Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Trumpism—A Look Backward and Forward to November

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

Perhaps 70 percent of Trumpism remains a hodgepodge of Reaganism: strong defense, realist foreign policy, deregulation, smaller government, big deficits, tax cuts, energy growth, and stars-and-stripes traditionalism.

But it is the other unorthodox 30 percent that excited his base, terrified conservative apostates, and won Trump the 2016 election by energizing between 4 million and 6 million voters in swing states who had either given up on Republicans, or on elections altogether. NeverTrumpers talk of Trump’s demise and their own resurrection as Phoenixes to rebirth the GOP. They have no idea that those who despise them had ensured their Beltway-preferred candidates could rarely win; nothing has changed since.

Trumpist conservatism is usually defined as not free, but fair trade, strict enforcement of immigration laws, an end to optional interventions that will not likely, in a cost-to-benefit analysis, result in U.S. interests or strategic calm for a purported troubled region, and a belief that industry and manufacturing are not brick-and-mortar anachronisms, but the creators of what we cook on, sit on, live in, drive, and work in; our non-virtual world that everyone relies on and yet takes for granted as so passé. 

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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