It’s one of the most perplexing questions still remaining from the 2016 election: repeatedly and seemingly without introspection, millions of voters across the nation supported Donald Trump despite acknowledging that they supported him despite believing that he was lying frequently.
As Senator Bernie Sanders noted during his town hall in “Trump Country” on MSNBC earlier this week, those who supported Trump often did so while saying that he “didn’t mean” most of the horrific things he said.
During the town hall event, the voters on stage argued that Trump wasn’t a racist or a bigot, but that he merely said things to get a rise or win support. In regards to his proposed Muslim ban, many said “never gonna happen.”
“I find it interesting that what 3 out of 4 of you are saying is, ‘Yeah, he talked about that stuff, but it’ll never happen. Why do you vote for somebody, who, in a sense then, is lying?”
This is the most important issue in Trump’s win – how was he able to become president when so many of his supporters disagreed with a large portion of his policy and personality?
When other candidates are kicked out of the running for making a weird scream (Howard Dean), or for forgetting the name of a federal agency they want to kill (Rick Perry), Trump defies the odds to an astonishing degree.
Despite accepting the fact that their candidate was lying to their faces daily, they latched onto whatever policy they most wanted and believe that that aspect of his platform was genuine.
Basically, voters who supported Trump were able to do so by projecting their own hopes onto the man, erasing the many parts of him they didn’t like with the idea that he was “just saying that.”