counter create hit Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic

Availability: Ready to download

Bestselling author, former White House speechwriter, and Atlantic columnist and media commentator David Frum explains why President Trump has undermined our most important institutions in ways even the most critical media has missed, in this thoughtful and hard-hitting book that is a warning for democracy and America’s future. "From Russia to South Africa, from Turkey to th Bestselling author, former White House speechwriter, and Atlantic columnist and media commentator David Frum explains why President Trump has undermined our most important institutions in ways even the most critical media has missed, in this thoughtful and hard-hitting book that is a warning for democracy and America’s future. "From Russia to South Africa, from Turkey to the Philippines, from Venezuela to Hungary, authoritarian leaders have smashed restraints on their power. Media freedom and judicial independence have eroded. The right to vote remains, but the right to have one’s vote counted fairly may not. Until the US presidential election of 2016, the global decline of democracy seemed a concern for other peoples in other lands. . . . That complacent optimism has been upended by the political rise of Donald Trump. The crisis is upon Americans, here and now." Quietly, steadily, Trump and his administration are damaging the tenets and accepted practices of American democracy, perhaps irrevocably. As he and his family enrich themselves, the presidency itself falls into the hands of the generals and financiers who surround him. While much of the country has been focused on Russia, David Frum has been collecting the lies, obfuscations, and flagrant disregard for the traditional limits placed on the office of the presidency. In Trumpocracy, he documents how Trump and his administration are steadily damaging the tenets and accepted practices of American democracy. During his own White House tenure as George W. Bush’s speechwriter, Frum witnessed the ways the presidency is limited not by law but by tradition, propriety, and public outcry, all now weakened. Whether the Trump presidency lasts two, four, or eight more years, he has changed the nature of the office for the worse, and likely for decades. In this powerful and eye-opening book, Frum makes clear that the hard work of recovery starts at home. Trumpocracy outlines how Trump could push America toward illiberalism, what the consequences could be for our nation and our everyday lives, and what we can do to prevent it.


Compare

Bestselling author, former White House speechwriter, and Atlantic columnist and media commentator David Frum explains why President Trump has undermined our most important institutions in ways even the most critical media has missed, in this thoughtful and hard-hitting book that is a warning for democracy and America’s future. "From Russia to South Africa, from Turkey to th Bestselling author, former White House speechwriter, and Atlantic columnist and media commentator David Frum explains why President Trump has undermined our most important institutions in ways even the most critical media has missed, in this thoughtful and hard-hitting book that is a warning for democracy and America’s future. "From Russia to South Africa, from Turkey to the Philippines, from Venezuela to Hungary, authoritarian leaders have smashed restraints on their power. Media freedom and judicial independence have eroded. The right to vote remains, but the right to have one’s vote counted fairly may not. Until the US presidential election of 2016, the global decline of democracy seemed a concern for other peoples in other lands. . . . That complacent optimism has been upended by the political rise of Donald Trump. The crisis is upon Americans, here and now." Quietly, steadily, Trump and his administration are damaging the tenets and accepted practices of American democracy, perhaps irrevocably. As he and his family enrich themselves, the presidency itself falls into the hands of the generals and financiers who surround him. While much of the country has been focused on Russia, David Frum has been collecting the lies, obfuscations, and flagrant disregard for the traditional limits placed on the office of the presidency. In Trumpocracy, he documents how Trump and his administration are steadily damaging the tenets and accepted practices of American democracy. During his own White House tenure as George W. Bush’s speechwriter, Frum witnessed the ways the presidency is limited not by law but by tradition, propriety, and public outcry, all now weakened. Whether the Trump presidency lasts two, four, or eight more years, he has changed the nature of the office for the worse, and likely for decades. In this powerful and eye-opening book, Frum makes clear that the hard work of recovery starts at home. Trumpocracy outlines how Trump could push America toward illiberalism, what the consequences could be for our nation and our everyday lives, and what we can do to prevent it.

30 review for Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    Democracy dies in darkness, opines a great American newspaper, but it would be more accurate to say that it dies by degrees. Where constitutional democracy has been lost, it has been lost because political actors have broken its rules turn by turn to achieve some immediately urgent goal. Each rule breaking then justifies the next, in a cycle of revenge that ends only in the formal or informal abrogation of the constitutional order. David Frum pisses me off. He is not someone I would normall Democracy dies in darkness, opines a great American newspaper, but it would be more accurate to say that it dies by degrees. Where constitutional democracy has been lost, it has been lost because political actors have broken its rules turn by turn to achieve some immediately urgent goal. Each rule breaking then justifies the next, in a cycle of revenge that ends only in the formal or informal abrogation of the constitutional order. David Frum pisses me off. He is not someone I would normally read. He is a die-hard Republican political commentator, who served as a speechwriter in the Dubyah administration, wrote for the right-wing-toxic editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, was an editor on the neo-conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, as well as being a regular opinion contributor on NPR and MSNBC, the latter being where I have gotten a bit more exposure to his views. His Reaganaut take on government is not particularly in synch with mine, but he is among the many, of both red and blue inclination, who find the current president existentially alarming. More importantly, beyond the distaste any thinking person has for Swamp Thing, Frum is concerned about the road the nation has traveled in allowing such a travesty to take place, and the ability of so many to stand silent, or even to abet, as norms of small-d democratic norms are routinely treated like an attractive woman The Orange One just cornered in an elevator. David Frum - image from Front Page Magazine In terms of factual material, there is not a lot that is new here, for those who have been keeping up with the news. Of course, the daily news churn is so fast and voluminous that it is impossible to keep up with it all. As a result, there is certain to be material in Trumpocracy that is news to you. The danger Frum sees is not the rise of an autocratic, constitution-burning strongman, but a crumbling of the institutional norms that have made the USA, flawed, though it may be, a democracy worth preserving. The thing to fear from the Trump presidency is not the bold overthrow of the Constitution, but the stealthy paralysis of governance; not the open defiance of law, but an accumulating subversion of norms; not the deployment of state power to intimidate dissidents, but the incitement of private violence to radicalize supporters. Trump operates not by strategy, but by instinct. His great skill is to sniff his opponents’ vulnerabilities: “low energy,” “little,” “crooked,” “fake.” In the same way, Trump has intuited weak points in the American political system and in American political culture. Trump gambled that Americans resent each other’s differences more than they cherish their shared democracy. So far, that gamble has paid off. This is less a book about Trump, the person, and more about the underlying currents that have pushed him to the surface of the swamp. Where Fire and Fury was a gossipy look at the personal goings on in the White House, Frum’s book is an intellectual analysis of social and political changes, their impacts, and their implications. He begins with a look at the history of increasing partisanship, citing back and forth pulls from left and right. Frum sees the end of the Cold War as the condition that allowed the parties to commence a further divergence, the shock of the Great Recession as generating a smaller pie, with more competition for the slices, continuing rage over Bush v. Gore, and accelerating ethnic and cultural diversity. Unfortunately, there are instances where the obfuscatory urge clearly overwhelmed and Frum manages to omit some relevant points while making this or that case, devolving to GOP talking points. Bush v. Gore was a judicial travesty, and not one that anyone should forget, ever. It reinforced the notion that corruption rules, the voters be damned. The Great Recession may have taken a slice out of the American pie but some slices are bigger than others. Wall Street, largely responsible for the disaster, got bailed out, except for a few early crash-and-burns, while homeowners got thrown out. Jobs continued to be lost by the hundreds of thousands while profitability, after a dip in 2009, did just fine. And as for diminishing the pie, that may have been true in the short term, but in the years since, the pie has grown large and flavorful, but only the well-to-do have been given forks. Of course corporate profits as a percentage of GDP have gone up while corporate taxes over the same period have fallen as a percent of GDP. As he acknowledges this later, it seems odd that he would cite competition over reduced resources as a rationale for political divergence. Citing an absence of Obama willingness to compromise with Republicans eager to kill Obamacare, he manages to omit the fact that it was Republican legislators who had essentially refused to negotiate, despite pleas from the president. It was purely a one-sided crime. I call BS! He decries all-or-nothing politics as if both sides were equally at fault. While making an interesting point about the legality of DACA and the president’s diverse views on that, Frum then offers another misleading item about the Democratic party being unable to pass immigration legislation despite being in the majority at the time, which, of course, ignores the fact that a majority was meaningless when the opposition was committed to filibustering anything Democrats proposed. He cites Democratic refusal to approve ten of Dubyah’s appellate court judgeship nominations. Fails to mention that Dubyah had diverged from tradition in dumping the usual procedure of submitting nominee names to the ABA for their review prior to official submission. Also, the GOP ditched another tradition. It had been the case that Appeals Court nominations were submitted to both Senators of the state in which the seat was located. And if either Senator objected the nomination was quashed. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch decided that henceforth it would require rejection of a nominee by both senators to kill an appointment. Hatch would then go ahead and ignore his own rule when it conflicted with his political goals, holding hearings on nominees even after both Senators from some appellate seat states withheld their ok, if he wanted that nominee installed. Rules are, apparently, only for the minority party. Frum also neglects to mention that Republicans had killed the nominations of several Clinton era candidates, so a bit of payback was to be expected. And then there were the nominees who were clearly well outside the mainstream of legal thought at the time. Also, Frum does not mention that Dubyah had sixty-one Appeals Court judges approved. So, painting with a wide brush is less revelatory than it is obfuscatory. And he then uses this as an excuse for Mitch McConnell refusing to bring to a vote Obama’s choice to fill the SCOTUS seat opened by the death of Antonin Scalia. I call BS! (I have added a link in EXTRA STUFF to an interesting article that offers some detail on the Appeals Court nominees issue.) Despite his issues on broad-brushing issues like those above, Frum is clear-eyed about more things than one might have expected. His take on the continuing attempt to overturn Obama Care is spot on. He also rightly points out that the benefits of our expanding economy have devolved mainly to those already middle class or higher, with little or no benefit accruing to the poor and working class. He is, after all, a guy who was kicked out of his gig at the American Enterprise Institute for daring to tell Republicans that they were wasting their time opposing Obamacare and should look to making it better. Frum decries what he sees as a rising tolerance for violence. Somehow equating Occupy Wall Street with the white guy who showed up at an Obama rally with a loaded rifle in 2009. He mentions that dozens of rifles were carried at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas, but makes no mention of how many unarmed blacks were killed by armed police. I take his overall point that there has been a general increase in violence in the political sphere, (although crime statistics report a decrease in violent crime overall) but the Occupy leaders, to the extent that there were any, rejected the actions of extremists who parasited onto that movement and others, to vent their kinetic spleens. That it occurred at all should not necessarily be taken as evidence that it was actually “tolerated.” And how about Charlottesville, where the white supremacists were planning violence on counter protesters. It seems somewhat tilted to view the people who went to Charlottesville to protect peaceful demonstrators from right wing thugs as the equivalent of those very thugs. Violence on the left has been episodic, with the intrusion of dark elements into otherwise peaceful undertakings, whereas violence and increasing armament on the right has been encouraged by the NRA, and a need to resort to violence to defend against imagined threats has been encouraged by a wide swath of right-wing psycho media. So, while I agree with Frum that there seems a rising tolerance for political violence, it is primarily on the right. Leaders of progressive actions typically reject violent methods. So, for another false equivalence, I call BS! Frum quite correctly points to enablers who allow Trump to be Trump to the detriment of us all, particularly our bear-like enemy abroad, and GOP members more than happy to promote known lies to further political ends. He offers a sharp, if depressing look at the Trump plunder machine A rule-of law state can withstand a certain amount of official corruption. What it cannot withstand is a culture of impunity. So long as officials believe that corruption will usually be detected—and if detected, then certainly punished—for just that long they will believe that corruption is wrong. It is for this reason that corrupt regimes swiftly evolve toward authoritarianism, and authoritarian regimes toward corruption. It is certainly clear that the Republican Quislings in Congress will do nothing to stop Swamp Thing from siphoning as much of the national treasure into the accounts of his family and friends as possible, which differentiates the USA from any banana republic how? But Frum notes an international trend toward kleptocracy, as a non-ideological form of awfulness. Makes one wonder if we are better off with a morally challenged, insecurity and greed driven narcissist bent on stealing everything he can grab, or his potential replacement, a religious ideologue, who thinks God speaks to him directly. Frum points out the obvious betrayals Swamp Thing has engaged in, the back-stabbing of erstwhile supporters, the campaign promises laid waste. But then he wanders off into a discussion of deficits that returns us to the missing information methodology that seems to permeate his writing. He gripes about deficits soaring after the Bush administration, yet makes no mention of why it soared. Wonder why that could be. Hmmm. Maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with the fact that Dubyah and the Republican-supported (with some Democratic help from Bill Clinton) policy of financial industry de-regulation had allowed Wall Street to run roughshod over sanity and cause the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Maybe Frum neglected to note that the amount Obama wound up having to spend to forestall a repeat of the Great Depression was remarkably similar to the amounts that Dubyah himself had proposed before running as fast as he could away from the mess that he’d made. One can only presume that there is dishonesty at play here. Because David Frum is not, unlike Trump, an idiot. And then he offers a cogent analysis of why the Trump White House is such a bedlam. He also understands that Paul Ryan’s economic program is distilled madness, leavened with a Trumpian capacity for cruelty. Frum gets that the Republican bubble has become incapable of considering facts beyond the bubble’s border. Even more alarmingly, he notes that instead of de-regulating industries by reducing state involvement as prior presidents had done, Trump is seeking to break the state in order to plunder it. His analysis of how Trump treats the press and even truth itself is incisive and frightening. Frum’s policy solutions, aside from the whole raging authoritarian thing, are a sure cure for low blood pressure. He says, for example, that Tax subsidies for college tuition incentivize above-inflation fee increases. And there is probably some truth there. But since Republicans seem hell bent on reducing any form of overt subsidy to actual humans, this would mean that only the well-to-do would have access to higher education. Unless the GOP is eager for a return to heads being lopped in town squares by enraged peasants, it might be wiser to come up with ways to make college affordable for working people, whether that means (heaven forfend!) price controls on higher education, direct subsidies to those unable to afford such a critical means of educational, economic and social advancement, or tax incentives, which really only work for people who already have enough income to take advantage of such things. ==========In the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25%, from 20,000 to 15,000 characters. In order to accommodate the text beyond that, I have moved it, including the c0nclusion of the review and EXTRA STUFF, to the comments section directly below.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    One of the pleasures of too much MSNBC is the lamentations of the never-Trumpers, those conservatives who watch as the wild boar that is Trump gores their Republican party. All of them (with the exception of William Kristol) have something worthwhile to say, and what they say—from the righteous barkings of the sepulchral Richard Painter, and the sharp reproofs of old campaigner Steve Schmidt, to the surreal smears of jester Rick Wilson—is delivered by each one of them in a distinctive, memorable One of the pleasures of too much MSNBC is the lamentations of the never-Trumpers, those conservatives who watch as the wild boar that is Trump gores their Republican party. All of them (with the exception of William Kristol) have something worthwhile to say, and what they say—from the righteous barkings of the sepulchral Richard Painter, and the sharp reproofs of old campaigner Steve Schmidt, to the surreal smears of jester Rick Wilson—is delivered by each one of them in a distinctive, memorable style. My favorite of these venerable political warriors is speechwriter David Frum, the man who coined the phrase “axis of evil.” Unlike many of the never-Trumpers, he never appears comfortable on television. Hunched over, blinking in the light like a scholar monk half-blind from poring over manuscripts, he whispers his observations in an apologetic, off-hand manner. Yet those observations are invariably original, and always carefully phrased. Even better than Frum’s television appearances, though, are the essays he has been writing regularly for The Atlantic during the presidency of Trump. With titles like “Conservatives Must Save the Republican Party from Itself” and “If American Democracy Fails, Can Other Ones Survive?,” these topical essays are short, succinct, composed in elegant, carefully balanced sentences and filled with Tacitean irony. I ordered his book Trumpocracy thinking it was a collection of these Atlantic pieces, and I looked forward to seeing them gathered together in one place. What I got instead was something else. It’s not bad really … just another anti-Trump book filled with the familiar litany of moral crimes, autocratic gestures, and violated norms. It also does a good job demonstrating how American politics—on both sides—brought us to this terrible place, and it is organized intelligently and (of course) written well. Still, it lacks the polish and punch of the Atlantic essays. The viewpoint is less Olympian, the ironies less classically Roman. Perhaps this was inevitable in a longer form, but the uniqueness I find in his essays—and his television appearances—I did not find here.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lewis Weinstein

