Chapter 1: Branding truth
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This chapter discusses the legal landscape that allows for the election of well-branded candidates over truthful, but less well-packaged political opponents. It describes a 2018 Rand report that alleges that the United States is suffering from truth decay. Politicians going back to the first American presidents shaded the truth, but Trump’s 2016 campaign seemed particularly rife with misstatements, deceptions and outright lies. This mendacity has continued into the first two years of the Trump presidency. From lying about everything from the size of his inaugural crowd to the state of the US economy to the sources of his own wealth, Trump has been caught out in so many lies that the Washington Post had to create a new category of the “bottomless Pinocchio” to capture the depths of his lies. This chapter also notes that the Supreme Court invalidates laws against lying, thereby enabling it.