With Trump, Republicans were ready to move to a populist message and even toward somebody who came across as a bit of a bully delivering it. ...
Gerald Seib in the Wall Street Journal, “Where Trump came from and where Trumpism is going.”
Donald J. Trump won the White House with a populist and nationalist message and has led a consequential, tumultuous presidency.
That presidency effectively collapsed in flames on Jan. 6, when Mr. Trump sent a crowd of his supporters to the Capitol to stop the constitutional transfer of power to his elected successor. That crowd turned into a mob that ransacked the seat of American democracy and tried to hunt down its elected leaders. Republicans, and the nation as a whole, now are left to ponder what went wrong — and whether such an ugly and violent ending was inevitable.
Chris Christie, who went from Trump rival to informal Trump counselor, thinks that he knows how things went awry. “One of the big concerns I’ve had all the way through the Trump presidency — and I’ve spoken to him about this directly — is that his behavior has obscured his message and his accomplishments,” he says. “And … as time went on it was discrediting them.”
Ultimately, a movement born of many Americans’ legitimate concerns about the effects of economic globalization and feelings of alienation from the nation’s political, cultural and financial elite was overwhelmed by Mr. Trump’s need to find enemies and grievances.
Gerald Seib’s Bottom Line: “In short, the problem has been [Trump’s] ‘negative populism,’ which sought scapegoats and defined itself by what it was against, rather than a’positive populism’ defined by what it was for.”