    UPDATE 2/4/17 ... Since I have followed the disgusting news about Trump and his presidency, much that Frum writes is familiar to me. Frum despises Trump, as do I, and over 235 pages he makes the case that such a view is well justified. How America is going to exit from this travesty of governance is another matter, one that should concern all thinking Americans, especially those who have besmirched themselves by lying down with Trump. *** I just started reading ... I'll take my notes here, and edit UPDATE 2/4/17 ... Since I have followed the disgusting news about Trump and his presidency, much that Frum writes is familiar to me. Frum despises Trump, as do I, and over 235 pages he makes the case that such a view is well justified. How America is going to exit from this travesty of governance is another matter, one that should concern all thinking Americans, especially those who have besmirched themselves by lying down with Trump. *** I just started reading ... I'll take my notes here, and edit later ... FRUM WRITES ... ... Trump's government has failed not only because of indifference and incompetence, although he abounds in both, but because from the start it has been redirected from the service of the public to the aggrandizement of one domineering man and his shamelessly grasping extended family ... p. xiii ... the Trump family came to loot ... p. 49 ... no president in history has burned more public money to sustain his personal lifestyle ... jaunts to Mar-a-Lago $3 million each ... Kushner family ski vacation $330,000 ... millions to the Trump hotel in DC ...the message went forth ... everywhere dirty money is laundered ... you can find him in Trump Tower ... p. 61 ... a rollback of the ethics rule ... tax disclosure refused ... conflict-of-interest rules ignored ... running a business while president ... (and on and on) LEW: this is so sickening it's hard to read ... more later (maybe) ...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    First, this is a really good book published at a uniquely, critically important moment in time. It's a worthwhile investment of time and, as a bonus, it's an easy read. (OK, I struggled to put it down, and decided that, once I started it, I'd rather finish it then get a good night's sleep or do some of the work that, temporarily, was put on hold.) While I'm hesitant to (broadly) recommend this book to others, I'm pleased that I bought it (it makes me feel good to have provided a pittance of royal First, this is a really good book published at a uniquely, critically important moment in time. It's a worthwhile investment of time and, as a bonus, it's an easy read. (OK, I struggled to put it down, and decided that, once I started it, I'd rather finish it then get a good night's sleep or do some of the work that, temporarily, was put on hold.) While I'm hesitant to (broadly) recommend this book to others, I'm pleased that I bought it (it makes me feel good to have provided a pittance of royalties to the author) and read it. The author's work represents a valuable public service, and, frankly, it would be good (nay, great) thing if it became a best-seller (and millions of Americans read it) - but I'm not holding my breath. And (duh) Frum can write. I've already collected a wonderful selection of quotes - both pithy and fulsome - that I can't wait to use/deploy in different contexts/forums (or fora). The book is chock full of nicely packaged anecdotes, potential teaching points, and language ... that ... sings. I expect to get a fair amount of additional mileage out of the book over time! A caveat. If you're obsessively following current events (particularly politics and policy and governance), familiar with the author, or, more broadly, if you're a regular Atlantic reader, my sense is that you're not going to "learn" much new from reading this. Much of it represents a collection, concatenation, or repackaging of Frum's prior published work, but the book is something more: Even for an obsessive consumer of news (I begin each day by sampling the Washington Post with breakfast, followed by the online versions of both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and that's before I turn to steady stream of alternative sources that populate my email box, Twitter feed and professional community), Frum's book was a nicely organized, thematically coherent, easy-to-read and comfortably digestible summary or overview or saga of how did we get here? how could this have happened? how bad is it? and are we doomed or is there hope for the future? The book covers an extraordinary amount of material ... and consistently provides it with sufficient context such that it actually makes sense. It's an impressive, bravura achievement. And (at least to me), in that regard, the book is helpful and valuable because so many of us simply cannot keep up, can't keep track, and struggle to categorize the innumerable phenomena, issues, scandals, policies, practices, stories, players, reactions, and evolving anxieties that dominate the news cycle and distract us on a daily basis. And before you reject the book as mere (or more) partisan pablum, remember that Frum is long-time conservative struggling to make sense of a world where Republicans control the Presidency, the Senate, and the House, but, nonetheless, is despondent with the current state of affairs and the nation's trajectory. Of course, he's not alone, and you could just as easily read - on a daily basis - Max Boot, Jennifer Rubin, or even Bill Kristol... But the background and bona fides matter, and ... and this is important ... Frum (and these others) hasn't changed his stripes; he just doesn't recognize our government, nor can he reconcile the current state of affairs with what he understood to be "conservative" leadership, policy, aspiration, or behavior. I can't say that I've read any significant slice of the tsunami of new literature rapidly coming to press attempting to describe and unpack our current state of affairs. Having said that, I think this would be a fine companion to Timothy D. Snyder's pithy but compelling On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, which I recommend without hesitation. But the bottom line is we'd all be better off if the public (if everyone) was reading more - particularly more credible reporting and analysis. Knowledge is power, and, in a representative democracy, our union is beholden to a (minimally) informed and cognizant electorate.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    Sorry, Dave, but the erosion of the Republican base was well underway during Your Guy's administration. Your start date of 2008-ish for when Things Started Going Downhill in the Party is kinduva steaming load of bullshit. I don't disremember those 8 years. It was shit, and your party was starting to show signs of rot & disorder & subversion of norms to the point that Jim Jeffords left you guys. Don't gaslight me, Dave. It'd be nice to see a parade of flagellant ex-Bushies in the streets, but I won Sorry, Dave, but the erosion of the Republican base was well underway during Your Guy's administration. Your start date of 2008-ish for when Things Started Going Downhill in the Party is kinduva steaming load of bullshit. I don't disremember those 8 years. It was shit, and your party was starting to show signs of rot & disorder & subversion of norms to the point that Jim Jeffords left you guys. Don't gaslight me, Dave. It'd be nice to see a parade of flagellant ex-Bushies in the streets, but I won't hold my breath. My sense is that a lot, if not most, of this ilk would be a-ok with Trump if he'd be more subtle in his methods. He really gave the game away, and they would go right back to their old ways if a slicker & deceptively benign figure came along. *side-eyes Pence* That said, the book - though rather disorganized and without a coherent organization - was readable and had some info nuggets that had slipped past me due to the spastic tennis ball machine of BS that was 2016 & 2017. The audiobook version had a stilted, robotic reader, though. That format is such a mixed bag at times.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    "Trumpocracy has left Americans less safe against foreign dangers, has diverted their money from its proper purposes to improper pockets, has worked to bias law enforcement in favor of the powerful, and has sought to intimidate media lest they report things the public most needs to know." Thus David Frum sets the stage to explain how Donald Trump undermines democracy in his new book, Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic. If there is any surprise in this line of argument, it lies i "Trumpocracy has left Americans less safe against foreign dangers, has diverted their money from its proper purposes to improper pockets, has worked to bias law enforcement in favor of the powerful, and has sought to intimidate media lest they report things the public most needs to know." Thus David Frum sets the stage to explain how Donald Trump undermines democracy in his new book, Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic. If there is any surprise in this line of argument, it lies in the identity of its author. David Frum is a card-carrying conservative, or neoconservative, if you prefer the current jargon. He wrote speeches for George W. Bush and served as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. (He is now a senior editor at The Atlantic and a CNN commentator.) What sets Frum apart from today's kneejerk "conservatives" is that he has been in the Never Trump camp since the New York developer turned reality TV star declared his campaign for the White House. In Trumpocracy, Frum methodically surveys the damage Donald Trump and his minions have been inflicting on the American people ever since November 6, 2016. For example, in a chapter entitled "Plunder," he details the blatant corruption that is enriching Trump and his family. (Frum notes that "the United States ranked a not exactly reassuring eighteenth on Transparency International's corruption index, behind Hong Kong and Belgium.") But the author doesn't place all the blame on Donald Trump personally. "The man inside the oval center did not act alone. He held his power with the connivance of others. They executed his orders and empowered his whims for crass and cowardly reasons of their own: partisanship, ambition, greed for gain, eagerness for attention, ideological zeal, careerist conformity, or—in the worst cases—malicious glee in the wreck of things they could never have built themselves." Frum is clearly convinced (as am I) that Donald Trump is in the White House "in some considerable part by clandestine help from Russia." Like Guardian reporter Luke Harding in another recent book, Collusion, Frum believes the evidence clearly shows that the Trump campaign collaborated with Russian officials operating on behalf of President Vladimir Putin. And he deplores the shameless efforts by Right-Wing media as well as the White House to discredit those who are attempting to uncover the truth about the collusion. For instance, he quotes a pro-Trump author speaking on CNN: "'There's no violation of law if, in fact, the campaign colluded with Russia, whatever that means.'" Come again? How is collusion in this context not treasonous? Curiously (for a conservative), Frum appears to be troubled by the near-total dominance of the Republican Party in today's political scene—and the underhanded tactics used to achieve it. "Republicans entered the 2016 cycle controlling all elected branches of government in half the states in the country, their best showing since the 1920s. Democrats controlled only seven states, their worst showing since Reconstruction." Frum notes with concern that voter suppression has played a major role in this trend. However, he doesn't mention gerrymandering, which has doubtless been an equally important factor. Frum also examines the damage to US foreign policy and our country's reputation around the world. He writes, "[Trump] never understood that America's power arose not only from its own wealth and its own military force, but from its centrality to a network of friends and allies." The author is also deeply concerned about the multiple attacks from Trump and his staff on the national security agencies. He fears the possibility that the FBI, the CIA, and the other intelligence agencies—as well as the Pentagon—may drift into the habit of keeping future Presidents isolated and acting essentially on their own. As other commentators have done, Frum explores the rise in support for violent white-nationalist groups as a result of Donald Trump's campaign and his time in the White House. But of even greater concern is the much broader trend toward the politics of resentment. "The phrase 'white privilege' transitioned from the academy into common speech in the Obama years—at exactly the moment that millions of white Americans were experiencing the worst social trauma since the Great Depression." Not only did Trump capitalize on that development; as well all know, he is driving the wedge even deeper between whites and people of color. There is little in Trumpocracy that is truly new. We've learned most of these lessons from others over the past two years. Frum's contribution is to compile the facts and the analysis into one thin volume—and carefully document every assertion. By contrast with other recent books about the Trump Era, one-quarter of Frum's book consists of notes. The result is a case against Donald Trump that is difficult to refute.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Frum expands on his articles in The Atlantic, where he is senior editor, to convincingly put forward the reasons that President Trump is a threat to our Constitutional Democracy. As a thoughtful, principled conservative and ‘Never Trumper’, Frum is appalled at the blatant disregard for the Presidential tradition of showing the public their tax returns and following ethical guidelines to avoid the appearance of corruption. Indeed, Trump seeks to enrich himself and his family by mixing business wi Frum expands on his articles in The Atlantic, where he is senior editor, to convincingly put forward the reasons that President Trump is a threat to our Constitutional Democracy. As a thoughtful, principled conservative and ‘Never Trumper’, Frum is appalled at the blatant disregard for the Presidential tradition of showing the public their tax returns and following ethical guidelines to avoid the appearance of corruption. Indeed, Trump seeks to enrich himself and his family by mixing business with government. He will, without a doubt, be known as the most corrupt President—EVER. Add to that, his meanness to EVERYONE (except Putin), his total lack of intellectual curiosity and his demand that his appointees pledge loyalty to HIM, not the Constitution and one cringes at the damage he is doing to the Presidency and the country. Frum is even more disappointed with the Republican Party. It has not provided a counterbalance to Trump’s continuous lying and boorish behavior. Indeed, it seems to have largely fallen into line behind Trump, despite Trump’s penchant to pursue policies that are the opposite of traditional Republican beliefs like the benefits of free trade, reducing budget deficits and addressing the National Debt. Thin-skinned Trump is unable to endure criticism from mainstream media, so largely avoids it by watching only favorable Fox News and others like it. All the rest, he dismisses as ‘Fake News’. Indeed, the truth is something that Trump has a hard time dealing with and it is one of the suggestions that Frum asserts will help to counter Trumpism. “Go High when They Go Low”. This is not an easy book to read—the stated threats to our democratic principles are real and literally make me sick to my stomach. But don’t let that stop you—one must get informed, get active and work to make our democracy stronger than ever. Highly recommend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    Ugh. It's only slightly more nuanced than Fire and Fury and all of the rest of them. (Why do I keep reading this books about Trump? Because I feel like if I read them all, I will come to understand why he is our president). There are some really good passages--especially when he talks about the entire Republican party and what its problems are, but the stuff about trump is just everything we already know from the headlines. This isn't a big idea book even though it's sort of thinks it is. We mig Ugh. It's only slightly more nuanced than Fire and Fury and all of the rest of them. (Why do I keep reading this books about Trump? Because I feel like if I read them all, I will come to understand why he is our president). There are some really good passages--especially when he talks about the entire Republican party and what its problems are, but the stuff about trump is just everything we already know from the headlines. This isn't a big idea book even though it's sort of thinks it is. We might need to hold off a bit on analyzing the Trumpocracy until after he's left office and everything has simmered down a bit. Also, if I hear one more author compare what's going on with Trump with college students protesting campus speakers, I am going to lose it and start joining the protestors.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ted Lehmann

