Feb. 2, 2017 Update: It is Michael Anton.
The enigmatic writer’s real name is Michael Anton, and he’s a fast-talking 47-year-old intellectual who, unlike most of his colleagues, can readily quote Roman histories and Renaissance thinkers. But readers knew him throughout 2016 as Publius Decius Mus, first at a now-defunct website called the Journal of American Greatness and later in the online pages of the Claremont Review of Books. As Decius, Anton insisted that electing Trump and implementing Trumpism was the best and only way to stave off American decline—making a cerebral case to make America great again…
After working as a speechwriter and press secretary for New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, he entered Bush’s White House in 2001 as a communications aide for the National Security Council—a job that took on greater weight after 9/11. Anton was part of the team that made the case within the administration and to the public for invading Iraq—and he was enthusiastic about the war. That team** helped craft one of the more infamous sentences in a State of the Union address, from Bush’s in 2003: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”
His evolution on the issue of Iraq is perhaps Anton’s most notable shift, but it’s not the only one informed by his experience as a member of the governing class he so artfully assailed as Decius. After leaving the Bush administration in 2005, Anton was a speechwriter for Rupert Murdoch at the media conglomerate News Corporation, then the director of communications at megabank Citigroup. For the last year and a half, he’s been a managing director at the investment firm BlackRock. With that résumé, it’s no wonder the man who referred to the “Davos class” as a “junta” and wrote that it would “be better for the nation to divide up more equitably a slightly smaller pie than to add one extra slice” chose to write under a pseudonym. Anton would no doubt happily accept that he is a “traitor to his class,” which is what his Journal of American Greatness compatriot Julius Krein called Donald Trump in these pages. (Anton himself has contributed many pieces to THE WEEKLY STANDARD and its website, as recently as last year.)
Anton may also be a traitor to his class of conservative intellectuals, though his writings on Trump rejected by the Claremont Review of Books in early 2016 eventually found their home there by the end of the election. More consequential, in his new position as senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council, he brings his brand of intellectual Trumpism right to the White House and the locus of power. The job was initially given to Monica Crowley, the writer and television pundit, with the intention that she be a public face for the Trump White House on national-security issues. But Crowley was forced to withdraw just days before Trump was inaugurated after reports revealed she had plagiarized her last book and her Ph.D. thesis. Anton’s role will likely involve less camera time and more shaping of the White House’s national-security message behind the scenes.
Publius Decius Mus says on Twitter that he is not Julius Krein.
A new journal aims to lay the intellectual foundation for the Trump movement.
A 30-year-old conservative wunderkind is out to intellectualize Trumpism, the amorphous ideology that lifted its namesake to the presidency in November.
Until recently, the idea itself was an oxymoron, since Trumpism has consisted in large part of the President-elect’s ruthless evisceration of the country’s intellectual elite. But next month, Julius Krein, a 2008 Harvard graduate who has spent most of his admittedly short career in finance, is launching a journal of public policy and political philosophy with an eye toward laying the intellectual foundation for the Trump movement. If his nerdy swagger is any indication, he has big ambitions: He noted wryly that he is — “coincidentally”— the same age that William F. Buckley Jr. was six decades ago when he founded National Review, the magazine that became the flagship of the conservative movement…
Krein isn’t starting from scratch. During the campaign, the most muscular and controversial defense of Trump came from an anonymous author calling himself Publius Decius Mus in a piece titled “The Flight 93 Election,” published in the Claremont Review of Books. He argued that there was actually some intellectual coherence to Trump’s views, even “if incompletely and inconsistently” articulated. Trump, he wrote, had taken “the right stances on the right issues — immigration, trade, and war — right from the beginning.”
Before he published the article, Decius was writing for an obscure, now-defunct blog, the Journal for American Greatness, where a band of reprobate conservative academics loosely affiliated with the Claremont Institute, a California-based conservative think tank, had gathered to mount a case for Trump.
Krein served as the blog’s day-to-day administrator while holding down a job at a Boston-based hedge fund until the site’s editors shut it down, telling readers that their audience for what was mostly intended as “an inside joke” had “expanded beyond any of our expectations.” Krein deleted all off the archives. But the Journal’s unexpected popularity, the editors said, made it clear that “many others similarly felt the desirability of breaking out of conservatism’s self-imposed intellectual stagnation.”
