Donald Trump seemed to retreat into some sort of cocoon of unreality following the shellacking his Republicans received in the midterm elections he vaingloriously billed as a referendum on himself. It would have been hard otherwise to maintain the pretence that the loss of up to 40 seats in the House of Representatives was a triumphal vindication of his presidency. Even on a good day, that should have taxed this master of mendacious spin. True, the Republicans picked up a couple of seats in the Senate, at any rate with the results in Florida and Mississippi still to be determined. These wins confirmed that the party of the Great Emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, was now the party of George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama whose appeal was principally to rural blue-collar whites without much education — and to the sharks, like Trump, out to monetise their prejudices, fears and false consciousness. Never in a nonpresidential election year have voters turned out in such numb...

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