    Trumpocracy by David Frum – Book Review David Frum has written an erudite, scholarly, entertaining, coruscating, and, ultimately, both deeply scary and hopeful book called Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic (HarperCollins, 2018, 320 pages, $25.99/12.99). Using elegant, nuanced writing and thoughtful analysis based on deep, and wide research, fully thirty percent of the text is taken up by footnotes, Frum carefully builds his argument using well-recognized sources from across the Trumpocracy by David Frum – Book Review David Frum has written an erudite, scholarly, entertaining, coruscating, and, ultimately, both deeply scary and hopeful book called Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic (HarperCollins, 2018, 320 pages, $25.99/12.99). Using elegant, nuanced writing and thoughtful analysis based on deep, and wide research, fully thirty percent of the text is taken up by footnotes, Frum carefully builds his argument using well-recognized sources from across the political, historical, and media spectrum. He presents a clear-eyed vision of Trump world from a Republican intellectual who wants him to do well and achieve the conservative goals his party has long felt powerless to achieve. Frum carefully uses what Trump says about his goals both as a candidate and as President, as well as a wide array of his allies, the media from Fox & Friends to Meet the Press, from Hugh Hewitt to Mark Levin. He’s careful, judicious, and, ultimately... damning. David Frum, born in Canada, has degrees from the University of Toronto, Yale University, and Harvard Law School. As he said in Newsweek, “I'm a conservative Republican, have been all my adult life. I volunteered for the Reagan campaign in 1980. I've attended every Republican convention since 1988. I was president of the Federalist Society chapter at my law school, worked on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal and wrote speeches for President Bush—not the "Read My Lips" Bush, the "Axis of Evil" Bush. I served on the Giuliani campaign in 2008 and voted for John McCain in November. I supported the Iraq War and (although I feel kind of silly about it in retrospect) the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I could go on, but you get the idea.” He has been an American citizen since 2007, while having been active in American politics for most of his adult life. Frum, who appears to be no admirer of Trump, nevertheless paints what seems to me to be an accurate and un-frenzied picture of how Trump uses real and imagined power along with blunt bullying and lying to force people not his natural allies to line up with him and do his bidding, while many of them have taken positions in the government which will allow them to create no end of un-doing a generations long pattern of increasing governmental oversight of their enterprises. Meanwhile, useful regulations and protections are thrown out with the bureaucratic overburden and there’s so much self-dealing the public becomes inured to it. He demonstrates how the use of language in the Trump administration masks the goals of those he’s appointed to make America a more dangerous, dirty, and divided country. The structure of Trumpocracy lays out the ways in which Donald Trump behaves to bring maximum attention to himself while having limited interest in the history, laws, traditions, and structure of our country. He consistently acts in such a way as to increase his own power while not seeking advice or counsel from those who truly understand how the government works, especially with reference to our hallowed separation of powers and reliance upon them to come to reasonable governance for all. Frum writes that under Trump, “The government of the United States seems to have made common cause with the planet’s thugs, crooks, and dictators against its own ideals—and in fact to have imported the spirit of thuggery, crookedness, and dictatorship into the very core of the American state, into the most solemn symbolic oval center of its law and liberty.” He continues, “Trump’s hope was that an unconstrained America could grab more power for itself (and thereby for him). He never understood that America’s power arose not only from its own wealth and its own military force, but from its centrality to a network of friends and allies.” For Trump there is no win-win, he can only win if someone else loses, and he will never share his wins with anyone. The author treats extensively the web of associations, betrayals, and the apparent idea that America itself must not only be first, but alone at the top. “Trump throws everyone under the bus in his eager embrace of...Himself! He seems totally unaware of the intensely interwoven mutual dependency that exists between the President and members of Congress in seeking to enact his agenda. As a man with no knowledge of how government works or the place of the Presidency in it, he continues to show no interest in policy, the rule of law, or political realities. Frum emphasizes his treatment of Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, and Senator Jeff Flake, from Arizona, as examples of people whose support he needed who he gleefully destroyed in his own interest. His cruel decision not to allow Sean Spicer to meet the Pope stands as a testimony to his willful nastiness. Trump’s insistence on flattery and abject adherence to his neediness is stomach turning. Frum details a televised cabinet meeting during which a round-table of cabinet secretaries vomited out flattering lies about the fine job Trump was doing. He contrasts that to George W. Bush’s deep skepticism to anything that smacked of flattery. A major advantage of a book from a person like David Frum is that it steps back a little way from the day-to-day cascade of cable news, or even from the weekend talk shows to take a wider and more comprehensive portrait of Trump and the Trump administration. As such, it can be both nuanced and comprehensive. By battling against everything the press says that could be mildly seen as critical, Trump actively works to reduce the influence of the press at home and abroad. His and his surrogates, particularly at Fox News, encourage discrediting even the most reliable and honest reporters. Furthermore, he actively supported authoritarian leaders in other countries when abroad in their efforts to muzzle their own press. Frum argues that Trump’s negligence and laziness actually strengthens him through eliminating all normal checks and balances. He shows how Trump relience on outmoded and failed Republican ideology has replaced conservative thinking. However, Frum despairs at the ability of the incumbent to see or understand what that might be. Nevertheless, he concludes his very fine book on a note of hope generated from reactions to the negative affects of the Trump administration. David Frum’s Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic (HarperCollins, 2018, 320 pages, $25.99/12.99) stands as a sober, yet often frightening, at least to me, assessment of the Trump campaign and most of his first year. The book has earned the highest of recommendations I can give it. I received a free copy of Trumpocracy from the publisher as an electronic pre-publication through Edelweiss and read it on my Kindle App.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/... (view spoiler)[Frum is a Republican who voted for Hillary in 2016😵 😵 😵 😵 😵 😵 (hide spoiler)] https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/... (view spoiler)[Frum is a Republican who voted for Hillary in 2016😵 😵 😵 😵 😵 😵 (hide spoiler)]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