Krein said American Affairs will be an extension of the Journal, and that several of the blog’s heretofore anonymous contributors will write for him under their own names. He fleshed out the idea for the journal on a phone call in early December with Charles Kesler, the editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and Decius himself, though the latter said he will not be involved with the new publication. They determined that American Affairs would aim to be a crossbreed of the Claremont Institute, which concerns itself more with literature and philosophy than with public policy, and Levin’s National Affairs, which is devoted exclusively to public policy.
Gladden Pappin, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, will be the journal’s assistant editor. Krein emphasized that the journal will include both well-known authors and new voices from the the right and left.
New quarterly journal to be launched in wake of Trump’s win
A new journal is launching next month in reaction to Donald Trump’s presidential victory.
American Affairs journal, a quarterly, will begin publication in February, an outgrowth of the anonymous The Journal of American Greatness blog, which drew praise from conservative writers Peggy Noonan, Christopher Caldwell and Steve Hayward during the presidential campaign.
“It attempts to understand the ideological and political transitions, of which Trump is the most prominent one,” said founder Julius Krein in an interview.
The journal, which will be published by the American Affairs Foundation, will be edited by Krein, as well as Gladden Pappin, a professor at Notre Dame, who will serve as associate editor.
Krein, who will scale back his work at a Boston hedge fund, has been successfully fundraising for his magazine and hasn’t ruled out serving in the Trump administration in the future. “For the time being I’m focused on getting the journal off the ground,” he said.
“Our goal is to provide a forum for people who believe that the conventional ideological categories and policy prescriptions of recent decades are no longer relevant to the most pressing problems and debates facing our country,” Krein said in a statement.
“The journal’s contributors will include well-known authors and new voices, both from the ‘right’ and the ‘left.’ We hope not only to encourage a rethinking of the theoretical foundations of “conservatism” but also to promote a broader realignment of American politics,” Krein added, describing his forthcoming “journal of public policy and political thought.”
So Julius Krein looks like or close to the famous Publius Decius Mus, author of The Flight 93 Election.
Check out this New Yorker article in the Jan. 9, 2017 issue:
INTELLECTUALS FOR TRUMP: A rogue group of conservative thinkers try to build a governing ideology around a President-elect who disdains ideology.
The most cogent argument for electing Donald Trump was made not by Trump, or by his campaign, but by a writer who, unlike Trump, betrayed no eagerness to attach his name to his creations. He called himself Publius Decius Mus, after the Roman consul known for sacrificing himself in battle, although the author used a pseudonym precisely because he hoped not to suffer any repercussions. In September, on the Web site of the Claremont Review of Books, Decius published “The Flight 93 Election,” which likened the country to a hijacked airplane, and argued that voting for Trump was like charging the cockpit: the consequences were possibly dire, but the consequences of inaction were surely so. Decius sought to be clear-eyed about the candidate he was endorsing. “Only in a corrupt republic, in corrupt times, could a Trump rise,” he wrote. But he argued that this corruption was also evidence of a national crisis, one that could be addressed only by a politician untethered to political piety. The author hailed Trump for his willingness to defend American workers and America’s borders. “Trump,” he wrote, “alone among candidates for high office in this or in the last seven (at least) cycles, has stood up to say: I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live.” By holding the line on unauthorized immigration and rethinking free trade, Decius argued, Trump could help foster “solidarity among the working, lower-middle, and middle classes of all races and ethnicities.” Decius identified himself as a conservative, but he saved much of his criticism for “house-broken conservatives,” who warned of the perils of progressivism while doing nothing in particular to stop it. Electing Trump was a way to take a stand against both ambitious liberalism and insufficiently ambitious conservatism…
Decius, the faceless blogger, is hoping instead that Trump’s Presidency will mark the dawn of a new kind of conservative movement. He is one of a handful of pro-Trump intellectuals who have been laboring to establish an ideological foundation for the political tendency sometimes known as Trumpism…
So it was something of a surprise when, this past February, an academically inclined online publication appeared, full of erudite arguments in favor of Trump. It was called the Journal of American Greatness, in tribute to Trump’s pledge to “Make America Great Again,” although its sensibility was more tweed jacket than red baseball cap. A charmingly bare-bones site, hosted at a lowly blogspot.com Web address, it evoked an earlier, nerdier version of the Internet, and its wry tone seemed calculated to contrast with the bombastic style of its chosen candidate. This was where Publius Decius Mus began his career, alongside a handful of other writers, most of whom adopted Latin pseudonyms. The hidden identities of Decius and the other Journal contributors may have made the essays more seductive, by making their authors seem like fugitives, desperate to stay one step ahead of the ideological authorities. Their facelessness also conveyed a faint sense of menace, as if these were the distant, Plato-quoting cousins of the balaclava-wearing hooligans who are a regular presence at nationalist marches throughout Europe.
