President Donald J. Trump benefitted from his lack of ideological moorings. Trump has never presented himself as a principled conservative. Had he been beholden to conservative shibboleths, he would have probably lost the election. Unfortunately, this also makes him an unpredictable President, and leaves the ultimate definition of “Trumpism” up for grabs. Other people will probably define the long-term ideological orientation of Trump’s right-wing populist movement. Few people are in a stronger position to do so than Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist and current executive chairman of Breitbart News. For that reason, understanding Bannon’s political philosophy—if he ultimately has one—is…
The year 2016 demonstrated the enduring relevance of political ideas. A political idea is distinct from and more fundamental than a stance on a policy or issue. It is a way of understanding political phenomena in light of a worldview. A political idea connects the dizzying array of available facts, forming a coherent vision of what is really happening in the world.
Nearly every political idea involves at minimum three components, corresponding to these questions:
- What is a good society—in other words, what should the world look like?
- Why doesn’t it look that way?
- What would set things right?