Reality bites Trump back

Donald Trump is a wretched president but a master illusionist. His greatest skill isn’t solving real-world problems. It is concocting “alternative facts” that allow his supporters to evade unpleasant realities.

Now, however, the president is beset by three intractable realities even he can’t disguise or spin: a deadly virus, an inert economy with mass unemployment, and public outrage over racist cops.

His bungling of the coronavirus pandemic has cost tens of thousands of American lives and prolonged a job-killing economic freeze. These painful realities have penetrated the make-believe world of Trumpistan, in which an infallible Trump valiantly battles the forces of darkness: the media, the “deep state,” immigrants, Democrats, socialists, faithless allies, etc.

Reality has bitten back, and Trump is flailing. His path to reelection this fall has suddenly become much steeper, and he is desperately looking for a political lifeline. Trump imagines he has found it in the vandalism and looting that have accompanied nationwide protests over the killings of George Floyd and other black Americans by police.

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