The Journal eventually published a hundred and twenty-nine articles, the first of which acknowledged the perversity of the project:
“It may seem absurd to speak of Trumpism when Trump himself does not speak of Trumpism. Indeed, Trump’s surprising popularity is perhaps most surprising insofar as it appears to have been attained in the absence of anything approximating a Trumpian intellectual persuasion or conventionally partisan organization. Yet, Trump’s unique charisma notwithstanding, it is simply impossible for a candidate to have motivated such a passionate following for so long by dint of sheer personality or media antics alone.”
At times, the authors even sought to separate Trump from Trumpism, suggesting that the candidate was a powerful but inconstant champion of his namesake philosophy, which Decius summarized as “secure borders, economic nationalism, interests-based foreign policy.” After Andrew Sullivan, the pioneering blogger, published a widely read New York story suggesting that Trump might be just the kind of tyrant against whom Plato once warned, Decius responded with an essay that was nearly as long and much more abstruse. He argued that Sullivan had misread Plato, and proposed, not very reassuringly, that in our current political climate an overdue recognition of “the people’s sovereignty” might entail, for a time, “more control and less freedom in certain areas.” Like virtually everything written in the Journal, this essay expressed seemingly sincere convictions in a faintly ironic tone, which was disorienting: we didn’t really know who these people were, or how serious they were, even though the political movement they sought to explicate was anything but marginal. Then, in June, the Journal signed off and deleted its archives, declaring that it had been “an inside joke,” which, in the course of a few months, attracted a large following, and “ceased to be a joke.” In this last respect, the Journal had more than a little in common with the man who inspired it…
Evidently, Decius was not quite prepared to quit the debate. That may explain why, in September, he published “The Flight 93 Election.” It may explain, too, why he agreed to meet, a few weeks after Trump’s election, on the condition that his pseudonymity be maintained. He chose a private club in midtown, where he had been attending a lecture. (He hastened to point out that he was not a member himself.) Then he strolled over to a suitably anonymous location: the tatty food court in the basement of Grand Central Terminal, where he endeavored to fold his long legs beneath a small table. The man known as Decius was tall and fit, a youthful middle-aged professional dressed in a well-tailored gray suit and a pink shirt. He has worked in the finance world, but he talked about political philosophy with the enthusiasm of someone who would do it for fun, which is essentially what he does. Before he began to speak, he held out an iPhone showing a picture of his family: if he was unmasked, he said, his family would suffer, because he works for a company that might not want to be connected to an apostle of Trumpism.
It is not necessarily absurd for Decius to suggest that he might suffer a fate like that which befell Brendan Eich, who resigned under pressure from Mozilla Corporation, the tech company he co-founded, after he was discovered to have donated to an anti-same-sex-marriage initiative. By obscuring his real name, Decius is also claiming a new kind of civil right, one often claimed by political activists in the era of social media: the right not to be doxed—that is, not to have one’s online activity linked to one’s offline identity.
