The World Trump Created

Former president Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Wellington, Ohio, June 26, 2021. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
What the former president’s Ohio rally tells us about his grip on the MAGA base

Wellington, Ohio — It’s a common trope in literature, and probably to some extent a feature of our own lives, that journeys end where they began, either literally or metaphorically. So it’s tempting to see former president Donald Trump’s return to northeastern Ohio this past Saturday for his first campaign-style rally since leaving office as a kind of bookend to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. There, just short of five years ago, Trump formally secured his status as the standard-bearer for the Republican Party. It certainly has been a journey since then.

But this literary lens would skew the

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