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Are We Trapped in Trumpian DNA?

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February 8, 2020 11:09 a.m.

I have a long list of quibbles what with TPM Reader PJ shares here — mainly on conflating two very different meanings of “liberalism” and I think giving too little significance to the coalitional nature of the Democratic Party. But I wanted to share it with you because it’s a good contribution to the conversation …

I appreciate what you’re saying about the far left and liberalism. let me offer a bit of a counterpoint. I think there are some people who read Trump as an expression of something highly American. Maybe not intrinsically American, per se, but something that’s mixed in the DNA and which often takes over: white supremacy, masculinist fantasies of domination, an erotic fascination with violence. Moreover, we know where the roots of liberalism are: John Locke, contract theory, a social imagination that puts the individual at the center of the social world and struggles to understand that personhood is constantly being constructed, rather than etched in stone by a Maker.

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