September 25, 2020

Why is anyone voting for Donald Trump?

At a press conference on Tuesday, the day the U.S. officially passed two hundred thousand deaths from the pandemic, Trump was asked why he had not said anything about the grim milestone. He listened to the reporter’s question, then turned away. “Uh, anybody else?” he asked. Because of all the horrors and lies that preceded it, and all that are sure to follow, the President’s callous disregard was not a major story but just another viral video in a news cycle full of them. Trump has succeeded in conditioning us to believe that the week’s news, while awful, is less so because the awfulness is so consistent. Awful is the new Trumpian normal, which is pretty amazing when you consider that the old Trump-era normal was already pretty bad. He has rendered us collectively incapable of outrage, just when we need it most. If we can’t be appalled at the President’s indifference toward two hundred thousand dead Americans, then there is nothing left that can horrify us.

Susan Glasser in The New Yorker