Ross Douthat: The Taming of a Demagogue

I continue to find myself in agreement with Ross Douthat on the Trump presidency:

“But a year later, the project of containment has been much more successful than its critics feared. Here is a short list of moves — some authoritarian, some just destabilizing — that Trump promised or threatened during the campaign: reinstating waterboarding and allowing torture, even over military objections; shaking up NATO and striking a deal that abandons American allies to a Russian sphere of influence; pulling the United States out of Nafta; changing libel laws to make it easier to bankrupt his critics in the press; launching a major trade war with China; pulling the United States out of the Iranian nuclear deal; installing cronies and relatives in high judicial posts; banning Muslim entry to the United States; and deporting millions of illegal immigrants in an enormous sweep.

A year later none of these things have happened; few have even been meaningfully attempted. In almost every case the establishment Republicans crowding his cabinet or influencing him from the Senate have had a gentling or restraining (or, from an alt-right perspective, cucking) effect upon Trump’s presidency. You could argue, if you squint, that versions of the last two policies have been pursued — but even there the case is weak, the Trump administration’s behavior less than authoritarian. The travel ban the White House put forward affected a small fraction of the world’s Muslims and has been easily impeded in the courts. Likewise, interior immigration enforcement has become more aggressive and punitive than under Barack Obama — but this increase in arrests has already run into a bureaucratic and judicial backlog that will make mass deportation impossible unless Trump actually short-circuits the judicial process … which, to date, he conspicuously has not. …

What is there to be so excited about?

The Trump administration is doing conventional Republican stuff: threatening regime change in Iran, saber-rattling at North Korea, indefinitely occupying Syria, arming Ukraine, imposing sanctions on Russia, expanding NATO, cutting Medicaid benefits for poor Whites, pushing a huge tax cut package through Congress, nullifying the Obamacare individual mandate, pushing a deregulatory agenda on all fronts, grotesque displays of fealty to Israel, subservience to Jewish donors, identifying the US economy with Wall Street, celebrating every politically correct holiday, pushing for a DACA amnesty, talking tough about immigration while failing to deport significant numbers of illegal aliens, etc.

If I was a conservative, I would be happy with the Trump administration. As an outsider, this is the conservative agenda that has been touted my entire lifetime. Long before Trump was president, conservatives wanted to build the Keystone XL Pipeline and open ANWR. They wanted to appoint justices to the Supreme Court from the Federalist Society. What is there of substance to complain about aside from mean tweets? In terms of policy, conservatives have won with the Trump presidency.

Believe me, Ross Douthat is right that Trump has cucked on his populist nationalist agenda. Look no further than the demise of Steve Bannon at Breitbart.

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  1. Its obvious we should have voted for Hillary Clinton. At least then the browning of America would have taken place much faster and we would not all be languishing in anticipation. Trump not standing up saying “gas the kikes race war now” (which is a totally reasonable request) PROVES IRREFUTABLY that (1) we can do nothing to change this system and (2) ZOG will naturally collapse very soon (very, very, very soon, like, tomorrow possibly) and when that happens all we have to do is [?????????] and then [?????????] and then we will have our Southern Ethnostate and screw all those other white people lol they’re yankees roflmao.

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