It’s interesting when the point of the lies is to dare those around him to question them, to disavow or question him. If you do, you will be insulted, dismissed, rejected as inferior. It’s not about whether what he says is true or false, it’s about power. Now it’s a test of loyalty to him personally.
He doesn’t even care if people believe the lie because all he wants them to feel is that, like him, they can be feared. Like him, he can say whatever he wants, paint it however he wants, and there is nothing that can stop him or challenge him. Like his followers so desperate to have their “opinions” be their own, there’s no need to care if anything that’s said is true.
To be feared is a key component of his insatiable need for respect, which can’t be had any other way. That is crucial too. He knows he is not respected for any honest reasons and doesn’t care because fear will suffice. When he feels others’ fear, he gets his pleasure, he feels good about himself. He must repeat this endlessly because there can never be enough personal satisfaction.
So as the lies, often pointless even trivial lies, like the size of the inauguration crowd, have accumulated and experiences of fear have been repeated, those who fear what he will do to them personally or professionally are now merely numb to the truth. The truth doesn’t matter to them because everything he says is really a dare, an I told you so, the bully’s threat. The lies are no longer a disdain for the truth. They are merely disdain.
So thelies say nothing more than I can say anything I want and if you dare to question me then I will hurt you. _This_ is what the base loves most because it is the power that the want. They are longing for an identity that is incontrovertible, “I did it my way.” My way. And that means anyway I want. That is power. If it involves an expression of disdain, then the disdain suffices to express the certainty of self.
Murkowski this week provided a particularly pathetic example. She just couldn’t say what she knows to be true: that there is no choice, that Trump is a virulent sociopath. Her tepid, morally bankrupt declaration was merely to agree with General Mattis. But she couldn’t say the words. Trump of course promptly promised to campaign in 2022 for a Republican ready to primary her.
But why does the base like this fear mongering, knowing quite well the lies are lies, that the whole thing is a bully show? Because they identify with the dare, they like the bully because the bully represents their own feelings of “I will say or do anything the fuck I want and don’t care what you think or how you feel.” It sets them free.