Symbolic resonance helps him in another critical way. It allows voters to redirect their focus from the amoral and unhinged actuality of him toward a larger meaning — as if they were stepping back from a pointillist painting so that they see not all the messy-looking individual brushstrokes but, instead, coherent images, grand patterns. Trump the philanderer, Trump the con man and Trump the felon become Trump the defiant, Trump the disrupter, Trump the martyr. The sordid tale told in that Manhattan courtroom gets an epic revision, with a new role for Trump. He’s not Weakloins. He’s Braveheart.

Frank Bruni, Donald Trump is you! And you! And you!

June 20, 2024

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