July 6, 2017

MATTHEW CONTINETTI: President Trump’s Remarkable Speech.

President Trump delivered one of the most important speeches of his young presidency on Thursday. Billed as “Remarks to the people of Poland,” the address was as clear a statement we’ve heard of Trump’s nation-state populism. This philosophy, which differs in emphasis and approach from that of other post-Cold War Republican presidents, is both enduring and undefined. Reaching as far back as Andrew Jackson, and carrying through, in different ways, William Jennings Bryan, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Spiro Agnew, Ronald Reagan, Ross Perot, Patrick Buchanan, James Webb, and Sarah Palin, the nation-state populist tradition has suffered from its lack of intellectuals, professors, and wordsmiths. But that is beginning to change.

The most important concept in nation-state populism is the people. These are citizens of the folk community, membership in which crosses ethnic, racial, and sectarian lines. Note, for example, Trump’s reference to the Nazis’ systematic murder of “millions of Poland’s Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.” Or as Trump put it, in a different context, in his Inaugural Address: “Whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.”

Some idiot at Vox — but I repeat myself — is calling it an alt-right speech. You want to ensure the alt-right wins? Define three-fourths of the country as alt-right.

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