A Mafia State Within a Totalitarian Society

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

It is a skill, actually, to make someone feel as though they are drowning in words. If you’ve ever read a transcript of a Donald Trump interview, you know what the experience is like. Next-level incoherence is disorienting—and can be oddly powerful.

The American-Russian journalist Masha Gessen has thought a lot about Trump’s rambling and disjointed way of speaking—in part because it reminds her so much of Vladimir Putin’s style. In Russia, Putin uses words yet means their opposites. At times, he seems to render words meaningless.

“He just keeps talking,” Gessen says. “And throwing numbers out there. Most of them wrong.”

Then there’s Trump: “He talks and you don’t even know where the punctuation marks fall. And the more you try to