Donald Trump and Peggy Noonan
Dear Commons Community,
Peggy Noonan, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, had an excellent piece last Friday, entitled, “May Trump Soon Reach His Waterloo”, and compares him to Napoleon Bonaparte. She posits that the former president isn’t Napoleon, but there are similarities in the cults around both men. She speculates that Trump may be at the end of his reign as a cult leader among the Maga Republicans and that it is time for the GOP and its base to move on. She comments:
“Chris Christie could easily defeat Joe Biden. So could several of the GOP candidates now in the field. Donald Trump wouldn’t, for one big reason: His special superpower is that he is the only Republican who will unite and rally the Democratic base and drive independents away. He keeps the Biden coalition together.
A sad thing is that many bright Trump supporters sense this, and the case against him, but can’t concede it and break from him, in some cases because they fear him and his friends. They don’t want to be a target, they don’t want to be outside the in-group, they want to be safely inside. They curry favor.
This weekend at a party, one of Mr. Trump’s New York supporters, a former officeholder, quickly made his way to me to speak of his hero. He referred to the Abraham Accords and the economy and said: “Surely you can admit he was a good president.”
He was all wound up, so I spoke slowly. “I will tell you what he is: He is a bad man. I know it, and if I were a less courteous person I would say that you know it, too.”
He was startled, didn’t reply, and literally took a step back. Because, I think, he does know it. But doesn’t ever expect it to be said.
A journalist in our cluster said, musingly, “That was an excellent example of apophasis,” the rhetorical device of saying something by saying you’re not going to say it.
We all moved on, but that was the authentic sound of a certain political dialogue. “Surely you can admit he made France great again.” “He is a bad man.” Its antecedents stretch back in history.
Political cults are never good, often rise, always pass. May it this time come sooner rather than later.”