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Garrison Keillor’s Donald Trump takedown is surprisingly brutal

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Garrison Keillor, the former host of A Prairie Home Companion, the public radio variety show that went off the air in July, is best known for creating characters laced with subtle satire. In an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune brutally headlined "When this is over, you will have nothing that you want," he’s done the same for Donald Trump — but the ribbing isn’t gentle anymore. It’s acidic.

In seven stream-of-consciousness paragraphs written in the second person, Keillor sticks the shiv in Trump without ever mentioning him by name, showing the vast void and the need for adulation at the heart of his campaign:

The brim shadows your face, which gives a sinister look, as if you'd come to town to announce the closing of the pulp factory. Your eyes look dead and your scowl does not suggest American greatness so much as American indigestion. Your hair is the wrong color: People don't want a president to be that shade of blond. You know that now.

Why doesn't someone in your entourage dare to say these things? So sad. The fans in the arenas are wild about you, and Sean Hannity is as loyal as they come, but Rudy and Christie and Newt are reassuring in that stilted way of hospital visitors.

Most pundits who attack Trump denounce him as racist, dangerous, and authoritarian. But Keillor does something that is probably much more likely to get under the billionaire’s skin: He makes him look pathetic.

"To the Times, Queens is Cleveland. Bush league," Keillor writes to Trump. "You are Queens."

This election is about normal vs. abnormal