It’s pointless to prioritize the threats we face from the Trump administration. They’re diverse, profound and legion. They include long-term trends like accelerating inequality, as well as perversions specific to this presidency, like the fact that Steve Bannon now sits on the National Security Council. But Trump’s assault on facts and truth is at least as dire as any of these. And it poses an especially difficult challenge because progressives have their own reasons to despair over the condition of the nation’s institutions—their deep corruption by corporate money, their anti-democratic structure and their general capture by elite interests.
Having a president actively disdainful of truth will erode the basis for faith in those institutions even more. This is the awful reality. It’s also the case that a strong defense of the truth, working for institutions that foster and honor it, is essential to any hope for democracy’s survival. Defending truth is among the most radical acts of resistance we can mount in the era of Trump.