Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

What Makes Donald Run?

He’s giving fed-up Republicans something other candidates are not.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online
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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.

25 Thoughts on “What Makes Donald Run?

  1. A comment about the many assertions that Trump has completely changed his stance on certain issues which he held in the past. As an example, How many of men/women, after going through a divorce, have utterly and completely change their stance and opinions on what they would look for , and find admirable in a future mate. People change their opinions on many issues, after finding out that their previously held views “Simply do not work” in reality. Remember Ronald Reagan was first a democrat.

    • The only problem is Trump has changed his opinions like most people change their underwear! I don’t see any coherent evolution of thought like you would find when studying Reagan’s transformation from a Democrat to a Republican.

  2. Joan Sands on September 2, 2015 at 8:19 am said:

    A while longer? Hopefully not.

  3. The other thing about Trump is that he is a salesman. Who else had the sales savvy to make his run for President about “Making America Great Again”.

    He’s got ya with that. And, you’re in for the ride.

  4. Helen Corrigan on September 2, 2015 at 8:26 am said:

    He reminds me of Patton…and dangerous to the status quo. If he becomes any more of a threat toward the finish line, I fear for his life. His adversaries, threatened, will stop at nothing. Scary for me to think of it. I think he is wonderful to behold at this point. Just what the country needs: someone saying what so many of us are thinking. Not perfect but better than the stale nonsense which you articulated so well.

  5. I can’t find any mention of Ted Cruz in your repeated listing of alternative candidates. How does he qualify for exclusion, in your view?

  6. VDH, you are beating a dead horse! Trump has a style that is different then you define as congruous for political leadership. The narcissism you claim is not there. Trump brags about what he has accomplished and Obama lies about his accomplishments. Obama is an empty suit, where Trump IS successful and proud of it. The comparison is not even close! Trump obviously loves his country and Obama disdains it!! Stick to the issues that Trump stands for–stay away from the tenor of his voice and his demeanor and you might have the possibility of influencing thought!

    • Kevin Collins on September 2, 2015 at 6:11 pm said:

      It’s not bragging if you can do it.

      Signed a tired, old, pissed-off white man of yesteryear (who has paid taxes for half a century and never had so much as a parking ticket his entire life).

      • Orthodox on September 9, 2015 at 6:34 am said:

        On Trump’s flip flops, the issue there is not that we trust him, it is that every Republican has lied. Trump might do what he says. Of the more trustworthy Republicans, such as Walker, there isn’t a sense they fully grasp the importance of immigration. As you say “presciently,” the reality for young people such as myself is we will watch conservatism die if immigration isn’t restricted and illegals deported. The demographics are destiny. Trump is sort of our last shot, and if he and the Republicans fail again, secession and other types of options will replace electoral politics among young conservatives.

  7. Dear God, he’s almost 70? That *is* an accomplishment to appear two and a half decades younger and more sprightly. If Trump squares off against Sanders, I wonder how similar the public’s reaction may be to the famed Nixon v. Kennedy televised debate, where Kennedy won on looks alone.

  8. Your previous hit piece was better.

    • LOL. Is Dr. Hanson getting “trumpnotize”? Wonder why the professor continues to “associate” The Donald and his supporters to some source of psychological disorders, from catharsis before to narcissism now?

  9. You know if there is a compendium of Professor Hanson’s finest essays (now that would be nice!) this has to be in it. A sharp look-see at the damn the torpedoes full steam ahead great American Trump Dream Machine.

    And speaking of that great observation that Trump’s voice has ‘the brash accents of the New York sidewalk, it sort of reminded me that indeed he, as a modern day ‘Mugs’, is a pied piper together with his Dead End /East Side kids like ‘Glimpy, ‘Sniffy’, ‘Skinny’ and ‘Skid’ sticking out their tongues to the posh ones with their ‘ejikashun’ and all. I think he’s found much to mine from urban history of the classes.

