The new Trumpist nationalism

Unlike the ethnic nationalism which scarred the last century, Trump’s nationalism is not directed internally against citizens deemed to belong to “foreign” minority groups. Rather its primary targets are the foreign countries that take advantage of America on the world stage

When Trump looks at the world, he does not delude himself into imagining a global community working in harmony to address common challenges. He sees the world as Thucydides and Hobbes saw it: nations competing with one another for economic gain, but also for honor. “We proudly defend America at every single turn,” he explained during the campaign. “America will get the respect it deserves.”

At home, Trump’s targets are the elites from both parties who undercut American workers to advance their globalist agenda. He does not look at the country through the usual Left-Right prism, but through a populist lens that pits a corrupt elite against ordinary Americans—“the forgotten men and women of our country” in his Rooseveltian retelling. In so doing, Trump also rejects the divisiveness of identity politics and affirms the unity of the American people.

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