The Longevity of Trumpism

Robert Brooks Contributor
The Longevity of Trumpism
Read Time: approx. 3:14

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Top Story: Take this with a grain of salt, but here is how Wikipedia currently describes “Trumpism”: “Trumpism started its development predominantly in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. It denotes a populist political method that suggests nationalistic answers to complex political, economic, and social problems. It attempts to mobilize the “white disenfranchised” of growing social inequality, with stated opposition to the established political establishment. Ideologically, it has a right-wing populist accent. Trumpism differs from classical Abraham Lincoln Republicanism in many ways regarding free trade, immigration, equality, checks, and balances in the federal government, and the separation of church and state. Peter J. Katzenstein of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center believes that Trumpism rests on three pillars, namely nationalism, religion, and race.” Regardless of the election results, will “Trumpism” survive without the President himself? Here’s what both sides are saying:

On the RightIn an opinion piece for the New York Post Miranda Devine writes: “You just had to see the enthusiastic cheer of tens of thousands of pro-Trump protesters who flocked to Washington, DC, over the weekend to understand it doesn’t really matter what the final electoral vote tally is: Trumpism has won.” Devine says: “More than 73 million free-thinking Americans refused to be intimidated, tricked, or shamed out of voting for Trump. They saw through four years of lies about Russia collusion, golden showers in Moscow hotels, corruption in Ukraine, ‘suckers and losers,’ and ‘white supremacists.'” Devine adds: “Despite the predictions of experts, there was no ‘blue wave.’ The election was a firm repudiation of socialism, ‘defund the police’ madness and the rest of the woke smorgasbord Dems offered. Rather than losing 15 to 20 seats in the House, Republicans have taken at least seven seats from Democrats, with several still to be called. It will be the smallest majority the Dems have had since World War II. No incumbent Republican lost a seat in the House.” Devine points to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who said: “Every Democrat has been beaten by a Republican woman, Republican minority or Republican veteran… We are more diverse and stronger because of what President Trump has done.” In conclusion, Devine believes, “Trumpism won, despite election results,” as she titled her article.

On the LeftIn an opinion piece for the Atlantic, David Frum writes: “First, it’s not at all clear that such a thing as Trumpism exists, apart from Donald Trump’s own personality and grudges. Subtract Trump’s resentments and the myth of Trump the business genius and what’s left? Are immigration restriction, trade war with China, and blowing up NATO really such compelling concerns? Are those goals what energized 71 million Americans? Would they energize voters to support Tom Cotton, Dan Crenshaw, Josh Hawley, or Marco Rubio? That seems unlikely. And while there are potential contenders for the resentment vote—the cable host Tucker Carlson, Trump’s son Don Jr.—they cannot offer the myth of business success. Worse, they overdo the resentment. That’s fine for carving out a cable-TV or Facebook-based business. But if resentment didn’t work politically for George Wallace in 1968, it’s not going to work for George Wallace knockoffs in 2024.” Frum adds: “The second problem is that Trump was felled by basic math. He polarized American society in a way that trapped him on the less numerous pole. The anti-Trump vote exceeded the pro-Trump vote by almost 3 million in 2016, by nearly 9 million in 2018, and by 5 million and counting in 2020.” In conclusion, Frum says: “Trump’s successors [have] only two practical strategies to follow. The first [is to] accept candidly that post-Trump Republicanism is likely to remain a minority party, and then maximize the powers of that minority.” The second holds that in order to compete, “Republicans must adapt to the new American electorate: more secular, more diverse, more accepting of female leadership. And this is possible.” In conclusion, Frum believes, “There Is No Trumpism Without Trump,” as he titled his article.

Flag This: We began the article with the caveat about taking the Wikipedia definition of “Trumpism” with a grain of salt because the term itself is subject to debate. Wikipedia was the least biased source we could find but it also has its flaws. The middle ground here might be that a strain of Trumpism will undoubtedly live on for many years to come. This isn’t a revolutionary idea, though. Every President leaves behind a legacy, and a view through which they see the American public, how we see ourselves, and how the world looks at us from abroad. As David Rubenstein notes in his book, “The American Story: Conversations With Master Historians” Jack Warren, a renowned George Washington Scholar, provided an “excellent look at how Washington essentially invented the office and established traditions and practices still in use more than two hundred years later.” Simply put, every President leaves a mark that echoes through time.