Our forthcoming book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics. Among other things, it discusses the state of the parties.
In his remarks later in the day, Mr. Trump sought to explain “Trumpism” — “what it means is great deals,” he ventured — but his would-be heirs plainly recognize that the core of his appeal is more affect than agenda.
Beyond the former president, no two Republicans in attendance drew a more fervent response than Mr. DeSantis and Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, two former House members turned first-term governors.
Neither sketched out a new policy agenda or presented a fresh vision for a party that has won the national popular vote just once in over 30 years. Rather, they drew repeated ovations for what they share in common: a shared sense of victimhood over media criticism for their handling of the coronavirus crisis and a pugnacious contempt for public health experts who have urged more aggressive restrictions in their states.
“I don’t know if you agree with me, but Dr. Fauci is wrong a lot,” Ms. Noem said in her remarks, referring to the country’s top infectious disease expert. The statement brought attendees to their feet, even as she glossed over her state’s high mortality rate during the pandemic.
The party has been swiftly repositioned as an instrument of white grievance. It refuses to condemn racists within its congressional ranks. Its main national legislative agenda seems to be the suppression of minority voting. Trumpism is defined by the belief that real Americans are beset by internal threats from migrants, Muslims, multiculturalists, Black Lives Matter activists, antifa militants and various thugs, gangbangers and whiners. And Zubatov is correct that this viewpoint implies and requires dehumanization; resisting our animal instincts is the evidence of political correctness. The whole Trump movement, and now most of the Republican Party, is premised on the social sanctification of pre-cognitive fears and disgust.
Yet the largest single group within the new GOP coalition is comprised of people who claim to be evangelical Christians. And the view of human beings implied by Trumpism is a direct negation of Christian teaching (as well as many other systems of belief). Christians are informed — not by political correctness, but by Jesus — that every addict and homeless person you might encounter on a nocturnal walk in New York is the presence of Christ in disguise. And the parable He told in Matthew 25 illustrating this point is a rather stern one. Those who follow their pre-cognitive disgust and refuse to treat the hungry, the stranger, the sick and imprisoned as they would Christ are told: “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”