Wednesday, June 08, 2016


Paul Johnson (BBC photo)
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for President, has been rejected by some conservatives and won only the qualified support of others. Therefore, one takes notice when the British historian Paul Johnson gives Mr. Trump a full-throated endorsement ("Let America Reinvent Itself"):
Like Reagan, Trump began as a joke. But as he’s continued to score popular successes across the country, many Americans have come to see him as the answer to all their hostile feelings about government, i.e., that it’s unresponsive, bureaucratic and run by elite groups of professionals, and is, in the broadest sense, un-American.

The media–predominantly a part of this elite–has from the start denounced Trump as vulgar, boorish, uncouth, redneckish, unsophisticated, racist and ignorant. But the media is slowly coming to admit that America itself is all these things and that attempting to suppress this truth will no longer work. The electoral system is unrepresentative of the people and a denial of democracy.

By refusing to be discouraged and demoralized by criticism, Trump has, in a sense, reinvented American democracy. He’s a billionaire who has used his money sensibly to make this reinvention possible. Against all the odds and all the rigging–a salient feature of political conventions–Trump is on the brink of winning the Republican nomination.

Trump began his campaign by attacking political correctness, which underpins all the attempts to water down, erode, poison and destroy American democracy. His success has proved that the American democratic spirit is indestructible and that he is the choice of huge numbers of voters who want their party to once again be the upholder of freedom, individualism, justice and equality.

Those who, until recently, shouted that Trump could never win the GOP nomination now claim that he can never beat the person likely to be the Democratic Party’s choice, Hillary Clinton. But who is Mrs. Clinton? She is the epitome of PC within the Democratic Party. Her entitlement to America’s votes rests essentially on two facts: She is a woman, and she’s the wife of a former President.

In November voters will have an excellent opportunity to reinvent their nation. There should be a general expulsion of shibboleths, an end to catchwords and slogans, a toppling of passwords and formulae and a tossing out of all the clichés and pseudopopulist gadgetry of electioneering. The U.S. is a great nation. From time to time it has gone through shocks, such as war, and has survived and profited from them, growing stronger in the process. This time there will be no fighting. It will all be done by voting, which is what elections are for.
Mr. Johnson, 87, could be off his rocker. On the other hand foreigners are often able to perceive America (think de Tocqueville) better than Americans. Come this November, we shall see.

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