The political genius of Donald Trump

Give the president his due: Trump is a genius. He is a master manipulator, a political alchemist capable of transmuting calamitous errors into political gold. Even as he continues to lie and deceive, the president has seized control of the narrative, taking possession of the national microphone to saturate the public with his self-serving version of events.

And it’s working.

All the fact-checkers, scientists, journalists, doctors, nurses, mayors, and governors may be telling a different story. But Trump takes to the White House podium day after day, crafting a narrative, offering the same staccato sentences over and over—“We’ve done a great job”—taking credit for each positive development, conjuring nonexistent progress, blaming others for every failure, demanding that those around him sing his praises before the cameras, and extorting praise from governors in exchange for Federal aid. He repeats this until the extent of his failures, however well documented, fades from the minds of a large segment of Americans, desperate to feel protected in the face of a mysterious and frightening threat.