In truth, modern life requires many people of talent and intelligence to run big institutions, including governments. Others resent their quality wherever they find it. They see it as oppressive. Then Donald Trump came before them and sneered at government leadership, in a style that had nothing to do with talent or intelligence. ... To accomplish this, his followers needed only to mark a ballot. Soon he looked like the man they always needed. In the future, this strategy may well be called Trumpism. For now, Americanjournalists call it populism.
The tectonic shifts that gave rise to Trumpism have been gathering force over the last six decades. Over that time, the leftwon the cultural battle and the right won the economic battle, and Trumpism is a reaction against both.
Trump’s personal political views have shifted through the years on any number of issues, “Trumpism”, for lack of a better term, has emerged as a populist blend of nationalism and protectionism. It is vociferously anti-immigration, strongly pro-tariff, opposed to cuts in entitlement spending and deeply skeptical of an interventionist foreign policy while still being very hawkish. Elements of this worldview have long lingered within the Republican party, animating the unsuccessful primary campaigns of Pat Buchananin 1992 and 1996. The question is whether, thanks to Trump, this will emerge as a viable ideological wing of the Republican party. ... Trumpism appeals to a different coalition, one that frightens many veteran Republicans.
Today, there is a contest between Trumpism and Republicanism. Through the calculated statements of its leader, Trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and, most recently, threats and violence. I am repulsed by each and every one of these.
The key to Trumpism’s future is infrastructure spending, which will cement its appeal. The stakes for Trump’s infrastructure plan are potentially enormous, by the lights of the chief author of Trumpism’s grand narrative.
Trump and Republicans may simultaneously pursue deep tax cuts for top earners and businesses while dramatically slashing the safety net and social spending in other areas, meaning Trumpism may end up morphing into a form of “ReactionaryKeynesianism” that fuels growth while increasing inequality.
The celebrity character of Trumpism appeals to citizens that would otherwise be disengaged from politics, with Trump serving as a placeholder for their unsatisfied wants and dreams. The ability to translate the cultural capital of celebrity into political capital seems also to mean that one-time spectators can be similarly transformed into motivated voters.