Decius is a longtime conservative, though a heterodox one. He had grown frustrated with the Republican Party’s devotion to laissez-faire economics (or, in his description, “the free market über alles”), which left Republican politicians ill-prepared to address rising inequality. “The conservative talking point on income inequality has always been, It’s the aggregate that matters—don’t worry, as long as everyone can afford food, clothing, and shelter,” he says. “I think that rising income inequality actually has a negative effect on social cohesion.” He rejects what he calls “punitive taxation”—like many conservatives, he suspects that Democrats’ complaints about inequality are calculated to mask the Party’s true identity as the political home of the cosmopolitan élite. But he suggests that a government might justifiably hamper international trade, or subsidize an ailing industry, in order to sustain particular communities and particular jobs. A farm subsidy, a tariff, a targeted tax incentive, a restrictive approach to immigration: these may be defensible, he thought, not on narrowly economic grounds but as expressions of a country’s determination to preserve its own ways of life, and as evidence of the fundamental principle that the citizenry has the right to ignore economic experts, especially when their track records are dubious. (In this respect, Trumpism resembles the ideologically heterogeneous populist-nationalist movements that have lately been ascendant in Europe.) Most important, he thinks that conservatives should pay more attention to the shifting needs of the citizens whom government ought to serve, instead of assuming that Reagan’s solutions will always and everywhere be applicable. “In 1980, after a decade of stagnation, we needed an infusion of individualism,” he wrote. “In 2016, we are too fragmented and atomized—united for the most part only by being equally under the thumb of the administrative state—and desperately need more unity.”
Decius takes perverse pride in having been late to come around to Trump; as a populist, he likes the fact that everyday American voters recognized Trump’s potential before he did. When Decius started paying serious attention, around January, he discerned the outlines of a simple and, in his view, eminently sensible political program: “less foreign intervention, less trade, and more immigration restrictions.” Decius cited, as one unlikely precursor, the 2004 Presidential campaign of Dick Gephardt, the Democratic congressman, who ran as a fierce opponent of nafta and other free-trade agreements. (During one debate, Gephardt argued, “We have jobs leaving South Carolina, North Carolina, Missouri—my home state—that originally went to Mexico; they’re now going from Mexico to China, because they can get the cheapest labor in the world in China.”) In his “Flight 93” essay, Decius called Trump “the most liberal Republican nominee since Thomas Dewey,” and he didn’t mean it as an insult. Trump argues that the government should do more to insure that workers have good jobs, speaks very little about religious imperatives, and excoriates the war in Iraq and wars of occupation in general. Decius says that he isn’t concerned about Trump’s seeming fondness for Russia; in his view, thoughtless provocations would be much more dangerous. In his telling, Trump is a political centrist who is misconstrued as an extremist.
Decius says that he learned to accept what he calls Trump’s “unconventionality as a candidate,” and maintains that his support never wavered, even when Trump said things that he found indefensible. (The worst, Decius says, was Trump’s suggestion that Gonzalo Curiel, a federal judge presiding over a fraud case against him, had “an absolute conflict of interest,” because he was of Mexican descent. “I thought that was exactly the wrong thing to do,” Decius said.) But he also thinks that Trump’s occasional crudeness and more than occasional intemperance are inseparable from his “larger-than-life personality,” which was what allowed him to challenge conservative orthodoxy in the first place…
To Decius and his comrades, the language of citizenship is central to Trumpism, which encourages Americans to think of themselves as members of a wonderful club, besieged by gate-crashers. In Trump’s view, loyal American citizens can never fail, only be failed—either by their own leaders, who are (sadly) stupid, or by leaders of competitor countries like Mexico and China, who are (even more sadly) smart. Decius contrasts the Trumpist belief in a “common citizenship,” entrusted with sovereignty, with the bipartisan tendency to leave consequential government decisions in the hands of agencies staffed by technocrats.
Julius Krein was not very late to the Trump party.
Traitor to His Class
What differentiates Trump is not what he says, or how he says it, but why he says it. The unifying thread running through his seemingly incoherent policies, what defines him as a candidate and forms the essence of his appeal, is that he seeks to speak for America. He speaks, that is, not for America as an abstraction but for real, living Americans and for their interests as distinct from those of people in other places. He does not apologize for having interests as an American, and he does not apologize for demanding that the American government vigorously prosecute those interests.
