Fintan O’Toole: Why Donald Trump is the Tony Soprano of US politics

Trump – one year on: The president plays a character, one whose divisiveness his supporters adore

Donald Trump: bearing grudges is what his supporters do best. They want a tale of resentment and revenge. Photograph: Eric Thayer/New York Times

Donald Trump: bearing grudges is what his supporters do best. They want a tale of resentment and revenge. Photograph: Eric Thayer/New York Times

The word “character” has two opposite meanings. On the one hand it suggests the inner essence of a person, the fixed truth behind all surface impressions. On the other hand a character is a fictional creation, a persona invented for public consumption, an elaborate lie.

To understand why Donald Trump’s presidency is not yet quite the failure that liberals would like to think it is we have to acknowledge that he is a terrible character in the first sense but a compelling character in the second.

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