It really is astonishing just how far a misinformation campaign will go in this country. A recent poll by the Public Policy Polling firm reveals that just under two-thirds, around 66%, of Donald Trump supporters believe that President Obama is a Muslim. On top of that, 61% still believe the President wasn’t born in the United States. This kind of perpetual ignorance represents a deep disconnect with reality, tying into the narcissistic delusions of American exceptionalism that has become mainstream through the incessant trumpeting of FOX News and the right-wing echo chamber.
It symbolizes a fundamental refusal to recognize realities, dismissing rationality and reason in favor of appeals to our most base and primitive emotions- fear of difference and of the unknown. The Republican voting base has been reduced to malleable puppets on a string, rendered a quivering mess from a diet of constant self-righteous infallibility and hyperbolic fear-mongering, torn between two extremes so much that they are left as perpetually exploitable by those with the ability and charisma to manipulate them.
“America is under attack!” cries the right-wing. “Black Americans are murdering police officers and undermining the rule of law! Terrorists are going to attack our nation! Immigrants are coming to take your jobs! Healthcare services are murdering children!” What we are seeing today from the Republican Party is a clear example of the lowest and most despicable forms of political manipulation, the kind that causes pogroms and race riots if it gets out of hand. The American people need to wake up and face reality, and recognize that the biggest threats to our economy and global power comes from the very people spreading these rabble-rousing lies.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.