    Considering David Frum’s one-time employer, his unabashed (though not brash) embrace of the conservative label, and the unfortunate occasion of its publication (on the heels of Fire and Fury), it’s possible his latest book may not garner the wide audience it so sorely deserves. Trumpocracy is a thorough, candid, and humorous treatment of the political apotheosis of America’s legendary bully. Though it’s impossible for me to say how Trumpocracy ranks among published criticisms of the current admi Considering David Frum’s one-time employer, his unabashed (though not brash) embrace of the conservative label, and the unfortunate occasion of its publication (on the heels of Fire and Fury), it’s possible his latest book may not garner the wide audience it so sorely deserves. Trumpocracy is a thorough, candid, and humorous treatment of the political apotheosis of America’s legendary bully. Though it’s impossible for me to say how Trumpocracy ranks among published criticisms of the current administration considering I’ve read few, I can say it was worth the drive across town in rush-hour traffic to buy in hardcover and read without delay. In Trumpocracy, Frum argues that Trump, though “cruel vengeful, egoistic, ignorant, lazy, avaricious, and treacherous” (235), is a historic figurehead in a powerful movement purposed to corrode democracy and invite a cycle of political retribution in which the majority gains nothing and an elite minority prosper. He examines the cultural context which allowed for Trump’s election, the political context within the Republican party which allowed for Trump to take advantage of their antiquated and opportunistic platform, and the global context which resulted in many authoritarian leaders gaining popularity in their respective countries over the past several years. Frum accomplishes all of the above in twelve concise and well-researched chapters: 1. Pre-Existing Conditions - Fights over the debt ceiling becoming a political weapon, the increase in executive power, the popularity of conspiracy theories (notably the Birther hoax), boycotting Presidential appointments as a political weapon, the underhanded Republican repeal of the ACA, and fatigue with political dynasties. 2. Enablers - Reasons why the public supported Trump (includes the science of ‘negative partisanship (26)). 3. Appeasers - How & why Trump was able to win the Republican base. 4. Plunder - Trump’s exploitation of governmental systems to build individual/family fortune via conflict-of-interest arrangements and nepotism. 5. Betrayals - Trump’s subverting of political loyalties and paralyzing a rare Republican federal government. 6. Enemies of the People - Trump’s vendetta against media integrity and his calling into question of a central tenet of democracy: freedom of speech. 7. Rigged System - Flaws in voting laws, flaws in voting methodology, and the Russian espionage contributing to Trump’s victory. 8. America Alone - Trump’s dismantling of established foreign policy norms in Asia and the Middle East in pursuit of an ignorant isolationism. 9. Autoimmune Disorder - A word of caution about national security agencies acting independently of Presidential directives, even when justified and reasonable. 10. Resentments - The cultural attitudes and bleak statistics, particularly concerning young white males, which motivated Trump supporters and contributed to his symbolism. 11. Believers - Believing in Trump as an answer to not knowing how to live in an increasingly multiethnic society. 12. Hope - Examples of public distaste of Trump’s actions and a call to action for increased civic duty, education, and public engagement. For those unfamiliar with Frum’s work, he is a fantastic writer and infrequently, if ever, indulges in partisan critiques of those who would disagree with his conservative frame of mind. In fact, Trumpocracy is as good a primer for what’s wrong with the Republican party as it is for what’s wrong with Trump. At various points, Frum claims the Republican party is at a dead-end: unresponsive to the wishes of its base, antiquated, opportunistic, and dishonest. The meanest thing he has to say about Leftist opinions is a caution against fighting fire-with-fire and electing a candidate as distastefully corrupt as Trump. Trumpocracy is a quick read and has no new information to share about POTUS that has not already been presented in headlines over the course of the past eighteen months. That said, it doesn’t have that stale, shameful, Trump-news taste. It is a wonderful analysis of the cultural conditions which allowed Trump to take power, cited thoroughly, and written to persuade.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This is a book I picked up at a library sale earlier this year. Interesting because it's by David Frum, a conservative. His opposition to Trump is due to Trump's character, or lack of same and how he is corrupting the American system of democracy. Needless to say, Frum does not regard Trump as a true conservative and he looks forward to the post-Trump era when the Republican Party can return to conservative principles. But I have to say it was difficult to keep reading this book and being remin This is a book I picked up at a library sale earlier this year. Interesting because it's by David Frum, a conservative. His opposition to Trump is due to Trump's character, or lack of same and how he is corrupting the American system of democracy. Needless to say, Frum does not regard Trump as a true conservative and he looks forward to the post-Trump era when the Republican Party can return to conservative principles. But I have to say it was difficult to keep reading this book and being reminded of all Trump's outrages just in his first year in office and that it's just gotten worse since then...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    He did not do it by himself. Donald Trump was hoisted into office, and is sustained there by many hands: by a conservative entertainment complex that propagandized for him; by fellow candidates for president who appeased him in the hope they could use him; by a Republican Party apparatus that submitted to him; by a donor elite who funded him; by a congressional party that protected him; by writers and intellectuals who invented excuses for him; and by millions of rank-and-file Republicans, who accep He did not do it by himself. Donald Trump was hoisted into office, and is sustained there by many hands: by a conservative entertainment complex that propagandized for him; by fellow candidates for president who appeased him in the hope they could use him; by a Republican Party apparatus that submitted to him; by a donor elite who funded him; by a congressional party that protected him; by writers and intellectuals who invented excuses for him; and by millions of rank-and-file Republicans, who accepted him. Description: Quietly, steadily, Trump and his administration are damaging the tenets and accepted practices of American democracy, perhaps irrevocably. As he and his family enrich themselves, the presidency itself falls into the hands of the generals and financiers who surround him. While much of the country has been focused on Russia, David Frum has been collecting the lies, obfuscations, and flagrant disregard for the traditional limits placed on the office of the presidency. In Trumpocracy, he documents how Trump and his administration are steadily damaging the tenets and accepted practices of American democracy. During his own White House tenure as George W. Bush’s speechwriter, Frum witnessed the ways the presidency is limited not by law but by tradition, propriety, and public outcry, all now weakened. Whether the Trump presidency lasts two, four, or eight more years, he has changed the nature of the office for the worse, and likely for decades. Opening: Chapter 1: Pre-existing Conditions: Democracy dies in darkness, opines a great American newspaper, but it would be more accurate to say that it dies by degrees. Where constitutional democracy has been lost, it has been lost because political actors have broken its rules turn by turn to achieve some immediately urgent goal. Each rule breaking then justifies the next, in a cycle of revenge that ends only in the formal or informal abrogation of the constitutional order. Bill Maher show

