It has long been said – though perhaps never by Abraham Lincoln – that “you can fool some of the people all of the time.” Now, thanks to the wonders of modern social science, we can quantify this aphorism:
You can fool 37 percent of the people 100 percent of the time.
This is to be extrapolated from last week’s Quinnipiac University survey, which found that 37 percent of the public and, alas, a large majority of Republicans, trust President Donald Trump more than the media “to tell you the truth about important issues.”
But Trump is unlikely to be satisfied with this achievement. Once you can fool some of the people all of the time, a natural follow-up goal is to fool most of the people most of the time. Expand deportations and you’ve got a shot at all of the people all of the time.
Hence the escalated attacks on the press. Renewing his charge that the “fake news media” are the “enemy of the American people” on Friday, Trump also suggested that “we’re going to do something about it” and proposed that the media “shouldn’t be allowed” to use anonymous sources – or perhaps any sources at all.
“Let there be no more sources,” Trump declared.
No sources: Nobody and nothing to contradict Trump, to refute his claims, to blow the whistle on misconduct. Trump would be the sole source of information, never contradicted by lawmakers, bureaucrats, experts, documents or even Google searches. It would go something like this:
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS:
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you for that applause, which was the longest, loudest and most enthusiastic applause any president has ever received from Congress – period. It is probably the most applause that anybody has ever received anywhere.
As you know, I won the largest electoral college victory in history, even though 11 million illegal immigrants in this country voted illegally for my opponent – some of them twice. Even some of the dead people who voted for Hillary now regret their vote and say they should have voted for me. One of them is seated in the gallery tonight with Melania, and more and more people are recognizing him lately. Ladies and gentlemen, please recognize Frederick Douglass.
My fellow Americans, I inherited a mess. I heard this statistic: Ninety percent of Americans were starving. School bathrooms were jammed with transgender students. Ceiling tiles were falling from tunnels and killing people. Almost everybody in Chicago had been murdered. We had been attacked by terrorists 78 times and the media didn’t report it. Each month, millions of jobs were shipped overseas, where American workers were murdered and tortured by ISIS.
But now that we have eliminated all sources of information other than me, we are making America great again. I agreed to pay Boeing only one dollar for the new Air Force One. Lockheed-Martin is paying me $600 million to let them build the F-35. Carrier is now employing millions of people at its plant in Indiana. My cabinet nominees were all confirmed unanimously, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was just offered membership in Mensa.
The FBI, under new director Steve Bannon, has completed its review and determined that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by Russia but by some guy in his bedroom who weighs 400 pounds. The FBI also said that the disruptions that occurred in American cities the day after my inauguration, followed by actions at airports after my travel ban, were because of frustration with Delta’s reservation system.
Internationally, ISIS has been defeated, Mexico has paid for the wall in advance, China has abolished its currency, and Australia has apologized for treating us so badly. Our military action in Yemen was a huge success. The incident in Sweden is finally under control.
Here at home, crime has stopped, and there are no more drugs. Calm has returned to Bowling Green. Thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered when I issued my travel ban. We have replaced Obamacare with something much better that costs nothing.
My budget has a huge tax cut and the largest military expansion and infrastructure spending program in history. It also protects Medicare and Social Security, eliminates the federal debt and buys every American a pony. I have eliminated dangerous leaks by abolishing the CIA and saved costs by having Russia maintain our nuclear arsenal. I deregulated the environment and left it to the states to set spelling rules.
The State of the Union is great. If anybody says otherwise, consider the source.
Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.