Abraham famously said “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time but you cant fool all the people all of the time”. Those words are as true today as when Lincoln said them. However, political leaders have learned and we in the US abruptly learned in the past few years – one does not need to fool all the people all of the time. One just needs to fool ENOUGH people all of the time. In a divided democracy like the US that means you only need to fool 51% of the public and actually much less than that as a significant percentage never vote. In the US it also turns out that it is NOT just how many you can fool but where you can fool them. The electoral college means one can win the Presidency without winning the popular vote as long as the states one does win in are the right ones.
Whether Trump was clever enough to figure that out or just did it as a narcist would – the truth is that Trump got elected and nearly got elected again by fooling less than 50% of the electorate. In 2016 it was enough of the electorate in the right places – in 2020 it was not; even though he got over 70 million votes. The vast majority (perhaps all) of those that invaded the Capital on January 6th BELIEVED what Trump had been telling them – AND what social media, Fox, Newsmax and other right wing pundits had also been telling them. They were the people “you can fool all of the time.”
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