Zeroing in on Trumpism

Evan Vucci/AP

Writing this book manuscript has allowed me to bring together, focus and refine my ideas about Trump, the 2016 election and the country’s politics generally. It’s a bit taxing since I’m doing it during the busiest time of the four year cycle. But it’s nevertheless crystalized for me that Trumpism is basically the emergence of white nationalism and authoritarianism as the driving forces on the American right today.

That’s a bald way of putting it. But any more tepid or glossed description doesn’t capture the fullness of what’s happening. Government shutdowns, SCOTUS blockades, the mounting centrality of domination and force as the animating drivers of Republican politics – all stem from the same factors, the same politics of embattlement, threat and fear.

Some of this complements the work of Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann on asymmetric partisanship and Republican radicalization. There’s a reason why we have institutional breakdown, accelerating violations of longstanding governing norms, why one party – and yes, it really is pretty much one party – has simply been going off the rails for years now. The Republican party has slowly and now more rapidly moved into revolt against the governing order as it sees its electoral base contract.

All sound hyperbolic? I might have thought so too. But it’s not. This is why Trump is the GOP nominee. And it will continue after Trump.