How Donald Trump made the fantasy world a deadly reality


I will be honest and say that I don’t know exactly how to interpret the surreal events that unfolded this past week in Washington, D.C., when a mob inflamed by online memes and presidential fantasies rampaged through the halls of the U.S. Capitol.

Throughout the Donald Trump era there has been a debate among his critics about whether to regard this presidency as a mortal threat to the Republic or a degrading interlude in its decline, a revival of 1930s fascism or 1870s white supremacy or as something more purely virtual, performative and astonishingly weak.

The riot at the Capitol occupies a liminal, unstable space between these two interpretations. Cock your head one way and it looks like the fulfillment of every Resistance warning: The head of the executive branch incites a mob to take over the seat of the legislative branch and prevent power from being passed to his…

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