The West Coast belief that the American founding represented the Aristotelian ideal could be construed as a manifest belief in American Greatness, and therefore it might make some sense that the Trump slogan “Make America Great Again” might have resonance among West Coasters (though it must be noted that it was an East Coaster, Bill Kristol, who championed an “American Greatness Conservatism” in the 1990s). Another possible reason for the support of Trump may be that the West Coasters are more focused on the threat posed by the administrative state to self-governance, and yet are also more inclined to believe in the power of strong individual leaders in great moments of crisis to shape political life. East Coast Straussians tend to be more protective of the institutional architecture of the Constitution, not only as a manifestation of the general principles of the Declaration of Independence but also as hard-headed constraints on political power and will, because they are more skeptical of the potential of individual statesmen and of the mass public to transform politics. For them, Trump is a manifestation of the democratic despotism Alexis de Tocqueville warned against.

To West Coasters, Trump looks more like a pushback against the administrative state. They see Trump himself as offering, for our times, a parallel to the section of the Declaration of Independence that focuses on outlining George III’s “long train of abuses and usurpations” when Trump challenges political correctness, Obamacare and the overreaching federal bureaucracy. Furthermore, the general remove of West Coasters from East Coast power—and typically from high-profile Republican administration appointments—predisposes them to object to Washington and everyday politics in general. This distinction may also explain why West Coasters are more likely than East Coasters to see a kindred temperament in Trump.