Why Populism Fails
Reflections on the Trump Revolution
—You began ill, because you began by despising everything that belonged to you.
I had a suspicion that yesterday’s newsletter would result in a bitter discussion of Donald Trump. I don’t see the point in devoting a whole lot more time to him here. Are there not enough media outlets that discuss his every twitch? But two comments struck me as requiring a response. The first, from Steve Fleischer, was to the effect that yes, Trump is every bit as bad as I say, but fortunately too incompetent to do any harm.
The second came from our reader WigWag, who commended to my attention an essay by Alana Newhouse, published a year ago in Tablet, titled Brokenism. He argues that it explains “the vitriolic period we are in now to a tee.”
Newhouse’s thesis about American politics is that the old left-right debate is no longer relevant; instead, the fundamental debate is between those who believe there is “something fundamentally broken in America, and that it’s an emergency,” and those who don’t. The former are, in her term, are the brokenists:
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