Whither the Melting Pot?

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

It is practically axiomatic: Donald Trump makes everything worse.

Is it all part of a plan? There is no easy answer to that question because, more likely than not, Trump has only attitudes and instincts, not strategies. But let’s give him more credit than he deserves and stipulate, as lawyers might say, that his machinations are calculated — even if to no purpose beyond his own glorification and enrichment.

Then the method behind them would be the same both for his passion, campaigning, and for governing, an activity about which it seems that he could care less. It is to count on the acquiescence of the majority, while enthusing the cult-like followers in his base and flimflamming as many others as he can.

His is a politics of division that consists essentially in appealing to what Abraham Lincoln, our first Republican president, called “the darker angels of our nature.”

This is why, if there will be life as we know it after Trump, de-Trumpification will be Job Number One.

Contrary to the views of leading Democrats and liberal pundits, this does not mean restoring the political order that made Trump possible. It means forging a politics — preferably outside the duopoly party system, but within it too, if need be — that acknowledges the fact that the (lesser evil) Democratic Party, or at least its leadership and old guard, though considerably less abhorrent than its rival, is good for not much more than mitigating some of…

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