Politicians running for president are graded by Politfact and the order runs in the way you would expect it to if you find yourself annoyed when Donald Trump is speaking. Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, is at the bottom of the list with a sad 9% of true or mostly true statements. Just 9% of the things Donald Trump says are mostly related to the truth.
Trump lies so much that in 2015, Politifact awarded him the Lie of the Year for numerous statements he made, because the team couldn’t pick the most egregious lie. Out of 77 statements checked, 76 of them were found to be mostly false to false to pants on fire lies.
The Trump truth chart via Politifact:
What does it mean that the man who tells the most lies is the most popular with the Republican base? This is a question I would be asking myself if I were a Republican strategist. The answer is not simple, in spite of the escalating finger pointing on the right. But I would direct them toward their propensity for denial, lack of accountability, and refusal to take responsibility for their own policies.
I say this because it makes sense, but also, the rest of the list tells this story. Senator Ted Cruz, who is a con artist of the Sarah Palin variety but more educated and wily, gets a 24% rating for true or mostly true statements.
Now we will start to leave the land of conservative media bubbles and find reality.
In reality land, we have Governor John Kasich, the only Republican 2016 candidate who isn’t terrifying for his lack of sanity, and Kasich has a 51% rate for saying things that are true or mostly true. Kasich is a hardcore Republican (anti union, anti women) but he hasn’t left the planet. He is grounded in the reality of his ideology and he is sane. This distinguishes him from the rest of the Republican field and makes him the only viable alternative were a person to be voting Republican. But Republicans have nothing but contempt for Kasich. He doesn’t lie enough to appease the base.
Kasich is tied with Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist, who is a fierce advocate of a government that works for the people, who also scores 51% of true and mostly true statements. I point out his ideology because the right has been taught scary things about Sanders, yet here he is at the top of the truth pile. Something to think about.
At the top, with a 52% true or mostly true rating is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who also has a long record of fighting for the middle class and poor, working families, women and children.
Basically the top three are tied, with Clinton, Sanders and Kasich being the most honest in the 2016 field. These are the three grown ups in the race.
Republicans started off by not holding their own to the fire of accountability and those justifications and that sense of entitlement have been the only trickle down they’ve seen. Now they have a party full of voters who do not want to deal with reality, who feel entitled to have privileges over minorities, and who love to be lied to. Think of the aging wealthy man who believes the young girl is with him because he’s so hot. That’s the base level deception and emotional motivation driving the Republican party voters – they want someone who makes them feel good about themselves, who holds up a mirror that makes them hot, right and rich.
They love the lie because ideologies comfort the voter. Everyone wants to feel like they are right, righteous, and morally superior. The problem comes when people can’t accept reality because reality says they were not right. And instead of admitting that and adjusting course, they demand that everyone get blamed equally while still claiming they never made a mistake. (And the “fourth estate” not only allows this but plays dumb regarding basic facts in order to make this work.) This level of petulant avoidance of reality is what got the Republican party to the point where their base loves the biggest liar the best.
They don’t care that Donald Trump lies; they love him because his lies soothe them. His lies appease them. His lies make them feel justified and righteous. His lies make them feel good about who they are. The voters are the children who do not want to be grown ups and the grown ups in the party have indulged them and fed them candy to keep from having to parent, and now they are stuck with a monster of a child.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.