Magazine November 30, 2020, Issue

Trump as Populist-Nationalist

Then–presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally in Dallas, Tex., September 14, 2015 (Mike Stone/Reuters)
His legacy is a mixed bag

Depending on your point of view, Donald Trump’s presidency either promised or threatened to be a hostile takeover of the Republican Party by the ghost of Pat Buchanan. Although he often hedged in other directions, the thrust of Donald Trump’s critique of previous Republican orthodoxy focused on trade, immigration, and foreign policy. It held that the Republican Party was wedded to an abstract commitment to free trade that cut against the actual interests of the American people and their government. It accused the Republican Party of indulging a utopian foreign policy and proposed to end America’s endless wars. It accused

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During the campaign, Democrats used the coronavirus pandemic as a cudgel against Trump and other Republicans.