Truth and Virtue in the Age of Trump

You’re a hero if and only if you serve The Leader’s interests.

Comments: 239

  1. Apologies to G &S’s Major General I’m Donald Trump and at the stump I’m confident of victory, I never lose and always choose the person who agrees with me, I never read, go by my gut, and make decisions instantly, The Media and the fake Press go after me so constantly, The Midterms were a huge success, they took the House by voter fraud, SCOTUS is mine and Justice, too, by Matthew Whitaker I’m awed, In Twenty I am set to run, there’s no one who will dare oppose And on the side I plan to produce TV Reality Shows, I’m very popular with Blacks, more so with very aging Whites, From Immigrants I’ve got a plan to take away their Voting rights, My reign has been so awesome, it’s the greatest one in History, They won't write books on Lincoln, all the authors will be praising me.

  2. @Larry Eisenberg I'm thinking of the song Henry the Eighth where the man keeps on singing how he's Henry the Eighth because every one of the woman's husbands has been named Henry. So, he's Donald Trump he is, he is and every one he knows knows he's a Trump, Donald Trump. And he trumpets everything he knows because he's Donald Trump. Nowhere near as elegant as what you do but...

  3. @hen3ry: Ah. Herman's Hermits. I remember them well.

  4. @Larry Eisenberg You are a treasure and an inspiration.

  5. Who knew that it wouldn't be the Kochs, but Roy Cohn who gets to deal American democracy its last blow? Whereas Nero used actual fire, Trump uses lies to create chaos while the GOP quietly unravels this nation. Different tactics, same result. While we talk about what Trump said about Florida and Georgia elections, the Republicans in those states cheat. While Trump sucks the oxygen out of the room, Ammar Campa-Najjar of San Diego waits for hundreds of thousands of votes to be counted in his election against newly indicted Duncan Hunter. The media had declared Hunter winner the night of the election. Why are hundreds of thousands of votes still to be counted? No one knows... Jimmy Carter, for decades, has been monitoring elections in South America and other nations. We need monitors here for 2020. Next budget, Democrats had better not make deals like this year's, with inadequate funding for election security. We need to stop obsessing over what Trump says and look at what his party is doing. -- ‘What Trump Did While You Weren’t Looking https://wp.me/p2KJ3H-2ZW

  6. @Rima Regas regrettably you are correct. We need monitors here for 2020. Interesting that the senior members of the GOP aren't speaking in support of Trump this time. What he's doing is dangerous for democracy and people's trust in the vote. While he may want to sow distrust I don't think he'd like the results if those same people turn on him if someone they want in office doesn't make it because of a recount caused by him. In other words, he should be careful what he wishes.

  7. @hen3ry The GOP may not be speaking up for Trump....but they are remaining silent. The GOP has no ethics left to discard.

  8. @hen3ry Paul Ryan's empty words, as a man with one leg out the door, are worthless. What matters is what is going on in the states where they're either still counting or recounts are under way. That's where the shenanigans are ongoing. Trump merely deflects attention.

  9. As ever, insightful, illuminating, and informative. You've convinced us. How do we reach the other?

  10. @Karl Gauss We don't. We start on making sure every disenfranchised Democrat voter has whatever ridiculous voter ID card the need. Reservations assign addresses to all their residents. People volunteer to drive people unable to get their voter id to whatever inconvenient impossible place they need to go. People volunteer to drive voters to the polls on election day. And in every state where a governor or state house or state senate flipped or stayed Dem, start working on paper ballots and get rid of Republican voting machines, and change the law so that no voting machine that does not reveal its software can be used in the state.

  11. "Truth:that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality." Unfortunately "Truth" has been the subject of equivocation by philosophers and other who have been attacking the idea of an objective reality. It seems to have been under attack more by left thinking philosophers, than right wing ones, leaving the rhetoric of right and wrong to the purview of conservative think tanks like the Hoover Institute of Stanford U, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and others, giving them the edge in political influence. So we have Dishonest Donald for whom Truth is relative. Yet we do not see any criticism of his "Truths" from these influential conservative organizations, his truths fit their agenda just fine. The objective or relative facts is to make you doubt your own senses, which are also attacked by the relativists. Once you fall for this scheme, you are easily influenced by their facts. We see specious arguments, distortion of the facts, and just plain prevarications, its purveyors count you you being deceived by them, and we see his followers taken in by them, just as carnival goers are seduced by the sideshow freaks. These Sycophants are convinced authoritarianism is good for them,that it will make their lives better despite any objective facts, they are unable to distinguish objective from relative, such intellectual understanding has been undermined by the relativists.

  12. Could not go to the War Cemetry and pay his respects as the weather was not suitable for his helicopter to land. When I was in France they had cars, buses, trains and if all else fails walking is an option. Not to pay his respects there or as the other world leaders stood in the rain to hear the church bells not sure what you call it in the US but we would call it an insult and we would let our leader know in no uncertain terms what we thought.

  13. @Bev One army general has said that the president's helicopter would have had no trouble in that weather. Why would Trump have wanted to arrive in a helicopter, though, unless it was a ploy to make everyone look at him?

  14. @Bev I think Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump couldn't go by car because it would have taken 2 1/2 hours by car. However, it was sixty miles from where he was staying. Go figure. And he couldn't walk with the other heads of state to the ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe for security reasons, so he and Putin arrived separately from them. Trump is the man who belittled John McCain's heroism, but he was afraid to walk with the others? Maybe the heel spurs that kept him out of the army still bother him.

  15. @Bev Give poor Donald a break. He was afraid of melting.

  16. Trump's "business genius", which is the "record" he ran for office on, is really only in not getting indicted for fraud or tax evasion. That is more likely to the credit of his lawyers than the man himself, who, let's face it, could not assemble an IKEA bookshelf on his own.

  17. There are many of us who can’t assemble an IKEA bookshelf on our own! What is different about Trump is that he has no use for an IKEA bookshelf - he doesn’t read and is probably as functionally illiterate as his base. But IKEA does sell a variety of TV cabinets. He can buy one of those, install a TV that is permanently tuned to Fox News and be perfectly happy.

  18. @OSS Architect The stock market dropped by 600 points today and appears to have finally peaked.The GOP spent over 2 trillion in tax cuts and on defense, in what was a gamble to win the mid terms, and have lost.The tax bill has failed to stimulate business spending and worsened the deficit. Public confidence in trump, his administration, and the GOP senate is at an all time low.This is indicated by millions more voting for democrats than the GOP in the mid terms. It was a referendum on trump.Voter suppression and immigrant bashing may have saved the GOP a few senate seats,but will cost heavily.The economy was in decent shape at the end of 2016.Then they passed a tax package that enriched the top 0.1 percent further, including trump and GOP donors, and increased the deficit by 2 trillion. The party that claims it is for low taxes raised taxes on middle class americans by limiting the SALT deduction and pushing many people into higher tax brackets. They tried to repeal affordable health care for 32 million.All this was done to rob the middle class and reward rich GOP donors. Trump's tariffs have worsened the problems, causing an economic slowdown in china and europe, and increasing costs for consumers and companies. The GOP's tax cuts have overheated the economy, and caused interest rates to rise, and they will rise further. Companies had lots of cash with no place to invest, and now they have even more.Any wage hike has been swallowed by inflation and higher interest rates.

  19. @observer I stopped buying stock at the beginning of 2017 because I knew that the tax giveaway was going to used for stock buy-backs. Then the Volcker rule was revoked. This made FDIC backed depositer's money available to a small number of rich guys with access to proprietary trading (aka gambling) . Begin the inflating of the market bubble. As I do not know (nor does anyone really) how to time a market, I stepped back. I don't see the market as a safe place to invest until after the next crash, which is probably not too far off into the future.

  20. I studied Marxism and communist governments in the 1980s, and it's remarkable what a similar mindset we see today on the right. Truth is any information that is beneficial to the party and state.

  21. @Thollian I don't know where you studied or what you paid for this knowledge, but if your curriculum did not include some of the victories of Communism, Cuba, for example, achieved with no more lies than normal in Western societies, I'd look into getting a refund. Where in Marx's writings do you find instructions to lie as a means of governing? No, what you studied was authoritarian governments, dictators operating under the rubric of 'Communism", a very different thing, and itself one of the great lies of our modern era.

  22. I studied Marxism and lived in a communist country and it astonishing to see the similarities in mindset and propaganda methods adopted by the current GOP.

  23. @Sera One other thing I learned back then - don't bother arguing with a true believer.

  24. During the Viet Nam War, Mary McCarthy noted that many War Hawks regarded truth as completely contingent. When they told lies, like "The ARVN soldiers fight well" or "WE securely control the Central Highlands", they often thought that they weren't really lying because their statements would change reality and become true. Eventually the ARVN would fight well and we would control the Central Highlands. As Krugman notes, Stable Genius and his GOP have gone far beyond this. If you claim you are not outraged, you are either woefully ignorant or a villain, or both.

  25. @Marvant Duhon Many have become outraged exhausted. Dearest Leader has worn us out (part of his grand strategy?) Thought we are still able to muster sufficient outrage to vote and we did to Dearest Leader's outrage...

  26. Republicans are the guy in the third tier bleachers absolutely sure that wasn't a strike and screaming "the umpire is blind" entirely on the color of the batter's uniform. The Trump voter doesn't understand any difference between supporting his baseball team and his party.

  27. @bcw, that accounts for the many catcalls of "you lost, liberals, get over it." As if a Presidential election were like a football game.

  28. Lying is part of the GOPs daily strategy and every day talk. Most of them can't speak properly unless they lie about something. Sadly quite a few Americans believe whatever they hear from the GOP because it agrees with their world view. These are the same Americans who have not travelled outside of America, who get their news from sources that do not present a balanced view of the news, and who wouldn't be upset if we returned to the pre-Civil Rights era of America. I'd find it comical to read about conspiracy theories concerning the left except that Trump and the GOP are using them to incite and condone violence. I've never, in my entire life, heard a president say the things Trump has said when it comes to the press, white supremacist and Nazi groups, women, minorities, and life in general. That the GOP was willing to nominate him and couldn't put up a better candidate speaks volumes about their desire for power and control at any cost. They are destroying what is best about America. They have been for decades. In slow increments they have chipped away at our civil rights, our ability to protect ourselves against corporate greed, our right to expect a functional and fair government. But we, as voters, share the blame for this. We've voted in these scorpions. We need to vote them out before it's too late.

  29. @hen3ry 11/3/20 Just Vote!

  30. @hen3ry Yes we ned to vote out those who would destroy our democracy. The wins by the Democrats in the midterms were great, we'll take them for sure, but we must acknowledge they were not double digit landslides in many cases. Trump's divisive rants of fear and hatred did resonate with far too many. The celebration is over and it's back to the long and hard work of taking back our country for all of us. Let's show everyone the benefits of inclusion, fair wages, health care for the people. We need to show 'them' the value of good government and legislation before it's too late.

  31. @hen3ry. Alas, Hen3ry, it may already be too late. A Court dominated by people all of a like mind to Trump were put there by a Senate leader who blew off the Constitutional obligation for advise and consent to do so. Now we have a President who ignores the laws put in place regarding succession for the Senate-approval-required positions in order to put in his own lackey, and the other day he stepped on the edge of the First Amendment by making it clear that only those news people who ask him questions that are “President approved” and non-confrontational will get press credentials for the WH. He threatens the House if investigations into his “works” threaten impeachment proceedings. Too many voters in America think like him that a “strong man” and a “strong nation” tell others what to do and how to live. People are fearful of confronting him, but democracy is not a one shot deal. You only get to keep it if you are willing to confront evil and say: NO MORE! Every day this President acts in ways that have negative consequences for our citizens as individuals and for our nation as it deals with the rest of the world and with the planet. Neutering him and the Republican philosophy of governance in some way is imperative for democratic survival.

