Just to make the aftermath of the 2016 US election even more chaotic, Donald Trump is now throwing everyone off by being honest about his lying.
Politicians lived up to their reputation of being slippery creatures this year. Key figures from Republican and Democratic camps became experts at blurring the line between truth and fiction.
The pivot was the politician’s ultimate weapon of choice, allowing them to deflect difficult questions by giving an answer pertaining to something completely unrelated. Just look at Saturday Night Live’s Hillary Clinton sketch for a satirical but highly accurate impression of how this was so artfully done.
Then there were those who stretched, distorted or misrepresented the truth to suit their agenda. When it’s campaign season, all bets are off. Extracting the truth from political hyperbole was a difficult task and one that helped fake news thrive.
Now campaign season is over in the US, its victor appears to have accidentally swallowed truth serum.
On Wednesday, Trevor Noah highlighted Mr Trump's unremorseful approach to remarks he made before winning the election with a video of the President-elect telling a rally in Pennsylvania that he is full of praise for Paul Ryan - providing he never goes against him.
“What we're seeing here is a character I like to call Truth Trump,” The Daily Show host said. “You'll notice it if you watch him closely: The Donald voices some political opinion, and then Truth Trump slips out and tells you the real deal.”
Lock her up
A number of Mr Trump’s pledges unleashed unprecedented aggression against Ms Clinton, especially his promise to “lock her up”. It was also a pledge he backtracked on almost immediately after beating her, telling a Michigan rally chanting “lock her up”: “That plays great before the election. Now, we don’t care, right?”
Mr Trump made similarly cavalier comments at a rally in West Virginia in June. After months of branding the Primary voting process a "rigged, disgusting dirty system", he told the crowd: “You’ve been hearing me say it’s a rigged system but now I don’t say it anymore because I won. You know, now I don’t care.”
“You see?,” an incredulous Noah continued. “It throws everyone off. Because politicians aren’t supposed to be honest with their lying. You don’t even get mad, you just get confused. You know what Trump is like? He’s like a magician telling everyone how he did the trick. And still, some people are like, ‘Wow, magic. It’s magic! Oooh.’”
Drain the swamp
Mr Trump addressed the origin of his “drain the swamp” chants even more brazenly. “Funny how that term caught on, isn’t it? I told everyone - ‘I hate it!’. I hated it. I said, ‘oh, that’s so hokey, that’s so terrible.’ I said, ‘all right, I’ll try it.’ So like a month ago, I said ‘drain the swamp.’ Place went crazy. I said ‘woah’. Then I said it again. Then I started saying it like I meant it, right?”
Mr Trump is in good company. In December, a political fact checker found Ben Carson, his one-time Republican opponent and newly appointed secretary of housing and urban development, made headline-making statements that were mostly false or untrue up to 84 per cent of the time, while Mr Trump was shortly behind him at 76 per cent. Democrats were not innocent either; Ms Clinton and Bernie Sanders had, by that point, delivered noteworthy statements that were 28 per cent mostly false, or worse.
The exaggerated or false claims disseminated by candidates can hold great sway on the outcomes of an election or referendum, as 2016 demonstrated.
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