Disastrous leaders from Mao to Chávez created enduring movements. Trumpism will show Americans how hard it is to escape a political phantom.
Pretentious partisan nonsense masquerading as serious analysis! The author tells us that Trumpism is an amalgam of nostalgic nationalism, autocratic bullying and egotistical manipulation. How is it possible that egotistical manipulation is seen as a preserve of one political leader? Such allegations can be made against a large number of people. Andrew Cuomo claims his exemplary leadership saved many lives during Covid and many liberals doubtless believe him due to the fawning media coverage. Is that an example of "egotistical manipulation"? How about Bill Clinton? Now let's come to autocratic bullying. Where is the evidence that such instances of bullying constitute a clear break from precedent, so much so that we need a separate ism to characterise them? If we look at Trump's policies and actions rather than his tweets and rhetoric, was it all that different from previous administrations? Apart from the vague and almost meaningless definition of what Trumpism is, this analysis suffers from two additional flaws.
1. What explains the whole Trump phenomenon? How did he manage to win in 2016? Why did so many people including women and minorities vote for him in 2020? According to some exit polls (we will learn more in future), more than 30% of Muslims voted for Trump. Why? What does a vote for Trump mean for his supporters? Liberals and establishment Republicans have provided two answers to this question a) Voters were motivated by racism and misogyny. b)Unlike Liberals, conservative voters are kind of stupid and irrational and they may be swayed by badly written Russian ads on Facebook! I am afraid this analysis is seriously flawed, if a lofty word like analysis could be applied to such opinions at all.
2. What are the social and political conditions that (usually or often) lead to the rise of populist leaders like Trump? How did the mistakes of American elites; their selfishness and their deliberate obtuseness and indifference to the suffering of certain groups of people in society contribute to the Trump phenomenon?
Such self-serving analysis from America's liberal elites would not help the struggle against populist politics; a little more humility and introspection is necessary. Maybe American voters were entirely rational to vote for Trump and we don't understand them very well because we are surrounded by people who think EXACLY like us in almost every respect?
To my mind, the scariest conclusion of the last four years is that a very large share of Americans are uninterested in representative government on its own merits. We have measurable proof of this on the right, and it would take a lot of faith to assume that the same isn't true on the left. As a lifelong conservative, it's been depressing witnessing such tolerance for authoritarianism on my "side" of the political spectrum.
"politics of grievance, rage, race and revenge" - this is equally applicable to Democrats and Progressives. Today's wokism and identity politics are the very definition of grievance, rage and race - did we not see it in this summer's BLM riots, and there's revenge o'plenty.
Not much self-awareness or persuasion here, but lots of claims for the moral high-ground.
I wish I disagreed with you.
Appalled to find Charles de Gaulle who fought Nazis and French collaborators and later achieved independence of Algeria on this list of tyrants, boors, and kleptocrats. When French voters rejected his proposal to make France arguably less democratic, he left office.
Not sure how de Gaulle ended up within this list of populists. No idea how "reserves of public rage", "anti-intellectualism", "hostility toward rules and institutions", "a fierce enmity against rivals, who are not treated as compatriots but as enemies who pose an existential threat." could be applied to him. I'm French, so I must be biaised, but this feels really weird.
It would actually be useful for such authors to do what even Entertainment Tonight can do, which is list a top ten scoundrels most likely to execute fiendish schemes upon the hapless electorate. Instead, ghosts and spirits of Xisms are invoked, as if humans are as subject to ideological whim as they are to parasitic infections.
Naim and many others, including Never Trumpers of all stripes, are right that Trumpism will continue to be a threat to the US after Trump leaves office and likely long after Trump. What we disagree about are the details and the prognosis. Diagnoses of right-wing populism and right-wing authoritarianism aren't redundant; they give us overlapping but also distinct descriptions of the phenomenon of Trumpism and our likely future. And yes, as some commenters note, it's not just the right but also the left. I agree that we're confronting both an authoritarian right and an authoritarian left, but I also don't think there's any doubt that the most immediate threat to our political institutions and the rule of law hails from the right. This isn't a partisan call--I'm chilled by the authoritarian left, which I see as a threat to free speech, free inquiry, and the rule of law. It's just that, shockingly, that's still no comparison to the rapid devolution of the Republican Party into an openly, unapologetically authoritarian party, which includes the GOP's refusal to check the undermining of political institutions and the party's embrace of a foreign policy of identifying with dictators and stiff/strong-arming democratic leaders. My critique could boil down to this: it's not the only threat we face, and the left is also dangerous, but before you cross the street, you tend to look in the direction of the first car that might hit you when you step off the curb. Doesn't mean the car coming from the other direction isn't also dangerous.