From National Review, The Trump Virus and Its Symptoms by Charles Cook:


In parallel, the Trump virus yields a second — and equally potent — symptom: It provokes otherwise intelligent people into an ugly form of civil confusion. Because the Trumpite has invariably arrived at his conclusion before he has considered his premises, he is prone to disastrous conflation when pressed to explain himself. Thus does he mistake boorishness and vapidity for courage and the common touch. Thus does he muddle together self-interest and public spiritedness. Thus, ultimately, does he come to believe that fatal weaknesses should be conceived as dazzling strengths. In a sane world it would be abundantly clear to anybody whose research skills extend to the casual use of Wikipedia that Donald Trump not only lacks crucial government experience but that, insofar as he has hitherto connected with that world, his behavior has been appalling. And yet, because Washington is a mess and a plague o’ both your houses! tendency currently obtains, the Trumpite is prone to assert without evidence or reason that these clear deficiencies are in fact a remedy for its ills. In the main, such gymnastics are roundly comical — comparable, perhaps, to a person’s choosing a disabled man to run in a marathon because he is especially bombastic. “But he can’t even walk,” the naysayers might observe. “That’s the point!” would come the inexplicable reply. “He’s not like the others!”

Alas, difference is soon taken as a virtue in and of itself. To any moderately informed observer of the present political scene, it is evident that Donald Trump is not in fact a conservative, and that his political instincts tend more often than not in precisely the opposite direction. For those who describe themselves as “conservatives,” this should present something of a problem. But, because he does not operate within the same world as the much-loathed Mitch McConnell — and because he cannot therefore be judged on the basis of anything concrete — the man’s ideological indiscretions are being steadfastly ignored. For decades now, our friends on the progressive left have wondered in vain what it might take to convince a sizable portion of America’s rightward-leaning dissenters to embrace single-payer health care, advocate stricter gun control, propose higher taxes on the wealthy, endorse the broad use of eminent domain, defend protectionism in trade, affirm the pro-choice cause, and cozy up warmly to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. Today, they have their answer: It takes a general dissatisfaction with the status quo, and the cheapest of P. T. Barnum knockoffs to exploit it.

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