Age of Demagogues

I will go further: Mr. Trump is precisely the kind of man our system of government was designed to avoid, the type of leader our founders feared — a demagogic figure who does not view himself as part of our constitutional system but rather as an alternative to it.[1]

Although I have long expected the emergence of demagogues into the American political arena, one like Donald Trump was as much anticipated as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But in hindsight, Trump make more sense. For just as Hitler represented a caricaturish manifestation of German culture and Bismarckian conservatism, Trump is very much the extrapolated embodiment of American mores; the “self-made” Gilded Age vulgarian; the self-satisfied Babbitt; the Ugly American; James Brown and the circus extravaganza in Rocky IV (1985), displaying American decadence in all its Las Vegas glitter and pyrite. “The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape” (Hamlet 2.2). And what is pleasing to those steeped in a German cultural milieu, will differ from that percolated in an American.

© Copyright John Hutchinson


[1] Peter Wehner, “Why I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump”, The New York Times, January 14, 2016,

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