    And from the looks of it Trump would appear to love being ‘Emperor’ here under the SPQR banner as the crowds regale him and his ‘orations’. At this point, he certainly is a package of ‘bread and circus’ all in one.
    The ‘plebes’ apparently love him while the patricians sneer.

  10. Trump is the first Conservative to figure out how to use the Leftist propaganda machine to his advantage. He shows no fear and welcomes their misrepresentations of him. Instead of being defensive he uses the media firestorm to promote popular ideas that are condemned by liberal oligarchy. The silent majority enjoys his defiance of our politically correct establishment.

    • Exactly. I hope we are witnessing the transition to a new level of combat in the dialogue sphere, in order to deal with the deviousness and dirty tricks of an Alinsky educated media elite. In the same way that boxing and wrestling transitioned into the MMA, conservative thinkers dialogue styles need to transition into a different style, less debating team, and more street.

      As John says, Trump takes the “no platform” attempt of the media and turns it on its head, using it to promote discussion of those topics previously deemed verboten.

      His eviction of Jorge Ramos was excellent, and had all the hallmarks of a teacher telling a naughty schoolboy to sit down, then making him stand outside the classroom for 5 minutes. The thing that made it was his nonchalance, saying “I don’t mind if he comes back, frankly”. He’s obviously used to the cut and thrust of a normal daily life, and its hard to imagine other political leaders doing that.

      It would have been even better if he’d referenced the enclosing frame of the dialogue, and asked “Whose meeting is this?”, since it is a universal convention that the person who arranges a meeting has discretion over it, and Ramos was free to arrange his own meeting, if he wanted.

      It would have also been nice to highlight that Ramos’s behaviour was an exact replica of the issues Trump was trying to fight. Trump wants to see law applied in the US, and in the press conference; Ramos rejects both. At least Ramos is consistent, but it would help us all if he were to produce a list of all the laws and conventions that henceforth, according to him, are to be ignored – otherwise we just don’t know where we are with him.

  11. For me, Trump is a combo commentary on political reality.
    First, conservatives ENABLE Progressives by eating their young in the name of infinitesimal ideological purity. Trump’s broad brush is suited to countering this, because enabling is not confronted with a fine touch.

    Second, if Obamacare can be passed by busing Somalis to the polls in Minnesota, perhaps the so called loyalty to Obama may simply be action based upon the true perception of changing US demographics. Would illegal aliens care if Progressives have no respect for our security, law and Constitution? What difference does it MAKE if I wiped the server?

  12. Jeff Stanley on September 2, 2015 at 12:53 pm said:

    The trouble the likes of Jeb, Marco, Rand, Scott, John, and even Ted have against Trump, is that he makes them look like — oh what’s the family-friendly form of word? — wimps. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Wimps. Not to mention palaverous panderers, pusillanimous windbags, or thinly-disguised errand boys for their big-money donors. IOW, regular, run-of-the-mill, everyday politicians. Carson and Fiorina are the only ones not in that box.

    The funniest thing of all is, the guy has a real shot, Lord save us.

  13. John Lewis on September 2, 2015 at 6:01 pm said:

    Let us be a little focussed about this. Do you prefer the brash, noisy, impolite, unPC outsider Donald Trump, or the ultra-Establishment John Boehner, the man who defies Nature by showing that it is possible to stand upright without a backbone?

    I don’t see that you have any rational choice but Trump. The Establishment candidates will NOT DO what is necessary, in defending America, in advancing American interests abroad, in immigration, in keeping out plague (rat Obama did his best to import Ebola!), to advance the economy. But Trump might.

    And that is the choice. Those who would not, and the one who would likely attempt, and, in attempting, would have some success.

    The horrible government of rat Obama has had two, intended, bad effects. The first is by the direct attack on various elements of the US economy, especially on the fuel supply. The second, more difficult to measure but perhaps even more severe, is by attacks on American morale. Rat Obama isn’t on your side. You know that he will trip you up, and laugh at you as you stumble and fall. And instead of giving you a hand to support you, he will go off and play golf. Somehow that doesn’t sound to me what Donald Trump would do.

