Are Trump and Trumpism a package deal?

Anton is for Trumpism, therefore for Trump. To him, the power imbalance between the Left, which controls so many institutions, and the Right, which occasionally fumbles toward using the lever of power it is elected to exercise, threatens the existence of the Republic, which needs some principle of unity. As he sees it, there is nobody more competent waiting in the wings to advance the Trumpist agenda. The failures of the administration he attributes to the near-unified opposition of an entrenched and corrupt bureaucracy, unremitting hostility from the Left-captured institutions, and the indifference of Trump’s own nominal co-partisans. He sees the alternative to Trump to be the destruction of our ideals, and national decline. In the 1980s, conservatives who felt that the Beltway was hindering and compromising Ronald Reagan used to say, “Let Reagan be Reagan.” I take Anton to be saying, “Let Trump be Trump.”

It is true, in many ways, that Trump does not have a party, but he does have the presidency. So I would counter Anton by attributing the failings of the Trump administration to the man himself. He said that transgender persons would not serve in the military; he was countermanded from below. He announced that the troops were coming home from Afghanistan and Syria; those orders were reversed too. If he can’t or won’t discipline the underlings who have so thwarted him time and again, that is his own fault. To be successful, a president needs not only an agenda, but the skill to bend the government into executing it which he so obviously lacks.

Anton says that we need “a party actively opposed to the program of the ruling class.” I agree. “If the Republican Party can become that,” he adds, “all to the good. If it can’t, it should go out of business.” I agree with that, too. I just apply the lesson, “If it can’t, it should go” to the man at the top as well. We should stop wasting time, political capital, and the trust of voters in the vain hope that the next four years will be different. Let someone else be Trump.