  32. An excellent piece describing the existential danger we are in. What’s worse, it seems the electorate is divided into those who can think and reason, and those who cannot. Our leaders are divided into those who have some sense of morality and humanity, and those who do not. We can only hope...

  33. @Sam Kanter Not "those who do not" but "those who will not." My brother and brother-in-law both have MBA's and and get all their news from Fox. Thus you can imagine their political leanings.

  34. The authoritarian mindset that we find almost anywhere in democratic states is now fully embodied by the trumpican party in this country. This is evident and beneath contempt. It is a fact of life here and elsewhere. But it is also dangerous to dismiss those sitting on the moral fence who are unwilling, as yet, to leap off and side permanently with the authoritarians actively, even if they voted for an enabler last Tuesday, not out of fear but perhaps because of economic self interest. What is important is that a continual effort at outreach and engagement be made both to those fence totterers, lest they permanently fall into the arms of the authoritarians, as well as to those who didn't vote. The number of swing districts with many white women with college degrees who voted for non authoritarians indicates that there is a reasonable chance that appealing to both economic interests and moral values can also work in a reasonable subset of the non college educated population who can be found teetering atop that fence. These people are not those found yelling foul and unfair in Florida or Arizona. That bit of political theater is played by your basic partisan loyalists and their media enablers who are unapologetic and would be at home in any authoritarian state pledging allegiance to the leader. Nor will they be found in those photos of those at trump rallies with their uniform gaze of brain dead pep rally zeal smiling, or snarling, for the camera.

  35. Spot on. The fix is a Democracy First movement that unites everyone who understands that all other issues are contingent upon securing the vote for as many people as possible, ideally everyone.

  36. Economists have been extolling the virtues of globalization rather loudly for twenty-five years now. After the fall of the Soviet Union and the failure of central planning, they said Capitalism would conquer the globe, and wherever Capitalism goes, Democracy quickly follows. It all sounded so lovely. Two birds;one stone, and all that. What's not to like? Which makes our current moment in history quite awkward, indeed. Especially if you're an economist, one would think. It seems that politicians across the world were actually stupid enough to listen to the inhabitants of the clown car that is the economics "profession", and implemented the absurdly simplistic academic theories about "free trade" found in economics textbooks and white papers from the World Bank and "think tanks". And now the world is at the edge of an abyss. American Capitalism has been thoroughly discredited, and Democracy is in retreat in developed and developing countries alike. And now...wait for it...economists are lamenting the rather sorry state of democracy. You can't make this stuff up.

  37. @TB yep, for sure time to go back to Soviet communism. Happy times. Americans are the wealthiest, most coddled population on earth, and yet they complain mightily about how poor peasants in Vietnam took their job putting a lever on an assembly line. Maybe pulling that lever isn't as difficult as they think. So much for the American spirit..

  38. I despair for my country. How did we elect this fellow as President? Apathetic non-voting "citizens"? Unquestioning followers? We need to take our country back.

  39. @Lisa. In this case gerrymandering and voter suppression killed the votes of Americans — not those who stayed home. Trump’s opposition got 3 million more votes than he did. Time to get rid of the Electoral College.

  40. @Lisa You are actually in the process of doing it.Best

  41. No, no, no, say it isn't true! Mrs. Adelson is to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom? Mr. Krugman's commentary reminds me of that old Seinfeld episode, Bizarro World. Remember it? Black was white, up was down, bad was good, everything was the opposite of fact-based reality. We all had a good laugh back then, never dreaming that about 20 years' later this would be our political paradigm. However, it is no laughing matter now. In fact, Mr. Trump and his sycophants in Congress as well as his rabid supporters, by their very hatred of established truths and/or greed, have placed this democracy on an ominous path toward destruction. It would seem after a remarkable election not even one week ago that Trump would have been humbled like Presidents Obama and Bush were under similar circumstances. But the man instead is even more hateful, seemingly defying the impossible. Is there no bottom to his abysmal soul? Does the nadir into which he descends have no bottom? There is absolutely no denying the fact that virtue, morality, and ethics are anathema to this president. But Americans are waking up as manifested almost 7 days ago. And I am convinced that there are more of us who said "enough" than there are of Trumpians.

  42. @Kathy Lollock There always were. The problem is the distribution and its interaction with gerrymandering and the electoral college.

  43. @Kathy Lollock. A sociopath scorned is never chastened; s(he) instead goes into overdrive in a never ending fit of revenge. Sometimes off-the-charts revenge. I’ve known two up close in my lifetime, read extensively about sociopathy since back around 2001, nailed djt as one shortly after he announced, and have been astounded at his ability to not only con his flock, but his ability to convince the general public that he might eventually conform to a minimal standard of decency. Fortunately, I think much of the public has finally realized it. I pray that his flock wakes up, but I’m not counting on it.

  44. @Louisa Glasson-- Does Martin know you are reading the Times Louisa?

  45. Our democracy is far more important than party gains. Of course, I'm very happy the threat to our democracy was defused with the election of a majority of Democrats to the House, thus assuring democracy, but there is another threat that came to light Sunday night. I was watching the Newshour in which the announcer said that scores of veterans had won seats in the House. Now this may not seem like a threat on face value, but consider this; once those veterans are seated in Congress they will have the power to throw money at the Pentagon, assuring the continued buildup of the military empire that consistently determines American foreign policy and promotes wars to justify their empire building. Weeks ago I expressed a fear, whether founded or not, that Trump was staging a coup today with his massive military parade, since canceled, on the streets of Washington, presumably to negate a fair election won by democrats. Do not call me paranoid too hastily. Trump has displayed anti democratic authoritarian leanings especially today following the election for example, and in Florida ballot counting as he sought to abandon the actual voting. I like that the soldiers claim to fight for American freedom but I don't like that the generals get them killed in adventures that were not necessary to America. I hope the newly elected veterans surely do stand up for everyone's freedom. Thank you.

  46. @Shakinspear Generals don’t start wars. Generals get their marching orders from civilian leadership.

  47. @James S Kennedy; Hmm? then I guess Chief of staff former General Kelly and Jim Mattis don't have much to say to Trump, huh?

  48. Yes, I did notice with apprehension that Adelson's wife was going to be given the Medal of Honor. What she did to deserve this is unimaginable. What is imaginable is that Mr. Adelson has given millions to Trump and Republicans. What Mrs. Adelson is supposed to have done is to give a lot of money to Israel and Israelis organization. I am all in favor of philanthropy, but in this case, she should have been recognized by Israel and not by us. After all, the Medal of Honor is supposed to reward people who have rendered signal service to THE UNITED STATES, and not other countries. There is nothing that Trump touches that does not pervert its purpose.

  49. @Frank Casa Not to nitpick, but she got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal of Honor is strictly for military personnel in combat.

  50. @Frank Casa It's ironic that Dr. Mrs. Adelson runs two addiction clinics. Her husband's fortune is built on another addiction--gambling.

  51. @Frank Casa, Bibi Netanyahu must have told Kushner and Trump to reward Mrs Adelson because the couple has been a money pipeline for Israel and its interests in the US. The majority of American Jews vote democratic. But the handful of uber wealthy ones finance the Republican party. This disconnect is as large as the chasm between rich and poor, since historic times.

  52. Right on the mark. The problem extends yet further. Our capacity to reason about reality constitutes our single greatest adaptive advantage. It allows us to shape our environment and control the random destructive forces around us. All of engineering - the stuff that makes our cars, airplanes, cell phones, networks, medical equipment all work - depends on a clear grasp of the difference between what is true and what is not. If Fox News and the Republican Party were charged with building any actual structures or programs, as opposed to ideological castles in the sky, none of it would work at all. It is a bitter irony that those who are irrational and ideological are dependent ultimately on those who are rational. We make their inane fantasy world possible.

  53. @Paul Unfortunately you are too optimistic, Paul. The evolutionary utility function of the brain is not accurate representation of the world. As with every other aspect of the phenotype, the utility function of the brain is maximization of genetic representation in subsequent generations. To be sure, that often entails accurate representation of the world; but often, particularly in social situations, it does not. Tribalism can trump truth because of the nature of human thought.

  54. @Paul and @rick shapiro, this is a wonderful thread. Paul, you know you're absolutely correct about the bitter irony of irrational folks being dependent ultimately on the expertise of us rational folks. We do have a choice, though - I am liberally-minded, but I was very strongly influenced by reading that conservative holy-book, Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." (I made only one "adjustment" to the book as I read it: every time I came across the word "money," I mentally replaced it with the word "qwan," a term I took from Cuba Gooding Jr's character in 1996's "Jerry McGuire.") My liberally-minded brothers and sisters often recoil in horror when I recommend this book! I do understand most criticisms of the book, but my general take-away was this: rational people do not *have* to support fools. Atlas can shrug, and let the world fall off his shoulders. @rick, what a wonderfully biological perspective! I've long decided to divide "reality" into two: a "physical reality" (which is beautiful and equitable - laws are followed precisely and without favoritism) and a "social reality" (which is often very ugly, with its laws being administered unevenly and with bias). This split is the only way I can cope - I adore the former reality and abhor the latter. "Tribalism can trump truth," but you can't fool all the people all the time, can you? I think the only answer to this mess is an better-educated public. And we need to get started on this ... forty years ago.

  55. And as Dr. K. points out, Un-indicted Co-conspirator 45* is just the manifestation of the disease, not the Patient 0 - this guy is where he is entirely due to the corruption of his party, GOP'er leaders who would take any old corrupt geezer Usedful Idiot who would win the prize for them. They didn't tell him 'no' for fear they would lose if he made a third-party run and split their base which they had spent decades marinating/dumbing down with culture war kool-aid. And still, after all the global wreckage created by this guy, his party won't do anything to challenge him - they will sacrifice our treaties, risk our security, risk our economy, even sacrifice their own party - for: judges, tax cuts for themselves/donors, assault on regulations. Exactly 20 years ago, a lame duck GOP'er Senate impeached a POTUS following the mid-terms; GOP'ers control the House and Senate now, and there's obviously time for them to act again to protect the nation from the clear and present danger at 1600 Penn. But they won't, in part because of the defensive whiny-ness which defines them - as Dr. K. ably cites - but also because they've actually forgotten how to lead; actually lost the DNA. Except that, they are epic leaders in foisting their Legacy Judiciary of lifetime appointees upon us. 'Tis a pity that all appointments of an impeached (indicted/convicted ?) POTUS aren't automatically reversed, due to his (and they've all been guys) manifest lawlessness.

  56. @R. Law - Should have been more clear, saying the Senate held impeachment hearings once the House impeached.

  57. @R. Law Maybe you should also have noticed that the GOP will no longer control the House in 2019. I can't help be see that as hopeful.

  58. @Barbara - Indeed we did notice that hopeful sign; but realistically, anybody the Dem House votes to impeach, the 'rabid ferret' GOP'ers (hat tip Gail Collins) in the Senate would vote to acquit, no matter the evidence. Right ? The GOP'er leaders have been hiding behind the empty suited Useful Idiot they shoveled into 1600 Penn; that action - in violation of their Oaths - daily places us all in clear and present danger from Very Stable Genius 45*. They and their party should not ever be able to gloss over their dereliction and negligence, once 45* is gone, someday.