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maryam

    Maybe you do not much care about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy. The stability of American society depends on conservatives’ ability to find a way forward from the Trump dead end, toward a conservatism that can not only win elections but also govern responsibly, a conservatism that is culturally modern, econom Maybe you do not much care about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy. The stability of American society depends on conservatives’ ability to find a way forward from the Trump dead end, toward a conservatism that can not only win elections but also govern responsibly, a conservatism that is culturally modern, economically inclusive, and environmentally responsible, that upholds markets at home and US leadership internationally. In Trumpocracy, David Frum documents how Trump and his administration damage America. He talks about corruption that gives Trump family huge money revenue and how Trump uses his power to his own personal advantage in extreme. Frum doesn’t blame only Trump though.. The man inside the oval center did not act alone. He held his power with the connivance of others. They executed his orders and empowered his whims for crass and cowardly reasons of their own: partisanship, ambition, greed for gain, eagerness for attention, ideological zeal, careerist conformity, or—in the worst cases—malicious glee in the wreck of things they could never have built themselves. Most people already know about the facts in the book but still it’s nice to have all the facts and analysis in one place.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Shaffer

    A solid overview of the past two years, and how normalcy has eroded. Maybe my expectations were too high after the backstage intrigue of books like THE DEVIL'S BARGAIN and FIRE AND FURY. A solid overview of the past two years, and how normalcy has eroded. Maybe my expectations were too high after the backstage intrigue of books like THE DEVIL'S BARGAIN and FIRE AND FURY.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt Tandy

    While there are many anti-Trump books out there, they are for the most part written by left leaning activists and intellectuals. David Frum is a former speech writer for George Bush and a Republican, giving him a very different perspective on this presidency, yet coming to many of the same conclusions as his normal rivals. Thoughtful and alarming, yet never alarmist, Trumpocracy gets to the heart of what’s wrong with both the election and subsequent administration, while offering real hope for m While there are many anti-Trump books out there, they are for the most part written by left leaning activists and intellectuals. David Frum is a former speech writer for George Bush and a Republican, giving him a very different perspective on this presidency, yet coming to many of the same conclusions as his normal rivals. Thoughtful and alarming, yet never alarmist, Trumpocracy gets to the heart of what’s wrong with both the election and subsequent administration, while offering real hope for moving forward, both for right and left leaning people.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    “I just want to repeat: I’m president. I’m not king... I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there’s a limit to the discretion that I can show, because I am obliged to execute the law. That’s what the executive branch means. I can’t just make up the laws by myself.” ---President Barack Obama, 2010 The resentment, anger, hatred, and “I just want to repeat: I’m president. I’m not king... I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there’s a limit to the discretion that I can show, because I am obliged to execute the law. That’s what the executive branch means. I can’t just make up the laws by myself.” ---President Barack Obama, 2010 The resentment, anger, hatred, and latent racism and sexism of white men of mediocre intelligence that was the predominant force in getting Trump elected bubbled below the surface long before January 1, 2009 but it was, perhaps, that day when it began to boil over noticeably. Certainly the Steve Bannons, Mitch McConnells, Paul Ryans, and Donald Trumps of the world would never openly admit to being racist assholes: their criticism was based on Obama’s policies, not his person. Never mind that Obama hadn’t even put forth any policies yet prior to January 1, 2009. He hadn’t even officially stepped into the Oval Office before cries of disgust emanated from Republican party members and a campaign was initiated to make sure Obama was a one-term president. Racist pictures of Obama as an African witch doctor or the Obamas as gorillas in the White House permeated Facebook for months following his inauguration, but nobody actually had the balls to admit that, sure, they were racist. They were just “funnin’”. Trump’s election to the presidency was a logical follow-up to the eight years of boiling-beneath-the-surface irrational fears and hatreds of emasculated white men. Trump was their poster-boy. After all, Trump was the guy who promoted, for eight years, the ridiculous Birther theory that Obama was not only not a legitimate president, he wasn’t even a legitimate American. And he was a secret Muslim, to boot. Even long after the Birther theory was proven to be a hoax, Trump refused to give it up. To this day, he has still never once apologized to Obama, and he never will. If anyone knows secret racist and emasculated resentment, it’s Trump. Trump and, more importantly, his strongest supporters deny being racist, of course, but the truth of the matter is, regardless of what is in his heart (and only God knows that), Trump’s campaign attracted, emboldened, and legitimized a deeply latent racist, white supremacist, nationalistic fervor, one that not only dreams of recreating a pre-Civil Rights Era America but wants to ensure that the hippy-dippy politically-correct liberal snowflake pro-gay, pro-black, pro-woman pro-science/environment leftist agenda will never again have the political power that it had during the Obama years. Democracy is being eroded as we speak. All around us, the once-great experiment in liberty and freedom that was devised by a wise group of Founding Fathers in 1776 is being spit on, deconstructed, demolished, and gradually forgotten by a greed-driven group of white men. It’s not ironic that these white men view themselves on the same level as the original white men who founded this country. In their minds, they are simply taking back the country. David Frum, in his book “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic”, puts a name to the new kind of system that is currently in place under Trump. We are no longer (and, arguably, never were) living in a democracy. Even “Republic” doesn’t fit anymore the kind of system we live in, because a republic implies that our elected officials are, in some way, looking out for our best interests. In reality, they are looking out for their own best interests, and Trump is, as he has always done throughout his life, looking out solely for himself. The goal is the complete collapse of the republic: “Trumpocracy as a system of power rests not on deregulation but on nonregulation, not on deconstructing the state but on breaking the state in order to plunder the state. (p. 101)” Frum nails it when he describes what is going on in our government as rule of law, not necessarily by the rich or the corporate elites, but by a gang of thieves: “What is spreading today is repressive kleptocracy, led by rulers motivated by greed rather than by the deranged idealism of Hitler or Stalin or Mao. Such rulers rely less on terror and more on rule-twisting, the manipulation of information, and the co-option of elites. Their goal is self-enrichment; the corrosion of the rule of law is the necessary means. (p. 52)” Rot starts from within, and Trump is succeeding at initiating a slow degradation and decay of our country and government, starting with the misfits and idiots who surround him in the White House: “Trump has created a snake pit working environment, seething with hatreds and perforated by mutually vindictive leaks. He extracts groveling flattery in public and private, but never requites even the most abject loyalty. To work for Donald Trump, you must ready yourself to lie and lie... (p. 72)” It’s not a fluke that the first statements out of the Trump White House were blatant obfuscations uttered by Sean Spicer about the number of people who attended the inauguration. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Trump prided himself on the “best-attended” inauguration “ever”. This direct slap in the face to reality immediately set the tone for what we should expect from Trump and his cronies: bigger and badder bullshit. Trump’s first wave of attack was toward American journalism. Anything that Trump saw as critical of him or his Administration was quickly dubbed “fake news”, and his supporters bought into the bullshit. Buying into bullshit, though, is part and parcel of what it means to be a Trump supporter. Living in a Trumpocracy, according to Frum, is having to accept that a powerful cadre of Americans are seeking to destroy First Amendment rights, whether it’s attempting to denigrate journalists, creating laws that would limit people’s ability to protest, or banning whole groups of people from entering the country based on their religion. According to Frum, “What we are seeing is a grant of permission from millions of people to the president of the United States to diminish, discredit, corrode, and ultimately subvert what the authors of the U.S. Bill of Rights listed among the very first freedoms necessary to their great experiment in self-government. (p. 123)” The nepotism, rampant leaks, reports of a White House in tumult have simply become the new normal in Washington, D.C., and Trump is fomenting it masterfully: “Donald Trump may not be a proper president, or a competent president, or a patriotic president, or even a legitimate president in any larger ethical sense of the word “legitimate.” But he is the lawful president, charged with public functions. In order to stop him from betraying his office and the country, the professionals around him have also effectively prevented him from fulfilling his office and serving his country, supposing he were ever minded to do that. He must do his job, however he conceives that job, within a narrow ambit of relatives and cronies, selected mostly for their negative qualities: their lack of integrity. The dysfunction inside the White House is Trump’s fault, but it is not only Trump’s problem. (p. 174)” This dysfunction is, sadly, spreading outward into the rest of the world, like a virus. Trump is merely a carrier. Its disease vector has been around for centuries, and it has lain dormant in many Americans since the 1950s, when things started to change for the better for many disenfranchised Americans, namely blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, women, and homosexuals: or, as white nationalists like to call them, “the enemy”. White nationalism is what Trump stands for and it’s what got him elected, but it wasn’t born in a vacuum. According to a George Washington University research study, between the years 2012 and 2016 followership of American white nationalist accounts on Twitter increased by 600 percent. That’s not a typo: I meant to say six hundred. (https://cchs.gwu.edu/sites/cchs.gwu.e....) What radicalizes young white men to become white nationalists? Unemployment, video games, and drug use seem to be contributing factors. ****In 2014, only 71% of men aged eighteen to 34 were employed, compared to 84% in 1960. (http: //www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/05/24/fo....) ****Unemployed noncollege young men spend, on average, 8.6 hours per week playing video games today, an average that more than doubled in just five years. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/w...) ****Nineteen percent of Americans under the age of 30 regularly smoke marijuana. Young men are statistically twice as likely to smoke as young women. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/194195/adu....) While those are certainly fun statistics, and while it is certainly a plausible theory, the real reason why more white men are waving tiki torches, spewing Nazi propaganda, and complaining on Twitter that movies like the latest “Star Wars” and “Black Panther” have too many “bitches” and “niggers” in them is simply because they can, because Trump is giving them a free pass. These young white men are, after all, according to Trump, “some very fine people”. Where is the outrage? The reason it all seems to be coming solely from the Left is because it is. Anti-Trump Republicans are out there, but they’re not standing up and protesting very loudly. To be fair, if they doth protest too much, it often translates into political suicide. Or at least the Trumpian wing of the GOP makes it look like a suicide. Frum’s fear is that Trump’s destruction of the GOP from within will create an untenable situation for level-headed conservatives. Rather than making fun of these people, telling them “I told you so”, and generally pissing them off with more anti-Trump and anti-GOP vitriol, we should be encouraging them to fight to take back their own party. “Conservatives will always be with us,” writes Frum. “If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy. (p. 206)” We are seeing evidence of this already. The balance of power in Washington, D.C. is currently nonexistent. Letting it swing either way would be dangerous and ultimately at odds with keeping democracy alive. Frum seems to think---and I would agree---that the best way to combat Trumpism is to keep resisting within the law. If we are to make any headway against the insanity and evil of the Trumpocracy, we must make sure that we, ourselves, are above reproach: “As President Trump is cruel, vengeful, egoistic, ignorant, lazy, avaricious, and treacherous, so we must be kind, forgiving, responsible, informed, hardworking, generous, and patriotic. As Trump’s enablers are careless, cynical, shortsighted, morally obtuse, and rancorous, so Trump’s opponents must be thoughtful, idealistic, wise, morally sensitive, and conciliatory. “They go low, we go high,” a wise woman said. (p.235)”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    What a disappointing effort from David Frum!  While I do not share many of the author's political convictions, he is one of the writers I turn to to better understand neoconservative Republican viewpoints.  His writing in "The Atlantic" magazine, where Frum is a senior editor, is usually crisp and his points well substantiated, so I was looking forward to reading a strongly argued position expanding on his many articles addressing the peculiarities of the Trump campaign and presidency.  I was sp What a disappointing effort from David Frum!  While I do not share many of the author's political convictions, he is one of the writers I turn to to better understand neoconservative Republican viewpoints.  His writing in "The Atlantic" magazine, where Frum is a senior editor, is usually crisp and his points well substantiated, so I was looking forward to reading a strongly argued position expanding on his many articles addressing the peculiarities of the Trump campaign and presidency.  I was specifically interested in reading more about a concern he raised in the March 2017 issue of the magazine, addressing a trend since 2000 of the slow and insidious erosion of world democracies and the subsequent rise of authoritarianism. "Trumpocracy" makes some fair points and has a few highly quotable tidbits, but the title largely comes across as a disorganized, rambling, low-energy rant, obsessively cataloguing the multiple transgressions of Trump against political norms, while offering little of the cogent analysis or historical perspective that would have made his argument regarding the dangers to our democracy persuasive or even understandable. Frum's railing at the rise of Trump seems to arise more from anger at the Republican Party's know-nothing populist lurch sidelining his neoconservative friends and principles rather than arising from a genuine concern for our nation. If you are interested in the question of whether Trump's political behavior presents a threat to our democracy, I would highly suggest reading "How Democracies Die" instead.  Where the arguments in "Trumpocracy" are a scattershot, angry reaction to the abuses of Trump and his circle, the authors of "How Democracies Die" take the time and care to organize their points, supporting them with historical and comparative examples, with the effect that the reader is informed rather than inflamed.  "HDD" confines its argument to Trump's damage to the mechanisms and norms of democracy, and this sharper focus helps their case.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Regina Hunter

