In a world where the intellectual class nearly uniformly despises Donald Trump, the celebrated historian Victor Davis Hanson has arrived to offer a clear-eyed evaluation of how Trump became President, and what that may mean for the immediate future. This is not a propagandistic defense of Trump, but an analysis of his campaign and his Presidency so far, viewed from atop the shifting sands of America’s political landscape. I doubt if this book will make Hanson popular with liberals. Nor will it make him popular with the #NeverTrumpers, but I’m also pretty sure he’s left them behind already, for the same reasons that voters left them behind—all of which Hanson outlines in this book.
The first part of the book covers the split of America into the coastal elites, who have the power and the money, and the despised denizens of flyover country, who have neither power nor money. This is fairly well-trodden ground, most recently (with variations) by Tucker Carlson in "Ship of Fools." Trump’s candidacy was initially treated as a joke (I literally laughed when I heard it, myself), but the elites put up the very worst candidate possible, both in the abstract and for the immediate purpose, and Trump showed the deplorables he was willing and able to fight for them (whether that has come to pass is irrelevant for the question of his election, of course). None of this analysis is all that original, but it is well-written and interesting.
The second part of the book covers the reaction to Trump of the existing structures of governmental power, who (no surprise) are closely tied to the coastal elites—what Hanson cleverly calls the ancien régime. Trump, like everyone else, had no idea of the lengths to which this group, the Deep State, would go to reverse the results of the election, a process through which we are still living. Justice is, of course, irrelevant—the goal is to get Trump, however they can. So far, they’ve come up empty, and Trump is laughing at them, as at his two-hour speech last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The question, of course, is who will have the last laugh. I’m putting my money on Trump, because I suspect that his enemies have already shot their bolt, and their reach has exceeded their grasp. Absent some economic disaster, Trump is going to be re-elected, and keep remaking the country to some extent. True, that’s not a great enough extent, but it’s a lot more than any other Republican would have done. So far, he’s been a huge success, by any objective measure, if not everything I wanted, or that those who elected him wanted. He just needs to stay the course, and, fortunately, there is every indication that is exactly what he is going to do.
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (14 May 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1541673549
- ISBN-13: 978-1541673540
- Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 3.9 x 24.6 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 612 g
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- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)