Republicans handed their presidential nomination to a know-nothing billionaire bully, Donald Trump — the worst nominee in modern times. How did Republicans get to be so stupid?

Of course, “stupid” is subjective. But by most standards, Republicans fit the bill. In September, Public Policy Polling found that “66% of [Donald] Trump’s supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim... 61% think Obama was not born in the United States.” The same poll found that 54 percent of all Republicans believed the President to be a Muslim. (In September Donald Trump suggested Obama is a Muslim.)

In 2013, Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal warned the GOP to “stop being the stupid party.” Jindal said Republican candidates should “stop insulting the intelligence of voters... with offensive and bizarre statements.” However, Jindal didn’t listen to his own advice; on May 10th, Jindal endorsed Donald Trump. Stupid is as stupid does.

It wasn’t always like this. Fifty years ago, Republicans seemed wrongheaded but intelligent. What has happened to the Grand Old Party? Its transition to the stupid party had four stages:

1. Republicans adopted an anti-intellectual strategy. Political historians have noted the long-term political consequences of Richard Nixon’s southern strategy which peeled Southern white voters — particularly evangelical Christians — away from the Democratic Party. What hasn’t received as much attention is the fact that southern evangelicals are not intellectual: they believe in the literal true of the Bible; for that reason, they believe the universe was created in seven days and decry evolution and science. 

Writing in The Weekly Standard, Henry Olsen observed the GOP southern strategy caused the “dumbing down of conservatism.” “Evangelicals have long shied away from engagement with the less-devout world... as a group they tend to lack intellectual curiosity and rigor.” 

In September, writing in the Daily Beast Ana Marie Cox observed, “Trump won a huge slice of the GOP base because of their prideful ignorance, which to voters signifies not just a rejection of the establishment or elites but a release from the hard work of having to think.”

Now the Republican President Donald Trump, who is also an anti-intellectual. 

2. Republicans accepted racism. When the GOP adopted the southern strategy, they tacitly accepted racism. With Trump this racism has come out in the open.   Writing in Psychology Today, David Niose linked anti-intellectualism and racism:

Critically thinking individuals recognize racism as wrong and undesirable, even if they aren’t yet able to eliminate every morsel of bias from their own psyches or from social institutions. An anti-intellectual society, however, will have large swaths of people who are motivated by fear, susceptible to tribalism and simplistic explanations, incapable of emotional maturity, and prone to violent solutions.

Ana Marie Cox commented on the state of today’s Republican Party: “You can’t spend 40 years tacitly making racists feel welcome in your party and expect the intellectual atmosphere not to suffer, or for that anti-intellectualism to stay bounded with race.”

In 2015, Donald Trump brought racism out of the GOP closet. He damned “political correctness” and brought his hate-filled bigotry into mainstream political discourse.

3.Republicans enabled hate. Writing in Mother Jones, David Corn observed that starting with Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP politicians and their cohorts in the conservative media launched a campaign of hatred towards President Obama (and scorched-earth obstructionism of his agenda): “It’s been a long run of Republicans accepting, encouraging, and exploiting uncivil discourse, anti-Obama hatred, and right-wing anger.” 

The New York Times observed that Donald Trump feeds into this hatred by encouraging violence at his rallies.

Writing in The Weekly Standard, Henry Olsen observed that over the past two decades Republicans have created “an alternative conservative media universe... [that] led to a conservative ghetto where well-meaning conservatives can live without ever coming into contact with people who disagree with them.”

Since 1874 an elephant has been the Republican symbol. A better symbol for the current Republican Party would be the mushroom: voters who are kept in the dark and fed bullshit.

4. The Republican rank-and-file separated from the Washington elite and embraced anarchy. The candidacy of Donald Trump is a logical outcome of the Tea-Party movement that first decried the Washington establishment and then bemoaned the failure of Republican congressional leadership to keep promises made during the 2012 and 2014 elections (abolish Obamacare; reduce the size of government; etc.). 

The GOP rank-and-file embraced Trump because he is an outsider — someone with no government experience — who embraces the core Republican values: anti-intellectualism, racism, nativism, and sexism. They love Trump because he is opposed to political correctness and tells them it is okay to be white.

First came the stupid party. And then came Donald Trump.



The key difference between the liar and the bullshit artist is that the liar has at least some regard for the truth.                           LAURIE PENNY  A brilliant writer.

There is a certain kind of stupid mistake that only smart people make, and that is to assume that a sober set of facts can step into the ring with an easy, comforting lie and win. We have entered a new moment in public and political conversation, a moment which many pundits have dubbed the “post truth” age. I prefer to think of it as the age of bullshit.

