Economist Paul Krugman: Increasingly detached Republicans live in ‘an era of post-truth politics’

Economist Paul Krugman: Increasingly detached Republicans live in ‘an era of post-truth politics’
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Although President-elect Joe Biden enjoyed a decisive victory in the 2020 presidential election — winning 306 electoral votes and defeating President Donald Trump by more than 7 million in the popular vote — many Trump supporters continue to insist, without evidence, that Trump was the real winner and that Trump's victory was stolen from him by widespread voter fraud. Liberal economist Paul Krugman, in his December 7 column for the New York Times, argues that all the Republicans who are refusing to accept Biden as president-elect are living in a fantasy world. And according to Krugman, this is only the latest example of the modern GOP being detached from reality.

Krugman notes that a recent Washington Post survey found that out of 249 Republicans serving in either the U.S. Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives, only 27 of them acknowledged Biden as president-elect. Trump, in response, tweeted, "I am surprised there are so many. We have just begun to fight. Please send me a list of the…. RINOS."

"Despite the complete lack of evidence of significant fraud, two-thirds of self-identified Republicans said in a Reuters/Ipsos poll that the election was rigged," Krugman observes. "But you really shouldn't be surprised by this willingness to indulge malicious, democracy-endangering lies. After all, when was the last time Republicans accepted a politically inconvenient fact? It has been clear for years that the modern GOP is a party that can't handle the truth."


Krugman goes on to say that Republicans have also been separated from reality with everything from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare.

"Republican refusal to accept the election results follows months of refusal to acknowledge the dangers of the coronavirus, even as COVID-19 has become the nation's leading cause of death — and even as a startling number of people in Trump's orbit have been infected," Krugman observes. "Sure enough, virus denial and vote denial converged almost perfectly on Saturday, (December 5), when Trump addressed a large, mostly unmasked crowd in Georgia — creating a potential superspreader event — and demanded that the governor overturn the state's election results. The next day, Rudy Giuliani, who has been directing Trump's efforts to cling to office, was hospitalized with the virus."

The columnist adds, "Climate change denial — including claims that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by an international cabal of scientists — has been a badge of partisan identity for many years…. And one half-forgotten episode in particular seems to me to have foreshadowed much of what we're seeing right now: Republican reactions to the mostly successful introduction of Obamacare."

Krugman notes that before Obamacare "went into full effect in 2014," Republicans claimed that it "would drive insurance premiums sky-high, fail to reduce the number of uninsured, and have a devastating effect on employment." Instead, Krugman writes, millions of Americans obtained health insurance through Obamacare — and "3 million jobs" were "added in the year following the ACA's implementation."

Republicans, according to Krugman, now live in "an era of post-truth politics."

"Once a party gets into the habit of rejecting facts it doesn't want to hear, one fact it's bound to reject sooner or later is the fact that it lost an election," Krugman argues. "In that sense, there's a straight line from, say, the Republican embrace of climate denial to the party's willingness to go along with Trump's attempts to retain power. And the GOP's previous history of dealing with inconvenient reality gives us a pretty good idea about when the party will accept Joe Biden as the legitimate winner of the 2020 election — namely, never."

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