Now we have stage 2: Trump is going to be around for a while, and we should think about his appeal seriously and sympathetically. Stage 2 is better, because it replaces contempt with thought. And those who feigned contempt (like virtually every Republican public intellectual) were, from the beginning, really scared. That’s why they were and sometimes continue to be rather hysterical.
Stage 2 is strange new respect not so much for Trump but for his growing number of supporters. Straussians are saying that Trump is pure “spiritedness,” or is all about “patriotic zeal.” But, as Peter below points out, that’s not true. Trump isn’t a warrior. He’s a womanizer. And he’s really funny. He’s excellent at mocking the politically correct pretensions of his critics.