|Lapham, Lewis H.
In office as President of the United States, Donald J. Trump is undoubtedly a menace, but he isn’t a surprise. He embodies the spirit of an age of folly abandoned to conspicuous consumption of vanity and greed. A self-glorifying photo-op, Trump is made to the measure of an infotainment media in which presidential candidates are game show contestants brought to judgment on election day before the throne of cameras by whom and for whom they are produced.
To regard Trump as an amazement beyond belief is to give him credit where none is due, to mistake a symptom for the cause. Trump’s presence in the White House follows from an American regime change over the last twenty-five years during which a weakened but still operational democracy gave way to a stupefied and dysfunctional plutocracy.
The history of that change is a hedge against the despair of the present, making possible the revolt against what G. K. Chesterton called “the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.”