In 2016 our democracy was assaulted by a foreign adversary determined to mislead our people, enflame our divisions, and throw an election to its preferred candidate. That attack succeeded because our immune system had been slowly eroded over years. Many Americans had lost faith in the institutions that previous generations relied on for objective information, including government, academia, and the press, leaving them vulnerable to a sophisticated misinformation campaign. There are many reasons why this happened, but one is that a small group of right-wing billionaires -- people like the Mercer family and Charles and David Koch -- recognized long ago that, as Stephen Colbert once joked, "reality has a well-known liberal bias." More generally, the right spent a lot of time and money building an alternative reality. Think of a partisan petri dish where science is denied, lies masquerade as truth, and paranoia flourishes. Their efforts were amplified in 2016 by a presidential candidate who trafficked in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the internet; a candidate who deflected any criticism by attacking others with made-up facts and an uncanny gift for humiliating zingers. He helped to further blur news and entertainment, reality TV and reality. As a result, by the time Vladimir Putin came along, our democracy was already far sicker that we realized.
-- Hillary Rodham Clinton, What Happened, p. 325-326