U.S. right-wing populist political movement adhering to the policies of Donald Trump

Trumpism is the philosophy and politics espoused by Donald Trump.

Quotes edit

  • 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.
  • [W]hile Trump is not going to be president, Trumpism is going to survive. ...[T]he Democrats need to look very very carefully at those election results because ...the Republicans did well not necessarily because people love what they represent, but because they don't like what the Democrats represent... [U]nless they sort out what that is, they are going to continue to lose elections.
  • [C]ulture is a much better predictor of populist sentiment than economics. ...[T]he average Trump voter in 2016 had a higher per capita income than the average Hillary Clinton voter, and if you look at the people in the January 6th riot, the vast majority... were comfortable middle class people with good jobs... [T]here is a core... white working class base to Trumpism, but... a lot of the people that are aligned with that movement are there for cultural reasons. They really don't like the kind of identity politics that's being... put forward by the progressive left... [A] lot of Hispanic voters, for example, don't like socialism, and they don't like the fact that the Democrats are using the word socialism as if it's a perfectly normal set of economic choices.
  • What I failed to emphasize then—perhaps because I thought it went without saying (but it certainly needs to be said today)—is that fascism is almost by definition deadly. It needs enemies on whom it can focus the steaming rage of its adherents, and it is quite content for that rage to lead to literal extermination campaigns.
    The creation of such enemies invariably involves a process of rhetorical dehumanization. In fascist propaganda, target groups cease to be actual people, becoming instead vermin, viruses, human garbage, communists, Marxists, terrorists, or, in the case of the present attacks on LGBT people, pedophiles and groomers. As fascist movements develop, they bring underground streams of hatred into the light of “legitimate” political discourse.
    All those decades ago, I suggested that the Christian fundamentalists represented an incipient fascist force. I think it’s fair to say that today’s Make America Great Again crew has inherited that mantle, successfully incorporating right-wing Christianity into a larger proto-fascist movement. All the elements of classic fascism now lurk there: adulation of the leader, subordination of the individual to the larger movement, an appeal to mythical past glories, a not-so-subtle embrace of white supremacy, and discomfort with anything or anyone threatening the “natural” order of men and women. You have only to watch a video of a Trump rally to see that his is a mass (even if not a majority) movement.
  • Why should it matter whether Donald Trump’s MAGA movement and the Republican Party he’s largely taken over represent a kind of fascism? The answer: because the logic of fascism leads so inexorably to the politics of extermination. Describing his MAGA movement as fascism makes it easier to recognize the existential threat it truly represents—not only to a democratic society but to specific groups of human beings within it.
    I know it may sound alarmist, but I think it’s true: proto-fascist forces in this country have shown that they are increasingly willing to exterminate queer people, if that’s what it takes to gain and hold on to power. If I’m right, that means all Americans, queer or not, now face an existential threat. For those who don’t happen to fall into one of MAGA’s target groups, let me close by paraphrasing Donald Trump: In the end, they’re coming after you. We’re just standing in the way.
  • Here in 2016, when [Donald] Trump got elected, what happened as a consequence was blue-pilled leftists for a long time were taught that the Trump-world view [...] [was this minority]. 'We have sat you down for a year and told you that voting for Trump is completely unacceptable. That to do so is effectively to decree yourself to be aligned with the Klan and the nazis.' [one of the big newspapers] had a front page of Trump called antichrist when the Pope critizised him for something during when he was just merely a candidate. And yet [in November] Americans went in and flicked the leaver for Hitler-antichrist. And they didn't know what to do because in their mind there is very few of these lunatics and now there's enough to elect the president and because they're passing they didn't know who's the bad guy and the good guy. They thought '100 percent of the people I know', but obviously it's not 100. At best it's [60 percent]. So this was [...] a moment of panic: 'Wait a minute! I don't know who these people are anymore!'
  • 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
  • Joe Biden is inching closer to victory, but Trumpism will not disappear with Trump. The results this year demonstrate the enduring appeal of racism and misogyny in the United States, and how America’s sclerotic and anti-majoritarian governing institutions continue to leave us vulnerable to authoritarianism. Though the last few days have been anxiety-provoking, some of the apparent closeness of the election is a mirage. As was widely anticipated, rural votes were tallied faster on election night than votes in the cities, and mail-in ballots took days to count, resulting in early apparent leads for Trump that dwindled and reversed as more votes were counted. The ridiculous and malignant anachronism of the Electoral College means that Biden’s millions-strong popular vote margin did not assure his victory. Republican efforts to suppress the vote, stop the vote count, and even invalidate ballots already counted, have made the results more tenuous than they would otherwise be. Nonetheless, and despite an uncontrolled pandemic that has already killed 234,000 Americans, more than 68 million Americans (and counting) voted to keep President Trump in office. Indeed, though Trump has fulfilled nearly every nightmare scenario his opponents warned of, and though he has all but abandoned the vague gestures he once made toward economic populism, Trump gained at least six million voters over his total in 2016. These results are a fundamentally unsurprising but nonetheless stark reminder of the enduring power of racism and misogyny in America. More broadly, Trump’s core appeal is the appeal of fascism: the pleasure of inflicting cruelty and humiliation on those one fears and disdains, the gratification of receiving the authoritarian’s flattery, and the exhilaration of a crowd freed from the normal strictures of law, reason and decency.

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