Monday, January 23, 2017

Keeping an Eye on the Big Picture

Over at NRO this morning, I argue that, in discussing President Trump, we need to continue to pay attention to the context in which he rose to power:
Popular narratives to the contrary, Trump’s election is less a cause of our current crisis than a sign of it. In the months ahead, then, we need to attend to the conditions that have led to such a radical disruption in our politics. Normally, radical outsiders don’t win the presidency. In looking for a president, the American people usually balance a taste for novelty with a respect for experience. So it’s telling indeed that Trump is the first person elected to the presidency without any prior experience in elected office or other government service. Only when the mandarins of consensus have proven both so parochial and so inept could such an outsider have smashed his way into the White House. A series of institutional failures led to President Trump’s ascendancy. We have been treated to the spectacle of an elite that has promised too much and so often failed so spectacularly. Our public rhetoric has been frozen by nostalgia and an elite reliance on what Josh Barro has called “no-choice politics” to enforce a narrow consensus on immigration, trade, and other issues. Trump’s campaign was powered by denunciations of various debacles over the past decade, whether in foreign affairs, the economy, or national security.
You can read the rest here.

I think that there's an especially grave risk in working to overthrow existing political norms in order to "resist" President Trump.  The politics of paranoia and excommunication from polite society can be a dangerous enterprise.

Along similar lines, Ross Douthat warns the press about the danger of sacrificing ethical standards in reporting on President Trump, and Mickey Kaus takes a probing look at "1934ism."

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