    Book does not add nor expand on the current knowledge at all. Simply recounts and restates the obvious, anybody watching liberal media can gather as much.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Inna

    Will we be a functioning democracy after Trump? After I finished Trumpocracy I was both more frightened and more hopeful. David Frum explains in this book how our entire system (which was designed to make sure that a casually cruel, corrupt person like Trump could never assume power) failed. This did not happen overnight and we will not fix it overnight. David Frum makes that clear from the get-go. Then it gets worse. In a chapter titled “Enablers” Frum points out that Trump became president and Will we be a functioning democracy after Trump? After I finished Trumpocracy I was both more frightened and more hopeful. David Frum explains in this book how our entire system (which was designed to make sure that a casually cruel, corrupt person like Trump could never assume power) failed. This did not happen overnight and we will not fix it overnight. David Frum makes that clear from the get-go. Then it gets worse. In a chapter titled “Enablers” Frum points out that Trump became president and stays president because “a conservative entertainment complex propagandizes for him; [other Republican presidential] candidates appeased him in the hope they could use him; a Republican Party apparatus that submitted to him; a donor elite who funded him; a congressional party that protected him; writers and intellectuals who invented excuses for him; and by millions of rank and file Republicans who accepted him.” And then he gives (or re-produces) examples that, if you’re anything like me, you had forgotten—because there had been so many scandals and outrages since then. He recounts Trump’s fight with the Pope and how Fox News made it seem like Hillary (who never got into a fight with the Pope) was anti-Catholic; about how Russia-aligned Wikileaks dumped Hillary’s e-mails on the day we saw the Access Hollywood tape; how Republicans running for office backed away and re-embraced him after that, how the intellectuals defended him (remember the ‘at least he fights’ defense?) and on and on. In Appeasers, Frum documents how Trump’s erstwhile opponents came over to his side. Why? Because he wasn’t Hillary. Because he wasn’t a Democrat. In “Plunder” (to me perhaps the most chilling chapter), Frum catalogues how well the Kushners did when Trump won the presidency. Jared’s building on 666 Fifth Avenue was in trouble. It was losing business and the interest rate on his loan was about to double. Then Trump won and all of a sudden money poured in from all over the world, including China and the building was (all of a sudden) doing quite well. Trump profited even more. After president-elect Trump mentioned during a call with Argentina’s president that a Trump building was stalled in the permitting process, a miracle happened. The building moved forward. China approved thirty-eight Trump trademarks in one month (March 2017). By the end of May, the Chinese government had granted Trump seventy-seven trademarks as well as a trademark for Ivanka. China experts described the speed and ease with which these approvals happened as “weird”. Another miracle. And on and on. I won’t give away the rest of the book—you should read it for yourself—but I will tell you that the other chapters are titled: Betrayals, Enemies of the People, Rigged System, America Alone, Autoimmune Disorder, Resentments, Believers. They tell us about how deeply our government and our nation has been corrupted and the price we are paying for it. Puerto Rico (still) has no power. Flint, Michigan (still) has no potable water. We may be days away from (yet another) government shutdown. Our government is broken. But so is our politics. We have (for example) had assassination attempts on our representatives and our journalists. The assassins were not foreign terrorists; they were Americans. And yet in spite of all that, David Frum’s last chapter is called Hope. He is hopeful because the elites have finally seen that working class Americans are dangerous. He doesn’t say this but (as I am not a conservative and he is, I will) for too long the rich have bought off the working class with non-political “issues” like abortion and same sex marriage. As in: vote for us and policies most hurtful to you and your family and we will “do something” about people being gay and women having abortion. Spoiler alert: all that happened is that poor people got poorer. And of course that was result because no matter what you think the good human is, passing more laws isn’t going to make that “good person” spring up fully formed like Athena from Zeus’ head. And I suspect most people in blue-collar jobs knew that but kept electing people who promised to hurt them and their families anyway because they valued the vision of the America they offered more than their actual experience of America. But when they all of a sudden they nominated a guy who said the opposite of a socially conservative America that gave the rich loads of money (yes, he lied but that’s what he promised) the working class suddenly seemed dangerous again. And as Frum points out, the elites have ever only enacted policies to help working men and women when the working class seems dangerous. He is hopeful because we have rediscovered how valuable truth and facts really are. For a long time, it was fashionable (and on both sides) to deny that there is an objective reality. On the left, we took the Michele Foucault approach and said that any “truth” is just a reflection of power so there is identity-truth—as in White Truth and Black Truth and Native American Truth. On the other hand, the right now buys into conspiracy theories and the whole notion of “news you wish didn’t exist or new reported in an outlet whose editorial board does not agree with your politics is fake”. But now, confronted with a politician who lies about the things he says on national television all of us are rediscovering the value of objective truth. But finally, and most importantly, Frum finds some hope because people who have exactly what they want show up at their door in 24 hours are re-discovering the value of compromise and democracy. Indeed, he starts this chapter with a letter from a reader who told him that since the 2016 election, he makes a “point to make a concrete (if small) act of civic engagement every weekday.” The reader goes on to list reading our founding texts like Mills essay “On Liberty,” reading up about important (to them) issues and calling state and local officials. That’s important. Because democracy is not just marches and endless revolutions. It is the small, everyday things we do to understand how our country works and to compromise to make our country a little better. You will never get exactly what you want. What you will get is a compromise and that’s OK. That is how democratic institutions work; how they should work. We are beginning to re-learn that lesson. And that, indeed, is reason for hope.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jason Aglietti

    I found Trumpocary to be a thought provoking commentary on the current chaotic status of US politics centered around the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Frum explains how US politics arrived to this point, rehashes the current status of the Trump presidency of the last year, and then focuses on the short-term future of US politics. Frum, a long-time conservative and former speech writer for George W. Bush makes a compelling case against the Trump presidency and the need for Republicans to recant I found Trumpocary to be a thought provoking commentary on the current chaotic status of US politics centered around the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Frum explains how US politics arrived to this point, rehashes the current status of the Trump presidency of the last year, and then focuses on the short-term future of US politics. Frum, a long-time conservative and former speech writer for George W. Bush makes a compelling case against the Trump presidency and the need for Republicans to recant on their unwavering loyalty to Trump. The book is engaging and should be insightful to anyone looking to gain a critical conservative perspective on Mr. Trump. While I overwhelmingly liked the book and found it to be a great read, my one critique is that it rehashed many of the events of the last two years that most politically aware people already know. Still, it was a great book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to gain a deeper, conservative perspective on Trump's troubling presidency. [Continue for in-depth review that discusses specific parts of the book] I found one of the most important points that Frum makes is that the Donald Trump campaign and presidency did not happen out of no where. Frum argues that ‘democracy dies in degrees’, and shows how the chipping away at American democracy is due to politicians breaking their own rules in order to gain instant gratification of a pressing matter. He also argues that with the Republican legislature take-over in 2010, Republicans adopted a ‘all or nothing’ political platform, that had ripple effects for the next seven years. Frum also makes the compelling case that over the last few decades, the political scene in America reached a high toxicity level, thus causing many vulnerabilities within America’s democracy and paving the way for Trump to exploit them. This ‘all or nothing’ political platform paved the way for Trump since Republicans backed themselves into a corner, leaving them with the options of looking disloyal to the Republican brand, or simply becoming an enabler of Mr. Trump. While the first half of Frum's book offers little new perspectives on many events that journalists and political commentators have been saying over the last few years, the second half of Frum's book is much more compelling. Frum shares a conservative perspective on the future for Mr. Trump, the Republican Party, and America as a whole. Frum ultimately makes the case that the Republican party’s fate is headed for “electoral trouble – or worse,” where he also thinks that as 2020 draws closer, loyalty from politicians to Trump will “devour his party from within.”(206) The book ultimately ends with glimmers of hope by talking about how he’s seen people become more politically educated and socially aware that may not had happened if the election had swung the other way. He cites polls where Americans overwhelmingly condemn many of Trump’s controversial policies. Frum says that Trump reminded Americans “of the old schoolyard lesson: the bully is a coward.”(227) He ends by saying that as soon as Republicans are willing to accept and fix themselves from aligning themselves with trump, that they may be able to charge forward and redeem themselves.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Very good commentary from David Frum, a conservative journalist. He is right on about many things about who elected Trump and why they elected Trump. He notes the antipathy about immigrants many of the Trump voters have and he warns that conservatives who feel threatened will check out on the democratic process. In the end he offered hope if the conservative view is included in government, and says that Nazi and Communist are just names. I agree with a lot that he says has already happened but t Very good commentary from David Frum, a conservative journalist. He is right on about many things about who elected Trump and why they elected Trump. He notes the antipathy about immigrants many of the Trump voters have and he warns that conservatives who feel threatened will check out on the democratic process. In the end he offered hope if the conservative view is included in government, and says that Nazi and Communist are just names. I agree with a lot that he says has already happened but the Hope chapter seems to be a reach. It is longer than the others and made my patience fall away. Sometimes I rolled my eyes and looked to see how many more pages before the book ended. Before the las chapter I might have given the book a 5 star rating. Frum is pointing out the conservative view which mainly means the white male view and apparently those baby boomers approaching retirement WH want to keep what get have. Like Trump voters, Frum has no view of Americans who are not White and only Barack Obama is mentioned. Latinos don’t exist and there is mention that the “foreign horn” were big reapers of the Alternative Healthcare Act. In his view, those foreign born including naturalized Americans are the biggest problem and cultivated the Us vs. Them mentality. The white male loss of face was a major factor in Trumpism too. I agree that this is a point of view of Trump voters but think that Conservatives are already trying to abandon democracy and disenfranchise others. I think we are in dangerous times and aren’t going to get far in trying appease a small set of voters. Everyone is important and the US needs diverse views. What I don’t agree with is that spending so much time on one group’s view to allow them control for others to participate is going to yield better government. It is time for participation and rights of minorities who have so long been disenfranchised.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alan Johnson