  59. All the screaming about voter fraud is a prelude to the 2020 election. Does anyone believe Trump would accept a loss? Or that the GOP would do whatever it could to defy the voters?

  60. @james doohan Spot on! Bill Maher says it all the time. He thinks dump would enact marshall law if he loses in 2020. I think is a quite plausible scenario.

  61. @james doohan, Trump has been spewing voter fraud and election rigging since his campaign. In the event that he lost, he wanted to ensure his crazy supporters and the GOP would delegitimize the election just like he tried to do with President Obama with his birther lie. He’s a shameful embarrassment to the office of the presidency and our country.

  62. @james doohan I live in hope that Trump won't be the Republican candidate. I can't believe the Republican Party standard bearers would be that stupid twice. They probably thought he wouldn't be elected, or that they could control him if elected. They know now that he's a loose cannon, and a malfunctioning one at that. Maybe it would be better for the country if he does run because I don't think he can get reelected. I say that as a person who was laughed at two years ago when I said I had an awful feeling he would win.

  63. This democracy has been in danger since inception. The rebels happen to be in power. What I really fear is that I have to ponder what would the military do if the Presidents instruct it to break the constitution? If the military branch resists, they become the de facto power. If they do not resist, we lost it all. We the Navy, or the Army or the Air Force get a odds with each other, we are in a total mayhem. We can be in a lose-lose situation easily. A lot, a lot stands on Mattis' shoulders, just with the things the way they are. The Dems holding the house may just have saved the Republic.

  64. I'm surprised the public isn't more outraged that Mrs. Adelson is being given the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, solely for giving Republicans lots of money. I wonder how much she paid Trump to get this honor.

  65. Makes sense to me, since Trump essentially bought the presidency. To the people that support Trump, virtue equals wealth.

  66. @Linda Give us time. So many outrages ...

  67. @Linda, Literally, billions and billions. His favourite word.

  68. Mr. Krugman is right, the threat to American democracy is very much alive. And where is the democrat who can, first, erase or defuse that threat, and second, rebuild the foundations of your democracy so that in future threatening to tear it all down will never be so easy again?

  69. @N. Cunningham One might think we must have a new messiah to oppose Trump, when in fact all that is needed is someone from the Democrat Party, which encompasses liberals, progressives, centrists, moderates and socialists, and whose Presidential candidates for 100 years have reflected those values.

  70. "Do Republicans really believe that there were vast numbers of fraudulent or forged ballots?" Yes, I do, at least the rank and file, otherwise known as Trump's base. They believe everything else he says, the whole enchilada. That's why climate change is a hoax, the Russia probe is a hoax, we are being invaded by migrants who carry guns and germs, and best of all, Trump's taxes are under audit. Trump has a cult following, and the real danger is that if he is really threatened he may tell them to do something that will hurt a lot of people and they just might do so. It's not just our democracy that is in danger.

  71. @Padfoot Oh yes --- if you read through Breitbart (take=ing an anti-emetic first), you will see that there is a contingent of Trumpers who are actually preparing for some sort of armed civil war to "defend the Constitution." They take our measure and brashly scoff at how unfamiliar with arms "liberals" and how outgunned. if you can believe this, they brag that they could overpower us with their massive caches of weaponry. One wants to reassure oneself that these are just fringe lunatics, but they are in the grip of a cult, and we know what murderous acts they've actually carried out. Their penchant for domestic terrorism is always before us. On another subject, as a Jew, I feel that the Adelsons, Miller, Kushner et al are so "bad for the Jews" that they cause me teeth-grinding embarrassment and horror. They are walking caricatures and dog whistles for anti-Semitism. What on earth? Meanwhile the enlightened and generous George Soros is demonized and vilified. This is truly a world gone mad.

  72. I believe that we should stop obsessing about the president. He is not the problem. The problem or the problems are 1) all the people who support him, who hysterically and a-critically cheer him and applaud him no matter what he says or does; 2) the current GOP who has understood that he is their most formidable propaganda machine and voter-finder ever to exist. For what the president is really good at is reality TV! So, why not making the whole country a reality TV show, with he as the conductor and the WH as the stage! Understanding this was the true "eureka moment" of the GOP. Instead of fighting the guy (as they initially did for the 2016 elections), let's use him for what is best at: a reality show as big as the whole USA! Truth and reality don't matter. He can build his own truth, reality and values and many people will believe them, live by them and support them *no matter what*. The president is just the GOP "voter-getter machine". As long as he gets votes, the system works and the GOP has power. Nothing else matters. What we should be really concerned about is not the president. Is how can we have so many citizens who fall for this. And the answer is complicated, it involves our very own core values, education, schools, our perceived ideas of country, society and what is the meaning of being together and living together as a nation. These are the things that are really in trouble and we should be truly concerned about. As for the guy, he is just a showman.

  73. @MG We have to concentrate on doing everything to bring back educating everyone with history, civics, and training for jobs that can pay ones bills. Expose what isn't factual. And, I agree stop giving him coverage. He will go crazy.

  74. The actions we need to take are the same today as they have been for the last 2 years: Call Corrupt Donnie out on his lies, Have the press cover news, not Corrupt Donnie, Investigate the 2016 election, Investigate the corruption of the administration, Protest the exceptional and outrageous Most importantly, register and VOTE. Fixing this will take another 3-4 elections.

  75. Frankly, this is less an indictment of Trump than it is the 45 Million Americans who voted for him.

  76. @nictsiz 63 million

  77. @nictsiz Our friends who are European do, indeed, wonder how such a large minority of Americans can and do follow and believe this "perversion of a president". Democracy took a step forward with the House outcome, and with the record number of women and minorities who will serve in the Congress. Another step forward would be concerted effort by the press to actively counter the lying. This would enable the "independents" and those who are not voting their dogma to see even more clearly the attack on truth, fact and integrity being perpetrated by Trump and Trumpicans. How? 1. Have the legitimate media form a Collaboration For Truth. 2. Establish a Fact Base that objectively classifies statements as true, opinion, misleading or outright lie. 3. Require every CFT member to visually label each statement in the press - printed or online - and in every replay of interviews and public statements on TV or video. Invite the full spectrum of media organizations to participate. Visibly and repeatedly identify those organizations that fail to participate as irresponsible. Start this now. Run it through the 2020 elections. If this fails to return us toward moderate democracy, integrity and sanity then admit that we are a nation that has fundamentally lost its way.

  78. @nictsiz And, perhaps, the gamblers at Sheldon and Miriam Adelson's casinos. Is it ironic, or not, that someone who could bankrupt 4 casinos, is supported by the Adelsons.

  79. This is a poor thanks for the eloquent grunt work you've done, yet again, to keep us sensitized to the horror we are facing. But I'm beginning to wonder if a strategy we haven't tried yet might work as well: Ignoring Trump entirely. What if the news aggressively refused to report his non-news, and the rest of us aggressively focused OFF of him for a while?

  80. So ignore him and he will go away? Very wishful thinking

  81. Giving the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Miriam Adelson may well become one of the great defining paradoxes of the Trump era: a man, for whom the very definition of charity is the use of his "charitable foundation" for personal gain, is sullying the nation's highest civilian honor by granting the same to an outsized donor, in exchange for services rendered (and the hope for more). In the name of her charitable works.

  82. America should have known what was up with Trump from the moment he declared that his popularly-elected predecessor was a native of one of those African s*hole countries and that he had evidence of same. (And that applies even to Americans who were not already familiar with his business career, which was littered with fraud and deception, or oblivious to the fright-wig that was glued onto his scalp and which he insists is an authentic head of hair.) It turns out that The Donald has exactly as many native-born parents as did his predecessor, so where are the calls for HIM to present his birth certificate (let alone his tax returns)? Just yesterday The Times published an article in which an argument was raised as to whether our vilified press should continue to report on this president's endless stream of fabrications and insults. The correct answer is "yes" but with the added proviso that reporters who attend his (fake) news conferences make it their business to call out the question "Where's your evidence?" every time our Dissembler-in-Chief offers up another whopper. If those reporters end up losing their press credentials, so be it. There are always more where they came from, and- if it were to come to it- Trump can always treat his public to the embarrassing spectacle of his standing alone at a press conference attended only by "journalists" named Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.

  83. @stu freeman The suggestion that the White House Press Corps should simply refuse to show up is always met with the reply that this WH would be happy to end all information flow but we need to know what they are up to, and it's difficult to argue against these replies. As alternatives, in addition to your suggestion, I would like to see the entire Press Corps stand up and turn their backs on Drumpf and Huckasands; or start humming "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"; or, for each unanswered question, the next reporter to stand up and repeat the same question, until they either get an answer or the person at the podium walks off in a huff for all to see. A bit of passive resistance such as that taught by Gandhi, our great civil rights leaders, and Lisa Simpson. A Free Press is the fail safe provided by the Founding Fathers should the three-part co-equal structures of checks and balances falter, i.e., now. PS Thanks for your many comments.

  84. @A Yank in the UK I really like the idea of asking trump for evidence.

  85. @stu freeman, Dinesh D'Souza sold lies and Donald Trump bought them, such a sucker. Trump comes in power, he pardons D'Souza. The fabrications of D'Souza's are unparalleled fantasies without any foundation, saddest evidence of American gullibility. "In 2012, D’Souza released his revelatory, investigative documentary 2016: Obama’s America. As gorgeously shot as it was meticulously fact-checked, D’Souza’s film dispelled the fiction that Barack Obama didn’t know what he was doing: The first African “American” president had not run up the federal deficit in a misguided attempt to stimulate a bad economy (as a normal, economically illiterate liberal would do); rather, Obama knew that his fiscally irresponsible policies were hurting the United States. Indoctrinated into Kenyan anti-colonialism by his absent father, Obama was trying to bankrupt the U.S. as a means of shifting the balance of global power to the developing world. Were Obama to win reelection, D’Souza’s film argued, America would be an economic backwater — and Iran, a nuclear-weapons state — by 2016." Similarly god alone knows what kind of lies unpatriotic John Kelly filled into Trump's ears when he couldn't resist a retaliation to Michelle Obama's revelation the birther lies hurt the first family, that Obama did things to the military that made you and you unsafe. Such childish display of unfiltered and unfounded trash talk by a world leader. I wish Obama era generals could all stand up and denounce Trump in one shot.

  86. Don't forget the lies go both way, depending on the issue at hand. If we were to believe Trump, the House GOP should be putting the finishing touches on their 10% middle class tax cut right now. In his inauguration speech, he promised that "the carnage ends today." Well, tell that to the families who lost loved ones in Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Thousand Oaks, at Parkland High School or the Florida night club. At both ends of the spectrum (promise them everything and scare them with anything), The Leader (D.J. Trump) is today's P.T. Barnum. Its all an act.

  87. The republicans are pushing the big lie. They never acknowledge truth or reality. Let's be real. They are only interested in power, not governing. Not one republican in power stands up to the president. That makes them all complicit in Trump's destruction of the government.

  88. Come on, Paul. Trump does not have the power to shut down the recount in Florida and no one else does either. This is just another smoke screen, publicity act of Trump that is part of his usual attempt to control the news cycle. Ignore it. Hint: I have noticed that news programs are beginning to put Trumps tweets on their web sites and in their reports say that they will not repeat his factually inaccurate comments, but do generalize the main idea of his "Tweets." New journalistic policies for a new era.

