Trump’s Chaos Theory for the Oval Office Is Taking Its Toll

For 13 months in the Oval Office, and in an unorthodox business career before that, Donald J. Trump has thrived on chaos, using it as an organizing principle and even a management tool.

Now the costs of that chaos are becoming starkly clear in the demoralized staff and policy disarray of a wayward White House.

.. Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, Gary D. Cohn, warned the chief of staff, John F. Kelly, that he might resign if the president went ahead with the plan,

.. Yet at the end of a photo session, when a reporter asked Mr. Trump about the measures, he confirmed that the United States would announce next week that it is imposing long-term tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The White House has not even completed a legal review of the measures.

.. Mr. Cohn, who almost left last year after Mr. Trump’s response to a white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Va., indicated he was waiting to see whether Mr. Trump goes through with the tariffs

.. second day in a row that Mr. Trump blindsided Republicans and his own aides.

.. he embraced the stricter gun control measures backed by Democrats

.. Mr. Trump relied on a small circle of colleagues and a management style that amounted to “trial and error — the strongest survived, the weak died.”

.. erratic boss and little in the way of a coherent legislative agenda

.. they are consumed by infighting, fears of their legal exposure and an ambient sense that the White House is spinning out of control.

.. he carries on a bitter feud with his attorney general and watches members of his family clash with a chief of staff he recruited to restore a semblance of order — all against the darkening shadow of an investigation of his ties to Russia.
..Mr. Trump’s instinct during these moments is to return to the populist themes that carried him to the White House, which is why his trade announcement is hardly surprising.
.. Mr. Trump has few fixed views on any issue, but he has been consistent on his antipathy for free trade since the 1980s
.. Without Mr. Porter playing a stopgap role on trade, the debate has been marked by a lack of focus on policy and planning
.. Mr. Trump lashes out regularly at Attorney General Jeff Sessions with a vitriol that stuns members of his staff.
.. Mr. Trump regards Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation as the “original sin,” which the president thinks has left him exposed.
.. Anthony Scaramucci, an ally of some in the Trump family, whom Mr. Kelly fired as communications director after only 11 days, intensified his criticism of the chief of staff in a series of news interviews on Wednesday and Thursday.

.. Mr. Trump is also frustrated with Mr. Kushner, whom he now views as a liability because of his legal entanglements, the investigations of the Kushner family’s real estate company and the publicity over having his security clearance downgraded

.. some aides have expressed frustration that Mr. Kushner and his wife, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, have remained at the White House, despite Mr. Trump at times saying they never should have come to the White House and should leave.

.. aides also noted that Mr. Trump has told the couple that they should keep serving in their roles, even as he has privately asked Mr. Kelly for his help in moving them out.

.. Some argue Mr. Kelly should have carried out a larger staff shake-up when he came in. That has allowed several people to stagnate, particularly in policy roles, one adviser said.

We All Live on Campus Now

When elite universities shift their entire worldview away from liberal education as we have long known it toward the imperatives of an identity-based “social justice” movement, the broader culture is in danger of drifting away from liberal democracy as well.

If elites believe that the core truth of our society is a system of interlocking and oppressive power structures based around immutable characteristics like race or sex or sexual orientation, then sooner rather than later, this will be reflected in our culture at large. What matters most of all in these colleges — your membership in a group that is embedded in a hierarchy of oppression — will soon enough be what matters in the society as a whole.

.. The idea of individual merit — as opposed to various forms of unearned “privilege” — is increasingly suspect.

..  Any differences in outcome for various groups must always be a function of “hate,” rather than a function of nature or choice or freedom or individual agency

.. Polarization has made this worse — because on the left, moderation now seems like a surrender to white nationalism, and because on the right, white identity politics has overwhelmed moderate conservatism.

.. Trump plays a critical role. His crude, bigoted version of identity politics seems to require an equal and opposite reaction.

.. there’s a huge temptation to respond in kind.

.. anger is rarely a good frame of mind to pursue the imperatives of reason, let alone to defend the norms of liberal democracy.

..  Liberals welcome dissent because it’s our surest way to avoid error. Cultural Marxists fear dissent because they believe it can do harm to others’ feelings and help sustain existing identity-based power structures.

..  the impulse to intimidate, vilify, ruin, and abuse a writer for her opinions chills open debate.

.. An entirely intended byproduct of this kind of bullying — and Roiphe is just the latest victim — is silence.

.. only a member of a minority group can speak about racism or homophobia, or that only women can discuss sexual harassment.

.. The only reason this should be the case is if we think someone’s identity is more important than the argument they might want to make

..  left-feminists are not just interested in exposing workplace abuse or punishing sex crimes, but in policing even consensual sex for any hint of patriarchy’s omnipresent threat.

..  In the struggle against patriarchy, a distinction between the public and private makes no sense.

.. There’s a reason that totalitarian states will strip prisoners of their clothing. Left-feminists delight in doing this metaphorically to targeted men — effectively exposing them naked to public ridicule and examination because it both traumatizes the object and more importantly sits out there as a warning to others.

.. Besides, if they’re innocent, they’ll be fine!

.. can anyone justify why the POSSIBLE innocence of men is so much more important than the DEFINITE safety and comfort of women?”

..  we now have a “gender editor” at the New York Times, Jessica Bennett

.. Does she understand that the very word intersectional is a function of neo-Marxist critical race theory? Is this now the guiding philosophy of the paper of record?

.. At The Atlantic, the identity obsession even requires exhaustive analyses of the identity of sources quoted in stories. Ed Yong, a science writer, keeps “a personal list of women and people of color who work in the beats that I usually cover,” so he can make sure that he advances diversity even in his quotes.

