Two Insights on the Trump Era from David Frum

Republicans are giving up on democracy. The absence of a competent executive hinders coordination between agencies.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of the United States walk together on the White House grounds in Washington DC, May 11, 2017
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of the United States walk together on the White House grounds in Washington DC, May 11, 2017 (White House/Benjamin Applebaum)

Two insights from Sean Illing’s interview with former Republican official and author of Trumpocracy, David Frum:

  1. The Republican Party has a platform that can’t prevail in democratic competition. And when highly committed parties believe they cannot achieve their aims democratically, they don’t give up on their beliefs — they give up on democracy. Frum believes Republicans should have moved to the middle, for example on health care and taxes. Instead, they elected Trump.
  2. Bureaucracies can function on their own for a long time, but the coordination between them requires a competent executive. That is lacking. The National Security Council is defective. There is no director of national drug policy at a time when opioid abuse is killing more Americans than any other disease. The Department of Justice keeps arresting people, Health and Human Services keeps sending out Medicaid checks, but there is no center, no stability.