Politico Founding Editor: The Coronavirus Pandemic Is the ‘End of Trumpism’

US President Donald Trump claps as he arrives on stage for a rally at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling, West Virginia on September 29, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty

Politico founding editor John F. Harris has published a lengthy column in which he argues that the coronavirus marks the “end of Trumpism.”

The pandemic marks “a new political epoch,” Harris argues, that “will last much longer than the crisis itself.”

The major change, he says, will be an increased need to rely on scientific experts, who — he appears to presume — President Donald Trump and his followers do not trust, based on their opposition to the scientific consensus on climate change.

The result, Harris says, is that “Trumpism” must retreat in the face of technocratic rule:

One way to gauge the power of these currents—crisis fueled by frightening science—is by watching the change in President Donald Trump. There is no way to know for certain what the coronavirus means for his reelection. But already it is evident what it has meant for Trumpism. It has sent it hurtling into retreat.

Trumpism as an idea is about promoting and protecting American sovereignty and singularity. In some contexts, even Trump foes might agree it’s an attractive concept: Well might we wish to seal our borders from the virus. But the only way this would be effective would be if the United States had years ago opted to adjourn from the modern interconnected global economy. Yes, the coronavirus first presented itself in China. How many people were surprised to learn only in the past few weeks that nearly all U.S. antibiotics also come from China.

Trumpism as a style is defined not just by boasting and bluster; his triumphalism depends on projecting certitude. The president early on acted as if he could indeed create reality by proclamation, when he assured the public that U.S. infections would soon be down to zero.

Only in recent days, as the possibility of widespread domestic disease mounts, has Trump acknowledged imprecision—the fragmentary nature of our understanding of how far the virus has spread, how effective efforts to blunt its impact will be, or when these efforts will be deemed sufficient.

Harris concludes by suggesting that Trump’s “mockery and castigation of opponents” means that he cannot unite the country.

Read the full column at Politico.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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