David Frum is a Canuck, and the son of Barbara Frum the well known journalist. He is also now a US citizen, a conservative, a one time Republican, and the author of Trumpocracy.
Trumpocracy was written in the first year of DJT's evil reign. This latest book was written over the intervening years. I read the first book because I wanted to read a conservative view point. Ditto this time around. Like all books about Trump, one is constantly reminded of his past sins… sins that tend to loose their identities in the avalanche of additional malfeasances.
"The rooster that took credit for the sunrise was outraged to be blamed for the sunset."
A nice pithy line.
Fun Fact: One of the Trump success factors that Frum points to is the Sinclair Broadcasting Company. It is Trump friendly and owns 40 percent of the US TV market. This where many Americans get their news.
They and the Trump acolytes praise the only president to never crack 50% approval in a reliable poll.
Frum was critical of the Mueller report which never lived up to expectations. They made five errors that assured failure. One: Mueller was only interested in prosecutable crimes. This meant no investigation of Trump possible debts to Russia. Two: He seemed to feel ignorance of the law was an excuse (this saved DJT Jr in the Trump Tower meeting). Three: He narrowed his investigation to the 2015/2016 election cycle. Four: He looked at people near Trump, but not Trump himself who refused to testify. And five: He refused to promote evidence that Trump could not be prosecuted for and therefore could not respond to (because he was the president). The upshot was we learned very little about Trump and his entanglements.
Frum spends some time discussing the Republicans tendency to cheat. Voter suppression, stack the courts, and gerrymandering being the primary means. The Republicans feel they are good and right, therefore whatever they do to maintain power is good and right too. Kavanaugh helped decide that the gerrymandering, an undemocratic and evil practice, was State business.
Frum discusses the "deep state". Like many things Trump, it is the opposite of what it should be. In the old days, the "deep state" were those with secret power who used clandestine ways of thwarting the government. Under Trump, it means the opposite: the legitimate use of power to thwart Trump.
As much as I hate to admit it, occasionally Trump is right. The only example I am aware of was the large numbers of asylum seekers at the US southern border. It is a fact that most of them were not legitimate asylum seekers under international law, and letting them onto US soil to apply for asylum would have many negative consequences.
Frum is basically upbeat. Trump must go, and the US must react to this near disaster. He offers the following solutions: Publish tax returns; Kill the filibuster; Make DC a state; Adopt a modern voting rights act; Deter gerrymandering; and Depoliticize the cops.
He argues that better immigration control can unite the nation. He also goes on to argue that the US must address climate change. His suggestions are worth reading, and are far more plausible than AOCs Green New Deal (AOC argues for more state ownership which puts the regulators and the regulated under the same roof). He also argues that China needs to be handled better. They have not been playing the game according to the rules.
Fun Fact: The Grand Old Party (GOP… Republicans) is younger that the Democratic Party.
In his final words, Frum argues that the GOP is so out of touch that it must reform or die. He makes no bones about Trump. He absolutely deserved impeachment. And he absolutely deserves to feel the full weight of the law when he leaves office.
America can come out of all this a better nation. The first step is to remove Trump from office.
Like most books of this type, this was a quick and easy read. It is insightful and hopeful at the same time as it is gloomy and reflective of the nation's exhaustion.
Lee Moller is a life-long skeptic and atheist and the author of The God Con.