Seceding from reality
In a naïve moment, said Charles Sykes, I wondered if the news that Donald Trump’s “fleecing of taxpayers by charging the Secret Service exorbitant rates might make a difference with Trump’s base.” The Washington Post has obtained records showing that Trump’s company is charging the government as much as $650 a night for agents to stay at his private clubs while guarding him, despite claims that only housekeeping costs would be passed on. (See U.S. Map.) This Swampy corruption has put millions of taxpayer dollars in the president’s pocket—but “of course it wouldn’t matter.” That’s because Trump’s fans now live in “an alternative reality bubble.” Most Trumpists now get their information from Fox News and Facebook, not “The Fake News Media.” They are often unaware of unflattering stories, or are immune to them because they’ve deeply internalized Trump talking points—“witch hunt,” “hoax,” “bias,” etc. They will tell you that thanks to Trump, “leeches and layabouts are no longer stealing from ‘us.’” Tell them that Trump is bilking taxpayers, that his trade wars have badly hurt farmers and manufacturing, or that he’s run up $1 trillion deficits, and they say, “Fake news!” To believe in Trump is to believe in anything you wish.