And now, after a first year in office during which the president’s staff did its best to rein in Trump’s nationalist instincts on multiple fronts, that message is shaping administration policy on immigration and trade — and dictating how the president communicates to and about specific businesses: Keep jobs in this country — or else.
Put in somewhat different terms, the president believes that businesses and the people who run them should put the good of the county and their fellow citizens ahead of their own pursuit of profits — which of course presumes that the country and our fellow citizens don’t automatically benefit from businesses pursuing profits above all other considerations.
That’s Trump’s Republican heresy — and one that Republican voters show every sign of accepting. (Trump began talking about imposing tariffs months ago, and yet he continues to enjoy historically high own-party approval for this point in his presidency.) Which means that the party is now entirely his — and the establishment that at first feebly resisted and then reluctantly and selectively embraced him out of expediency has been soundly defeated. Its remnants make a lot of noise from their perches in the media. But they have lost their hold over the party and, more decisively, over its voters.