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General News    H3'ed 11/12/21

Cruising the Trumpian Solar System

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A summary Essay review of "What were we Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era, by Carlos Lozada

"Cruising the Trumpian Solar System"

As our national "hand wringing" over having elected a President of dubious talents and character, continues. This author tries to make sense of how we "thought our way" into electing Donald John Trump (DJT)?

So, in 2015, he began binge-reading Trump books.

As he did so, a new universe of discourse, emerged with DJT as its center.

This new DJT solar system of discourse, glowed red hot even as it gave off more sparks than heat light or energy. Either way, it sucked-up all the "dark matter" and oxygen in the American political cosmos.

What the author found was a whole subterranean universe of complex intellectual debates, about American politics " from the ground up.

Although they usually began deeply rooted in the emotional underground, once they broke through to the surface, invariably they became incandescent "hot button," volatile, mostly emotional red meat issues subject to any and everyone's interpretations.

There were many dissections of the white working class and its politics of white grievance. An equal number of manifestos of resistance. Calls for a return to nationalism and to popularism. Lamentations about race and protests. Angst about immigration on the southern border. Many treatises on the presidency itself, and on the fate of democracy.

And then, closest to home, were the many books on DJT himself, his family, their values, his business practices, his ties to Putin, his presidency and its policies.

The books reviewed here are a sampling of about 150 books flung out across this Trump-centered universe of discourse.

They group themselves, self-selected, into orbits whose metric is intensity of love for, or hatred of, DJT himself.

No matter the distance from this dark much diminished sun, all authors, including Mr. Lozado were attempting to answer the same questions: Why and how did we think our way into electing DJT?

After Trump was elected, all sides expected him to pivot back to a sense of presidential normalcy. But DJT proved intransigent to change. Instead, he executed the Brad Gilbert rule of winning: If you can't win at "their level," drag them down to "your own level" where you can.

Instead of becoming a normalized President, Trump pulled the rest of us down to his level, including dragging the presidency down to becoming a vulgarized twitter-in-Chief, and diminishing American discourse down to the 140-word tweeter-sphere maximum. Nothing like it had ever been seen in American politics, or in presidential history before.

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Retired Foreign Service Officer and past Manager of Political and Military Affairs at the US Department of State. For a brief time an Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Denver and the University of Washington at (more...)
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