..  there is no art that isn’t rooted in identity.

.. I don’t doubt the good intentions of the new identity politics — to expand the opportunities for people previously excluded. I favor a politics that never discriminates against someone for immutable characteristics

.. what we have now is far more than the liberal project of integrating minorities. It comes close to an attack on the liberal project itself. Marxism with a patina of liberalism on top is still Marxism — and it’s as hostile to the idea of a free society as white nationalism is.

.. the core concepts of a liberal society —

  • the individual’s uniqueness,
  • the primacy of reason,
  • the protection of due process,
  • an objective truth

— are so besieged, this is one of the reasons.

.. The goal of our culture now is not the emancipation of the individual from the group, but the permanent definition of the individual by the group. We used to call this bigotry. Now we call it being woke. You see: We are all on campus now.

.. prudence that worries about unintended consequences; that values thrift; that tries to insure itself against future risks; that takes the responsibility of government seriously; that worries about extreme rhetoric; that balances the budget; that insists on constantly taking pains to protect inconvenient constitutional norms; that defends existing institutions. I could go on. It all began with Burke’s recoil from the French Revolution.

.. Is there any institution in the West that is currently less conservative than the GOP?

.. No institution that is integral to our liberal democracy is immune from attack. This includes law enforcement (the FBI), the Justice Department, an independent and free press, the prerogatives of the opposition party, and regular order in the Congress.

It is a party that would impeach a State Supreme Court rather than give up its gerrymandered districts.

.. its cult leader never misses an opportunity to deepen racial divides and to inflame the gender wars.

.. Whatever else this record is, it is an open and outright assault on any concept of prudence, responsibility, or moderation. Which is to say it is an assault on conservatism itself.

.. If there is any future for the conservative soul and mind in America, it will have to start with the wholesale destruction of the current Republican Party. I made that case more than a decade ago now.

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Revisiting a Former White Nationalist

A week after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., in August, we at “The Daily” found ourselves still grappling with what seemed like a simple question: Who are the members of the White Nationalist movement, and how did they come to those beliefs? In an effort to answer that question, one of our producers, Lynsea Garrison, reached out to Derek Black.

Derek had been on track to become a powerful figure in the American white nationalism movement — his father was the creator of Stormfront, the internet’s first and largest white nationalist site, and his godfather was none other than David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Derek was called the “leading light” of the movement. But he rejected that destiny, turning away from his family and upbringing. If anyone might help explain the movement’s recent emboldening, and the perception by its members that, after decades on the fringes, they had an ally in the country’s highest office, it seemed it would be Derek.

A Republican intellectual explains why the Republican Party is going to die

Avik Roy is a Republican’s Republican. A health care wonk and editor at Forbes, he has worked for three Republican presidential hopefuls — Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio.

.. “I don’t think the Republican Party and the conservative movement are capable of reforming themselves in an incremental and gradual way,” he said. “There’s going to be a disruption.”

.. He believes it means the Democrats will dominate national American politics for some time. But he also believes the Republican Party has lost its right to govern, because it is driven by white nationalism rather than a true commitment to equality for all Americans.

.. “I think the conservative movement is fundamentally broken,” Roy tells me. “Trump is not a random act. This election is not a random act.”

.. “Goldwater’s nomination in 1964 was a historical disaster for the conservative movement,” Roy tells me, “because for the ensuing decades, it identified Democrats as the party of civil rights and Republicans as the party opposed to civil rights.”

.. Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He himself was not especially racist — he believed it was wrong, on free market grounds, for the federal government to force private businesses to desegregate.

  1. .. First, it forced black voters out of the GOP.
  2. Second, it invited in white racists who had previously been Democrats.

Even though many Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act in Congress, the post-Goldwater party became the party of aggrieved whites.

.. the Republican coalition has inherited the people who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 — the Southern Democrats who are now Republicans,” Roy says. “Conservatives and Republicans have not come to terms with that problem.”

.. This revisionism, according to Roy, points to a much bigger conservative delusion: They cannot admit that their party’s voters are motivated far more by white identity politics than by conservative ideals.

 .. they deny that to this day, Republican voters are driven more by white resentment than by a principled commitment to the free market and individual liberty.
.. conservatism has become, and has been for some time, much more about white identity politics than it has been about conservative political philosophy. I think today, even now, a lot of conservatives have not come to terms with that problem.”
.. By refusing to admit the truth about their own party, they were powerless to stop the forces that led to Donald Trump’s rise. They told themselves, over and over again, that Goldwater’s victory was a triumph.
.. Trump’s politics of aggrieved white nationalism — labeling black people criminals, Latinos rapists, and Muslims terrorists — succeeded because the party’s voting base was made up of the people who once opposed civil rights.

.. “Either the disruption will come from the Republican Party representing cranky old white people and a new right-of-center party emerging in its place, or a third party will emerge, à la the Republicans emerging from the Whigs in the [1850s],” Roy says.

The work of conservative intellectuals today, he argues, is to devise a new conservatism — a political vision that adheres to limited government principles but genuinely appeals to a more diverse America.

“I think it’s incredibly important to take stock,” he says, “and build a new conservative movement that is genuinely about individual liberty.”

.. For the entire history of modern conservatism, its ideals have been wedded to and marred by white supremacism. That’s Roy’s own diagnosis, and I think it’s correct. As a result, we have literally no experience in America of a politically viable conservative movement unmoored from white supremacy.

.. what actual political constituency could bring about this pure conservatism in practice. The fact is that limited government conservatism is not especially appealing to nonwhite Americans, whereas liberalism and social democracy are. The only ones for whom conservatism is a natural fit are Roy’s “cranky old white people” — and they’re dying off.