Gopnik’s Trump Trauma

In The New Yorker, the current Most Popular piece is Adam Gopnik’s “The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump”.

Rich Lowry confronts Trump

Adam Gopnik analyzes Trump

Gopnik opens and closes his piece, I kid you not, with verse from Alexander Pope. (Can you say Cautionary Tale?)

“Columnists and magazines that a month ago were saying #NeverTrump,” he writes, “are now vibrating with the frisson of his audacity.”

The frisson of his audacity?

How long did it take him to come up with that one?

There’s also the obligatory allusion to “the 1930s”. (Hmmm, what could he be subtly referring to?) This is later buttressed with this actual sentence: “He’s not Hitler, as his wife recently said? Well, of course he isn’t. But then Hitler wasn’t Hitler—until he was.”

Gopnik also writes:

The American Republic stands threatened by the first overtly anti-democratic leader of a large party in its modern history—an authoritarian with no grasp of history, no impulse control, and no apparent barriers on his will to power. The right thing to do, for everyone who believes in liberal democracy, is to gather around and work to defeat him on Election Day. Instead, we seem to be either engaged in parochial feuding or caught by habits of tribal hatred so ingrained that they have become impossible to escape even at moments of maximum danger. Bernie Sanders wouldn’t mind bringing down the Democratic Party to prevent it from surrendering to corporate forces—and yet he may be increasing the possibility of rule-by-billionaire…

If Trump came to power, there is a decent chance that the American experiment would be over. This is not a hyperbolic prediction; it is not a hysterical prediction; it is simply a candid reading of what history tells us happens in countries with leaders like Trump. Countries don’t really recover from being taken over by unstable authoritarian nationalists of any political bent, left or right—not by Peróns or Castros or Putins or Francos or Lenins or fill in the blanks. The nation may survive, but the wound to hope and order will never fully heal. Ask Argentinians or Chileans or Venezuelans or Russians or Italians—or Germans. The national psyche never gets over learning that its institutions are that fragile and their ability to resist a dictator that weak. If he can rout the Republican Party in a week by having effectively secured the nomination, ask yourself what Trump could do with the American government if he had a mandate.

While a run of the mill liberal, Gopnik is usually a very good writer. But this degree of alarmism reeks of… desperation.

And deep anxiety.

In the liberal bubblesphere, Trump’s Presidential prospects are causing a widening anxiety.

It’s delicious to witness.

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