Princeton Historian Sean Wilentz on How Trump May Change (If Not Destroy) the GOP

Around here, we main­ly know Sean Wilentz as the “his­to­ri­an in res­i­dence” of Bob Dylan’s offi­cial web­site, and the author of the biog­ra­phy, Bob Dylan In Amer­i­ca.

But, in his day job, Wilentz is Pro­fes­sor of Amer­i­can His­to­ry at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, where has taught since 1979, and writ­ten books on every­thing from The Rise of Amer­i­can Democ­ra­cy: Jef­fer­son to Lin­coln, to The Age of Rea­gan: A His­to­ry, 1974–2008. More than most, he’s well posi­tioned to talk about what, in the big­ger scheme of things, a Trump pres­i­den­cy could mean for the Amer­i­can polit­i­cal sys­tem. Above, Wilentz con­tends that we’d have a “cri­sis pres­i­den­cy,” hope­ful­ly con­strained by the checks and bal­ances built into our con­sti­tu­tion. And he sug­gests that, if his­to­ry offers any guide, the nativism fuel­ing the Trump cam­paign could spell doom for the GOP. When­ev­er a par­ty runs on “Mak­ing Amer­i­ca Great Again,” says Wilentz, it “usu­al­ly means that the par­ty is going to fall under great pressure–it’s going to, if not col­lapse entire­ly, dis­in­te­grate or get pushed to the mar­gins.” Few GOP lead­ers, Lind­sey Gra­ham except­ed, seem to real­ly get that. But can we real­ly expect polit­i­cal nonen­ti­ties to see that you’re actu­al­ly los­ing when you think you’re win­ning? 


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  • Jeanette Rolon says:

    Amer­i­can his­to­ry as we know, which is what is taught in class­rooms, is far dif­fer­ent than Amer­i­can His­to­ry facts. Our Con­sti­tu­tion­al form of gov­ern­ment has been under attack long before Trump entered the pic­ture. There is a rea­son why Trump makes com­ments like “I’m a Nation­al­ist” and “The Con­sti­tu­tion won’t allow me to do what I want”, because he’s right. Any­one born with­in the states of the Union are Nation­al­ists and pro­tect­ed by the Con­sti­tu­tion. No polit­i­cal par­ty would dis­close this to the Peo­ple. Instead of accus­ing Trump of endan­ger­ing our Con­sti­tu­tion­al rights; accuse the right indi­vid­u­als that are doing the endan­ger­ing (Demo­c­rat Par­ty). Why not ques­tion the fact that Oba­macare was and con­tin­ues to be extor­tion by slav­ery and servi­tude, because it was against the will of those that could not afford health­care. Why not tell Amer­i­cans, not U.S. cit­i­zens from Fed­er­al ter­ri­to­ries that Fed­er­al Income tax­es are vol­un­tary, unless We, the Peo­ple give con­sent. Admit that the W2, W4, and 1099 forms are all Estate and Gift tax­es and brib­ing the gov­ern­ment is against the law. Why not tell the Peo­ple that hav­ing a driver’s license isn’t a require­ment unless dri­ving Com­mer­cial­ly. While your at it; why not admit that sign­ing up for a Social Secu­ri­ty num­ber deems you a Pub­lic Offi­cer, which is against the law to imper­son­ate an Offi­cer. The IRS can­not change a Tax Class 5 (Estate and Gift) to a Tax Class 2 (Lia­bil­i­ty). When it comes to trade and busi­ness, they mean the duties of the Pub­lic Office and it’s Offi­cers. Not the Pri­vate indi­vid­ual nor their Pri­vate prop­er­ty. No, let’s blame Trump for some­thing that was already done to the Amer­i­can Peo­ple. Try report­ing real news.

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