Irrelevant truth

US President Donald Trump has no doubts about his irresistible charm. In early 2016 he famously declared that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and still not lose any voters. Later that year, just before the presidential election, he was heard on tape declaring that "when you are a star" you can do anything, adding a demeaning act against women as proof.

Overturning all predictions, Trump was elected. His boasts were justified. So were the fears that his presidency would cause serious damage to institutions and society, to America's relations with other countries, to its place in the world. And yet, today his re-election appears most likely. The phenomenon of the "charismatic" leader explains much. But why do voters insist on repeating their mistakes, indifferent to the damage caused by their choices?

It is striking that since the...

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