Donald Trump

Donald Trump Is #NoLabels On Mushrooms

The myth of the manager-savior


Reporters and pundits tend to view Donald Trump "as an inconsistent conservative," Mark Schmitt writes at Polyarchy. But perhaps, Schmitt suggests, "it makes more sense to see Trump as simply unmoored from any strong ideological commitments." Not in the sense that Trump flip-flops a lot and tells his audience what it wants to hear—we all know that already—but in terms of his core appeal:

The technocrat in his boardroom

Running through all his riffs is really a rejection of ideology and an assertion of simple competence. Even on immigration, Trump has been insistent that his Muslim freeze is not based on any deep conviction, but just a pause to "figure out what's going on." (Trump is quite insistent on this point when criticized.)

The nerve Trump has struck may not be one of ideological extremism, but rather a raw desire for managerial competence and an exhaustion with ideological battle. To those of us who know a little bit about Trump's business history, this seems risible. If we recognize the limits of presidential power and the complexity of the veto points in the US political system, Trump seems dangerously ignorant. But if you don't pay much attention to legislative politics, didn't read Spy magazine in the early '90s, and assume that Trump is the unfailing managerial genius that he presents himself to be, it makes perfect sense.

Your very own No Labels label
No Labels

The underlying belief here—the idea that what the country really needs is a good, strong manager—is itself ideologically loaded. But the people who embrace this idea see themselves as anti-ideological, in that familiar #NoLabels manner. As my colleague Matt Welch wrote a few years ago, "the single most powerful ideological strain in today's body politic" may be the one that "sells itself as being beyond ideology—hence, more attractive to those who nurture a rational disgust for politicians—and then so readily adheres to the program of whoever is wielding power." Or in Trump's case, the man who wants to wield power.

This is one of the ways Trump resembles Ross Perot, who used to say he'd handle one issue or another by getting the "best experts" in a room together, having them figure out a solution, and enacting their plan with no nonsense. Trump may be under the impression that he's the best expert on everything himself, but he's offering the same dream of a manager-hero who saves the country by overcoming politics. Given his history, he's a weird vessel for that fantasy. But it's still going to be a fantasy no matter who stars in it.

NEXT: Are Liberals Winning the Culture Wars?

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  1. “Trump may be under the impression that he’s the best expert on everything himself”

    Between him and Obama, we’ll have elected the two greatest intellects in history to the presidency!

  2. The underlying belief here?the idea that what the country really needs is a good, strong manager?is itself ideologically loaded. But the people who embrace this idea see themselves as anti-ideological, in that familiar #NoLabels manner.

    Fucking technocracy, how does it work?

    1. I won’t know until a Technocratician tells me, Nicole.

  3. So you don’t like Fiorina either?

    1. Does anyone?

  4. The no-brand brand can be a powerful brand for the no-brand branded.

    1. Yellow labels have been scientifically proven to make people dumber*.

      *I just made that up right now.

        1. I always like how you can tell a grocery chain merger has gone on by the generic changing. One day you walk into your local Ralphs and all the store brand shit is labeled Kroeger.

  5. Basically we need a TOP MAN to Get Things Done and Trump thinks he is the man for that. The other alternatives are the crook or the socialist so um…yeah…

    1. The other alternatives are the crook or the socialist so um…yeah…

      Could we at least wait until after the caucuses/ primaries are over and the delegates counted up before we anoint The Donald as the GOP nominee? For fuck’s sake, NO ONE’S ACTUALLY VOTED YET.

  6. The role of government is to follow the Constitution. Obama understood and respected it even as he attempted in small ways to undermine it. Trump however has no respect and will completely ignore it if it gets in his way. Free speech and religion will be some of the first victims. He doesn’t realize that these principles are what made the country great, and that restricting them will end in disaster.

    1. Obama understood and respected it

      You lost me right there.

      1. Even if he “understood” it, I see no reason to believe he ever “respected” it.

    2. Obama “understood and respected” a loose interpretation of the Constitution that is pretty much the opposite of how libertarians (and many times the unanimous Supreme Court) read the Constitution.

    3. Free speech and religion will be some of the first victims.

      They aren’t right now?

      1. I suppose you could make the case that Obama’s been worse on the 2nd and 4th amendments, so those are the “first victims” but I really can’t see how anyone can claim that Obama understand and respects the constitution. Not anyone who’s paid any attention over the past 7 years.

        1. Oh? If it wasn’t for Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, what do you think the President would be doing to freedom of speech and religion?

  7. Well, I don’t consider myself beyond ideology, per se. I have a pretty strong ideology. I want to be left the hell alone. I’ll be happy with anyone interested in doing that.

  8. Speaking of The Donald:

    Ben KeslingVerified account
    Donald Trump said as long as US troop vehicles are armored, when they get hit by IEDs troops just “go for a little ride.”


    1. He’s just saying what Real Americans are thinking.

  9. What if there was a shroom thread and Agile didn’t show?

  10. Needz moar Trump. Make Murika great again.

  11. So Progressivism at its finest? Lets find the best technicians and specialists to make things work, Worked for Wilson, Hoover, FDR, JFK…right. right…come on join in! We all remember McNamara and his band.

    Not sure Trump has that many brain cells. Ego cells…yes.

  12. Jesse Walker has this so right, while the guy being interviewed on video under “Culture Wars” has Trump so wrong.

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