How Do Voters Judge the Candidates on Truth? By Mike Lofgren
Lyndon Johnson lied about Vietnam; Richard Nixon lied about Watergate. They lied, as politicians do, to camouflage the truth. Voters traditionally have cared about the truth, because they believed in facts and judged their leaders accordingly. Likewise, Hillary Clinton’s success in November will partly depend on how undecided voters viewing this debate perceive the truth content of her answers. Donald Trump, by contrast, is unique among candidates in the modern era: his statements, as George Orwell said of totalitarian propaganda, do “not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie.” His followers, and even undecideds leaning toward him, will judge him by a far more lenient standard, given that they already know the falsity of his pronouncements, but don’t care. Thus public reaction to the debate is an important test for Clinton, but less for Trump.