SHARE

“The Republican Party has a platform that can’t prevail in democratic competition.”

David Frum, who is an author and conservative editor at the Atlantic magazine, thinks Republicans have backed themselves into a corner.

In Frum’s new book Trumpocracy, he argues that Republicans are wedded to an ideology that cannot succeed democratically. They have abandoned the democratic process, he believes, and have chosen to support a demagogue who can push their unpopular agenda. It’s a strong rebuke of the current president and the Republican establishment that has enabled him at every step.

I spoke to Frum about the dangers of this moment, and why he thinks Republicans will, ultimately, have to face up to the fact that what they believe can’t be achieved if everybody votes.

A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.


Sean Illing

What’s the main argument you’re making in this book?

David Frum

The argument I’m making is that Donald Trump’s rococo personality is outrageous and ridiculous and consumes all of our attention, but what we really need to pay attention to is his system of power. A president does not rule by personal authority and personal charisma. He is part of a system, and you have to understand that whole system — who supports him and why.

Sean Illing

Let’s talk about that system. Is it broken, or is it merely being tested?

David Frum

Trump has taken control of the Republican Party and the conservative media infrastructure. They started off opposing him; even Fox opposed him. He bent Fox to his will, and he defeated the organized Republican Party. He’s leveraged his control of the Republican Party, then, to dominate the American political system.

I think a lot of people console themselves by noting how little policy impact he’s having. Some people will note that to the extent that he’s having Read More Here