeat is very dangerous for the country. But Trump never does anything for the greater good, it is always about what is in it for him. Hence the reason he lost the re-election. This is another example of how far from reality he and his supporters sits. The world as already acknowledge the shift in power and they refuses to accept it. They believe in alternate facts and they live in an alternate universe where Trump won and Biden lost.

Everyone hoped that Trump would be gracious at the end of the election. But it is abundantly clear his action proves he is a small, petty, and pitiful man who lacks empathy. Those around him who enables his behavior is more willing to watch the democracy fail just to boost his ego. It is often true that when political norms fails then everything else will eventually fails. What set democratic societies a part from others are their resiliency to overcome political divisions after every election.

Trump needs to concede in the best interest of the country. The United States of America is a democracy and it will survive his rhetoric. The truth is, 74 million people spoke with one voice to oust him from office with their votes. That was not a conspiracy nor “fake news” it is facts and facts always win in the end.

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Timothy Douglas
Timothy is a staff writer for FiWEH Life, providing commentaries on various topics relating to the Caribbean diaspora with the popular blog "Labba Mout". Timothy has been with FiWEH Life from the very beginning and continues to provide his commentaries on emerging issues.
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