Fight politics of fear and lies

We are nearing the end of what surely is the most degraded campaign season in American history. Yes, we’ve listened to “Hamilton” and we know some of the nasty things the Founding Fathers said about each other. We know that one U.S. senator once beat another nearly to death on the Senate floor. We know politicians of all stripes always have abused the truth to one extent or another.

Today is different. The reach and capabilities of modern media, along with another factor, allow the manipulation and lies to saturate the public conversation.

The other factor is, of course, President Donald Trump. His willingness to tell obvious lies, to attack opponents in crude, juvenile terms and to make outlandish, irresponsible accusations about roughly half of the country have debased American politics like never before.

A frightening number of Americans are easily manipulated by appeals to fear and resentment, no matter how little fact lies behind them. There is a reason, after all, that the title of award-winning journalist Bob Woodward’s new book on the president is “Fear” — it’s what Trump told him is the source of “real power.”

We hope voters will make the effort required to sort through the garbage, tune out the noise and make choices they can be proud of. The best message we can collectively send to political strategists this election season is that fear and hate are not viable pathways to win elections.

— The Columbus Dispatch