The Corner

Politics & Policy

Frum and ‘Trumpocracy’

I first met David Frum in the mid-’90s, when he wrote for The Weekly Standard. I enjoyed talking with him, immensely. I likened him to a cocktail-lounge pianist with a wide, wide repertoire: “Play ‘Misty,’” you can say to the cocktail pianist. “Play ‘Blue Skies.’” “Play ‘Nola.’” And he does. Similarly, you could toss out requests to David: “What about term limits?” “What about the flat tax versus the retail-sales tax?” “What about intervention in the Balkans?” And he would give you several angles, along with his own conclusion.

I have never really stopped talking with David, or reading him. He wrote here at NR. He and WFB were friends, and mutual admirers. David is now a senior editor at The Atlantic. Whether I agree or disagree with him, I always find his arguments something to reckon with. And one does.

The latest of his books is Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic. And David is my latest guest on Q&A (here). We talk, needless to say, about Trump, the GOP, conservatives, America, and the world. The “ocracy” in “Trumpocracy” is more important than the man, says David. He is focusing on what he regards as a big problem in the American system, regardless of the current president.

Obviously, David Frum is not the cup of tea of today’s Right, nor is it his. But life is long, times change, and alliances shift. Years ago — for example, in his 2007 book Comeback — David was sounding themes about conservatism’s relationship with American society — especially those “left behind” — that crashed like thunder in 2016. He was anti-“GOPe,” you might say, before the term cropped up on Twitter.

Anyway, a stimulating conversation, this Q&A (again, here). See what you think.

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