What Trump offers is permission to conceive of an American interest as a national interest separate from the “international community” and permission to wish to see that interest triumph. What makes him popular on immigration is not how extreme his policies are, but the emphasis he puts on the interests of Americans rather than everyone else. His slogan is “Make America Great Again,” and he is not ashamed of the fact that this means making it better than other places, perhaps even at their expense.
His least practical suggestion—making Mexico pay for the border wall—is precisely the most significant: It shows that a President Trump would be willing to take something from someone else in order to give it to the American people. Whether he could achieve this is of secondary importance; the fact that he is willing to say it is everything. Nothing is more terrifying to the business and donor class—as well as the media and the entire elite—than Trump’s embrace of a tangible American nationalism. The fact that Trump should by all rights be a member of this class and is in fact a traitor to it makes him all the more attractive to his supporters and all the more baffling to pundits.
Trump’s campaign is predicated on restoring American greatness here and now, and he is seen to select policies in support of that overarching purpose. Others, in contrast, appear to pursue public office mostly for the sake of implementing favored policies so that they can read about the results of their grand experiments in future economics textbooks. They are like doctors who use patients to advance medical research for its own sake, rather than physicians who use medicine to cure the patients before them.
Boston, MassachusettsInvestment Management
Natural Resources/Ag Investment Firm in Africa, The Blackstone Group, Banc of America Securities
Natural Resources/Ag Investment Firm in Africa
January 2010 – 2013 (3 years)
The Blackstone Group
January 2008 – March 2010 (2 years 3 months)
Restructuring (beginning July 2008)
Banc of America Securities
June 2007 – August 2007 (3 months)
Mergers and Acquisitions
June 2005 – August 2005 (3 months)
Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee intern affiliated with Senator Tim Johnson
A.B., Social Studies
2004 – 2008
Activities and Societies: Harvard Student Agencies, Phi Beta Kappa
* I Googled the names that were associated with this forthcoming journal. They seem quite interesting. However, they could stand to be more active as bloggers / tweeters. On the other hand, that would leave them less time to write long articles.
looks like commenter IHTG called it accurately in September:
* Whoever wrote this is a regular reader here. He name checks Ben Franklin, Invade/Invite, importing ringers, noblesse oblige etc. Shame he did not extend the courtesy to name the devil. Also a shame to not explicitly name whites. Only “white privelege”. It is a modern idiocy to think that culture is malleable across large ethnic gaps. And a conservative idiocy of the Washington General type.
* Decius: I tried to name Steve but the editors were … well, they … well I’ll stop there.
Anyway, I don’t want anyone to think I am stealing furtively. I know where these things come from and I am willing to give credit where credit is due.
In a prior article (now deleted), I referred to Steve as “perhaps the closest thing the blogosphere has to a political philosopher.” I will leave to readers to unpack the various layers of irony in that comment. But one genuine intellectual historian objected and said so. Steve has no such training, and so on.
[To the extent that the philosopher undermines belief in that common opinion, he undermines the basis of society. He also, not incidentally, puts himself in danger, as the fate of Socrates shows. Steve Sailer, perhaps the closest thing the blogosphere has to a political philosopher, enjoys pointing out the error at the heart of the “Emperor’s New Clothes” parable. In real life, the little child—whom we may analogize to the philosopher—would be torn limb from limb for exposing everyone’s ignorance.]
To be sure.
My comment was meant in jest, but only partly. I think Steve’s grasp of political theory is weaker than my own. However, a long time ago, we got into an argument about political theory and despite my book-learnin’, I lost. He was right and I was wrong. It took me a long time to understand that but eventually I did.
I also came to understand (or think I did; “all knowledge is provisional”) that Steve’s understanding is truer to the great thinkers I studied and cherish than my own had been. The larger question of the relation of the universal to the particular still looms (for me) but Steve has been a big help.
While Steve is not a political philosopher in any overt or obvious sense, he is one in the most decisive sense. He thinks about political life directly, not through the filer of any preconceived theory. Which is what Plato and Aristotle did. Plus, with maybe five exceptions, Steve is better than all those who are formally classified as political philosophers in our time.
