Trump’s Jacksonianism is not just the latest emanation of a long American tradition, it is our local version of a broad trend visible throughout the Western world. Brexit in Britain, the rise of rightwing populists such as Matteo Salvini in Italy and Viktor Orban in Hungary, opposition to Angela Merkel’s immigration policies in Germany—these developments and many more are all reactions to a decaying political consensus in the West.
Across Europe the center-left is collapsing. People are moving toward socialism on the Left and nationalism on the Right. This trend, which is now overwhelmingly obvious, places Goldberg and his fellow knights of conservatism at odds not just with the American people but also with the entire era in which we are living.
Irony of ironies, the cosmopolitan conservatives turn out to be the very people they decry: reactionaries. We usually hurl the word “reactionary” as a crude slur, a synonym for “rightwing extremist.” But in the literal definition of the word, a reactionary seeks to “turn back the clock” and restore a bygone era, one so much better than the decadent and misguided present.