Trump and the 'war for the soul of America'

Is Donald Trump "one of the greatest electoral mistakes in the life of the nation," or is he "all that now stands in the way of the completion of what was started in 2009"?

It depends how you look at it.  "We are in a war of competing visions," says Victor Davis Hanson.  In the Hanson view, recent intraparty squabbling is "irrelevant" noise, compared with the "existential war for the soul of America" (emphasis original).

A trio of New York Times writers posted at realclearpolitics.com take the progressive view on the war for the soul of America, one year post-election.

Charles M. Blow pins the blame for Trump's election – "one of the greatest electoral mistakes in the life of the nation" – fully on "Russia," and he leans on "The Resistance" as the answer.  Mr. Blow bemoans Donna Brazile's "three-alarm" as a distraction from the resistance:

The problem is that we're already in hell and trying to dig our way out, and many of us are crestfallen when any obstacle is added that might impede that effort.

Blow says the old Democratic Party is a "dinosaur" in an "age of direct democratic action" and that "[t]he Resistance is the new Democratic Party."

The Times' Michelle Goldberg remains "terror-struck" even a year after the election of the "autocratic demagogue," Trump:

It's been a year, and sometimes I'm still poleaxed by grief at the destruction of our civic inheritance.

Ms. Goldberg is inconsolable at this "hideous interregnum" and imagines that "in a brighter future we'll watch prestige dramas about the time we almost lost America while members of the current regime grow old in prison." 

Times writer Roger Cohen, posted at the German magazine Der Spiegel, fears that President Trump's "recklessness" and "ahistorical ignorance" may "upend the world":

A disaster is unfolding whose consequences for humanity and decency will be substantial.

Mr. Cohen says the "dangerous" Mr. Trump was elected based on "fear" – of demographics and economics, of terrorism and national decline – mixed with Fox News and "drain-the-swamp elite-bashing."

Cohen notes that the "Trump phenomenon ... demands to be understood," when so many on the other side consider him to be "a charlatan" and a "fraud":

I've been a foreign correspondent for much of my life, and visiting Trump country from New York is very similar to traveling to another country as a foreign correspondent.

Cohen adds that the party that failed to see Wisconsin and Michigan still doesn't see that "many smart, decent Americans support Trump":

His reelection for a second term, even since the Manafort indictment, remains more likely than his impeachment. I would put the chances of the former at 25 percent and the latter at 10 percent.

While these Times writers view the Trump "interregnum" as a most unfortunate interruption on the progressive path, Victor Davis Hanson, writing at American Greatness, observes that President Trump "in most unlikely fashion" is leading the fight against "the progressive vision."

And yet, warts and all, the Trump presidency on all fronts is all that now stands in the way of the completion of what was started in 2009.

Mr. Hanson addresses the battle on five fronts:

  • In a "postmodern world of intolerance and lockstep orthodoxy," the "professional press" is now "devoted to the higher cause of destroying the Trump presidency."
  • Amid the attacks on traditional American values, President Trump "is now a central figure in resisting a full-scale dismantling of the idea of the uniquely individual, free, and outspoken American."
  • Comparing Bernie Sanders economics with Trump's deregulation and economic growth, Hanson observes that "the unlikely Trump is the only road bump left" on the progressive "expressway to a medieval world of masters and peasants with few in between."
  • President Trump "offers the only alternative vision of an all-powerful United States," protecting its own interests and "those of its allies abroad, often by punitive deterrence rather than hearts – and minds."
  • A "secure border," would lead to the "Latino-American diaspora" soon resembling the "Italian-American experience, given rapid assimilation, integration, and intermarriage, making it politically unpredictable and therefore of no more use to the Democrats than are Cuban-Americans."

As Hanson notes, Trump is the "only force" that is "consistently and without apology" fighting "the insidious dismantling of the American project." 

Hanson views the 2016 election as a "Rubicon moment" – "the die had been cast, and those who were fearful where America had been headed had no choice but to follow him through the river."

Either Trump succeeds with his agenda, says Hanson, or we "go the way of Europe."

Truly a "war of competing visions," with all the marbles on the table.

