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