For all my criticism of our current President, I really do relish analyses that sort of make some sense of him and what he’s doing to/for my country.
The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition has some such analysis, and I think I can endorse all these helpful points:
- Mr. Trump is what an outsider, in that much abused political term, really looks like.
- As president, he is constantly “censured for failing to say expected things.” The words are those of political scientist Stanley Renshon, of the City University of New York. He’s got a point. Every presidency deserves criticism, but so much of Mr. Trump’s is just rote Anderson Cooper tut-tutting over his nonconformity.
- [T]rue voter preferences can stay unrevealed in a democracy and then emerge spontaneously. Mr. Trump made new things sayable. The U.S. relies on a military alliance with countries that no longer spend money on having militaries. Our China trade openness has been rewarded by the rise of a neo-Maoist totalitarianism in China …
- Mr. Renshon rightly describes him as a president who does “much better in keeping his promises than in speaking accurately about them.”
- America has yet to take stock of what happened in 2016 and the strange circumstances that made the frequently loutish Mr. Trump an instrument for refreshening our political culture. A place to start is recognizing his singular contribution: making new things sayable.
Holman Jenkins, America Has Yet to Make Sense of Trump.
That certainly is not the whole story, and many of the things he has “made sayable” are toxic, but I made some gains in understanding today.