November 22, 2019
Cynicism comes easy in an era of maximal polarization. Different parties embrace different ideologies, agendas, and sometimes even entirely distinct constellations of facts and truths. From inside either closed world, the other one appears shot through with delusion — with its leaders blamed for actively encouraging deception for the sake of political gain.
The story goes like this: America’s much-vaunted political establishment, which thinks very highly of itself and the bipartisan norms with which it wields authority in the nation’s capital, is corrupt and a failure. It brought us the disaster of the Iraq War and the many other endless “interventions” of the War on Terror, as well as the financial crisis of 2008 that decimated the American middle class. The U.S. is in decline as a result of these and the other world-historical screw-ups.
The thing the country most needs is for this establishment to be overthrown and replaced by someone more skeptical of military adventurism abroad and more willing to put the interests of American workers and families ahead of other actors and considerations (including global markets, corporate shareholders, and humanitarian do-gooders). Trump is a deeply imperfect vehicle for this insurrectionary agenda, but he’s what we’ve got. And for all of his many defects, his instincts are mostly sound, and he has the right enemies.