Please read this editorial, written by Kevin McDermott of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

https://www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/mcdermott-on-eve-of-midterms-trump-and-the-gop-have/article_d12a2f48-da76-5e6d-8cfa-54705e41f6e8.html


“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it.”

— George Orwell, “1984”

Leslie Stahl, the “60 Minutes” correspondent, said earlier this year that in 2016, she asked then-presidential candidate Donald Trump why he incessantly attacks the press. His response, she said, was: “‘I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.’” Which is about as credibly Trumpian an anecdote as you’ll ever hear.

Trump’s strategy from the start has been to obfuscate reality on issues big, small and even tiny. (Remember his insistent lies about the size of his inauguration audience?) With this counterfactual sabotage, he reduces the very concept of objective reality to just another opinion, so he can shout it down.

That’s why, in Tuesday’s midterm election, the various ballot choices facing American voters won’t just be about this candidate versus that one. On issues ranging from the economy to health care to immigration to our own recent political history, it will be about what Trump’s own counselor Kellyanne Conway dubbed “alternative facts,” versus … well, the real ones.

In Orwell’s “1984,” the point of making people believe meaningless little lies — like two plus two equaling five — was to prime them for the bigger lies that were necessary for the “Party” to hold power. The goal, Orwell wrote, was to deny “the very existence of external reality,” so reality would become whatever they say it is.

Our political life has been imitating art on that front lately. Reminding ourselves of simple facts is an important touchstone to reality. So let’s do that:

• There is no 10 percent middle class tax cut that Trump is planning to imminently pass. His own party doesn’t even know what he’s talking about. He’s just making that up.

• The president cannot repeal the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship by just signing a decree like some petulant boy-king. The Constitution doesn’t work that way.

• The big scary “caravan” that Trump and his Ministry of Propaganda — also known as Fox News — say is threatening to flood over America’s southern border like invading Huns is, in fact, a shrinking group of desperately impoverished families stumbling along at a rate that won’t put them at our border for weeks, if at all. There is no leprosy; there are no Muslim-terrorist infiltrators. These are election-driven lies, on a foundation of bigotry.

• The Republican Party has spent the past decade trying to yank insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions away from millions of Americans. Contrary to their desperate pre-election claims, they aren’t now suddenly trying to protect that coverage. All indications are that they’re still planning to yank it away from millions of Americans if they’re re-elected.

• The economy wasn’t failing when Trump took office; he and the Republican Congress didn’t “turn it around.” The economy was, in fact, failing when Barack Obama took office eight years earlier, and he did turn it around. Trump inherited a growing economy that has continued to grow on his watch. Every time he describes this continuation as a U-turn, he’s lying.

• Trump — who has implored voters to view the midterms as a referendum on him — received approximately 2.8 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton in 2016. By a margin comparable to the population of Chicago, Americans wanted a different president. Two years later, polls show a majority still does.

• Trump’s self-serving delusions notwithstanding, “voter fraud” played no role whatsoever in his loss of the 2016 popular vote. Similarly, the new Voter ID law that threatens to cause such confusion among Missouri voters on Tuesday was unnecessary from any standpoint but a cynical partisan one. The entire “voter fraud” issue is a GOP concoction.

If Republicans lose ground Tuesday, it will be because Americans voted in numbers sufficient to overcome gerrymandering and voter suppression, and not because of some scheme involving brown-skinned people and “voter fraud.”

The chance that Trump would graciously accept such a loss is virtually nil. This is a man who felt compelled to lie about the results of even an election that he won. Americans need to be prepared for the real possibility that a sitting president will attempt to delegitimize or even nullify the results of valid elections all over the country.

The chance that our current Congress would prevent such an egregious abuse of power is, again, virtually nil. Congressional Republicans long ago made clear they’re willing to let this president run roughshod over our core institutions, our political norms and the Constitution itself in exchange for tax cuts and judges. Only an overwhelming repudiation of Trumpism at the polls will stop it.

And one more thing:

• Two plus two equals four.

Vote Tuesday.

Kevin McDermott is a member of the Post-Dispatch Editorial Board.