Magazine July 12, 2021, Issue

Is the American Regime in Crisis?

From the cover of Crisis of the Two Constitutions (Encounter Books)
Crisis of the Two Constitutions: The Rise, Decline, and Recovery of American Greatness, by Charles R. Kesler (Encounter Books, 488 pp., $34.99)

A specter haunts Charles Kesler’s Crisis of the Two Constitutions: the specter of Trumpism. It is right there in the subtitle: “The Rise, Decline, and Recovery of American Greatness.” Even though only two of 18 chapters of the book deal directly with Donald Trump, the reader senses the work build­ing toward an apologia for the former president. Yet, much as he did during the Trump administration, Kesler remains just a touch aloof from Trumpism: clearly for it but writing as a bemused analyst rather than a participant.

In the preface, for example, he reasonably regrets that “our polarization is pervasive

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This article appears as “Moment of Crisis?” in the July 12, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Greg Weiner — Mr. Weiner is a political scientist at Assumption University and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

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