The 10 Best Observer Stories of 2016: ‘The GOP is Gaslighting America’

Today's GOP leaders aren't playing politics as usual. They're using abusive tactics to manipulate the public.

Donald and Melania Trump appear onstage at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Donald and Melania Trump appear onstage at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.  Disney/ABC Flickr/Creative Commons

Editor’s Note: Open a browser tab for this fiery analysis of one of President-elect Donald Trump’s most odious rhetorical habits — we’re going to need it over the next four years. Former Digital Editor Andrea Grimes shows how, no, we’re not all crazy — Trump is just trying to make us think we are with his habit of gaslighting. —Forrest Wilder

The GOP is Gaslighting America — on National Television
By Andrea Grimes
Published July 20

There’s a word for what Manafort’s doing there: gaslighting, as MTV News’ Jamil Smith pointed out on Twitter Tuesday morning. Gaslighting is a psychological tactic used by abusers, particularly but not only domestic abusers, to confuse, shame and manipulate others into believing that they cannot accurately interpret reality. Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson echoed Manafort later on Tuesday, flat-out denying that the speech was plagiarized. She too used the word “absurd.”

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“Absurd” is no accident. It’s a short couple steps from “crazy,” and in the realm of “unreal,” “preposterous” and “bizarre.” The Trump campaign is using that word to call anyone who sees the blatant plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech, basically, a nutzo-whackjob.

If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, you know this pattern. Thinking, day after day: Today will be the day I prove that I am not crazy, that I can do things right, that the way I see things is real.

Read the full story. 

Read more of the Observer‘s Best of 2016. 

Forrest Wilder, a native of Wimberley, Texas, is the editor of the Observer.

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