Yet all this populism-driven progress—which has made real and necessary entitlement and health care reform a real possibility—could be squandered easily if the disparate forces of the Tea Party do not cooperate to find common cause on policy and politics.

Trump, all bluster and bouffant, apotheosizes the dangers of co-option and conspiratorial irrelevance which could make the Tea Party stumble. For all his outsider claims, the New York celebrity has a great deal in common with the worst visions of sleazy cult-of-personality politicians. Writing amidst the Socialist revolution in France in the mid-1800s, Alexis de Tocqueville warned against a creature, a “half ape, half jackal,” who “remained silent while the majority were making up their minds,” and as soon as he judged a decision made, “rushed to place himself at their head, and often went far beyond them.” More than 150 years later, this species still exists.