This article is part of a series on the "Future of politics." The series investigates the "Trump effect" on policy, political parties, future candidates, their campaign style and the overall political environment in 2017 and beyond. See the whole series here.
On Saturday afternoon, in his first statement to the White House press corps, President Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer said things that were simply not true with regards to the size of the crowds at the inauguration.
On Monday, in his next press availability, Spicer said, "Our intention is never to lie to you." Given the brazenness of the earlier falsehoods, it's hard to believe that was true either.
With its willingness to bend or downright ignore the facts, the Trump administration is actually acknowledging a political truth: in politics, the facts do not matter.
Certainly, when making a case before a congressional committee or just on Facebook, people will state a great number of "facts". Many of those facts will have the benefit of being true; others will be too good to check. But really, people are like football fans watching a replay of a referee's call. They have an opinion of what the outcome should be first and then come up with the facts supporting that opinion second.
This is not a new phenomenon; it is not a product of the internet age and the "fake news" era. People talk about the importance of "facts", but partisans have always only acknowledged the facts that support their side.
At the end of the Reagan administration, the American National Election Study asked people how things had changed on objective measures since President Reagan took office. Most Republicans answered those questions correctly – things like unemployment had gotten better under the Republican president's administration. Most Democrats said things had either stayed the same or gotten worse.
Twenty-seven years later, it was no surprise when a Bloomberg News poll in late 2015 showed a majority of Republicans believed unemployment had gone up under Obama when it had fallen almost three points.