American political movement
- Trumpism, broadly defined as secure borders, economic nationalism, and America-first foreign policy.
- Michael Anton (as "Publius Decius Mus"), The Flight 93 Election (September 5, 2016), The Claremont Institute
- Donald Trump destroyed the Reagan Republican paradigm in 2016, but he didn’t exactly elucidate a new set of ideas, policies, and alliances. Trump’s devastation of the old order produced a grand struggle on the right to build a new one on Trumpian populist lines.
The NatCons are wrong to think there is a unified thing called “the left” that hates America. This is just the apocalyptic menace many of them had to invent in order to justify their decision to vote for Donald Trump.
They are wrong, too, to think there is a wokeist Anschluss taking over all the institutions of American life. For people who spend so much time railing about the evils of social media, they sure seem to spend an awful lot of their lives on Twitter. Ninety percent of their discourse is about the discourse. Anecdotalism was also rampant at the conference—generalizing from three anecdotes about people who got canceled to conclude that all of American life is a woke hellscape. They need to get out more.
- NatCons are also probably right that conservatism is going to get a lot more statist. At the conference, Ted Cruz tried to combine culture-war conservatism with free-market economic policies—free trade and low taxes. Marco Rubio countered by, in effect, arguing that you can’t rally cultural populists if you are not also going to do something for them economically. Cultural populism leads to economic populism. Rubio’s position at least has the virtue of being coherent.
Over the past few decades there have been various efforts to replace the Reagan Paradigm: the national-greatness conservatism of John McCain; the compassionate conservatism of George W. Bush; the Reformicon conservatism of the D.C. think tanks in the 21st century. But the Trumpian onslaught succeeded where these movements have so far fizzled because Trump understood better than they did the coalescence of the new American cultural/corporate elite and the potency of populist anger against it. Thus the display of Ivy League populism I witnessed in Orlando might well represent the alarming future of the American right: the fusing of the culture war and the class war into one epic Marxist Götterdämmerung.
Sitting in that Orlando hotel, I found myself thinking of what I was seeing as some kind of new theme park: NatCon World, a hermetically sealed dystopian universe with its own confected thrills and chills, its own illiberal rides. I tried to console myself by noting that this NatCon theme park is the brainchild of a few isolated intellectuals with a screwy view of American politics and history. But the disconcerting reality is that America’s rarified NatCon World is just one piece of a larger illiberal populist revolt that is strong and rising.
- The booing began. I’d been dreading it for days, but when it came, I almost welcomed it. There is nothing more freeing than telling the truth. And it must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability.
- The triumph of a raw populism, embodied by a shameless demagogue, over both the official establishment and the official ideology of a major political party.
- Trumpism is also a celebrity-driven cult of personality, forged by its leader’s unique reality-television appeal. This has made it relatively easy for the Republican Party’s leaders to hope that his campaign is sui generis, that when he loses in November (as most of them still expect) there won’t be a coherent Trumpism after Trump.
- Trumpism is here to stay.
- 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, American journalists call it populism.
- The tectonic shifts that gave rise to Trumpism have been gathering force over the last six decades. Over that time, the left won 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 Buchanan in 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 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.
- Much to the consternation of Republican elites, it also stands well outside of conservative political ideology.
- The atmosphere of division my grandfather created in the Trump family is the water in which Donald has always swum, and division continues to benefit him at the expense of everybody else. It's weakening our ability to be kind or believe in forgiveness, concepts that have never had any meaning for him. His administration and his party have become subsumed by his politics of grievance and entitlement. Worse, Donald, who understands nothing about history, constitutional principles, diplomacy (or anything else, really) and was never pressed to demonstrate such knowledge, has evaluated all of this country's alliances, and all of our social programs, solely through the prism of money, just as his father taught him to do. The costs and benefits of governing are considered in purely financial terms, as if the US Treasury were his personal piggy bank. To him, every dollar going out was his loss, while every dollar saved was his gain. In the midst of obscene plenty, one person, using all the levers of power and taking every advantage of his disposal, would benefit himself and, conditionally, his immediate family, his cronies, his sycophants; for the rest, there would never be enough to go around, which was exactly how my grandfather ran our family.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 15-16
- I hope this book will end the practice of referring to Donald's "strategies" or "agendas," as if he operates according to any organizing principles. He doesn't. Donald's ego has been and is a fragile and inadequate barrier between him and the real world, which, thanks to his father's money and power, he never had to negotiate by himself. Donald has always needed to perpetuate the fiction my grandfather started that he is strong, smart, and otherwise extraordinary, because facing the truth- that he is none of those things- is too terrifying for him to contemplate.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 17
- Donald takes any rebuke as a challenge and doubles down on the behavior that drew fire in the first place, as if the criticism is permission to do worse. Fred came to appreciate Donald's obstinacy because it signaled the kind of toughness he sought in his sons. Fifty years later, people are literally dying because of his catastrophic decisions and disastrous inaction. With millions of lives at stake, he takes accusations about the federal government's failure to provide ventilators personally, threatening to withhold funding and lifesaving equipment from states whose governors don't pay sufficient homage to him. That doesn't surprise me. The deafening silence in response to such a blatant display of sociopathic disregard for human life or the consequences for one's actions, on the other hand, fills me with despair and reminds me that Donald isn't really the problem after all. This is the end result of Donald's having continually been given a pass and rewarded not just for his failures but for his transgressions- against tradition, against decency, against the law, and against fellow human beings. His acquittal in the sham Senate impeachment trial was another such reward for bad behavior. The lies may become true in his mind as soon as he utters them, but they're still lies. It's just another way for him to see what he can get away with. And so far, he's gotten away with everything.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 204-205
- In Donald's mind, even acknowledging an inevitable threat would indicate weakness. Taking responsibility would open him up to blame. Being a hero- being good- is impossible for him.
- Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 210