Up from Trumpism


Donald Trump

‘The Muse of History must not be fastidious.” Thus Churchill the historian. But as Churchill the politician knew, the Muse of Politics must not be fastidious either.

Which brings us to Donald Trump.

Trump is, to say the least, not in favor among the fastidious. He’s not even in much favor among those of us who are nonfastidious in our politics. We at The Weekly Standard enjoy the rough-and-readiness of the American political scene—but we also understand the distinction between a reality show and reality, between performing and governing. We love American democracy and are impressed by Trump’s mastery of some of the arts of democratic politics—but we also acknowledge that Trump embodies much that is dubious about mass democracy. We admire the American people—but we also grant that Trumpism exemplifies much that is problematic about American populism.

Still, the fact remains: Donald Trump stands, ...

highway sign

Step Up on Immigration


More than a few Republican graybeards are panicking about how the rise of Donald Trump is pulling at the seams of the GOP’s big tent. However, the Republican establishment itself has played a big role in creating this particular Frankenstein’s monster.

Tesla Roadster

Growth and Inequality


The economic recovery is barely worthy of the name, and there is evidence that inequality in America is increasing. Ignoring the first rule of statistics—correlation is not causation—progressives see this as a new reason to expand government. Reduce ...


Doing Better with Hispanic Voters

It’s an achievable goal for the GOP.


Chip Somodevilla / Getty

Three of the Republican presidential candidates are sons of immigrants. Marco Rubio’s parents—his father a bartender, his mother a maid—came from Cuba. The parents of Bobby Jindal emigrated from India, his father an engineer, his mother a student who later earned two master’s degrees. Ted Cruz’s father is an evangelical pastor from Cuba, his mother an American citizen. Cruz himself, a citizen from birth, was born in Canada.

The three candidates became success stories at a relatively early age. Rubio was 39 when elected to the Senate from Florida. Jindal won the Louisiana governorship at 36. Cruz was 43 when he captured a Senate seat in Texas. Democrats have nothing that comes close to matching this.

Yet Republicans have failed to package the three to draw attention to their immigrant “narrative,” says GOP consultant Marc Rotterman. They show that “we’re the party of upward mobility,” he says. ...

Scott Walker

A Fading Campaign

Scott Walker’s no-good month.


It’s been a rough month for Scott Walker. From February through July, the Wisconsin governor topped virtually every poll of likely GOP voters in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses. But after a lackluster performance in the opening Republican presidential debate on ...

Presiding over a seminar, July 16, 2012

The Greatest of Teachers

Amy A. Kass, 1940-2015.


There are teachers and there are professors. To be a professor is to profess, to impart by virtue of one’s superior wisdom and authority the knowledge that one has and one’s students do not. The insights given by a great professor are a privilege to receive. To be ...


Illegal P.R.

The EPA’s propaganda machine.


A little over a century ago, Rep. Frederick Gillett (R-Mass.) read something in the New York Times that vexed him. The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Roads advertised that it was seeking to hire a publicity expert. Gillett could not understand why a government ...

Amy Kass

Her ‘Epic Reverberations'

Remembering Amy Kass.


Amy Kass was a great reader of George Eliot; she also had the sympathetic imagination so prized by the author of Middlemarch. Even in the difficult, yet beautiful, final weeks in hospice care, Amy found the generous strength to study the novel’s opening pages ...

Juvenile sex offenders in Stockton,  California, March 15, 2007

A Senseless Policy

Take kids off the sex-offender registries.


At age 10, Maya R. did something that would disturb just about anyone: “Me and my step-brothers, who were ages 8 and 5, ‘flashed’ each other and play-acted sex while fully clothed,” she told Human Rights Watch researcher Nicole Pittman. After copping to the incident in juvenile ...


Jobberwocky Lives

You can’t keep regulating the workplace without killing jobs.


Twenty-one years ago, Fortune boldly declared “The End of the JOB.” Thanks to rapid advances in technology, people had been freed from the tyranny of the nine-to-five workplace. Now they could set their own hours and schedules, do without constant ...

Bernie Sanders Donald Trump

Economic Liberty vs. Security

Another time for choosing.


Whatever the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, the summer of 2015 will be remembered as the summer of Trump and Sanders. The other candidates, especially the Republicans, could learn a lesson from the two renegades, who have figured out how to ...


Traitor to His Class

Nothing is more terrifying to the elite than Trump’s embrace of a tangible American nationalism


Trump fans spread the message at a rally in Mobile, August 21.

Donald Trump is not a serious candidate. Donald Trump is not a serious man. The truth of these statements is supposed to be self-evident. But one begins to wonder, are they true?

Trump’s popularity, while beyond doubt, is treated not as a legitimate expression of popular will but as a mass psychosis to be diagnosed. It would seem to be the duty of every American pundit today to explain the inexplicable and problematic rise of Donald Trump. The critical question, however, is not the source of Trump’s popularity but rather the reason his popularity is so shocking to our political culture. Perhaps Trump’s candidacy threatens a larger consensus that governs our political and social life, and perhaps his popularity signifies a profound challenge to elite opinion.

Why is Donald Trump so popular? Explanations range from mere celebrity, to his adoption of extreme positions to capture the most ...

