Kevin M. Kruse: The Real Loser: Truth

Roundup: Historians' Take

Kevin M. Kruse, a professor of history at Princeton, is the co-editor, most recently, of “Fog of War: The Second World War and the Civil Rights Movement.”

THE director Steven Spielberg, whose “Lincoln” biopic opens Friday, recently said he hoped the film would have a “soothing or even healing effect” on a nation exhausted after yet another bitter and polarizing election.

But there’s one line attributed to Lincoln that Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays the president, doesn’t utter in the film: “You may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all the time.”

The omission makes sense. Not only is the line probably apocryphal, but also, this Election Day just might demonstrate that you really can fool all of the people — or at least enough of them — in the time it takes to win the White House....

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