The Atlantic Politics Daily: Trumpism After Trump

Meet the freshman representative from Missouri who wants to remake the GOP. Plus, how President Trump turned the military against itself

It’s Monday, November 25. In today’s newsletter: the freshman representative who wants to remake the GOP. Plus, what to expect if there is a senate trial for the president


(Mike Segar / Reuters)

What Trumpism Could Look Like After Trump

President Donald Trump is at a more tenuous point in his presidency than he has been before. Chances are he’ll glide through a trial in the Senate, but he still faces a tough reelection.

Even if Trump himself leaves 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Trumpism in all its forms likely isn’t going anywhere.

The president has remade the GOP in a nationalist, protectionist image—at least to a certain extent—but sooner or later, conservatives will have to grapple with the question of succession.

My colleague Emma Green, who covers politics and religion with an even eye, has written about three of the individuals and groups trying to define the future of Trumpism, after Trump is no longer in public office.

1. Josh Hawley wants to end the GOP’s free-market worship for good.

The 39-year-old Republican Missouri senator, who ousted Claire McCaskill in last November’s midterms, rails against big business, blasts income inequality, and praises labor unions.

“For all of us who are in public office, and especially for those of us who are younger, this isn’t the work of a day or a season,” he told Emma. “This is the work of a generation.”

Read the full piece here.

2. First Things has its sights set on remaking the religious right.

The tiny magazine has fashioned itself as an intellectual haven for bookish religious conservatives. That may seem like the antithesis of a bombastic president who isn’t exactly known to have a literary bent.

What’s the magazine’s vision? Pushing a type of nationalistic religious conservatism that can replace today’s progressive, globalized world order.

Here’s what the Little Things editor told Emma when she asked about his views on immigration:

“There are ‘sociological limits’ to how many immigrants can be assimilated into the United States, he said.

When I asked him whether he would be as concerned if there were a surge of migrants at America’s northern border, he admitted that this would be less worrying: ‘Canadians are so similar,’ he said. ‘Part of it has to do with the cultural fit.’”

Read the rest of their conversation.

3. Nationalism gets the intellectual treatment.

At a conference over the summer at a Washington Ritz Carlton, a band of prominent conservatives—including Tucker Carlson and John Bolton—tried to graft an intellectual framework onto Trumpism, declaring war on the libertarian economic views of the GOP establishment.

The word “nationalism” holds troubling connotations these days, but the conference-goers were on a mission to show that the term isn’t synonymous with racism and xenophobia.

Yet it is unclear how seriously they take America’s conflicts over race, or whether they’ve grappled with the conservative policies that have reinforced racial disparities,” Emma writes.

Read her full dispatch from this year’s conference.


(Leah Millis / Reuters)

The week ahead is shaping up to be a quieter one than last week. Lawmakers head home for the Thanksgiving holiday. A turkey will be formally pardoned.

And the House Intelligence Committee is preparing a report of its findings for the House Judiciary Committee, which will then debate actual articles of impeachment.

Here’s how are writers are making sense of this weekend’s flurry of political news:

‣ The showdown over a Navy SEAL’s war-crimes case came to a head after Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired Navy Secretary Richard Spencer for subverting the military chain of command. The firing is another example that Trump’s only military priority seems to be loyalty to Trump, Kathy Gilsinan writes.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg formally announced his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination with a video and television advertisement buys. He has a long history of almost-running for president—this time he’s made it official.


(Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

The pay-to-play diplomatic corps

An oft-cited fact about Gordon Sondland is his $1 million donation to the Trump inaugural committee, and his subsequent appointment to an ambassadorship.

He’s one data point in an alarming trend, argues Dennis Jett, a former diplomat himself: As the cost of running a modern presidential campaign increases, money can buy you a plum position.

The percentage of political-appointee ambassadors typically runs about 30 percent of the total, with the rest coming from the ranks of career Foreign Service officers and civil servants.

At this point, the figure for Trump is 44 percent, though it is dropping; political appointments tend to taper off significantly toward the end of a presidential term.

Read the rest.

+ An seeming influx of former state department officials are joining—or advising on—the presidential campaigns of 2020 Democrats. Why are so many of these apolitical diplomats gambling on politics this campaign cycle?


(Loren Elliott / Reuters)

What to expect if there is a senate trial for the president

Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes look ahead, and forecast murkiness at nearly every turn.

Depending on the answers, one can imagine a Senate trial in which Mulvaney and Bolton would have to testify and executive-privilege claims would be unsustainable. One can also imagine a trial that would be short and, for Democrats, deeply frustrating.

Only one question is not clouded by uncertainty: the outcome. Barring some kind of an act of God, enough Republicans will ultimately vote to acquit the president that Trump will survive his trial.

Read their comprehensive accounting of what might come next.


Today’s edition of our daily newsletter of political ideas and arguments was written by Saahil Desai with help from Christian Paz, and edited by Shan Wang.

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