  89. The Wizard of Oz is the guy behind the curtain

  90. @Bob Aceti I agree, also Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass" characters: Humpty Dumpty, the Mad Hatter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee. In Herman Melville's "The Confidence Man: His Masquerade" the "con man" appears in multiple guises, playing upon different notions of faith, belief, trust and truth, the very issues Krugman so clearly raises in one of his best columns.

  91. @Bob Aceti The Wizard of Oz, in the person of Frank Morgan at least, confessed with profound honesty ( and thanks to the compassionate Yip Harburg's script) that he was not a bad man, just not much of a wizard. With Donald J. Trump, there is no honesty, no self-awareness, no compassion, and no wizard-like wisdom to be shared. However, there is in Trumpland a huge curtain that may conceal even much more than mere mortals can imagine. In Trump-speak, it may be the biggest, most incredible con game in history. Doug Giebel, Big Sandy, Montana

  92. @Bob, you are on to something. The men in the high castle have studied the history of walled cities. Surrender is futile.

  93. No one with a shred of patriotism or self-respect should accept any medal from this president. Recipients of honors other than the Presidential Medal of Freedom--e.g., the Congressional Medal of Honor--should condition their acceptance on the right to choose a substitute donor.

  94. The real problem that rears up when one side in the argument doesn't have any connection to objective reality, when it dismisses the very existence of facts, is that it can no longer be reasoned with, or compromised with, or cajoled, needled, or even bribed. Which means, if it is looking for complete power, if that is what it wants, the only way to deny it that power is with force, with physical coercion. Other tactics will simply not work; they will be powerless, irrelevant. And the power-seeking side counts on its adversary not realizing this until it is too late, when it is already in control. We were at that point once before. And the power seeking side fired shots at Fort Sumter, and a nation erupted in Civil War. And the only way that the situation was rectified, at least for a bit--was for that side to be put down, hard, wiped from the field, at great cost. (Some have said, given our current situation, it may not have been sufficiently hard or wiped from the field enough.) We may soon be at that point once again, at which the only way to defeat this grasp for total power is with physical coercion. And the prosecution of that coercion will be even worse in the 21st century. The cost will be even greater. As I've written before, perhaps the only way to stop it is with what we didn't do last time--partition. Because the other alternative is worse.

  95. I could not agree more with the conclusion, I.e., partition. Generalizations, particularly with so much at stake, are dangerous, but It is hard not arrive at the observation that the ‘parties’ involved seem to be diametrically opposed, with one embracing the opportunity of globalization, and the associated economic benefit, accompanied by cultural changes, the other digging in, and embracing this MAGA fantasy. The location decisions made by Amazon for HQ2 are illustrative.

  96. @Glenn Ribotsky "....perhaps the only way to stop it is with what we didn't do last time--partition." How on earth would you do this? Bad enough that if done the last time along geographic lines, it would have left millions of Americans enslaved. Now you don't even have well-defined dividing lines. If you map how each state votes, even "liberal" NY state is mostly red with pockets of blue. I would resent being marooned in a red Upstate NY.

  97. The oligarchy employs powerful sycophants on Wallstreet, in law firms, in media companies and in Congress accustomed to seven figures a year. With this cartel of power hungry executioners it bedazzles and shape shifts the low information, low income and high emotion high mimimi voters at will into doing their bidding.

  98. There are so many moving parts to this fairly short opinion. The one that could be more easily remedied is the announcement of winners as soon as the polls close. Never again should any political race be "called by A.P." It is sheer lunacy to expect to have results when hundreds of thousands (in some cases- millions) of votes have not been tallied; where did this *tradition* come from? As we see, all it takes is someone like Trump (and a complicit GOP) to create conspiracies about "votes suddenly appearing from nowhere." Now- for the rest. I believed that- in my waning years, America would age gracefully with me; but it just doesn't seem to be so: A nation of truth and virtue and intelligence during what should be a pinnacle of social, educational and scientific achievement, is beginning to resemble a Rocky & Bullwinkle show replete with The Fearless leader.

  99. @Candlewick I feel exactly the same. Fortunately our country has been such a world leader in the past that it will withstand someone like Trump. The world is waiting hopefully, as are our most of own citizens, that Trump will fade into history shortly. Then we can re-build our friendships around the world. Let's focus on a positive outcome. At least that's how I am coping.

  100. @Candlewick I feel exactly the same. Fortunately our country has been such a world leader in the past that it will withstand someone like Trump. The world is waiting hopefully, as are most Americans, that Trump will fade into history shortly. Then we can re-build our friendships around the world. Let's focus on a positive outcome. At least that's how I am coping.

  101. @Candlewick and who knew that Boris and Natasha would take the whole thing down for comparatively minor money and some kompromat videos. They can't pay their pensions, or float an aircraft carrier, but they can influence our elections and "president"

  102. Perhaps if Mr. Krugman had written columns that were more objective toward Bernie Sanders he wouldn't be writing about Trump now. The 78,000 votes in the Midwest would probably have gone to Sanders.

  103. Were those 78,000 Midwestern Trump voters actually reading Krugman's columns before the 2016 election? I'm doubtful.

  104. @Peter Get over yourself. Sanders didn't win the nomination, he only reluctantly supported Hillary Clinton. If you refrained from voting because you were angry that Sanders didn't get the support you thought he should have had, you basically helped elected the one we are saddled with now.

  105. @Peter. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. You could be right that Bernie Sanders might have won those 78,000 votes, but it’s just as likely that he would have alienated many moderate Democrats and independents and they would have stayed home rather voted in 2016. In that case Trump might have won those states by an even larger margin. The assertion that Sanders would have done better against Trump is just speculation.

  106. There is no way to seriously convey matters of existential concern to a group of people who actually take Objectivism seriously. Because, like, opinions, man. Quite a mess that Ayn Rand has gotten us into.

  107. As usual, Dr. Krugman beautifully and efficiently articulates the state of our society. Thank you for your knowledge and insights and for championing ethics and morality.

  108. Trump uses well established methods to gain and use power and keep power but it’s not how American politicians have done so since the government was founded in the last decade of the 18th century. That Constitutional government was one of laws not men. No great man was ever intended to dictate over the country, no matter how good and great he might be. It is ironic that the political groups who would undo modern liberal policies by returning to the interpretations of the Constitution of the original founders end up supporting a President who is acting as if that republic needs replacement with a dictatorship.

  109. Trump is a liar of monumental , horrifying proportions . Every time he opens his mouth he spews venom... so the brave people fighting the horrendous fires in California are somehow responsible for the horror? Words are simply not adequate. He is a narcissistic bully, period, amen. What troubles me are the multitudes of Americans who support him! Don’t they know history? His is the playbook of Josef Goebbels and the Nazis ... as Goebbels said “All you have to do to destroy democracies is to repeat The Big Lie over and over again.” Here we are folks. History repeats itself. “Cry the beloved country.”

  110. The sad fact is for millions of his supporters “Fake news” DOES actually mean false reporting. You're the "enemy of the people". Fraudulent journalism isn't that far of a step in the Trumposphere.

  111. Delusional Truth and Virtue in the Age of Trump

  112. “ Dictators free themselves but enslave the people “ - Charlie Chaplin, The Great Dictator, 1940. Sir, to the bottom of his cold, dark heart, Trump truly believes he’s been “ elected “ Dictator, and behaves accordingly. He just can’t understand why he can’t get everything he wants, and immediately. His infatuation with actual dictators is real, he greatly admires them, the more thuggish, the better. He is jealous of their unfettered power. But never fear, there are compensations. The Trump Grift has expanded exponentially, not least of which is the extraordinary tab paid by we Taxpayers. In brief, he’s an inordinately Stupid man, but born and bred to Lie, Cheat and Steal. But hey, that’s what Lawyers and Bankruptcy are FOR. Seriously.

  113. Next he'll start selling pardons.

  114. The only "Fake News" is the news that Trump generates and his notable lying quotes. That's the fake news we have learned. The Twit tweets fakery every day. It's a cancer on the nation.

  115. Just listen to Rick Scott and his braying accusations of voter fraud. No evidence, of course - but it works for DJT! Why not for Scott? The GOP has gotten so corrupt and criminal it is appalling. Republicans elected two indicted criminals and one dead brothel owner. Apparently Nevada evangelicals thought it was fine to vote for a pimp. Because, you know, religious freedom. It is repulsive.

  116. “Our democracy is very much in danger.” What a classic understatement! Actually, our democracy began splintering in 1964 when Republicans bent the knee to neo-fascism by nominating Barry Goldwater at San Francisco to helm the party against LBJ. “Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice,” thundered the Arizonan, his John Birch leanings laid bare for anyone with eyes to see. The real fracturing took place in 1968. Goldwater’s ‘64 anthem to totalitarian government yielded to Richard Nixon’s, aided for all time by the almost complete hemorrhaging of blue collar Democrats into the states’ rights column, much beloved by hardened segregationists like Strom Thurmond, Richard Russell, J. William Fulbright and other neo-Confederate foot soldiers. This was the year that the Republicans, forever or until their party is remade, threw off the trappings of “limited government”— a code phrase for Nixon’s “benign neglect” of urban (read: Afro) America. Of course, Republicans denied they were racists and fascists, all the while putting up and electing presidents who would unabashedly play the race card during their tenures (Ronald Reagan famously; the Bushes tongue-in-cheek; Donald Trump in the red and raging raw). With Pittsburgh in play for the anti-Semites, it’s only a matter of time before America will be home to its own version of Germany’s “Kristallnacht,” an appalling event 80 years gone but still cherished in America by some ‘very fine people.” And Republicans are in denial?

  117. A thought....can we deport American citizens who betray their country by monetarily accepting foreign funds? Russia investigation.....probably Trump's campaign had no plan with Russia although Don jr's meeting with the Russians crosses the line. But money laundering for a foreign country? One your sons say kept you afloat for years and just look at Trump's grin when he sees Putin in France.....friend or banker?

  118. If our democracy survives Donald Trump and fascist his minions, it will be a miracle. And that's the truth.

  119. Questioning or denying the existence objective truth is not a recent thing. Here’s a piece of a conversation from 2,000 years ago between a politician and a speaker of the truth: Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose, I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” Notice that Pilate did not ask Jesus, “What is THE truth?” to which Jesus might have given him an answer. Pilate asked, “What is truth?” questioning the very existence of something called truth. Pilate’s question is the question of virtually every Republican politician (with a few exceptions). “What is truth?”

  120. There have been two major alternatives proposed for dealing with Trump and his lies. The first is to report what he says and fact-check it. The second is to ignore what he says and report what his administration actually does. So far I’ve believed in the first approach, but when the truth has become so distorted that the White House promotes a falsified video maybe it’s time to move towards the second. No amount of fact-checking will sway Trump’s base, nor will it influence the gutless GOP bootlickers who depend on him for survival. So let Trump and his captive audience live in their own little self-reinforcing bubble…and deprive him of media oxygen elsewhere. Trump is a click-bait president who thrives on conflict and chaos, using outrageous statements to attract attention and distract from negative news. The resultant mainstream media uproar only feeds his ego and unleashes his “enemy of the people” mantra. So shut him out. Trump is not accountable and never will be. He will never admit fault or accept blame, so why waste time trying to get him do so? It’s time to shift focus. Leave Trump and his absurdities to the mockery of the late-night talk show hosts and concentrate instead on what the government is actually doing in terms of its legislative agenda. Report the workings of the House and Senate, but relegate Trump to a minor role, much like a spear-carrier without a speaking part in a Shakespearean play. On the world stage that’s all he’s qualified for.

