Trump and the intellectuals

Months ago, I worried that Trump was too authoritarian to be entrusted with the presidency. That worry has receded a bit, because authoritarianism requires a ruthless sort of competence that Trump cannot attain.

But fecklessness in the presidency can be as destructive as malice, and not just to the country: A disastrous chief executive can do devastating damage to his own political ideas.

In this sense the intellectuals’ case for Donald Trump fails because it cannot shake free of those ideas and see the personal element here clearly.

What Trump believes, what he intends to do in office — those questions are ultimately secondary to the problem of the man himself, and the near-certainty that he will fail, and in failing, betray anyone who has lent him their support.