Trumpism has an essence, and that essence is nationalism. It is the American version of the revival of the spirit of nationhood in the rich democracies of the North Atlantic. It is bigger than President Trump’s personality and program, and is certain to outlast the drama and fate of his tenure in office.
A useful analogy is the 1848 “Spring of Nations,” when ecstatic revolutionary uprisings swept across continental Europe and Scandinavia, taking everyone by surprise. The target of discontent was the self-absorbed global elites of the day—pan-European networks of monarchs, royalty, and aristocrats. The popular demands went under various banners with many local variations—national self-determination, liberal reform, democracy, and the then-amorphous notion of “socialism.” Their common goal was representative government for people united by language, religion, culture, and geography.
Read the full essay on the Claremont Review of Books’ website here