  121. @David Perfect advice, well said.

  122. What a travesty. Adelson’s wife, and Orrin Hatch - the highest honor in the country. Trump tarnishes everything he touches.

  123. Miriam Adelson? It could be worse. Next year, the Medal could go to Roy Cohn.

  124. @Dan Skwire ..... It amazes me, Dan, that so few of our citizens know about Cohn, Trump's trainer and Joe McCarthy's right-hand man. "Fake news" is a rehash of the Communist purges of the '50s. If Trump had his way, Jim Acosta would be in handcuffs.

  125. @Dan Skwire How about Ivanka or Jared Diamond?

  126. Thanks for writing this, Mr. Krugman. The world postulates that it is impossible to oppose, doubt, or question whatever Trump says. Voter fraud? Of course, because Trump, and Scott say so. Despite Scott ordered obeservers to be at each polling place. Despite the fact no claims of fraud have been lodged. Despite human error, the rules that govern Florida elections are being followed. All non-Trumpians need to keep careful scrutiny and pay serious attention to the malicious, and power driven conspiracy lies thrown into the public square. Rebuttal is required, and reason and facts prevail.

  127. While Krugman is doing a great service by reminding Times readers each week of the hideous condition of Republican politics and the threat to our nation, the Democrat party continues to fail to formulate and implement an effective counter strategy. People who are not reading the Times Op Eds need to be educated and continuosly reminded what the two parties stand for. This must include an effective counter to the Republican misinformation campaigns. For example, everytime Republicans spoke of "job killing regulation," the Democrats needed to respond with "life saving regulation." Instead we heard a hundred "job killing" references to an occasional Democrat response ineffectively trying to explain how the Republican line was not accurate. Same goes for "death tax", "angry mobs", "criminal caravan", and all the other Republican mantras. People need to be educated (and that includes repetitive reminders) that it is the Democrats who have been the champions of affordable healthcare for all (including coverage for pre-existing conditions), social security, medicare, affordable education, voting rights, civil rights, minimum wages and other employment rights, consumer rights, lower taxes for the middle class, etc. Too many people have been persuaded by the very effective Republican misinformation campaign that the Republicans are their protectors and the Democrats will bankrupt the country and thereby destroy all that is good.

  128. @Murray Your post brings to mind George Lakoff's excellent advice re. framing the debate. I agree with all you wrote and hope you don't mind my pointing out what I'm sure was just a typo. It's the Democratic party, not the Democrat party.

  129. @Murray Yes! Well put.

  130. Then again, we were here years ago with the Bush administration who largely set the Orwellian template of truthyism and the disavowal of inconvenient fact for the current Trump administration. (And let's not even get into the matter of the cooked data the Bush administration used to justif going into Iraq.) I'm rather surprised how this emerging tradition in republican governance has not been discussed more thoroughly in the press, for surely, what we have here is a trend. And this leaves me wondering what sort of fast-and-loose-with-the-facts republican-party we'll be dealing with going forward, not to mention what sort of games the next republican administration will be ripe to play.

  131. Professor Krugman, the predilections and behaviors you've just described in your column today are also, without exception, the definitions of a cult. L. Ron Hubbard - Cult Leader. Kim Jong-un - Cult Leader. Brigham Young - Cult Leader. David Koresh - Cult Leader. Pol Pot - Cult Leader. Jim Jones - Cult Leader. Donald Trump - Cult Leader. Trump's cult followers have "drunk the Kool-Aid". But Trump's Kool-Aid doesn't kill, it just turns the imbibers into "Trump zombies". And 40% of Americans (along with the entire leadership of the national GOP) are now "Trump zombies". They swallow whole every delusional fantasy that Trump feeds them - while rejecting empirical reality as "fake news". This state of affairs is more frightening than any horror film Hollywood has ever released. To cite just one, 40 percent of Americans are now "pod people". And it's up to the rest of us to rescue America from these cultish pod people who are masquerading as "Americans". And most of us still haven't come to this realization yet. So keep preaching, Paul. We need your clarion calls to action - before it's too late. Not only can it "happen here" - in many respects it already has.

  132. @Dave The gop stalwarts don't believe him,don't respect him ,nor like him. He is their pawn, to be used for their own devices: judges,tax cuts,de-regulation, military contracts, etc. He is their temporary tool, of no import, or gravitas. A good side show they use for distraction. Their daggers will be out soon enough.

  133. Paul Krugman, YOU are a hero. Thank you for your service and patriotism. You keep me going.

  134. Lying for Trump is a means of business and presenting himself, and it has been hard-wired into for so long it's as natural as breathing. But, a perplexing paradox: A sizable number of his "supporters" know he is not just a chronic, but incessant liar. But they don't care and admit as much. [The GOP members of Congress really don't care, as long as there's a Trump base to keep him (and them) in power.] It's hard to believe, but that's where we stand.

  135. Too much Trump, every day, always. Lies. Insults. Filmflam. Drivel. The piling-on effect is extreme, and I, for one, don’t want it. What I do want is a Trump moratorium. No more Trump, whatever that entails, for as long as possible, everywhere. How refreshing that would be. And how the world deserves it.

  136. @Housden Rightly or wrongly trump is powerful and has an impact on our lives. No matter how much we wish for a trump news moratorium, we cannot let him act or speak with no visual and audio oversight. We will always need proof that he’s being stupid or dangerous. The best way to get him out of our lives is to make sure he’s retired in 2020. And takes Pence with him.

  137. @Kri I agree with you entirely! I admit, my own point of view was expressed in a moment of anger at the man's endless onslaught against all things good, intelligent and decent. He's relentless in that regard, wounded beast that he is.

  138. It is troubling, terrifying, scary, that the Republican Party and the vast majority of its supporters reject facts and rely only on emotions. There is no discussing and negotiating anything because facts are rejected. If you believe climate change is a hoax or the 2nd Amendment allows for no control / monitoring / limiting of guns or all immigrants are harmful to our country or every nation is taking advantage of America - hence tariffs for everything or Obama Care is bad because Obama's name is used (can we get sillier - really sad!).... how can we have a conversation to discuss solutions?

  139. Authoritarians and wannabes like Trump are a dime a dozen in history. Habitual conspiracy theory believers have always been part of the American electorate and subject to manipulation. But to Trump's "credit", and to the lasting shame of his party and his credulous supporters, Trump has successfully advanced the authoritarian's playbook by showing the utility of lying at massive volume. Trump doesn't just focus on a few themes, repeating a handful of "Big Lies" until they start to feel true to the foolish. He lies about everything, big and small, constantly, with little effort to conceal the truth. Trump and his party have demonstrated that in our democracy it is possible to exhaust the opposition and dominate the news cycle by lying multiple times per day, every day. But an exhausted opposition is not the same as a defeated opposition as the midterms have shown. Republicans may "abandoned the whole notion of objective facts" but the majority of Americans have not.

  140. We've moved well beyond "truth and virtue" into the autocratic, Orwellian realm of dishonesty and criminality. The unraveling of our Constitution reached a frightening crossroads when Donald Trump seized complete control of our Department of Justice (DOJ) with the appointment of a lackey whose only qualification is his shared antipathy to the Special Counsel investigation by Robert Mueller. And yet. the alarm bells have yet to sound in Washington as the agency tasked with enforcing the Constitution's "rule of law" will now be administering the rule of Trump. No one at DOJ has resigned in protest over a man who is unqualified, under investigation by the very F.B.I. he now controls, refuses to recuse himself from the Mueller investigation despite his many public statements opposing it, and who was never approved by the Senate. Yes, our democracy is at very grave risk when pipe bombs are sent to opposing political leaders, Jews at prayer are massacred by a man whose had too much of the Trump anti-immigrant Kool Aid, and now the man responsible is in charge of law enforcement.

  141. Politicians are not the only ones who stretch the truth. Commercial advertisers and some religions are also guilty.

  142. Trump selects winners of the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their contributions. Babe Ruth for his contributions to sport. Elvis Presley for his contributions to music. Miriam Adelson for her contributions.

  143. I thought it interesting that he could not walk with the other leaders to the Arc d’ Triomphe. “Security” was mentioned as the reason he didn’t walk. Yet somehow, 70 of the world’s leaders did not have that concern. My guess is that he is in such bad physical shape that he can’t walk that far. And of course he won’t admit it. PB

  144. I have four thoughts, Mr. Krugman. One of them kind of poetical--so please bear with me. (1) I agree with you, sir, one hundred percent. Our democracy DOES stand--in considerable peril. The hope is: if something really dreadful--really overt--happens, at least SOME Republicans not wholly deluded will rally round what used to be a democracy. (2) I still remember the hatchet job the GOP did on John Kerry. Goodness! that was fourteen years ago. I am still angry. VERY angry. Trust me. (3) My poetical thought. Sorry. But years ago, my wife and I visited Maine on vacation. That first day, I strolled down to the coast--sat down on a rock--and watched the waves come in. My goodness! All the power of the Atlantic Ocean moving inexorably on, breaking on the rocks below me, rushing upwards--coming within an inch of my foot-- --and stopping. Better luck next time, fellas! (4) Just like truth, Mr. Krugman. Just like truth. "The truth is great and shall prevail," wrote a Victorian poet. Now what was the name of that book?--"Lenin's Tomb" was it? All that might, all that power of the old USSR bent on stifling truth. Suppressing it. Annihilating it. And it was too much for them. We human beings--we're HARDWIRED to love truth. To seek it out. To spread it around. No matter what Mr. Trump says or does. No matter what the GOP says or does. Mr. Krugman, sir-- --the lie will perish. It will, sir. It will. Count on it!

  145. @Susan Fitzwater No, the lies won’t necessarily die. Look at the Russians who still admire Stalin, the neo nazis, and the admirers of Mao. (And don’t get me started on the Conferates here in the USA). Some people, many times a lot, still believe very much in the lies.

  146. @Susan Fitzwater "I still remember the hatchet job the GOP did on John Kerry. Goodness! that was fourteen years ago. I am still angry. VERY angry. Trust me. " The author of the book that falsely defamed and denigrated Kerry was Jerome Corsi. His miserable self was just on TV saying that his buddy, Roger Stone, will soon be indicted for perjury. I hate to say that some of my college buddies read Corsi's book like it was the Bible or something.

  147. The lies, are like red, hot embers in a darkened California sky. My soul is scorched by Donald Trump and his political enablers. Pray for rain.

  148. @Eric Blair Rain will be insufficient. We will need a massive hurricane stuck for weeks like the one stuck over Houston last fall to put out this blaze.

  149. When the transactional mindset of the commercial classes becomes the dominant mindset of a society, everything is for sale. “Truth” is whatever increases a product’s marketability. “Virtue” is whatever separates the “winners” from the “losers”. Honor is nonexistent. The Trumpublican Party is the anti-democracy party. It’s leaders are self- and donor-centric. They are viciously devoid of concern for the common good. The U.S. is now a “competitive authoritarianism”. Our political system retains the trappings of democracy, but too many government officials abuse state power to aid their plutocratic friends and disadvantage their opponents.The preferences of the majority of citizens are ignored and abuses of state power go well beyond those associated with mere patronage. President Trump disdains ethical, constitutional and traditional republican norms. “Family first” and "the end justifies the means" are the sole points on his "moral" compass. Senate Majority leader McConnell is an equally blatant opportunist. "The GOP and its donors first" is McConnell's guiding principle. This is evident in his procedurally unprecedented efforts to undermine Obamacare and in the GOP’s rush-job tax “reform”. "The end justifies the means" also provides the sole justification for McConnell’s and the GOP's anti-constitutional Scalia-replacement strategy. Ttumpublicans are utterly shameless. For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, GOP demagoguery and venality are beyond dispute.

