Four Pieces of Writing That Must Be Read in the Trump Era

I really enjoy the experience of coming across a new idea that changes my perception or understanding in a significant way. I’ve been thinking about four pieces of writing that did that for–all of them crucial, I would say, to Americans. I list those articles, with a brief description, in the first comment. (Note: The title is more of an attention-getter than something I literally believe.)

4 thoughts on “Four Pieces of Writing That Must Be Read in the Trump Era

  1. Putin’s Real Long Game by Molly McKew in Politico

    This article introduced me to the concept of hyper-warfare and active measures. I think both are important for Americans to understand, especially to protect our liberal democratic society.

    The Information Crisis by Dave Roberts and Chris Hayes in Why Is This Happening?

    The basic idea here is that one’s understanding is largely based on trust–specifically trusted sources of information–rather than individual effort to critically examine information. In this way, knowledge and understanding is far more social than I thought.

    How to Culture Jam a Populist in Four Easy Steps by Andres Miguel Rondon in the Caracas Chronicles. (A similar article appears in WaPo, but I prefer the CC version.)

    This is written by a Venezuelan who opposed Hugo Chavez. I think he provides one of the most important guides to defeating Trump. If we heed his advice and succeed in implementing what he prescribes, we can defeat Trump.

    The Rise of American Authoritarianism by Amanda Taub at Vox. There’s a Vox explainer video which would take less time to consume:

    I think this is a good companion to the Rendon piece. Rendon’s thesis is that a populist like Trump wins primarily by high polarization. If I remember correctly, Taub’s piece suggests that certain people have an authoritarian streak, and this involves the desire for a strong man, especially in times of great social and cultural changes. Put these two ideas together: Trump exacerbating white grievance and anxiety over social and cultural changes in order to stay in power. If we can find a way help people with this grievance, or at the very least not exacerbate it, we can deflate support for Trump.

    1. Mitchell,

      If it means anything, I would say the main value in reading and understanding these pieces is to not only better understand the times, but understand the path out of it.

      Has he defined our times for the near foreseeable future?

      That is a depressing thought–that Trump could define the times his presidency. I feel like the problem is bigger than Trump, although one could argue he is an avatar for that problem and identifying the times with his name would make sense.

  2. I doubt I’ll read any of these until the “era” is over. By the way, will it still be his era in the years immediately following his term in office? Has he defined our times for the near foreseeable future?

    1. Oh, I guess (God willing) we’ll soon be referring to it as the post- era, like now we’re in the post-Obama era. Or something like that.

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