Don’t Call Trump’s Pivot ‘Centrism’

Moving the Overton Window.

As President Donald Trump embraces yet another persona in his quest to strike a viable presidential posture, Americans are wrestling with some contradictions. What is Trumpism? Can it be defined? If so, is Trump already abandoning it? And what is he pivoting toward? Trump’s lack of ideological affinities renders his behavior difficult to categorize. It would, however, be a mistake to label the style of government Trump is toying with—if not outright embracing—“centrism.” That hasn’t stopped the press. Conservatives should be particularly wary of the effects such a reckless conflation of terms could have on American political culture.

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Don’t Call Trump’s Pivot ‘Centrism’

Must-Reads from Magazine

When ‘Freethinkers’ Persecute the Faithful

Soft totalitarianism.

The State Department on Tuesday released its annual International Religious Freedom Report, and the grim upshot was that people of faith face persecution around the globe. This year’s report, the first under President Trump, called out usual suspects such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. It also notably used the “G” word–genocide–to describe Islamic State’s crimes against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.

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What Trump Voters Heard

What Trump supporters heard on Tuesday.

When the president of the United States passed on his third opportunity to condemn unequivocally and without caveats Nazi sympathizers marching in his name, John Podhoretz dubbed it “one of the most disheartening facts of my lifetime.” This gut wrenching display of wounded, bitter petulance turned the stomachs of observers on all sides of the political aisle, and it has catalyzed the most concerted backlash to Trump among Republican lawmakers since the “Access Hollywood” tape. For cynical Trump critics, though, this is all posturing. They await deliverance from the age of Trump. They know that hinges on GOP lawmakers turning on their own president—an extraordinary prospect—and that won’t happen until Republican voters have had enough. The cynics are right. This will not break Trump’s base.

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A Smart Step Forward on Infrastructure

What Trump could have said.

Completely lost in yesterday’s journalistic typhoon of virtue signaling after President Trump’s highly impolitic, but, as Powerline pointed out, basically accurate statement about the tragedy in Charlottesville, was his statement on infrastructure. It is well worth looking at.

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The Alt-Right’s Victimhood Pimps

Social justice in a funhouse mirror.

White nationalism is identity politics. Indeed, it is identity politics in its most primordial form. The leaders of the violent white supremacists in Virginia this past weekend may preach confidence-building and self-actualization but, like so many identity-first movements, they and their followers are steeped in historical grievance—because that grievance conveys authority. In their minds, that sense of oppression entitles them to compensation for the indignities they or their forbearers endured. There are now social incentives in place to claim victimization, and such claims have proliferated as a result. This phenomenon is almost universal to identity politics m movements, and the alt-right is no exception.

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Trump Will Always Disappoint His Conservative Apologists

Waiting for a mature Trump.

It took fewer than 12 hours for Donald Trump to effectively retract his condemnation of the white nationalists behind the weekend bloodshed in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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