  150. Trump just can't seem to be more clever about his pronouncements, he appears to be crafty while he's belligerent but he isn't as smart as many think, especially those who still support him and are part of the 99%. Everything Trump touches turns to dust although he is clever enough to squeeze it to death. Trump's lies are constantly catching up to him, like the N. Korean missiles we're no longer supposed to worry about. Clinton had them dismantling their ability but W Bush stoked that fire with gasoline and gave birth to a new nuclear arms race. What sort of nukes will Trump build, one that destroys the planet with one strike and pays everybody back? Dr Strangelove was supposed to be satire! Trump insulted a lot California Republicans in both Butte County and the Malibu Hills where there are plenty of Republicans compared to the numbers of Democrats with his remarks on the wildfires there so Trump shoots himself in the foot all the time. Ventura County may be changing to more liberal but it's always been conservative territory. Wildfires hit people with land more than apartment dwellers. The look on his face after the midterms really says a lot to me - he's going to have to fight twice as hard to stay ahead of the buck and the gavel - and he insults more and more people every day so when the Democrats start serving their subpoenas I bet he really goes ballistic. Here's hoping he doesn't start a war during his tantrums.

  151. After Obama gave Biden the Medal of Freedom, it’s hard to argue the award reflects some impartial assessment of merit...

  152. @Ilya Shlyakhter He could have and should have fought the Hillary coronation. He worked for the nomination and could be President today if not for the hubris of the elite. Instead He got a medal.

  153. Democracy is still in danger, but at least (for the moment) it has gotten a temporary reprieve from Democrats taking over the house. (and a modicum of oversight) However, as it is set up by the Constitution, Democracy can be taken away every (2) two years, while people must remain vigilant, engaged, and of course - vote. What if all of the fascists decided to get together and vote themselves into every position of government ? Problem is, that there is not nearly enough of them to fill up a gym, let alone take over the country. Conversely, what if Progressives decided to organize, get together and vote in themselves for every level of government? Problem is that, we have a representative republic, and they cannot vote for themselves. They have to vote for people that keep promising to represent them, and do the things that they want, but then get into office and go back on those promises again and again and again. So most of them stay home. (Well over 100,000,00 any given election) That is changing...

  154. Miriam Adelson, wife of a casino owner, and donor of many millions to Republican political campaigns, is a Great American worthy of a medal!! Next we'll be reading that Trump is awarding himself the Medal of Honor to commemorate his courage in dealing with bone spurs. Which foot was that again?

  155. @Tom Can those honors and medals be retracted? Can only hope.

  156. @Tom This actually is not a surprising act for a man who was willing to accept a gifted Purple Heart when he never even served. The fact that anyone who had ever served in the military could then vote for this corpulent corruption shows how far they have fallen.

  157. I will boil it down even more than your excellent Op/Ed does, Mr Krugman. If you want to know what Republicans are up to, just listen to what they accuse Democrats of doing. All they do is project, gaslight and lie. That is ALL that they are capable of. A party bereft of any ideas or moral compass can win ONLY if they mislead - and cheat.

  158. The Adelsons have for years poured money into various Republican campaigns, including Trump's, to buy influence for their far right agenda. So much for draining the swamp! Now Trump has given an absurd distinction to an individual who represents what he was, ahem, supposedly going to resist.

  159. I see that a bunch of Florida Trump supporters are demonstrating outside a courtroom where charges of election fraud (probably fake) are being heard. They may be paid or just flunkies or chumps, but, hey, it worked in 2000. A reminder to add that to your list of Republican falsities - the election of George Bush. Democrats caved on that, I hope they don't get fooled again.

  160. Krugman mentions Republicans delusional thinking about climate change, which certainly ranks high in a list of societal importance. Another fundamental delusion shared by many Republicans, including Ryan and Greenspan, is a belief in Ayn Rand's contention that economic selfishness is good for society. A third major belief is that poor black people are lazy and so do not deserve assistance. Taken together, these tragic beliefs are, unfortunately, shared by individuals with the highest levels of education. We need many others to echo Krigman's efforts.

  161. @Paul W. Case Sr. Many of those "delusions" among Republicans originated with Ronald Reagan. Among other things, he told them, essentially, that greed is OK. You don't have to care about your neighbors, just take care of yourself and your family. In doing so, he encouraged reducing financial regulations, and eliminating social programs. He encouraged distrust of, and antagonism toward, the government ("It's not the solution; it's the problem.") The antecedent of the Tea Party movement. And, he loved to talk about "welfare queens" and their Cadillacs. The "Gipper" did many things -- many of them detrimental for America.

  162. @Paul W. Case Sr. Economic selfishness (or fear) is good for getting votes. The gop loves it,embraces it, causes it.

  163. Krugman is correct. The assault on your democracy is clear to see. But to install a kleptocracy and dictatorship would require the support of the US General Staff and the officer corp. They haven’t got that and they will not get it. Trump’s contempt for their values, his greed, cowardice and other overt vices are the inverse of my experience and observations of US officers. He and his gang may carry the crazed end of the GOP and the religious loonies, but the core of US institutional power will not follow. Business, commerce and the academy will stand firm as well

  164. Agreed. You might want to share with some of your “Never Trumper but I still hate progressives” colleagues the danger of reminding Democrats of everything that the did wrong to lose an election they overwhelmingly won.

  165. Dem leadership appears to flounder in the age of Trump because they are sticking to the norms of democracy.

  166. Yes, Trump lies profusely, but is it just a severe character flaw or perpetual state of delusion, or worse, deliberate as he knows those who like him will believe anything he says? I believe the later. Trump we can handle, but his millions of followers beliefs will endure as our society falls to disillusion and chaos. Please do everything you Congress people can to promote education before we become a nation of profound ignorance hating immigrants. Speak out against the stupidity. Stop behaving so quietly dignified and above it all and get in the fray to lead the people to considered thought as Trump keeps them ignorant with his daily barrage of ignorance and stupidity.

  167. I hate to say this (not true), but this is more an indictment on the American voter;mainly Republican voters. These are the same who just elected a dead Nevada Pimp . Why should we be surprised they elected Donald Trump?

  168. Please keep saying these things that need to be said, Professor Krugman. If people stop pushing back, it will be like falling asleep at the wheel while speeding down the highway.

  169. Note to president bone spurs: Helicopters have windshield wipers, I've been in many rainstorms in an astar and they fly fine.(little heavy though) Your a disgrace to my country and all the veterans who fought for it while you were chasing coeds around your "military prep school"

  170. "Why do you lie so often?" a reporter asks. "I don't lie" POTUS replies. "Oh, okay," replies the author. Such is the current dialogue with the White House tenant. Is it too difficult for a reporter to follow up with a series of verifiable lies. Suggestion. Jot down a list of lies on a note card and stick it in your pocket. Then start the above dialog and keep it going until the WH tenant explodes.

  171. Here a suggestion to satisfy the Republican Party. Put the Count of Sesame Street in charge of the recounts in Georgia and Florida. He is a slow counter: one vote, ha! ha! ha! two votes, ha! ha! ha!, three votes ha! ha! ha!, four…. But he loves to count and he will counted every votes. Guarantee!

  172. I just posted elsewhere my satisfaction with the House elections will seat many shades of Democratic Party opinion in the House. This is restoring the Big Tent party that governed so successfully for so long, and bringing it back from meekly tolerating a watered-down version of supply-side economics. It's a total mystery to me why the now Small Tent GOP "abandoned the whole notion of objective facts and nonpolitical goodness." And it's even more of a mystery that it keeps the support of a substantial minority of American voters, who by definition must have lost their ability to reason.

  173. In '1984' Orwellian double speak is the hall mark of the authoritarian society he described so well and it is horrifying that the GOP which represents 40 percent of our voters has slipped into lies and obfuscations so easily. Democrats voted into our House an amazing variety of people and opinions that belies the claim that Democrats engage in that kind of reasoning. We have become the Party of Values and Honesty while it seems that Republicans have forgotten even the meaning of the words.

  174. I had worried that Trump would shut down any election that did not go in his favor. My anticipation was not totally off the mark. This is another scenario that's not unimaginable: Trump declares that we're under invasion when that ragtag caravan from Central America reaches our border. In such a dire and emergency situation, we can't allow the seating of the new slate of Democrats about to be in control of the House. We require stability and the sure hand of Trump to keep us safe and on course. Trump continues, reassuringly: Regarding the 2020 elections, we'll have to see if they can go ahead when the time comes. In such a dangerous world, where everyone is eating America's lunch, only Trump the Nationalist (referring to himself in the 3rd person) can guarantee the continued Greatness that He has bestowed upon us.

  175. @Lesothoman Trump might declare martial law the day the caravan arrives to the border.

  176. Mr Trump struggles to remain in power, now that his Republican enablers have to contend with sane members of Congress. Our children are witnessing a spineless Department of Justice with a felon at the helm, and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell collaborate with Russians and commit sacrilege to place Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme bench. 2018 is not a year of truth or virtue for our nation in its darkest hour.

  177. What a piece of cake for a newspaper columnist. The columns write themselves and give us all catharsis. Just recount the week's outrages that mount day by day. And the photo is the perfect illustration. A paranoid, authoritarian egotist reigns over a democracy that was once a role model for the world. His extremist party has dominated the 3 branches of govt, and most states. Corporate and super rich mega donors legally dominate the policy making of the party that dominates the govt. The columnist doesn't even have to think much---to figure out what the party opposite might actually propose to save America. And which would have genuine value for citizens. Anything the opposing party does will look great by contrast. Anyone of either party that opposes our atrocious leader now seems saintly. This is part of the distortion. Watch out. This is the problem of US politics and the media. We need objective columnists more than ever now.

  178. @Meredith It only seems that the columns write themselves because Dr. Krugman makes it look easy. Anybody who thinks they can match him for searing insight combined with humane, crystal-clear writing should give it a try. Then they’ll see just how easy it is. As F. L. Lucas said about Voltaire’s clear, witty, simple-seeming, style, “To the simple-minded, this may seem simple. Let them try to equal it.”

  179. Wore than the numbers of Republicans who buy into this way of thinking and rationalizing are the vast numbers of Republicans who know better but only care about their narrow self interests. The wealthy, gated golf course community couple who know better than to buy into Trumps lies and cons are more than repugnant because they excuse him at any cost as long as they benefit from his policies. It doesn't matter to them that millions of Americans will get the shorter end of the stick because of the Republican party's need to line the pockets of the top 5 to 10%. The Republicans have built in scapegoats to explain away any views they disagree with. Mr. Krugman is right and until the right wing base and those who would support the party at any cost are marginalized or shunned to the point of not being relevant we are still very much in danger.

  180. I really hate to say this, Dr. Krugman, but your assertion that Miriam Adelson is receiving the Medal of Freedom only because she, and her billionaire husband, are both friends of Donald Trump and very large donors to his campaign does her a slight disservice. She does have some accomplishments, such as research on addiction and founding substance abuse centers, which, if she was not a vocal Trump supporter and Trump was not President, might actually be viewed favorably. Sure, her vocal and financial support of Trump probably is a leading reason why she is receiving this honor, but cronyism also probably has played a large role in the selection of past winners. The point is that by singling out Ms. Adelson for your derision, you run the risk of appearing petty. That, sadly, would take away from an otherwise excellent reminder that the lack of respect this President and the Republican Party has for the truth is a legitimate danger to our democracy.