Jason Seiler

What’s the Deal with Trump?

Cleaning up elections, beating up corporations


Dubuque, Iowa
Like rap music and The Simpsons, the celebrity real-estate mogul Donald Trump, who burst onto the scene looking like a six-weeks’ fad in the 1980s, still has the look of a six-weeks’ fad 30-some-odd years ...

Books & Arts

Greece on the Edge

How, exactly, did it come to this?


Police vs. protesters, Athens (2011)

When James Angelos embarks on a series of trips to report on the Greek debt crisis, he finds that no one is to blame for it. On Zakynthos, for example, three-quarters of blindness disability beneficiaries were exposed as frauds. The island’s ophthalmologist had liberally handed out certificates of blindness, countersigned by the prefect. Angelos approaches the prefect first: “The doctor!” he says. “Only he has responsibility. The doctor puts you down as blind. Not the prefect.” Angelos duly interviews the ophthalmologist: “One of the people who put down a signature was me,” he admits. “Even if there are a thousand signatures, if the prefect doesn’t sign it, no one gets anything.”

More astonishing than these men’s self-defense is their eventual fate: Although the island is buzzing with talk of the scandal, the prefect runs for its parliamentary seat and wins. The ophthalmologist quietly retires from the national health system ...

Florenz Ziegfeld and beauty contestants (ca. 1925)

Really Big Show

The Broadway impresario’s ‘maelstrom of mirth.’


Although I was a frequenter of burlesque in its last days, with its comedians, strippers, and feeble orchestra​​—​​the Casino Theater in Boston was a good escape from the toils of graduate English at Harvard​​—​​I knew little about its more dignified ...

Shirley Jackson and her children (1956)

Laureate of Demons

Uncollected writings from the Shirley Jackson vault.


During a literary career that lasted a quarter of a century, Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) published six novels of the macabre, a collection of short fiction, two books for children, a play, and two comic memoirs of motherhood​—​enough work to fill a small ...

Child survivors of the gulags

Stalin’s Orphans

Children, by the millions, scattered across the USSR.


When 55-year-old Stephen Pasceri walked into a Boston hospital last January and fatally shot Michael Davidson, a 44-year-old heart surgeon who had taken care of Pasceri’s late mother, his futile rage deprived others of a superb physician and changed in an ...

Palestinian women in the Dead Sea (2008)

Senior Services

The best is yet to be, especially if you take a course.


In recent years, I’ve begun to worry that I should think more about aging. (I know, I know — everyone is aging, but the term only seems to be used for people over 60.) The Beatles wrote “When I’m Sixty-four,” but I am 74—older than a baby boomer—so it’s ...

Rebecca Hall, Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton in The Gift

Gem of Discomfort

The return of the classic thriller.


The Gift​—​a compact picture written and directed by the Australian actor Joel Edgerton​—​is the best American thriller in 20 years or more. On its own limited terms, The Gift is an almost perfect piece of work; in an ...


A Life that Made Sense

David Gelernter on Herbert Gelernter, 1929-2015


Newly married and untested but ready  for anything, 1953

The difference between man and woman is the force that hauls life forward (as the Talmud remarks) and the origin of everything that is most beautiful in our world. I thought I understood that, but I didn’t until my father died. The whole can transcend the sum of parts, and that’s why Judaism deems marriage sacred. I never truly understood that either.

The death of a loved one rips us like shrapnel, but the wound heals and we limp gamely on. A father’s death is one of the harder hits life offers as it fights to knock you down. There is nobility in a boxer’s fighting until the last bell, although he is hurt and bound to lose. Every one of us has that kind of nobility. We acquire it as boxers do, blow by blow. Don’t sell us short. We are tough.

My father Herbert Gelernter, of blessed memory, died in May at 85. He had a remarkable career. His doctorate was in theoretical physics. My mother had supported him ...


Hillary’s Clouded Prospects


The Scrapbook is revising its opinion of “word clouds,” which we have heretofore mocked. That’s because we were so entertained by the ones produced in Quinnipiac University’s latest national poll. Besides the usual questions about preferences for the 2016 candidates, voting intentions, and so forth, the pollsters also asked their sample of 1,563 respondents, “What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Hillary Clinton?”

You can see the results depicted in the word cloud we’ve reproduced here. The more often a word comes up, the larger it appears in the Quinnipiac graphic. Leading the list—the first word on the lips of 178 respondents (or more than 11 percent of those polled)—is “liar.” Following closely behind is “dishonest” (from  123 people), “untrustworthy” (93), “experience” (82), “strong” (59), “Bill” (56), “woman” (47), “smart” (31), “crook” (21), “untruthful” (19), “criminal” (18), “deceitful” (18), and ...


Too Graphic

Duke University has managed to court controversy before the school year even begins. Over the summer, the school assigned all incoming freshmen to read Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel. (Note: “Graphic novel” is the preferred descriptor for ...


‘Courage Is Contagious’

There was a memorable instance of multiculturalism last week that The Scrapbook heartily commends to readers. Google for the touching video of the ceremony at the Elysée Palace in which the president of France, François Hollande, pins the Legion of Honor ...


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