Trump Lies: Day-by-day

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Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star has been posting a list on Twitter of all the provably false statements he hears from Trump on the campaign trail each day. According to Dara Lind of Vox who went through all of Dale’s tweets and added them up, over the course of 25 days (starting on September 15 and ending on October 24, with not all days accounted by Dale) Trump lied on at least 378 occasions. Or at least, misrepresentations. Some of the statements made by Trump may not rise to the level of outright falsehoods but rather settle below that threshold, being disregard for facts or ignorance rather than purposefully spreading things which are known to be untrue. Below is a partial chart of those misrepresentations.

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According to PolitiFact of the statements made by Donald Trump which they have examined 70 percent rate as at least “Mostly False”. Comparatively, this number is 26 percent for Hillary Clinton. All of Dale’s tweets on Trump’s lies may be found here, but Lind provides an overview, including the categories into which these lies fall.

1) He lies about tiny thingsAs Dale wrote, “Trump, for example, likes to read the lyrics to the song ‘The Snake’ as an allegory for the supposed danger posed by Muslim refugees. He has repeatedly claimed it was written by singer Al Wilson, who performed it in the late 1960s. In fact, it was written in the early 1960s by Oscar Brown Jr., the late singer and civil rights activist, whose family has asked Trump to stop using it.”

2) He lies about crucial policy differences, like saying on 11 separate occasions that his tax plan would cut “your taxes” (which isn’t true unless everyone listening to him is extremely rich) and 13 times saying that Hillary Clinton would substantially increase “your taxes” (which is, again, not accurate unless he’s only talking to very rich people).

3) Trump lies about chronology. The union representing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents endorsed Trump on September 26, ahead of the first debate (at which he said he’d been “endorsed by ICE,” which isn’t the same thing). As late as October 21, after the last debate, Trump was saying he’d been endorsed by the union “just last week.” (Trump also cites outdated statistics as if they’re current; his claim that “homicides are up 60 percent in Baltimore” would have been accurate in 2015, but they’ve fallen sharply this year.)

4) He makes himself into the victim. Sometimes this means that he takes things that have been said about him and says them about Clinton instead — like saying she lies more than any human being. Sometimes it means inserting himself into a scandal about somebody else. When a hacked email revealed that Hillary Clinton had gotten one question in advance of a Democratic primary town hall, he turned it into an allegation that Clinton was “just recently, word for word, given the questions” to a debate — and sometimes, for good measure, he says she was given the answers as well.

5) He takes facts that should bolster his argument and exaggerates them beyond recognition. The murder rate rose in 2015 — because murder has become so infrequent in the US compared with rates a quarter-century ago, the rise amounted to a 10 percent jump in the murder rate, which was the biggest percentage increase in 45 years. In itself, that could have bolstered Trump’s argument that America needs a stiff dose of law and order. But instead, Trump claims that murders are at a 45-year high.

6) He endorses blatant conspiracy theories. When online conservatives, misinterpreting hacked emails from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, decided that Podesta was trying to skew the polls by asking an internal pollster to “oversample” Democrats, it took just one day for Trump to espouse the theory — calling it a “form of voter suppression.”

7) He lies about things that have no basis in reality whatsoever. Trump has taken to saying on the campaign trail that Clinton wants “an open border with the Middle East.” Where did he get this idea? Who knows. But he said it five times between October 15 and October 24.

8) He obscures the truth by denying he said things he said, or denying things are known that are known. After receiving classified security briefings where (according to reports) the issue of email hacks of Democratic organizations came up, he maintained that they might not have been hacked at all. In debates, he routinely denied the existence of his own ugliest statements. Relatedly, he also claims that things have been “debunked” when they haven’t been — like the sexual assault allegations against him.

9) He lies about winning. Trump is probably not going to be the next president of the United States, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to his speeches. He says he won the last debate (or, sometimes, the last two debates) “unanimously,” when every reliable poll showed he lost them. He cites nonexistent polls to claim he’s tied, or leading slightly, wherever he’s speaking. (On one occasion, he claimed he was ahead in North Carolina, when 13 consecutive polls had shown him behind.) He claims that Clinton has “given up” on states like Ohio, without evidence.

In one sense, this is the most harmless of all of Trump’s lies — either he’s right, and the polls really aren’t telling the truth about his support, or he’ll be proven wrong on Election Day, less than two weeks away. But when combined with his fearmongering about a “rigged election” and voter fraud (which, yes, includes more lies), it gets a lot more worrisome.”

Donald Trump probably won’t win but he won’t lose because he lies. All politicians lie. He’ll probably lose by less because he lies. As can be seen above is lies bolster his campaign and highlight the differences between himself and Hillary Clinton as well as the reasons why, whether real or imagined, a vote for Clinton is a terrible thing. The problem for Trump is that not enough people believe his lies. And the problem for America is not that Trump lies, it’s that, as Lind points out, Trump can lie because there is a dearth of “shared facts”.

Enough people believe Trump’s lies, or any political lies for that matter, because the facts are no longer objective. Numbers and statistical analysis is open to some interpretation and is subject to context, but sometimes numbers are just numbers. They demonstrate an objective reality. Except when partisanship affects knowledge and reasoning capacities.

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