From Public Seminar, why is Trump’s authoritarianism so hard for some to recognize? Jared Bernstein interviews Ben Page and Marty Gilens, authors of Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It. Democracy has survived a year of Trump — but the fight isn’t over. Trump hasn’t destroyed Obama’s legacy — he’s revealed how impressive it was. The problem with calling Trump a racist: By focusing on the president’s racism — and disregarding his greed — Democrats risk casting the president as a false prophet for white Americans. The president is headed to Davos — how can someone so “America first” attend an event so globally minded?

The Trump evangelicals have lost their gag reflex. Half of Republicans think Trump’s a genius. Peter Aldhous on how Trump’s tweets shaped a year in politics. The past year has provided sustained observations of a phenomenon that might be described as Trump-Induced Time Dilation: the 45th president’s ability to alter temporal perceptions; more specifically, his unnatural knack for making time slow to an excruciating crawl.

Frank Hindriks (Groningen) and Igor Douven (Sorbonne): Nozick’s Experience Machine: An Empirical Study. The Democrats didn’t betray their base: Left-wing activists are furious over the shutdown deal, but they’re not the only members of the party's diverse coalition. The SAG awards got political — that’s a good thing. Jen Kirby on the sex abuse scandal surrounding USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, explained. How many of Devin Nunes’s GOP colleagues on the Intelligence Committee will stand up for the accuracy of his memo? Hint: Not many. What that horrible story about imprisoned children says about America. The Economist on the benefits of a lousy passport. A look at the rate of return on everything. With Kentucky school shooting, fears of growing “numb” to a once-rare horror.

How Cass Sunstein, a liberal scholar of conspiracy theories, became the subject of a right-wing conspiracy theory. Meet “The Storm”, the conspiracy theory taking over the pro-Trump Internet. Here’s the latest stupid conservative conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theory: These accidental missile alerts aren’t actually accidents — world governments are doing trial runs on their own citizens. Release the Memo: What’s the conspiracy behind the right-wing meme? Republicans claim a secret document reveals a Hillary Clinton plot “worse than Watergate” — and they're getting a big boost from Russian bots. The growing conservative conspiracy theory about missing FBI texts, explained.

From NYRB, James Kirchick on Trump’s debt to Ron Paul’s paranoid style: “The appeal of Paul and Trump to such Americans is not so much their specific policy ideas as their anti-establishment temperament and rhetoric, and, more specifically, a feverish anti-elitism that inevitably leads to conspiracy-mongering”.