Without facts, democracy quickly degenerates into empty promises and finger-pointing. Sound familiar? A recent column by Philip Howard in The Daily Beast discusses Mark Thompson’s new book — Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong with the Language of Politics? — on the degeneration of public discourse in America.
There’s always exaggeration in politics, and candidates will say whatever they can get away with. What’s really stupid about this campaign season is that candidates are getting away with almost complete falsity.
71% of Donald Trump claims reviewed by Politifact were deemed mostly or totally false
- By the same measure, “only” 28% of Hillary’s statements are fact-challenged.
Think for a minute: How can anyone solve any problem, much less compromise with the other side, when facts are just considered a matter of opinion? Not honoring facts is INCREDIBLY STUPID! NOTHING CAN GET RESOLVED, MUCH LESS FIXED SENSIBLY, without honoring facts.
What’s the solution? The only disincentive to lies and other inappropriate conduct is ACCOUNTABILITY. In an election, that requires media and voters not simply to point out the falsehood but to RIDICULE ANYONE WHO MAKES THINGS UP. We must respond continually how that makes their positions absurd.
If you agree this country has serious challenges, you must demand that candidates play with a deck that isn’t rigged.
For more on the candidates and where they stand on the issues, visit the Elections 2016.
For more on what’s missing from this election’s dialogue, check out Ron Faucheux’s “How the Debates Can Save This Election.“