  14. John kelly on September 3, 2015 at 9:46 am said:

    So savior generals can be total drunks and dirtbags that society doesn’t understand yet needs and now Trump is just a temporary expression of our summer malaise? History tells us that unsavory times call for unsavory characters but all of a sudden there’s no there there? So you support Trumps policies as long as you get to describe them in your own words? I’ve been following you since Autumn of War and suddenly you are not so confident in your own rhetoric of how the exceptional define the moment.

  15. Dr. Hanson, you have a such eloquent way to say The Donald and his supporters are a bunch of crazy people through the “association” w/ some source of psychological disorders, from catharsis to narcissism. But that is o.k. at least about 25-30 percent of the people have been called worse, not in a nicer way though. So what’s next in the psychological disorder you want to catalog these folks that you have in mind? This enquirer mind wants to know. He sure does look good for a guy that age. But I guess when you don’t do alcohol, smoking, or caffeine will help you a lot.

  16. Glenn999 on September 6, 2015 at 11:11 am said:

    VDH
    How about an article on Trump’s current positions. Perhaps Trump is smart enough to embrace conservative solutions for today’s problems. Perhaps you, the great VDH, can have an audience with Trump, and explain in great detail what you believe would be the proper corrective actions to take to put this country back on track to be great again.
    I never thought I would see someone like Trump running first in the race for president.
    But then I never thought I would see the United States on her knees.

  17. Poor Richard on September 8, 2015 at 11:50 am said:

    Much of the American electorate — left and right — are finally tired enough of the stuff and nonsense coming out of Washington that they are swooning over the guy who just stands up and yells, loud and clear, “Bullshit!” I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. Although I like other candidates better, I have not a moment’s doubt that a Trump presidency would be better for the country than a Hillary, Bernie, or Crazy Uncle Joe presidency.

    My favorite moment in the Ramos-Trump encounter was when Ramos asked, “How are you going to build a 2500-mile wall?” Trump just turned to him and said, “I’m a builder.” As a member in good standing of the Academic-Media-Politician complex, it obviously had never occurred to Ramos that there are people around who actually DO things.

  18. S. Plankenberg on September 11, 2015 at 11:21 am said:

    While I might prefer Ted Cruz for president, I don’t think he is electable.

    Trump is.

    Contrary to current wisdom, it’s still Hillary’s to lose. Any Democrat nominee starts with 230 to 240 electoral votes. It only takes 270 to win.
    Election fraud is worth at least six percentage points for Democrats in the popular vote. Republican election / balloting referees are too scared of being called racists to enforce voting laws.

    As someone who is sick and tired of watching the Republicans trying to fight boxing matches with street fighters ( with predictable results ), a Republican candidate such like Trump who doesn’t curl up in the fetal position quivering in fear when some Democrat or member of the mainstream media calls them a bad name is refreshing to say the least.

    Hillary’s political fortunes rest as much, if not more, with Obama and the Justice Department than with anything any Republican can do. Obama will let her twist in the wind through the various investigations until he gets agreements signed in blood that she will keep quiet about what she knows about his disgraceful handling of his presidential duties.

    There are three ways Hillary can lose this election:

    – By dropping out for health reasons. She is not well.
    – Obama, through his Justice Department, takes her out for spite.
    – Trump self-destructs.

    If nothing else, Trump is showing the rest of the Republican bench that you can ” fight like a Democrat ” and not only survive, but thrive.

    When attacked, fight back.
    Go on the offensive.
    Hit below the belt.
    Fight dirty.
    When you get hit, hit back twice as hard.
    Don’t worry about what the other side might do. Make them worry about what you might do.
    Be unpredictable.
    Be proud of what you represent.

    Sure, Trump is arrogant, pompous, brash, overly self-confident, and vain.
    But it is refreshing to see a candidate from either party so unabashedly pro-American.

    Because I am convinced that Trump will do something serious about immigration, and make America a business-friendly country again, I will take my chances with this blowhard for now.

    Now to sit back and enjoy the show. . . . . .

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