* “Trump is the most liberal Republican nominee since Thomas Dewey.”
It’s the first time I’ve seen this point being made. He is the most anti-war Republican candidate in decades, and his concern about the displacement of American blue-collar jobs is something traditionally associated with liberals. His policies are everything liberals claim to believe in – apart from their desire for unlimited immigration.
* Decius very generously acknowledges Sailer’s talent as a political thinker.
Note that Steve also has great instincts as a rhetorician! Must be the background in marketing. He immediately spotted the passage that should have come at the end of the essay, and put it at the end of his excerpt:
“I want to live. I want my party to live. I want my country to live. I want my people to live.”
That is very, very potent stuff. It cannot be followed by another twelve paragraphs of thoughtful analysis without dissipating the animal spirits that have been summoned up. The speech has to end there – except for the wild cheering that follows.
Stephen Miller, just in case you’re listening: you should bring Decius on board as a speech-writer, with Steve Sailer as his editor.
* Rush read this entire excerpt on the air this morning and gave it his full-throated agreement. I’m not a huge fan, but getting this such wide exposure is fantastic and further evidence of the shift that’s happening.
* If mainstream conservatism uses the alt-right as a virtue signalling tool, then it’s just playing the left’s game by the left’s rules like it always has. Conservatism has not and will not accomplish anything by that method.
Constitution and the rule of law are reasonable, but it takes a reasonable civilization, a healthy nation, to uphold them. What do conservatives do on these matters of civilization and nation but cave in and get cucked over and over?
The alt-right is not here to prop up conservatism.
The alt-right is here to win.
* After reading the article, it is clear that Publius Decius Mus is not from the alt-right. That does not mean that his analysis is wrong of course. However please note he did not mention the possibility (read: de facto certaintity) of the collapse and breakup of the U.S. and the civil war, race war and the ethnic cleansing that will go with that collapse.
Imagine the reactions if had included that in his article.
* True Conservatism, Inc., has become a cult, hence the need for Decius to remain anonymous. Everyone has seen what the Scientologists will do to an apostate, so imagine how vicious someone like Ben Shapiro is now that his Uncle Abie act no longer is in demand.
* Although not being from the alt-right makes it EVEN BETTER; he’s a recovering conservative who INDEPENDENTLY came to many of the exact same conclusions. He’s not a joiner, he’s one of those few people who is able to correctly identify relevant facts and derive from them logical conclusions.
* It’s interesting, is it not, that a man who advocates moderate, limited goals – sane immigration policy, limited government, respect for the constitution, and the presidential candidacy of Donald J Trump – should feel safer under the cloak of a pseudonym?
And yet you can call the white race “a cancer”, openly advocate socialism, glorify communism, demand the slaughter of the unborn “on demand and without apology”, indoctrinate little children into homosexuality and transgenderism, gleefully caper and cavort as you promote every imaginable sort of sickness and depravity, and not only does it not damage your career, but – if you’re in academia, the media, or the public sector – will probably enhance it?
* Taking the Flight 93 image a bit further, French and the rest of the cucks are back in the galley sipping tea while telling each other how brave they are. Consoling the cabin crew with promises to “fix this problem very soon, just after getting consensus on what exactly the plan should be”, and sneering at the men in the corner praying for victory.
Meanwhile Trump has grabbed a drink cart and is rolling towards the cockpit door.
First is the objection to anonymity and specifically to the pseudonym. Anonymity supposedly proves that I am a coward, while the use of “Decius” shows that I am a hypocrite. What am I risking? I freely admit that I don’t expect to die. But I do have something to lose, and may well yet lose it. I could easily have not written anything. How could speaking up possibly have been more cowardly than silence?
…The first is simply that Trump might win. He is not playing his assigned role of gentlemanly loser the way McCain and Romney did, and may well have tapped into some previously untapped sentiment that he can ride to victory. This is a problem for both the Right and the Left. The professional Right (correctly) fears that a Trump victory will finally make their irrelevance undeniable. The Left knows that so long as Republicans kept playing by the same rules and appealing to the same dwindling base of voters, there was no danger. Even if one of the old breed had won, nothing much would have changed, since their positions on the most decisive issues were effectively the same as the Democrats and because they posed no serious challenge to the administrative state.
