The demagogic genius of Donald J. Trump

According to the normal rules of politics, Trump is a mess who gets nothing right. And yet he keeps succeeding.

Manhattans Machiavelli? Not quite.
(Image credit: AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

In the two weeks since Donald Trump's shocking victory, the press has devoted a substantial chunk of its coverage to enumerating the president-elect's many faults. He's temperamentally unfit to serve as president. He's ignorant of policy. He's corrupt. His early choices to serve in his administration are racist, anti-Semitic, extremist, unhinged. And of course the whole thing is frightening, terrifying, horrifying.

Most of that is true, and it's perfectly appropriate that we focus on the considerable dangers the nation now confronts. Yet it's also the case that our appreciation for the distinct character of the threat Trump poses to the country's political order would be enhanced if we devoted a little more time to acknowledging that the risks are at least as much a product of Trump's talents as they are of his many faults.

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