The schizoid presidency of Donald Trump

Martin Gurri: “Call it the Mannerist Theory of Trump: nothing proposed is particularly outrageous for a conservative or a Republican – but the manner of proposing it is.

The implications are interesting. That strange shadowy figure, the populist, would come into focus as the embodiment of a political style rather than a set of policy choices. The populist is whoever tramples on elite proprieties, tastes, and taboos, without regard for ideology. We should not be surprised, then, to find that one sort of populist is also a Marxist (Alexis Tsipras of Greece), while another is a right-wing nationalist (Hungary’s Viktor Orban).

I find the theory plausible, on the evidence. It moves the question about Trump’s schizoid style of governance from the how to the why. To answer this second puzzle, we must look beyond the buzz of US politics to that global uprising against the institutions and elites, of which Donald Trump is both a product and a vector.”