What is bullshit, and how is it different from lies? According to the American philosopher Harry G Frankfurt  the key difference between the liar and the bullshit artist is that the liar has at least some regard for the truth. The liar has a clear idea of what the reality of a situation is, and wants their audience to believe the opposite. 

The bullshit artist doesn’t care about truth at all — they have renounced citizenship of what the Bush administration infamously called “the reality-based community.” The liar wishes to conceal the truth. The bullshit artist, by contrast, wants to destroy the entire concept of truth, not to deceive but to confuse, confound and control. 

This is what people mean when they refer to our political moment as a “post truth” age. It is not quite the same as lies, though lying may well be involved. “Post-truth” is closer to bullshit.   It’s the “Hall of Mirrors” strategy perfected in Putin’s Russia, where an explosion of fake news and cultured online trolling bolsters the regime not simply by pumping out pro-Kremlin propaganda, but by making it impossible for citizens to entirely trust anything they read or hear. 

This leaves them vulnerable to latching on to the ideas that simply feel as if they ought to be true, with no regard for objective fact, which has been devalued, along with the very concept of expertise and learning, across the world.

Bullshit is not simply a set of fibs, but an entire register of speaking. Bullshit is the language of business, which is increasingly the language of politics, but in business everyone knows the game. Everyone sitting around a boardroom table knows that everyone else is playing a game, trying to get away with as much as possible, and that makes the game fair, in its way. In politics, people don’t know they're playing, and if you're involved in a game you don't know you're playing, chances are you're the ball. 

The very word “bullshit” is uncomfortable. It’s crass, nasty and awkwardly American, all of which is appropriate. It also suggests an artlessness, a malodorous dumping of useless principle, but as Frankfurt points out, just because it’s bullshit doesn’t mean it’s not thought through. 

On the contrary: what makes some bullshit artists so successful, from salespeople and PR merchants to demagogues and doomsday cult leaders, is their ability to shape their rhetoric exactly to the outer edge of what is socially acceptable, and then reshape it as that edge moves further right. Hopkins has learned her lesson, but it’s not the one she was supposed to learn. Bullshit artists are trolls gone pro, and are infinitely more dangerous than your average racist.

Bullshit artists are far more threatening than true believers, because they are more adaptable. They will say whatever is necessary to win whatever it is they want, be it power, cash, attention or all three. They also have far less to lose. A high-stakes liar might risk everything if he or she is found out, but the bullshit artist simply moves on to the next sticky idea that floats through the howling moral vacuum behind their eyes. 

Donald Trump is a bullshit artist.  These people are the faces of the age of bullshit, an age that defies any charge of hypocrisy, because the con is open and shameless. That’s why Trump can win a referendum by appealing to the “ordinary working man” and congratulate himself with a glitzy reception at the Ritz. 

The thing about bullshit, as the term itself suggests, is that it's grotesque, and a little embarrassing. There's a certain hygiene to lies, in part because they're far harder to get away with. Bullshit, however, is a contaminant.  It sticks to everything, suffusing culture with a paranoid miasma of ill health. There is less shame in being taken in by an outright lie. 

Bullshit is hard to parse, but we must all get better at sniffing it out. The last, best trick in the bullshit artist’s reeking pocket is projection: to declare that the whole system is bankrupt, that they are simply making a rotten living in a rotten world. This would be the moment to echo the wisdom of children, who are uniquely difficult to con, who can sniff weaponised insincerity across a crowded playground. In the age of bullshit and rotten politics, it is often the case that he who smelt it, dealt it.

EDITORS NOTE:   Taking into consideration, last year and the current events, prevailing, it was a no contest for the “ Bullshiter of the year award”.  Unanimously, without one dissenting vote, DONALD the DORK took the lead and ran with it compiling 1900 plus solid votes of bovine excrement of the highest and smelliest bullshit.

📢  Inquiring Minds: How can you tell TRUMP is telling a lie? 

 Its simple, we apply the Lipmass Test and if his lips are moving, it’s obvious in 85% or more of the time he is lieing, distracting, covering up, bullshitting, whacking the weeds, and or grossly misleading the people of our beloved country avoiding any kind of transparency and truth.

01-08-2-18  -  To date the Washington Post has recorded and incredible 1940 direct lies Donald had brought forthwith in his rants and chatter and useless repetitive speeches.  In all the history of the presidency no one has close to that level.  Yes, recently, it was disclosed former Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon all were not truthful about the Secret War in Viet Nam and Lao.  But they were trying to protect us.  Donald Dork is just a lying narcissistic bullshiter.

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