The Great Gaslighting Experiment: A Preliminary Lab Report

Bret Stephens, Trump Contrives His Stab-in-the-Back Myth: An obscene conspiracy theory from the past echoes loudly in the present.

Jennifer Rubin, The Republican Party has split in two. Let’s keep it that way.

Michigan and Pennsylvania, not to mention Georgia, are certified. The transition is officially under way. Patently, the country has come to a fork in the road. It is time for a preliminary lab report on the results of Trump’s massive, unethical social psychology experiment in mass gaslighting.

  1. Apart from the reality-based majority of the country, those who have not succumbed to the gaslighting include
  • most of the business class,
  • the courts, including benches occupied by Federalist Society judges,
  • many Republican office holders, particularly Republican office holders at the state level, and
  • a significant part of self-identified Republicans—although that significant part may well be less than 50 percent.
  1. A large percentage of Republican voters have, however, succumbed to the evil experiment. (The polls are telling us it’s more than 50 percent. I don’t necessarily believe that, because I no longer believe polls. That said, there’s a really good chance it is more than 50 percent of Republicans—maybe a lot more than 50 percent.)
  2. Many people believe Trump’s lies because those lies are the kinds of lies they want to believe. Hatred, fear, and, in many cases, low self-esteem create the potential for addiction to falsehoods, just as they engender the potential for self-medication with alcohol or opioids. But there is a problem with having a propensity for addition: one tends to start with a glass of wine at dinner, move on to several martinis at lunch, and end with shooting heroin first thing in the morning.
  3. How this will all end depends in part on what happens with and to Trump. Making predictions based on the mind of a mad man is a fool’s errand. I am not a fool, so I will not undertake the errand. He may descend into depression and madness. He may go to jail. He may remain free, and as sane as he has been for some time. In the latter case, I doubt very much that he will see his interests as congruent with those of the Republican political class.
  4. In view of all the above, I remain moderately optimistic that the Republican Party will continue splitting in two—and, in consequence, will find it increasingly difficult to win elections.

An Epilogue

WaPo, Laura Ingraham says that Biden will be president: ‘This constitutes living in reality’

And if you don’t like reality, there’s always Newsmax.