    The author of this book, David Frum, is a self-described conservative Republican. This book is not, however, primarily about conservatism versus liberalism (American progressivism). It is rather about conservativism and liberalism versus authoritarian Trumpism. As such, it is well argued and well written. Consider, for example, the last paragraph (p. 236) of the book: "Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually The author of this book, David Frum, is a self-described conservative Republican. This book is not, however, primarily about conservatism versus liberalism (American progressivism). It is rather about conservativism and liberalism versus authoritarian Trumpism. As such, it is well argued and well written. Consider, for example, the last paragraph (p. 236) of the book: "Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state: not by diktat and violence, but by the slow, demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with an unwearying insistence on the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered. What happens next is up to you. Don’t be afraid. This moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American." I question or disagree with this book only with regard to a few of Frum's passing remarks that are somewhat off the main topic. But this constitutes less than one percent of the book and pales in comparison with the overall excellence of his principal arguments.

  24. 4 out of 5

    M.K.

    An alarming, clear-eyed and well articulated view of what's going on in the US. An alarming, clear-eyed and well articulated view of what's going on in the US.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tabea Vanessa

    I always think rating nonfiction is impossible. What I can tell you that this is worth your time very much but it is also devastating to have it all so condensed and not in small doses. Maybe that is necessary though for even the last people to wake up.....

  26. 4 out of 5

    Book

    Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum “Trumpocracy” is a solid book of those who enable, empower, support and collaborate with Donald Trump. Senior editor at the Atlantic and author of nine books including the bestseller The Right Man, David Frum provides the public with yet another conservative voice who has taken a public stance against Trump’s subversion of norms and the paralysis of governance. This interesting 325-page book includes the following twelve chapters: Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic by David Frum “Trumpocracy” is a solid book of those who enable, empower, support and collaborate with Donald Trump. Senior editor at the Atlantic and author of nine books including the bestseller The Right Man, David Frum provides the public with yet another conservative voice who has taken a public stance against Trump’s subversion of norms and the paralysis of governance. This interesting 325-page book includes the following twelve chapters: Chapter 1: Pre-existing Conditions Chapter 2: Enablers Chapter 3: Appeasers Chapter 4: Plunder Chapter 5: Betrayals Chapter 6: Enemies of the People Chapter 7: Rigged System Chapter 8: America Alone Chapter 9: Autoimmune Disorder Chapter 10: Resentments Chapter 11: Believers Chapter 12: Hope. Positives: 1. A well-written, concise book. Frum writes with clarity. 2. I’m always interested in the political views of reasonable authors and intellectuals. Frum falls into this category. 3. The author takes great pride in providing links to notes so that the reader can corroborate the compelling claims of the book. 4. The introduction does not waste time with what this book is all about. “Trumpocracy has left Americans less safe against foreign dangers, has diverted their money from its proper purposes to improper pockets, has worked to bias law enforcement in favor of the powerful, and has sought to intimidate media lest they report things the public most needs to know. To shrug and say, “What does it all matter?” is not only to dismiss the poor and the vulnerable but to submit your own interests to the mercy of the greedy and unscrupulous. It is to submit to life as a subject rather than a citizen.” 5. Conspiracies debunked. “The hoax almost instantly became decisive in the Republican Party’s presidential politics. Donald Trump seized on the Birther hoax in 2011, shouldering aside its early promoters to emerge as the nation’s preeminent denier of Obama’s Americanism.” 6. Clearly discloses Trump’s rise to power. “Donald Trump did not create the vulnerabilities he exploited. They awaited him. The irresponsibility of American elites, the arrogance of party leaders, the insularity of the wealthy: those and more were the resources Trump used on his way to power.” 7. The provocations of Trump. “Whatever else Trump may fail to do—staff a government, enact a program, safeguard US classified secrets, relieve disasters on Puerto Rico—there is one thing at which he never fails: provoking outrage among the people whom Trump supporters regard as overentitled and underdeserving: “the New York theater and arts and croissants crowd,” as Rush Limbaugh calls them.” 8. Keen observations. “While the party elite coalesced upon more immigration, less secure health coverage, and one more Bush, the rank and file were frantically signaling: less immigration, better health coverage, and no more Bushes.” 9. Does a great job of capturing Trump’s many lowlights. From Trump, “The US has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” 10. A repressive kleptocracy. “What is spreading today is repressive kleptocracy, led by rulers motivated by greed rather than by the deranged idealism of Hitler or Stalin or Mao. Such rulers rely less on terror and more on rule twisting, the manipulation of information, and the co-option of elites. Their goal is self-enrichment; the corrosion of the rule of law is the necessary means. As a shrewd local observer explained to me on a visit to Hungary in early 2016, “The main benefit of controlling a modern bureaucratic state is not the power to persecute the innocent. It is the power to protect the guilty.” “The satisfying assurance that the president is appointing the fittest individuals—and not seeking “to build up fortunes for himself and his family”—is precisely what is most lacking under Trumpocracy.” 11. The two perverse factors that strengthened Trump against the congressional Republicans. “The first factor was the stark unpopularity of much of what the congressional Republican leadership wished to do. The second unlikely factor enhancing Trump’s power over Congress was Trump’s own unpopularity.” 12. Trumpocracy in a nutshell. “Trumpocracy as a system of power rests not on deregulation but on nonregulation, not on deconstructing the state but on breaking the state in order to plunder the state.” 13. Fake news! “The 2016 presidential campaign introduced Americans to fake news as a tool of power. A term that had originated to describe intentional lying was redefined by Trump to dismiss honest reporting.” 14. The Russian influence. “Russia mounted a costly and aggressive espionage campaign to help elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans and to defeat Hillary Clinton and congressional Democrats.” 15. The world’s perception of Trump. “Foreign leaders quickly perceived that Trump could easily be manipulated, but never reasoned with.” 16. The book is full of profound statements. “In the world as at home, systems that serve the interests of all endure better than systems that oppress many to serve a few.” 17. Trump’s issues with the law. “Under a president who despises law even more than the most impatient general, a general’s instincts become even more dangerous to him, to the government, and to the nation.” 18. Excuses! “Salena Zito, writing in the Atlantic in September 2016, postulated that Trump’s supporters take him seriously but not literally. The phrase would become one of the most famous of the Trump era, also an all-purpose excuse.” 19. Interesting perspective. “If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.” 20. Provides a chapter on hope moving forward. “Trump has repelled a generation of young people from conservatism and Republicanism.” Negatives: 1. Not as insightful as other books of this ilk but it is reasonably captures what Trump’s presidency represents. 2. Lacks supplementary visual materials like charts and diagrams that would compliment the excellent narrative. 3. Nothing really new here but just better summarized. In summary, I really enjoyed this book. Frum writes with clarity and makes keen observations. He is a conservative with a conscience and has made a compelling case against Trump’s style of presidency and the potential damage against American democracy. Filled with notes and supporting information, Frum takes much care and providing unequivocal evidence to support his views. I recommend it! Further suggestions: “How Democracies Die” by Steven Levitsky, “Conscience of a Conservative” by Barry Goldwater, “The Price of Politics” by Bob Woodward, “Up from Liberalism” by William Buckley Jr., “Capitalism and Freedom” by Milton Freedman, “How the Right Lost Its Mind” by Charles J. Sykes, and “Democracy in Chains” by Nancy MacLean.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric Wojciechowski

