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Trump staged a rally in which three girls–called “The Freedom Kids”–lip-synched a pop song praising the brutality of their incumbent leader. “... Deal from strength or get crushed every time!” they sang... Many Americans found it baffling. For those familiar with the decadent patriotism of Central Asian national performances... it was disconcerting in its familiarity...
spectacle enables elites to close opportunities for input from below, but without making the masses feel left out ... soothes the masses while distracting them from their suffering... Spectacle is not all Trump’s proposed America and the Central Asian dictatorships have in common...
America, like the countries of Central Asia, is a spectacular state. As news and entertainment converge... it became a tabloid state, and Trump has always triumphed as tabloid fodder.

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