Such is the power of an effort by President Donald Trump and conservative media to push an alternative reality in which the pandemic has disappeared and isn’t really all that dangerous anyway. Such bravado sees mask-warning as weak and slavish to the “liberal” prescriptions of elite scientists and doctors. Never mind that 11 million Americans have been infected with the virus, 70,000 are in hospital and the country is approaching a quarter of a million mostly avoidable deaths.
Trump is now treating the US election as he did the pandemic, denying the truth in insisting he won despite every factual, political, constitutional and legal metric showing he lost. But the great political illusionist knows his audience: Cultural and ideological myth-making can squeeze out truth, science and facts in modern politics — which means that even when he leaves the White House, his lie machine will still be a powerful force.