  181. The real question confronting America is whether it wants to vote democracy out of power. Remember. There was voting in the Soviet Union. It's just that there was only one party. And people who strayed too far from communist orthodoxy would be forced back into conformity. An example is that of Shostakovich. Criticized by Stalin for writing the wrong kind of music, Shostakovich capitulated, and wrote a mea culpa which appeared in Pravda. On the surface at least he appeared to internalize communist criticism. But his music sometimes betrays another reality that he didn't put into words. If democracy is to survive in the US, we need to have two parties. That means that it is counterproductive to argue that Republicans always lie. In any case, it is an argument that Democrats are likely to lose. The problem is that the poor, or the former working class that dwell in flyover country, DO see the Democrats as sometimes lying. They stand in line behind large families speaking Spanish and conclude that the holes in the medical care system are partly due to illegal immigration. The Democrats not only don't listen, but declare those who disagree with liberal theology as racists and bigots. They encourage their members to tear down statues of Robert E Lee. Liberals lecture the rest of us about how bigoted we are since movie directors tend to be white males. But people in Peoria didn't choose the movie directors. They simply pay for watching the movies.

  182. Wake up. There is only one party in the USA, too. The party of the rich. This is a family squabble. The Dems have co-opted people like Bernie Sanders, but they destroyed him in the Presidential election. The fact that we have a small number of minorities and independents in govt doesn't give us parity.

  183. @Jake Wagner What is "liberal theology"? Is that what Evangelicals and the Republican Party stand for, or just mixing religion with reactionary illiberalism? Was the Jesus of the Gospels a "liberal theologist," perhaps the first reformed rabbi?

  184. @Stephanie Wood I would suggest that Bernie Sanders contributed to the defeat of Hillary Clinton by saying, along with Trump, that she was not qualified to be president. Trump co-opted Sanders' rhetoric, both presenting themselves as "populists,' while linking Clinton to "Wall Street." Of course, Republicans' interest is solely that of corporate America and they are only too happy to take credit for the stock market's rise. When Obama took office, the Dow Jones was at 6500, when he left it was 17,500, but of course, that either had nothing to do with his policies or it made him and Clinton either left wing "socialists" or corrupt capitalists.

  185. The criticisms & accusations leveled against president Trump are almost always true, factual. But why do I feel what he says & does are a reflection of his low endurance, frustration tolerance and hypersensitivity, because of his hypomania? I am an old ordinary psychiatrist, now retired. And I felt from the very beginning, since 2015, that Mr. Trump has been hypomanic all his life without any tangible "depressive" swings. He's narcissistic but not a sociopath as many have suggested. Maybe it's like Michael Avenati conceitedly saying that president Trump wouldn't complete his current term, I would (again) say if Mr. Trump takes a mood stabilizer, say like lithium about 450 mg (about half the regular dose) daily, he would end up as among the great US presidents - he has the wherewithal for it. He should "act" more like a Democrat, lie a lot, lot less, no boasting, cut payroll tax to help the middle class & working poor, have another higher marginal rate of 50% on over, say $15 million; lift the cap on payroll tax but to make less unpalatable to tot he rich, cut it again to 1% beyond, say $150K. But without taking a mood stabilizer, he wouldn't have the patience to do so. Instead of constantly ridiculing him, a group of bipartisan leaders ought to threaten him with invoking the 25th amendment, unless he takes a modest dose of a mood stabilizer.

  186. @A.G. Alias Your suggestions for Trump's future behavior have about as much chance of happening as you or I becoming the next President of the U.S.

  187. @tom boyd You may well be right. Then again when Donald Trump announced his candidacy, "most" thought he had as much chance as "'you or I' becoming the next president of the U.S."

  188. Being willing to lie knowingly is virtually a part of the job description of being a politician. Used carefully and successfully, it is a way for a crafty office holder or seeker to evade responsibility for changing positions to suit a shift in public opinion or to adjust to other changing circumstances. Lying constantly without hesitation, carrying out a frontal attack on known and accepted facts? That's the province of Trump and very few others in American political history (Joe McCarthy in the 1940s and '50's comes to mind.) Politicians play the music the public wants to hear. This, taken as a habit or to extremes undermines public debate and, ultimately, the character of the politician. Most dangerously, it corrupts character and the ability of the speaker to even know what is truth and what is not. Trump has lied all of his business career. He called it truthful exaggeration. Everything he was planning would be the best that ever was seen, so beautiful no one would believe it. You won't believe how great. Pump and sell. Repeat. Anyone starting a business makes statements based on their faith in the future and the ability of themselves and those around them to "make dreams come true". Trump is of a whole different order. He lied about the casinos in Atlantic City, about the Plaza Hotel, about the Trump Shuttle, about Trump (non) University...about just about everything he ever touched. He wouldn't know actual truth if it hit him like a bus on 5th Avenue.

  189. Last week I turned on the NBC evening news—just as a reporter at a ‘rally’ began unraveling Trump’s rash of lies and conspiracy theories on the cusp of the midterms. As if on cue, Trump suddenly boomed in the background about his “biggest tax cuts in American history.” A 1,000 times a lie is just dull. What does it matter what anyone says to or about Trump? Why engage or validate someone who’s incapable of two-way conversation? Sane elected officials can fight a policy, or push their own, without stoking the naked emperor’s fire. So much of what he says and tweets is not new, or news, or true...why not leave it on the plate, untouched? Democrats (and the media, in many cases) should just neatly step around him whenever possible. That way progress lies. Less ink, more peace.

  190. @Jck You make an excellent point. The major media, however, are trapped in a dark corner of their own making. Traditionally, presidents are treated as if everything they say and do is important. Because Trump constantly outrages a portion of the population and the traditions of the presidency, what he says is treated as even bigger news. Plus, Trump draws viewers and readers, making money for the media. They are hooked on him like crack cocaine and can't figure a way out of the dilemma. In the process, they give him constant power to shape or derail public debate on important issues.

  191. It's a great idea, Mr. Krugman: President Trump is best understood as * Leader Trump.* So let's do this. Let's do a crazy, outrageous, free thing: let's all of us start calling President Trump, "Leader Trump." It's strange and radical and also a signal that we're not willing to pretend like it's business as usual in America. "Leader Trump went to Paris today..." It sounds gimmicky, perhaps, but these words might be important because in saying them, we are reminding ourselves and everyone that Leader Trump's leadership isn't democratic. It is in fact the kind of "leadership" that destroys democracies. Calling Trump Leader Trump is strange and impolite and radical. It draws attention to things. It seems a bit ridiculous, even.... But this is no ordinary moment and something needs to be done. So let's try it: let's use the power of language to remind ourselves and everyone who is listening that we can protest... We can refuse to go along. We can make this moment into the weird, terrifying, big deal that it is.

  192. @Wendy Maland, I respectfully disagree, only on the ground that Trump will lap it up and then insist on further trappings due such a title...

  193. @Canuck Lit Lover In German that would be "Der Fuerher", a fitting moniker.

  194. The Republican playbook: Gerrymander districts to insure more seats than the opposition. Run campaigns aimed at demonizing opponents, not issues. Suppress voter turnout of opposition by revealing how meaningless their vote is, and making it difficult for folks to vote. then there is the Koch brothers. Everything has been about keeping Democrat voters from polls. Chapter two of the playbook lays out strategies for countering losses at the polls. Cry and whine, accuse fraud, cheating. Of course none of that applies if the Republican wins by a slim margin. Trump would then crow about how credible the election process was. It was actually chilling to see Gov Scott from Florida reading a statement about the fraud and inside jobs taking place in the Fla. election to defeat him. Remember when Bret Kavanaugh was counseled by the white house to hit back hard in his Senate testimony about Dr. Ford? This smacked of the same thing.

  195. This is the result of de-funding public education--a public that doesn't care about facts. But facts have a nasty way of coming back. Can we survive until then?

  196. Trump has zero credibility and the fact-based media should continue pointing that out. Now how much "fraud" did we have in recent elections? Well, let's take a quick look at how many voted for Democratic candidates vs. Republican: 2018 Senate: 12.9 million more voted D than R. 2018 House: 4.6 million more voted D than R. 2016 President: 2.9 million more voted D than R. That Republicans control two of the three is the real fraud.

  197. @David Doney There’s a reason for the Senate vote number disparity. california - population 39 million, two senators, Idaho - population 1.7 million, two senators. Votes cast in Cali Formica, Florida and Texas probably add up to more than all the other states combined.

  198. There should be no doubt in anyones mind that Trump is not the deliverer, but then he did gain the presidency by declaring that the emperor had no clothes, that it was the establishments own lie that lost them the election in 2016. It will only be by truth and virtue from that same establishment that this ship has any chance of righting itself, nothing will change by simply pointing out that this political usurper can play the game with the best of them which is what we are seeing now. Could be that the office itself needs to be restored, made more pristine to where it will attract the real leadership once again, nothing less will stand in the way of a second term for this operator behind the big microphone now.

  199. I think I'm very ready, along with a majority of Americans, to hear Mr. Mueller's report. And if he's got any indictments ready to go, oh please, show the world.

  200. Today you love Mueller's investigation. Tomorrow you won't.

  201. "Our democracy is still very much in danger." This is very true, and frankly I'm not sure that the midterm results will reverse the trends. There is that possibility, but I would give it only one in three odds. There is a huge apparatus at work.

  202. Underneath their facade, the GOP is working toward being the party that runs the nation. They will fight against potential SCOTUS rendering of gerrymandering as being patently anti voter and party centric. They will continue their support of Trump as their autocratic leadership in an effort to take control of our government. They will stop defending democratic principles and the tenets of our Republic.

  203. The risk that our republic would be seriously damaged was always my biggest fear with Trump. While serious, many of his misguided actions are reversible. But to damage the republic is to compromise our democracy. Historically, the Roman republic was compromised by the Caesars. I am hoping we can avoid a similar fate. The current election results were encouraging, but the outcome in 2020 remains as the ultimate test.

  204. @how-right There is no sharper delineation as that between the educated and the uneducated.

  205. In this context, special kudos are due to Ms. McSally, who defied the wishes of the GOP and graciously congratulated Ms. Sinema on winning a hard-fought victory. More kudos for wishing the senator-elect "every success in representing the people of Arizona."

  206. @Peter Czipott Yes, Ms. McSally does seem to be a class act. Sadly a rarity in GOP circles these days.

  207. @Peter Czipott Please recall that Ms. McSaly repeatedly claimed she voted many times to protect the ACA when in objective fact she did not. There is no reason for any of us to suppose she means anything she says, including "Congratulations!"

  208. Dr. K, it seems to me that American voters sensed the authoritarian power grab and in the recent mid-term elections rejected the direction the country was taking. E.g., restoring the Separation of Powers Doctrine of the Constitution, the sustaining check against the overwrought power of any of our three branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. The new House Majority will restore a Democratic Chair in each of the Committees in the House of Representatives and will be able to focus on and define a post-Trump agenda. The new Committees majorities can hear from experts and interests on the problems which threaten the short and long- term well-being of American families: such as easing the dislocation of the fossil fuel industries as they evolve to technologies that will reduce emissions and scrub the saturated atmosphere of excess carbon dioxide, increasing the availability and lower the cost of prescription drugs and medical equipment, and increasing access to healthcare and public education. In the near term, I recommend that we invest in improving the safety and efficiency of our highways and logistics systems by testing and competing new electric transport systems like the 300 mph superconducting Maglev transport standard proposed by the late Senator Moynihan. I also recommend that we develop and test a Maglev space launch and space-based solar system to produce very cheap electric power to power the new future for the Earth.