Is Donald Trump "one of the greatest electoral mistakes in the life of the nation," or is he "all that now stands in the way of the completion of what was started in 2009"?

It depends how you look at it.  "We are in a war of competing visions," says Victor Davis Hanson.  In the Hanson view, recent intraparty squabbling is "irrelevant" noise, compared with the "existential war for the soul of America" (emphasis original).

A trio of New York Times writers posted at realclearpolitics.com take the progressive view on the war for the soul of America, one year post-election.

Charles M. Blow pins the blame for Trump's election – "one of the greatest electoral mistakes in the life of the nation" – fully on "Russia," and he leans on "The Resistance" as the answer.  Mr. Blow bemoans Donna Brazile's "three-alarm" as a distraction from the resistance:

The problem is that we're already in hell and trying to dig our way out, and many of us are crestfallen when any obstacle is added that might impede that effort.

Blow says the old Democratic Party is a "dinosaur" in an "age of direct democratic action" and that "[t]he Resistance is the new Democratic Party."

The Times' Michelle Goldberg remains "terror-struck" even a year after the election of the "autocratic demagogue," Trump:

It's been a year, and sometimes I'm still poleaxed by grief at the destruction of our civic inheritance.

Ms. Goldberg is inconsolable at this "hideous interregnum" and imagines that "in a brighter future we'll watch prestige dramas about the time we almost lost America while members of the current regime grow old in prison." 

Times writer Roger Cohen, posted at the German magazine Der Spiegel, fears that President Trump's "recklessness" and "ahistorical ignorance" may "upend the world":

A disaster is unfolding whose consequences for humanity and decency will be substantial.

Mr. Cohen says the "dangerous" Mr. Trump was elected based on "fear" – of demographics and economics, of terrorism and national decline – mixed with Fox News and "drain-the-swamp elite-bashing."

Cohen notes that the "Trump phenomenon ... demands to be understood," when so many on the other side consider him to be "a charlatan" and a "fraud":

I've been a foreign correspondent for much of my life, and visiting Trump country from New York is very similar to traveling to another country as a foreign correspondent.

Cohen adds that the party that failed to see Wisconsin and Michigan still doesn't see that "many smart, decent Americans support Trump":

His reelection for a second term, even since the Manafort indictment, remains more likely than his impeachment. I would put the chances of the former at 25 percent and the latter at 10 percent.

While these Times writers view the Trump "interregnum" as a most unfortunate interruption on the progressive path, Victor Davis Hanson, writing at American Greatness, observes that President Trump "in most unlikely fashion" is leading the fight against "the progressive vision."

And yet, warts and all, the Trump presidency on all fronts is all that now stands in the way of the completion of what was started in 2009.

Mr. Hanson addresses the battle on five fronts:

  • In a "postmodern world of intolerance and lockstep orthodoxy," the "professional press" is now "devoted to the higher cause of destroying the Trump presidency."
  • Amid the attacks on traditional American values, President Trump "is now a central figure in resisting a full-scale dismantling of the idea of the uniquely individual, free, and outspoken American."
  • Comparing Bernie Sanders economics with Trump's deregulation and economic growth, Hanson observes that "the unlikely Trump is the only road bump left" on the progressive "expressway to a medieval world of masters and peasants with few in between."
  • President Trump "offers the only alternative vision of an all-powerful United States," protecting its own interests and "those of its allies abroad, often by punitive deterrence rather than hearts – and minds."
  • A "secure border," would lead to the "Latino-American diaspora" soon resembling the "Italian-American experience, given rapid assimilation, integration, and intermarriage, making it politically unpredictable and therefore of no more use to the Democrats than are Cuban-Americans."

As Hanson notes, Trump is the "only force" that is "consistently and without apology" fighting "the insidious dismantling of the American project." 

Hanson views the 2016 election as a "Rubicon moment" – "the die had been cast, and those who were fearful where America had been headed had no choice but to follow him through the river."

Either Trump succeeds with his agenda, says Hanson, or we "go the way of Europe."

Truly a "war of competing visions," with all the marbles on the table.