THE president seldom expresses contrition. One exception came after a vulgar video, showing Donald Trump boasting of grabbing women by their nether-parts, nearly torpedoed his presidential campaign. “I said it. I was wrong and I apologise,” he acknowledged in a video statement. The next year, as president, he allegedly claimed that the tape had been faked. Mr Trump has certainly exhibited a remarkable factual flexibility that his supporters have usually indulged. But given the incontrovertible video evidence at hand—both the original tape and Mr Trump’s apology—surely this fiction would not stand? To test this, YouGov, our pollster, put the question to 532 Americans who had voted for Mr Trump. The results: 49% of Trump supporters were unsure whether it was their man on the tape and 9% said that it was not. As a freshly tortured Winston Smith eventually agreed in the final pages of "1984", two and two make five.

Optimists have long clung to the hope that what the RAND Corporation, in a newly published Continue reading