  209. @james Jordan Americans haven't fully caught on yet. If they had, the recent election would have seen no Republicans get elected to anything! Nothing. Nada. It's a crying shame that the Senate is still in Trump/GOP hands. Was McCain the last of the Republicans of integrity? Seems that way.

  210. The fact remains, even after the midterm brawl, that the party in power must voluntarily relinquish the majority in the house, and that all of these election results must be certified at several levels of local and then federal government. Think secretaries of state in the several states and the FEC and sitting Republicans in the congress at the federal level. It's not readily apparent to me, for one, that this election is over until Ms. Pelosi takes her seat as Speaker. And yes, Professor K, when the Medal of Freedom is up for sale, we are in big trouble.

  211. @David It certainly puts a tarnish on the Medal of Freedom.

  212. Well, everyone who wails and laments the horror of Trump should stop the wailing and lamentation and find some action to take so that, in 2020, we will have a better election for President. For me that means doing whatever I can to convince legislators in my home state - Michigan - to sign on the National Popular Vote Compact. Getting this approved would change the fundamental nature of how Presidential campaigns are run. That's OK for me, a retired, living on SOCSEC 78 year old. But if you can find SOMETHING to do, do it, and urge your friends to do it as well. Giving in to morose sulking won't help, and it just makes the Trumpists happy. At the very least, find out who your local, state, and national representatives are and let them know how you feel whenever Trump lies...which means about every day! And write to Republicans as well. Urge your friends to do the same. Actual USPS mail is best. But do take action, and you will feel better.

  213. Dr. Krugman, I know that few if any Trump addicts will read this, but it is very comforting to me to read your analyses, to know that someone really has deep insight into what Trump represents. One very minor exception, I do believe that it is more accurate to say that Trump lies than to say he has a different standard of truth. More accurate to say that he lacks moral values than to say he has a self-centred standard of virtue. I suppose it's semantical, but however one says it, from all I've ever read you've described sociopathy, with more than a fringe of paranoia. The individuals involved in this are locked in a defense of their power, the boundaries of which they patrol relentlessly, and seek to expand them. I suppose they scare themselves with the thought that the other side is doing it to them. But doing an FOI on communications between election officials and George Soros is plain crazy. Who is going to give the public a standard of sanity so that we all don't lose our minds? Your articles go a long way towards doing so.

  214. I always thought that had Sec'y Clinton won the Presidency, she would not have been allowed to govern, due to lies, hysteria, obstructionism. Miriam Adelson: really? Thanks, Dr Krugman, for bringing this little reported bit to our attention.

  215. George Orwell missed the date used in the title of his book by 34 years. How do you wrap your head around the fact that the world's greatest democracy is seriously in danger of degernating into the actual world set in his famous novel, 1984. In the next few years we will find out if the checks and balances set in our Constitution, some 240 years ago, are strong enough to survive their strongest test since the Civil War. Stay tuned, it is going to be quite a ride! Phil Gardner

  216. "Our democracy is still very much in danger." No, Paul, it's not. Trump can hand out all the Medals of Freedom he wants. The Constitution is not under any threat to be changed by Republicans. "Trump, of course, lies a lot..." Paul, I would love to see an article from you about who leaked Dr. Ford's name to the media. No one seems interested, especially the political party that always sounds so earnest about privacy. Do you think you would ever get the truth out of anyone from the Democratic Party on that? "But they haven’t abandoned the whole notion of objective facts and nonpolitical goodness..." That theory is DOA based on Democrats' behavior during the Kavanaugh hearings, Paul. "What all of this means is that what’s going on in America right now isn’t politics as usual." What, in your opinion, is "politics as usual"? It looks the same as it does every day - two lying, corrupt and power-obsessed political parties and their sycophants in the media touting the virtues of their side and the evil of the other side. Same junk, different day...

  217. @hm1342 Right now, there is a big difference between the two parties when it comes to truth and objective facts. The two parties are not equal in "lying, corrupt, and power-obsessed." When Trump won the election, did I hear any Democrat scream " voter fraud," or "millions of illegal voters." No, that was Trump saying he didn't really lose the popular vote because of voter fraud and millions of illegals voting. He had to lie even though he won the electoral votes and got elected President of the United States.

  218. @hm1342 This comment, like the Republican lies and propaganda it mimics, is totally divorced from reality. It's actually sad, since this kind of attitude is firmly entrenched with upwards of one-third of the country. And unless truth and facts begins to sink in with these fellow citizens, I question whether our democracy can long survive.

  219. @Frederick Williams: "This comment, like the Republican lies and propaganda it mimics, is totally divorced from reality." No, Frederick, it's simply my opinion. "It's actually sad, since this kind of attitude is firmly entrenched with upwards of one-third of the country." It's actually sad that you think I am a Trump supporter. "And unless truth and facts begins to sink in with these fellow citizens, I question whether our democracy can long survive." I question our political process in general and I think that there is a base of rot in American society. Both parties are taking advantage of that and each has their loyal base of supporters who only care about their own agenda. I, too, question whether our great experiment in governance will survive. I do know this: if all you can see if virtue in your side and evil in the other, you're part of the problem.

  220. Paul is exactly right. Let's face the harsh fact that Republicans have become detached from reality. They won't even accept the truth when you point it out to them, as I have attempted on many occasions. We have an epistemic crisis in the country caused mostly by Republican ideologues and Republican propagandists. As explained in an article by David Roberts for Vox last year (link below): "As long as Republican politicians are frightened by the base, the base is frightened by scary conspiracies in right-wing media, and right-wing media makes more money the more frightened everyone is, Trump appears to be safe." https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/11/2/16588964/america-epistemic-crisis

  221. Democrats are also detached from reality. Try San Francisco or Montclair on for size. Two scary sci fi horror movies at work. It's just that our politics here are local. But toxic in a different sort of way. Ask homeless people how they got there. The world of the democrats isn't utopia. They would have no moral conscience at all if they hadn't co-opted people like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, Abrams, Ai-jen Poo. In another country, all those folks would belong to a third party, probably a Labor Party.

  222. @Stephanie Wood "Democrats are also detached from reality. Try San Francisco or Montclair on for size." What about them? Is that all you could come up with? Of course "The world of democrats isn't utopia." Nobody said it was. Greater demand for real estate in desirable regions means higher home prices, making it unaffordable to many. The wrong solution to that is to make a region (e.g., the conservative South) undesirable with backward economic policies (e.g., low minimum wage and less worker power) and regressive social positions (e.g., anti-elitism, racism, anti-pluralism).

  223. Even the Medal of Freedom has now also been debased in this age of Trump. I'm not sure what Mrs. Adelson does at home apart from fund Trump and his GOP cohorts (and anyone willing to do favors for her husband), but she does seem to make quite a name for herself and her very conservative interests in Israel. It seems now that medals and honors are merely transactional and it doesn't matter if any actual service was provided here in the USA. What a scam. Next up: Medals of Honor and Bronze Stars to former KGB agents and North Korean military dignitaries.

  224. Well, if you look at some of the people who've won Nobel prizes, you can see how naively we have all misjudged people.

  225. I agree entirely with Mr. Krugman that the war on truth "is an attempted power grab by a would-be authoritarian movement." A new dystopian novel called "America 2034: Utopia Rising," which takes place in the fifth term of President for Life Donald Trump describes, in gory, dark a terrifying humor, the nightmarish Putin-style kleptocracy that would evolve if Trump actually got the dissent-free government that he proposes, between the lines of his threats and lies. I also find this "both parties do it" argument a dangerous and intellectually dishonest one. Someone just suggested this on my facebook post of this column, to which I replied: "Through the centuries, many Presidents and world leaders have disagreed with their media when it criticized them. Only the dictators and fascists have labelled that media the "enemy of the people."

  226. While I broadly agree, I think there may be a simpler way to envision the Republican acceptance of lies. Though first it must be noted that if they watch only Fox News, or other such sources, they will never know that "millions of fraudulent voters" is untrue as reported by study after study. This particular untruth has a pretty thin veneer; Kobach just got the kabash and he was the dean of the fraudulent voter school. The thin veneer is that Republicans don't actually believe, on a deep level, the stuff they say. But they need the phony story for interpersonal "plausible deniability" in order to comfortably fool themselves. In the future, an evolutionary version of the Fairness Doctrine probably has to be emplaced.

  227. @Nelly I think that most Republican's do believe something. The religious right, in a Faustian deal, believe strongly that they have gotten what they want. The white males believe that they too can be a real male like Donald Trump, and the Nazis, Fascists, and racists believe that they have a supporter even if not a "true" supporter in the Republican Party. Then there is the NRA. I think that these people really do believe. I also think that Donald Trump truly believes in Donald Trump, and that the rest of the world and anyone not like him is out to get him. Delusion is a horrible way to run a country.

  228. I couldn’t agree more, these are dangerous times.

  229. Why has everyone forgotten the Bush years? Those were pretty perilous times.

  230. I think Paul Krugman is preparing us for the day in 2020 when Mr. Trump finds himself behind in the Electoral College and begins the 'massive fraud' routine. One encouraging indication that we may survive what's headed our way is the recent polling of the military in the wake the 'border stunt', showing diminishing respect for, and disillusionment with, the president ..... we may need them to dislodge a defeated incumbent barricaded in the White House and to hold off his deluded "base" marching on D.C. with torches and AR-15s. Is there anything in what we've come to know about Donald Trump that indicates he will accept a legitimate loss gracefully and relinquish power? Anything?

  231. @JKL Trump is unlikely to be a candidate for President in 2020. He will have resigned in disgrace before then, and the ruins of the Republican Party will find someone who is a little less obviously merely a tool of the Oligarchs.

  232. @JKL I disagree only with the likelihood T will run in 2020. T has failed at everything: business, marriage, friendship; his only 'success' is pretending to be a success on TV. He has always quit as soon as failure begins to manifest itself and then have his 'team' go in and limit the cost of failure to him...shifting it as much as possible onto his 'underlings'. He is failing as President which is making him angry and bored so he's not showing up. As the failures multiply, watch for his shifting of blame and a 'decision' to spend time with his family (whadda shark pool, as they say in Queens!)

  233. @JKL You express precisely my deepest fears, but I like the glimmer of hope you provide. How horrible, though, to think that we may be forced to rely on the military to save us all from Republican attempts to seize power in defiance of the Constitution.

  234. The fundamental problem of democracy is that voters get what they want and deserve. But is there a system that is less worse?

  235. @SKK Democracy is the worst system of government ever created, except for all the others.

  236. When have we had a democracy in the US? It's always been about excluding slaves, or women, or minorities, or native Americans from their own country. We've always had an oligarchy in this country. At times it was a slightly less malevolent one.

  237. @SKK This was never what the voters wanted, and it is not what they deserve.

  238. Trump claims to support the military and veterans, but he did not go to Arlington cemetery today on Veterans Day. Other presidents laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Veteran's Day, even in the rain, but Trump did not leave the White House. Instead, he tweeted that the mail-in votes coming from the soldiers stationed away from home should not be counted in the Florida election, even though state law says they count the mail-in votes from the military that arrive by Friday. If Trump thinks he has the military's support, why is he afraid to have the soldiers' votes counted? If he wants to honor veteran's, why did he stay home from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier today?

  239. Needed to be said. Thanks for saying it, Paul.