Is Trump a ‘Cultural Relic’?

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Three of the top reporters for the New York Times say that the president is putting himself in dangerous political territory.

Whether it is suggesting shooting protesters or siccing dogs on them, pre-emptively defending the Confederate names of military installations or arguing that his supporters “love the black people,” Mr. Trump increasingly sounds like a cultural relic, detached from not just the left-leaning protesters in the streets but also the country’s political middle and even some Republican allies and his own military leaders.

The Times reporters might be right about this. Some of Trump’s lowest political moments came when he waded into, or started, racially charged controversies. His worst polling against Hillary Clinton after clinching the nomination came not after the Access Hollywood tape, but after his attacks on Khizr Khan and Judge Curiel. As president, some of his highest disapproval numbers came after Charlottesville.

But Trump isn’t quite as out of step with the public as his opponents think. Only about a third of Americans think that Confederate statues should be taken down, for example. If Democrats give the impression that they think that everyone on the other side of that argument is a racist, or a “cultural relic,” they’ll be making a mistake. It would not be the first time Trump’s opponents have overplayed their hands.

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P.S. The reporters also, I think, are wrong to accuse Trump of a falsehood about defunding the police and 911 calls. He seems to me to be saying that calling for police help won’t do any good if there are no police, which is obviously correct.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.




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