Presidential Election 2024: Send In the Tropes

Published May 23, 2024

The Wall Street Journal

America’s divided mind, on view in the presidential race, has deep historical and sociological roots. The stakes are high. It’s serious business. On the other hand, if you watch the spectacle with a skeptic’s eye, squinting a little, it suggests the tropes of the circus—a circus in which the lions are too old, the elephants are going blind, and the ringmaster can’t remember his lines. Clowns fall off their bicycles.

In one ring, you behold the gaudy Trump Trials; in another, the Biden fiasco; in the third, a fight to the death between the Monsters of MAGA and the Freaks of Woke. Like most circuses, this one has a tacky atmosphere of falsehood. The media are working for the Ringling Brothers. The rubes are getting fleeced.

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Lance Morrow is the Henry Grunwald Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. His work focuses on the moral and ethical dimensions of public events, including developments in regard to freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and political correctness on American campuses, with a view to the future consequences of such suppressions.

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