Rethinking Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s freewheeling and narcissistic presidential campaign has earned the consensus contempt of the mainstream media and establishment politicians, but that’s partly because he has dared challenge dangerous orthodoxies, like the neocon/liberal-hawk mania for “regime change,” writes Sam Husseini.

By Sam Husseini

The Establishment so wants everyone to unfriend Donald Trump’s supporters on Facebook, there’s even an app to block them. That’ll teach them!

Yes, Trump plays a bully boy as he appeals to populist (good) — as well as nativist, xenophobic and racist (bad) — sentiments. The bad need to be meaningfully addressed and engaged rather than dismissed by self-styled sophisticates, noses raised. The good should be recognized and encouraged.

Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Focusing on the negative aspects of his campaign has blinded many people to what’s good in it — and I don’t mean good like “Oh, the Democrat can beat this guy!” I mean good like it’s good that some important issues — like the militarized role of the U.S. in the world — are getting aired.

Trump is appealing to nativist sentiments — as Pat Buchanan did in the 1992 campaign — but along with Buchanan’s “America First” arguments came a distrust of imperial adventures. Similarly, Trump recently said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity. … The Middle East is a total disaster under her.”

Now, I think that’s pretty accurate, though U.S. policy in my view may be more Machiavellian than stupid, but the remark is a breath of fresh air on the national stage. So, at times, Trump is a truth-teller, including when he says politicians sell themselves to rich donors and when he calls out “free-trade” deals for costing American workers their middle-class jobs.

But the mainstream meme about Trump is that he’s a total liar. The New York Times recently purported to grade the veracity of presidential candidates. By the Times’ accounting, Trump was off the scales lying. But I never saw anyone fact-check his assertion about former Secretary Clinton’s record of…

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