Donald Trump

The Apocalyptic Faithlessness of Trump/Bannon Conservatism

What does it mean when a president is constantly worried that we 'won't have a country' anymore?


O ye of little faith. ||| CSPAN

President Donald Trump's big foreign policy speech in Warsaw last month, crafted in part by nationalist Stephen Miller, included the startlingly pessimistic assertion that "The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive." Trump, Miller, and populist strategist Steve Bannon often express such existential insecurity when talking about everything from immigration policy to refugee resettlement to bilateral trade deficits. If we don't soon address the latter concern with Mexico, Trump warned Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in a phone conversation leaked last week, "We will not be the United States anymore."

Such fundamental pessimism represents something new in the White House, I argue in today's L.A. Times, telling us something not just about the new populists, but the failures of the managerial class they have supplanted. Excerpt:

It's [the] inward-looking anxiety that distinguishes the blood-and-soil nationalism of Trump, Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller…from the Cold War confidence of Reagan and the us-vs.-them cockiness of post-9/11 George W. Bush. It's hard to imagine a National Security Council strategic planning director of any other modern president write, as the recently fired Rich Higgins did in a memo in May, that a broad section of the American political spectrum has "aligned with Islamist organizations at local, national, and international levels" to form a "counter-state" in which "they seamlessly interoperate through coordinated synchronized interactive narratives."

The apocalyptic style is hardly new to American politics: We're used to such howls from wilderness figures such as Pat Buchanan and 1992-era Jerry Brown. More heretofore successful pols, however, found ways to signal to their friends in the media that populist demagoguery is just a mask to be worn during primary season. Sure, the Hillary Clintons of the world would campaign against free trade, but in our hearts we knew they'd flip-flop. Part of the collective shudder of revulsion you can experience daily from the national press comes from the fact that Trump and the Bannonites appear to actually mean it.

More, including generous swipes at John Kasich and other handmaidens to the last 16 years of crappy public policy, here. I previewed the apocalyptic turn of American politics here back in December 2015.

NEXT: The Planetary Protection Racket

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  1. I find the idea the press is horrified by Trump perhaps actually believing in his populist rhetoric is theimplication thst politicians dishonestly pandering to those tendencies in the electorate was a good thing.

  2. We really shouldn’t hate so much on nationalists. You know how overbearing the federal government is? Well, imagine how oppressive a globalist’s international governing body with actual power would be. The individual would have even less say in his own life, if that’s even possible at this point.

  3. “The West” = White America to conservatives.

    1. Please cite your source. Thanks.

  4. Trump’s evangelical adviser: God’s OK with U.S. bombing North Korea

    The Con Man has his approval to nuke North Korea.

    1. the First Baptist Dallas pastor wrote that a biblical passage in the book of Romans endowed “rulers full power to use whatever means necessary ? including war ? to stop evil.”

      Unfortunately, Kim can probably cite the same justification.

      1. I would have thought that God’s commanding the Israelites to commit genocide against the Canaanites and others (men, women, children, even livestock) would have settled the question of whether he’s cool with war.

    2. “The Con Man has his approval to nuke North Korea.”

      Hey Ignatius.
      A few days ago you were ranting about what a pure libertarian you are and how everyone here is a Team Red, Trumptard.
      I have no recollection, but maybe you can give a few examples of the times you said a contrary word against the warmonger, socialist, Imperial President Obama.

      1. Obama was not a warmonger nor a pacifist despite the excellent deal he helped NATO cut to prevent Iran from developing nukes.

        And of course the wingnuttery went ballistic opposing that deal.

        Obama is no libertarian – just moreso than the GOP assholes of today.

        1. Obama was not a warmonger nor a pacifist despite the excellent deal he helped NATO cut to prevent Iran from developing nukes.

          You misspelled “permit” there.

          Iran is developing nukes still. And they have a ton of money now to spend. And, lo and behold, N Korea is seeing massive improvements in their missile tech.

          Probably a coincidence.

        2. So, any examples from the last 8 years of you giving Obama what fer when he acted like a statist tyrant?

          This is the 2nd request. Mr. Blue.


  5. “It’s hard to imagine a National Security Council strategic planning director of any other modern president write … ‘they seamlessly interoperate through coordinated synchronized interactive narratives.’ ”

    It is hard to imagine any sentient human being creating a word salad like this under any circumstances.

    1. It is an artifact of H. Bureaucratus. The question of whether they are sentient is still controversial hiven their penchant for making language an anti-communication tool.

      1. The question of whether they are sentient is still controversial hiven their penchant for making language an anti-communication tool.

        Not to mention their preference for blindly following procedure and complete inability to use judgement.

        Exhibit A: that NY DA that was behind the prosecutions of gun owners who were complying with the TSA guidelines for transporting their firearms, but got arrested anyway because “the law’s the law.” You know, the one Stossel called a “sadistic bully” to his face.

        Exhibit B: the various school “zero tolerance” policies.

    2. “Among his many notable achievements in service to the nation are his seamless interoperations through coordinated synchronized interactive narratives.”

      *** awards Congressional Medal of Honor ***

    3. Do you not know what the words mean? Some of words in that sentence are needlessly long, as if screaming “Look at me, I’m smart,” but I have no problem discerning the meaning. He is saying that they operate together in lock-step, accomplishing this by arranging among themselves to simultaneously push narratives that line up with each other, and thus create the appearance of widespread agreement. Basically it’s JournoList.

      1. Then why not simply say, ” they cooperate to propagate their worldview?’

        Yes, I did know what the words meant. The unnecessary use of verbose verbiage was my point.

  6. What makes people think Trump is a conservative?
    Trump is Trump. He got bored playing businessman, and decided to be President for awhile. He is a power hungry New Yorker, fulfilling the stereotype to the nines.
    If he is a conservative, why was he a democrat back then?
    He is a republican like Bernie is a democrat. Only when running for president.
    The republicans let him run, they own what he does.
    We got through Obama only losing 20% of the economy, we can survive Trump.
    What we may not survive is all the disgusted republicans staying home and handing the country back to the democrats so they can finish us off.

  7. So Trump’s opinion is like that of most people’s.

    1. ^^^^^^

      and this is why we’re treated to endless anti-Trump screeching.

  8. LA parties must be the best Matt… the best

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