What Is Trump To Us? by Angelo Codevilla

Angelo Codevilla wrote some of the best articles on the 2020 campaign. From Codevilla at amgreatness.com:

To be worthy of following, post-Trump leadership must become consistent in deed with the insight that vaulted Donald Trump to public attention.

Donald Trump became the political vehicle for the American people’s resentment of an overweening, corrupt ruling class. Trump’s invaluable contribution to the Republic was to lead Americans publicly to disrespect that class.

Americans elected Trump to preserve freedoms and prosperity against the encroachments of that class. But instead, he became the catalyst by which that class cohered to transform the American Republic into an oligarchy.

During Trump’s presidency, more wealth passed from ordinary Americans to oligarchs, and more freedoms were lost than anyone imagined possible. As we consider how to remedy these losses, Trump’s fateful combination of things said and unsaid, of things done and not done, must be part of our search for the persons and policies most likely to lead republican Americans out of our quandary.

Persona Politica

In 2015 and 2016, candidate Trump’s disrespectful, disdainful attitude toward the ruling class put him at the head of presidential preference polls ab initio, and kept him there. Throughout the campaign, he said little of substance—just enough to give the impression that he was on the side of conservatives on just about everything. His leitmotif was “I despise those whom you despise because they despise you. I’m on your side, America’s side.”

Trump promised to “make America great again,” but did not explain what had made it great in the first place nor how to restore it. Never a religious person, and one who had once expressed support for abortion, Trump delivered more stirring thoughts on religious freedom and the right to life than any candidate ever, including Ronald Reagan.

Trump believed in the unity between himself and his followers, and that they would stay with him, even if he were to shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue. Millions of them reciprocated. The political, and even the moral content of that unity mattered less. He did not try to support his many accusations with facts. Millions who disagreed with him or who disliked him personally voted to make Trump president, and even more voted to reelect him.

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