Letter to the Editor: Everyone, including his supporters, knows Donald Trump lies


President-elect Donald Trump speaks to supporters aboard the USS Iowa battleship in Los Angeles on Sept. 15. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By Mike Sullivan

Dear Editor,

Why does President-elect Donald Trump lie routinely? Everyone, including his supporters, knows that he lies.

Is he psychologically unstable? Can he really not remember the claims he made the week before? No. Trump’s dishonesty is part of a deliberate, well thought out strategy.


When you debate politics with your boneheaded cousin or your smarmy neighbor, no matter how much you may disagree, you can be fairly confident that they believe what they are saying to be true. As long as this is the case there is at least the possibility of rational discussion. You may discover that it is you who is wrong! Or, you may find a middle ground that you could both live with.

Trump has established a personality cult. His followers — those who voted for him, not merely against Clinton — will mimic his behavior patterns. When they “realize” that there is no reason to be honest, that they can make up “facts” as they will and freely contradict themselves, even the possibility of rational discourse is gone. As the Trumpian style of discourse becomes normalized in state legislatures, city council meetings, T.V. talk shows and debates at the diner, democracy itself will become unsustainable.

In the chaos, Trump, who represents a certain faction of the billionaire class, and his enablers in the GOP, will cut taxes on investment income and eliminate estate taxes on the wealthy. Their hope is that their progeny will become a permanent ruling aristocracy.

Reason is one of the pillars on which democracy depends. To eliminate the latter, they must attack the former.

Mike Sullivan is a professor in SIU’s Department of Mathematics.

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