Fintan O’Toole: Voters can get Trump out of office and our heads

The president’s success in forcing himself into our thoughts will be his downfall

Donald Trump visits the Republican National Committee campaign headquarters in Arlington, Virginia on election day. He tells reporters he has not yet written an acceptance or concession speech just hours before voting ends. Video: Reuters

Caitlin Moran put it perfectly on Saturday night. Interviewed by Róisín Ingle for the Irish Times’s Big Night In, she invited us to “Imagine what it would be like just to have [Donald] Trump erased from our minds.” The necessary leap of the imagination is prodigious. Trump’s genius, and his toxicity, lie in his uncanny ability to annex our minds, even – perhaps especially – if we despise him.

They say in the US that a particularly bumptious person “sucks the air out of the room”. Trump sure does that but also much, much more. He invades the inner rooms, occupies the remote cloisters of our interior selves. There is a corner of the field of consciousness that is forever Trump. Today’s US election is not happening only on the world stage. It feels, also, like an event in our synapses, at least as neurological and it is psephological.

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