Excerpt from The Claremont Institute
Written by John Marini
Charles Kesler’s essay, “Trump and the Conservative Cause,” (Spring 2016 CRB) is a model of conservative analysis. His moderate criticism of Donald Trump is surpassed only by his even more moderate defense of Trump. Kesler, of course, had little difficulty in deflating the most outlandish claims of Trump’s critics. But he found it much harder to praise Trump. Like most contemporary political analysts, Kesler is well aware of the difficulty—if not the danger in some circles—of even defending Trump. Kesler is right to be wary. Trump has aroused more raw political passion than any candidate in recent memory.
Since the end of the Cold War, American leaders have understood their offices in terms of global and administrative rule, rather than political rule on behalf of the American people and the sovereignty of the American nation. Yet those offices were established on the foundation of the moral authority of the people and their Constitution. Once elected or appointed, politicians and bureaucrats have utilized their will, in both domestic and foreign policy, in an unrestrained manner on behalf of bureaucratic rule. They govern on the implicit premise of elections as plebiscites, but it is no longer clear who confers the legitimacy of an electoral mandate. Bureaucratic rule has become so pervasive that it is no longer clear that government is legitimized by the consent of the governed.