Donald Trump’s campaign may have used Facebook in 2016 as effectively as Barack Obama’s campaign used it 2012. Suddenly, Facebook poses a threat to democracy and the electoral process. It didn’t back in 2012, of course, at least if you’re a Democrat. From Nick Gillespie at reason.com:
The election of Donald Trump hasn’t just brought a poorly mannered reality TV star into the Oval Office and our newsfeeds. It has also popularized the concept of gaslighting, or tricking rational people into thinking they’re insane. The phrase is a reference to a 1944 movie in which Charles Boyer tries to convince his young bride, played by Ingrid Bergman, that she’s nuts so he can cover up a murder and search for jewels hidden in the house they share (the house’s gas lamps flicker due to Boyer’s late-night searches, hence the title).
Go Google “Donald Trump is gaslighting America” and you’ll find a constantly growing list of stories from outlets ranging from CNN to Teen Vogue to Vanity Fair to Refinery 29. The common thread is some variation on the theme that Trump’s brazen lies, misstatements, and rhetorical sleights of hand are designed to drive us all batshit crazy by contradicting what we plainly see happening to the United States of America. At rock bottom, Trump’s detractors believe there is simply no way that he could have legitimately won the 2016 election, especially against Hillary Clinton, of whom President Obama said, “I don’t think that there’s ever been someone so qualified to hold this office.”
Yet it’s not Donald Trump who is gaslighting us, but Hillary Clinton, whose complete and utter refusal to take responsibility for her loss is at the heart of what’s so weird about contemporary America. You read it here first: Trump is the effect and not the cause of the ongoing mudslide that is the daily news. Ever since about 11 p.m. ET on November 8, 2016, Clinton and her allies in the media have worked overtime to provide increasingly fanciful explanations for her failure to beat the least-credible candidate ever in American history. Sometimes the apologias are conscious, sometimes not, but nobody really wants to accept what happened (in fact, even Trump himself couldn’t believe it for a while, which helps explain why his transition was so incompetent). The result is a non-stop barrage of stories, some more credible than others, that Trump’s win was the result of some sort of sinister machination that has undermined our democracy. Following from this interpretation every aspect of his behavior, from his bro-ing out with Vladimir Putin to his indifferent spelling and capitalization while tweeting, is just one more sign that we are living in a world gone stark, raving mad.
To continue reading: Hillary Clinton, Not Donald Trump or Cambridge Analytica, Is Gaslighting America