… the current governing arrangement of the United States is rule by a transnational managerial class in conjunction with the administrative state.
Trump is the first candidate since Reagan to threaten this arrangement. To again oversimplify Marini (and Aristotle), the question here is: who rules? The many or the few? The people or the oligarchs? Our Constitution says: the people are sovereign, and their rule is mediated through representative institutions, limited by written Constitutional norms. The administrative state says: experts must rule because various advances (the march of history) have made governing too complicated for public deliberation, and besides, the unwise people often lack knowledge of their own best interests even on rudimentary matters. When the people want something that they shouldn’t want or mustn’t have, the administrative state prevents it, no matter what the people vote for. When the people don’t want something that the administrative state sees as salutary or necessary, it is simply imposed by fiat.
Don’t want more immigration? Too bad, we know what’s best. Think bathrooms should be reserved for the two biological sexes? Too bad, we rule. And so on and on.
To all the “conservatives” yammering about my supposed opposition to Constitutional principle (more on that below) and who hate Trump, I say: Trump is mounting the first serious national-political defense of the Constitution in a generation. He may not see himself in those terms. I believe he sees himself as a straightforward patriot who just wants to do what is best for his country and its people. Whatever the case, he is asserting the right of the sovereign people to make their government do what they want it to do, and not do things they don’t want it to do, in the teeth of determined opposition from a managerial class and administrative state that want not merely different policies but above all to perpetuate their own rule…
Trump, right now, is right and the conservatives are wrong. His moderate program of secure borders, economic nationalism, and America-first foreign policy—all things that liberals and conservatives alike used to take for granted, if they disagreed on implementation—holds the promise of fostering more unity. But today, liberals are apoplectic at the mere mention of this program—controlling borders is “extreme” but a “borderless world” is the “ultimate wisdom”—and the Finlandized conservatives aid them in attacking the candidate who promotes it. Conservatives claim to deplore the way the Democrats slice and dice the electorate, reduce it to voting blocs and interest groups, and stoke resentments to boost turnout. But faced with a candidate explicitly running on a unity agenda they insist he is too extreme to trust with the reins of power. One wants to ask, again: which is it, conservatives? Is Trump to be rejected because he is too moderate or because he is too extreme? The answer appears to be that it doesn’t matter, so long as Trump is rejected.
So that’s my “immoderate” case for Trump: do things that are in the interests of lower, working, and middle class Americans in order to improve their lives and increase unity across all swaths and sectors of society…
Every four years the electorate becomes more unfavorable to Republican candidates, owing above all to mass immigration, which so many Republicans still self-sabotagingly support. We could not even deny reelection to Barack Obama, whose first term was a dismal failure by every measure, because he was able to overwhelm us with sheer demographics. “Quantity has a quality all its own.” It will be worse in 2020 than it is now in 2016, just as 2016 is worse than 2012. Not to get all Rubio on you, but they know exactly what they’re doing.
If Hillary wins, there will still be a country, in the sense of a geographic territory with a people, a government, and various institutions. Things will mostly look the same, just as—outwardly—Rome changed little on the ascension of Augustus. It will not be tyranny or Caesarism—not yet. But it will represent, in my view, an irreversible triumph for the administrative state. Consider that no president has been denied reelection since 1992. If we can’t beat the Democrats now, what makes anyone think we could in 2020, when they will have all the advantages of incumbency plus four more years of demographic change in their favor? And if we can’t win in 2016 or 2020, what reason is there to hope for 2024? Will the electorate be more Republican? More conservative? Will constitutional norms be stronger?
The country will go on, but it will not be a constitutional republic. It will be a blue state on a national scale. Only one party will really matter. A Republican may win now and again—once in a generation, perhaps—but only a neutered one who has “updated” all his positions so as to be more in tune with the new electorate. I.e., who has done exactly what the Left has for years been concern-trolling us to do: move left and become more like them. Yet another irony: the “conservatives” who object to Trump as too liberal are working to guarantee that only a Republican far more liberal than Trump could ever win the presidency again.