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.

Most Popular


Trump’s Disgraceful Press Conference in Helsinki

On Monday, President Trump gave a deeply disgraceful press conference with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The presser began with Trump announcing that although the Russia–U.S. relationship has “never been worse than it is now,” all of that “changed as of about four hours ago.” It was downhill from ... Read More

Questions for Al Franken

1)Al, as you were posting on social media a list of proposed questions for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, did it occur to you that your opinion on the matter is no more relevant than Harvey Weinstein’s? 2) Al, is it appropriate for a disgraced former U.S. senator to use the Twitter cognomen “U.S. ... Read More

Democrats Are Dumping Moderates

The activist base of the Democratic party is lurching left fast enough that everyone should pay attention. Activists matter because their turnout in low-turnout primaries and caucuses almost propelled leftist Bernie Sanders to victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated New ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Trump’s Helsinki Discord

Donald Trump is not, and never will be, the Moscow correspondent for The Nation magazine, and he shouldn’t sound like it. The left-wing publication is prone to extend sympathetic understanding to adversaries of the United States and find some reason, any reason, to blame ourselves for their external ... Read More