It is hard to tell what is more dangerous to American democracy, at the moment: the big lie, or the big delusion. The key question emerging from the alternate reality the right has been constructing, for years, is what to do with the lies the people will, themselves, into believing? Now, that question has loomed over us a long time.
It presented itself, for one instance, when Republican Senator James Inhofe, of Oklahoma, a famous-climate crank, brought a snowball on the Senate floor as proof there was no global warming. And ask yourself, was Inhofe lying? The snow was proof there was no global warming? Or was he delusional? Actually believes that? And which is worse? And does it even matter?
The alternate reality on the right has gotten crazy and more intense, over time. Was cultivated around climate, for a while. and then, President Barack Obama's birth certificate and voter fraud. Remember, the Acorn panic? And it grew even more intense, of course, around the cult of Donald Trump and the subsidiary cult of QAnon with it's expectation of a coming cataclysm. And the damned shall be punished and exiled and the saved shall inherit the earth.
The big delusion, believing in the alternate reality, has now become the unifying litmus test around the 2020 election for the Republican party. That delusion, that lie, whichever it is, is a sustained assault on American-democratic legitimacy on all fronts. It is being engineered in part by the discredited loser, whose thoughts are so lame, so boring, so basic, that he shut down his blog after less than a month because no one would read it. Of course, why would they? Trump ordered his team, Tuesday, to put the blog out of its misery, advisers said. And yet, in the same way that, say, cult members might follow a self-described prophet who seems like an obvious crank to outsiders, the people inside the movement are true believers.
And that's where we are, right now. Except, the movement is one of two of America's two major political parties. One-half of the viable-political coalitions we have. According to multiple reports, Donald Trump believes he will be, quote, reinstated as president by August. That is, of course, flatly ludicrous, it is not that different from saying that the world will end on August 1st, or that I will turn into a dragon on Father's Day. But it is driving the sustained assault on our democracy.