    If I were to write a book about the Donald J Trump presidency and the campaign before it, it would read very much like David Frum’s TRUMPOCRACY. I found myself time and again nodding in recognition of my own thoughts and recollections, noting that I’d written similar warnings and complaints in essays featured on my own blog, to Twitter threads and other social media posts. And in conversations with numerous people, I presented many of the same concerns Frum discusses in this book. However, Frum If I were to write a book about the Donald J Trump presidency and the campaign before it, it would read very much like David Frum’s TRUMPOCRACY. I found myself time and again nodding in recognition of my own thoughts and recollections, noting that I’d written similar warnings and complaints in essays featured on my own blog, to Twitter threads and other social media posts. And in conversations with numerous people, I presented many of the same concerns Frum discusses in this book. However, Frum has a much better grasp on the material. He has more and better resources so it was a delight to see some gaps filled in and information added. The first chapter of this book discusses how Trump was able to seize the presidency. Titled, “Pre-existing Conditions”, it discusses some things that went wrong eventually allowing a person like Trump to sit in the Whitehouse. Barack Obama isn’t given any leniency here. His presidency was one in a long line of executive power grabbers, increasing the Imperial Presidency and Frum makes it clear that Trump is more a symptom of degradation than the start of one. However, if we can’t turn this around, the United States of America could become less of what the Founding Fathers envisioned,and more a country of future politicians and presidents demanding loyalty to themselves and his/her family and business dealings instead of good policy for all. From Trump’s pathological lying to his insistence that any media that disagrees with him is “Fake News”, to the Conservative movement moving more to Trumpism instead of an actual conservative platform. To the Republican Party, once working against him during the 2016 campaign to suddenly supporting him, apologizing for him and shrugging shoulders at his bad behavior. To his appeasers who irritate the situation and to those who cross him, Trump snubs and crushes when they don’t play along. To his ability to destroy in a single tweet. To his nepotism, instituting Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to positions of “advisor”. And to the entire goal of the Trump’s presidency: To enrich himself, his family and massage his own ego. The Donald J Trump presidency is a disaster, far from what America is supposed to be. TRUMPOCRACY is a must read for details on all these points. As stated above, much of the information in this book wasn’t entirely new to me. If you paid attention to this topic since at least 2015, you’ll already know much of this. But as also stated above, Frum has better sources than myself and I suspect, most others on the outside looking in. The two biggest take-aways I got from this book are the following: The first take away involves American allies and Russia. Trump has encouraged the break up of the European Union, doesn’t think much of NATO (never mentioning Article 5 during a speech to NATO suggesting no interest in supporting it should it be needed). He belittles leaders in many of those countries and is creating an atmosphere distancing America from the rest of the world. Closer to home, he showed no indication of caring for Puerto Rico after the hurricane and instead, somewhat blaming them for their hardship in a series of tweets. And let’s not forget he wants a great wall along the southern border due to his ignorance and bigotry about who’s coming over the border from Mexico. In summary, he’s shattering long lasted alliances. No one will want to play with the USA anymore if this keeps up. Except one person. There’s one world leader he doesn’t do this too. Trump goes out of his way to flatter Vladamir Putin and appears to be compromised in some fashion by Russian agents. In other words, the American president, for the first time since the end of World War II, favors Russia over European countries and neighbors. He flatters Putin and belittles the leaders in Europe who are the front line, geographically, against Russia. Does this signal to Putin he may do a little more of whatever he pleases? And while good relations with Russia would be a positive thing, it’s clear Russia/Putin isn’t interested in a give and take. He’s interested in dominance. But that might be why Trump likes him. There’s ample evidence Russian agents tampered in many elections in Europe and the 2016 of the USA. The cold war will continue while this behavior persists. There’s going to have to be better leadership on both sides before things change. This leads to the second take away. With Trump praising Vladimir Putin and showing zero interest in Russia’s interference with the 2016 election, AND, with it all too clear Trump was assisted into the presidency by Russian agents (to what extent, we’re still not sure), what is the intelligence community and American military to think of him? What if they begin operations off the books; that is, without notifying the Whitehouse due to lack of trust to where his allegiances lie? What if they work around this president for what they perceive is the good of the country, keeping both an eye on outside dangers and a possible one sitting right in the Whitehouse? With a president who shrugs off bad news about Russia but creates bad relations with Europe, what do you think they’re going to do? The history books regarding these matters may be missing a lot of chapters on the Trump years due to lack of documentation and more black budgeting in order to avoid involving the Whitehouse. The last chapter, simply titled HOPE, gives...well, hope. It presents several “gifts” that Trump has given us. One of which is that much of America is showing a dislike for bullying behaviors as they turn on Trump when he demonstrates this. Americans are also spending more time bettering themselves, putting energy into learning the history of this country if only for the sake of trying to preserve the better parts. And also directing energies into pro-active and random acts of kindness. In the end, it’s possible that without even trying, Trump will end up creating better people who inhabit these United States.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    Trumps's presidential win was a major blow to so many American values, norms and even institutions that a detailed description of it all in this whirlwind of a presidency is elusive. In fact, it's still all unfolding at a fever pitch. While David Frum's book uses details of what transpired, it is only to paint a larger portrait of the impact Trump has had on America's reputation and world standing. From the beginning of this dark time, he seems to have had his finger on what Trump's rise means, Trumps's presidential win was a major blow to so many American values, norms and even institutions that a detailed description of it all in this whirlwind of a presidency is elusive. In fact, it's still all unfolding at a fever pitch. While David Frum's book uses details of what transpired, it is only to paint a larger portrait of the impact Trump has had on America's reputation and world standing. From the beginning of this dark time, he seems to have had his finger on what Trump's rise means, so to speak. While there were many lines to quote, this one stands out as comprehensive of the overall tone: The government of the United States seems to have made common cause with the planet’s thugs, crooks, and dictators against its own ideals—and in fact to have imported the spirit of thuggery, crookedness, and dictatorship into the very core of the American state, into the most solemn symbolic oval center of its law and liberty. The man inside that oval center did not act alone. He held his power with the connivance of others. They executed his orders and empowered his whims for crass and cowardly reasons of their own: partisanship, ambition, greed for gain, eagerness for attention, ideological zeal, careerist conformity, or—in the worst cases—malicious glee in the wreck of things they could never have built themselves. They claim the symbols of the republic as they subvert its institutions. They pin the flag to their lapels before commencing the day’s work of lying, obstructing, and corrupting. They speak for America to a world that remembers a different and better America. But that memory is already fading into a question of whether it was not perhaps always an illusion, whether this new regime of deceit and brutishness will not only form the future—but whether it also retrospectively discredits the American past. While this last point may be debatable, one thing is certain; the damage Trump has wrought will take years or even decades to repair. America personified was already in many ways a con artist, a hypocrite, a buffoon, a bully, a smug jerkoff and a condescending prick; we didn't have to elect all these figures rolled into one. Frum, a Neo-con that wouldn't have got my attention before this, says here that we can do better. I'm totally with him on that.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Stolar

    A very high four stars - only not 5 because I just read When Democracies Die which was a 5, and this was just slightly behind it. But this discusses many of the same ideas. I always feel badly for David Frum, a good old Republican utterly dismayed by what has happened to his party. This book lays out many of the ways that this president may destroy the country - I'm not sure what else to say, so I'll put a couple of excerpts: "A president beholden to Russia had been installed in the Oval Office: A very high four stars - only not 5 because I just read When Democracies Die which was a 5, and this was just slightly behind it. But this discusses many of the same ideas. I always feel badly for David Frum, a good old Republican utterly dismayed by what has happened to his party. This book lays out many of the ways that this president may destroy the country - I'm not sure what else to say, so I'll put a couple of excerpts: "A president beholden to Russia had been installed in the Oval Office: the most successful foreign espionage attempt against the United States in the nation's history. And fro beginning to end, the president's political party rallied to protect him - and itself- from investigation, exposure, and consequences." "In the United States as in other countries, the great threat to constitutional democracy has not been the demands for largesse by the many, but the fears for their property of the few. The most successful antidemocratic movement in American history - the reduction of voting rights after Reconstruction - was intended precisely to thwart local majorities voting themselves such benefits as schooling and paying for it by higher taxes on the rich." "Donald Trump made clear from the very start that there was no doing business with the vaunted dealmaker. He demanded everything; he offered nothing. 'Trump was upset at the notion that allies' interests should be taken into account.' [...]The phrase could be applied to almost any foreign policy matter. Foreign leaders quickly perceived that Trump could be easily manipulated, but never reasoned with." And, lastly, "The government of the United States seems to have made common cause with the planet's thugs, crooks and dictators against its own ideals - and in fact to have imported the spirit of thuggery, crookedness, and dictatorship into the very core of the American state, into the most solemn symbolic oval center of its law and liberty. The man inside that oval center did not act alone. he held his power with the connivance of others. They executed his orders and empowered his whims for crass and co hardly reasons of their own: partisanship, ambition, greed for gain, eagerness for attention, ideological zeal, careerist conformity, or - in the worst cases - malicious glee in the wreck of things they could never have built themselves. They claim the symbols of the republic as they subvert its institutions. They pin the flag to their lapels before commencing the day's work of lying, obstructing and corrupting. They speak for America to a world that remembers a different and better America. But that memory is already fading into a question of whether it was not perhaps always an illusion, whether this new regime of deceit and brutishness will not only form the future - but whether it also retrospectively discredits the American past."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    What's interesting about this criticism of Trump, is that it comes from a fairly staunch Republican. David Frum, a Canadian by birth, entered conservative American politics 30 years or so ago and became a speech writer in the George W. Bush presidency. We owe the loaded political phrase, "axis of evil" to David. Most interestingly, unlike many Republicans who seemed overly eager to support a bully that they discounted before the 2016 Republican Convention, Frum stood by some principles and openl What's interesting about this criticism of Trump, is that it comes from a fairly staunch Republican. David Frum, a Canadian by birth, entered conservative American politics 30 years or so ago and became a speech writer in the George W. Bush presidency. We owe the loaded political phrase, "axis of evil" to David. Most interestingly, unlike many Republicans who seemed overly eager to support a bully that they discounted before the 2016 Republican Convention, Frum stood by some principles and openly declared his support for Hillary in that election. Those principles are the ones that the Republicans were traditionally known for: the honor of American institutions, national security, conservative economic policy, and long-standing democratic principles. Frum accurately noted that Trump had managed to get the party to apparently throw all of these aside, in a grasp simply for power and privilege. Although I don't agree with many Republican values, I really respect Frum sticking by his core principles and deciding that the American experiment was worth saving even if it meant voting for a candidate who was unlikely to set forth much legislation he could appreciate. However, at least the republic itself, its integrity and democratic principles would be preserved under the Democrat president. But it was not to be. Alas, like many of us, Frum soon realized that perhaps the cracks in American institutions were already too wide. His book does a pretty good job of explaining this: how the politics of Trump easily evolved out of the primordial ooze of the preexisting swamp in Washington, which Trump was apparently the only man with sense to drain, and in tandem with a little inside help from Mr Putin and the Russians, whether the latter was done knowingly by Trump's campaign or not. Many of these anecdotes and explanations about Trumpocracy are already familiar and can be found elsewhere, but another thing that Frum does fairly well is to point out the potential upside of what America can learn from this slow-motion train wreck. Many Americans are waking up politically to the dangers to their democracy. Many are speaking out about the underlying racism and sexism that continues to plague the US. Many are learning about and warning others of the dangers of social media and the real fake news of Russian bots and special interest groups. We all really need to hope that the lessons are well learned and applied soon enough, before it's too late.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.