We know Trump lies constantly, about anything and everything. Too much of the media still hasn’t come to terms with this, and doesn’t know what to do in a world where both-siderism presents an active harm to the country.
But at the same time, we obviously can’t ignore what Trump says. The first rule of surviving autocracy is believing what the autocrat says. How do you believe someone who lies all the time?
I once worked on a project where I was the engineering team and the customer support staff. There was no one else. What I learned was to listen to my customers but ignore what they said. Customers would come to me with solutions to their problems; I had to figure out what their problems were, so that I could solve their problems in the best context of the entire system. The same can be applied to Trump.
Obviously, there weren’t millions of illegal votes cast for Clinton, as Trump claimed. Who knows whether Trump himself believes that or not. Millions of his supporters, getting their news from Infowars and Breitbart amplified by Facebook, will believe it, though. Too much of the mainstream media is still reluctant to call obvious untruths lies. Trump might even say tomorrow that he never said it. That doesn’t mean we can ignore it, not with people like Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, and Kris Kobach surrounding Trump.
The Republican Party has been systematically working to limit access to voting. The conservative members of the Supreme Court did serious damage to the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County. If Jeff Sessions is confirmed as Attorney General, he will be in charge of making decisions about what the Justice Department does (or does not do) in support of voting rights. Kris Kobach has been aggressive in the fight to limit voting access. Steve Bannon is a white nationalist. These are the people who will take advantage of what Trump says to drive their agenda. I don’t believe that Trump is playing some deep game here; I think he says whatever makes him feel the biggest and the best in the moment. But the people around him do know how to use him to drive an agenda.