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Why lying about Trump's place in polls is a disservice

A short TV clip has gone viral.

The clip is funny, but also significant as a reflection of our polarized politics — which encourages some people to believe only what they want to believe.

It's an exchange between a CNN anchor and a Donald Trump campaign surrogate, who was having trouble accepting objective reality that numerous polls showed Trump was trailing Hillary Clinton.

The CNN anchor was right. Though polls can change between now and Election Day, they agree on this. Trump is well behind Clinton, nationally and in the battleground states. But it's not surprising if you remember that Trump emerged politically by questioning the objective reality that President Barack Obama was born in the United States — and taking lots of voters along for the ride.

Recently, Trump insisted he could only lose the state of Pennsylvania if his opponents cheat. There's no factual basis for saying that. A series of polls has shown him far behind Clinton there.

But by making a leading figure at Breitbart News his campaign's chief executive, Trump is renewing his commitment to that kind of rhetoric. A Breitbart columnist wrote this week that if Trump maintains his current momentum, he will win the presidency in a landslide.

There's no evidence for that, either.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally on March 13, 2016 in Boca Raton, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida.
Rhona Wise | AFP | Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally on March 13, 2016 in Boca Raton, Florida. Primary voters head to the polls on March 15th in Florida.

The Breitbart executive Trump hired, Steve Bannon, wrote last month that sexual harassment allegations against Roger Ailes of Fox News were a Democratic plot with no merit. Since then, Fox News decided there was enough merit that Ailes is no longer running the network.

Why does this matter?

President George W. Bush's former White House press secretary explained.

"It's a real disservice to (Trump) supporters," Dana Perino said Wednesday, "to lie to them that polls don't matter." That sets them up to be mad and disappointed after the election.

And that's a big problem for the people who end up governing our country.