Ross Douthat: Trump Needs A Brain

I’m not buying this narrative:

“THE series of columns I’ve been writing lately, floating implausible proposals for an ideologically unstable age, has been a useful way of avoiding the depressing subject of the Trump administration’s first 100 days — because really, in the face of such incompetence and chaos, what is there to say?

But precisely because this administration seems so hopeless, any constructive advice for the Trump White House automatically falls into the category of implausible ideas. So I can continue my ongoing series while also talking about Donald Trump — by proposing, as this week’s unlikely-to-happen proposal, that our president should go out and get himself a brain.

I do not mean a vat-grown cerebral cortex cooked up in some underground anti-aging lab funded by Silicon Valley immortalists … though I gather those may be soon available as well. I mean a brain in the sense that people (unkindly, but not inaccurately) used the term to describe Bill Kristol when he was the aide-de-camp to Vice President Dan Quayle 25 years ago: a person, or better a group of persons, who can tell Trump what specific policies he ought to support. …”

The Trump administration is about where I expected it would be in September.

President Trump is making a good faith effort to enact his agenda, but there is far more continuity than change because the system itself has failed. The Democrats in Congress are determined to block his agenda on every point. The #TruCons in Congress are incapable of governing. The federal courts continue to strip away power from the executive and legislative branches.

It is President Trump and a handful of likeminded advisors vs. Congress, the Lügenpresse, the Deep State and the federal judiciary. Even if President Trump had his own brain trust, all he is really capable of doing is issuing executive orders which are shredded by the courts. There aren’t enough Trump Republicans in Congress to push through a Trump New Deal level of change.

That’s why we are hearing nothing has changed on refugees, there might not be a border wall or a border tax. Nothing much has changed on foreign policy or healthcare either. It’s not for a lack of ideas or any lack of trying. It is because the office itself doesn’t have the power. In January and February, the narrative was that a whirlwind of change had hit Washington.

I suppose you could argue that things would be marginally better if President Trump had hired a bunch of Alt-Right staffers and chosen better cabinet picks. My view is that we would still be about where we are today because of fundamentals like extreme partisanship and polarization.

Hunter Wallace
the authorHunter Wallace
Hunter Wallace is the founder and editor of


  • I know that people such as Ann Corcoran have taken a much needed rest … she’s been giving it hard for over 8 years on the refugees crapola…. the single most costly domestic policy the USA is indulging in .. same in Canada .. bringing these breeders in to ‘grow our economy’ when they do nothing of the sort… I have more respect for individuals pushing back in their towns and cities than I do for any politicians.

  • “(((better a group of persons))), who can tell Trump what specific policies he ought to support.” Hmm… interesting.

  • Now this; two days ago we had this effort of Richard’s on YT, with the imprint, but not appearing in the Media section here at the webzine:

    This level of realpolitik analysis is infantile. Sure, we’re not privy to inside information, but some reasonable conclusions can be drawn. Did anyone here catch Trump’s “we have to get rid of the columns – you understand?” on DAY ONE of his presidency? Heartiste did. You think Bannon or Miller or Trump himself didn’t carefully plan exactly that line, delivery and significance? You think every President has begun his term at Langley on DAY ONE?

    Is anyone here talking about how the admin outed Katie Walsh with strategic leaks? Chuck Johnson is. Anyone talking about the significance of CALIFORNIA cops arresting Black Blockers in Huntington Beach in terms of Trump assembling his Praetorian guard?

    Jesus, let’s act like we’ve been here before. The old cuck VDH is just plain wrong when he writes at American Greatness that the Alt Right is insignificant. We were the decisive force in the nom and the general, Richard is right about that. I well remember personally the coup de grace we delivered to Hanson and cronies at NRO.

    It’s time to put the eternal outsider, the Holden Caulfielding, behind us. For one thing, that’s Jew-like. Speculative though it necessarily is, there’s more good political guesswork from one guy, in each entry, at than in the entirety of our output here.

  • The decline is inevitable, the very best we could do is delay it. Even that’s not going to happen short of some massive civil disobedience campaign involving millions of people. They’ve very carefully blocked off every route to a peaceful revolution, this is going to take blood to fix.

  • I think that 75% of the reason that Trump is low in the polls is healthcare. He should never have tackled healthcare as his first priority. Unfortunately, he was shanghaied into doing so by Paul Ryan. When the average, politically unaware American says that he hates Obamacare, what he is in effect saying is that he wants inexpensive, quality healthcare. There is no politically feasible plan for giving the average, politically unaware American the kind of healthcare he would like to have, so Trump should not even have tried so early in his administration. Healthcare is a new “third rail” of American politics, much like Social Security.

    • It was immigration and the border wall that got him elected and that’s where his focus should be.

    • In my view, the worst part of the Healthcare issue wasn’t what happened during the process, it was what happened after. There was no vote, okay, you can always revisit it, get more support and pass it later and effectively repeal Obamacare. But Trump made a mistake of blaming the Freedom Caucus for the bill’s failure whereas many conservatives believe the Freedom Caucus was doing the right thing by staving off Ryan’s poor ‘repeal’ which was no repeal at all. By singling out and blaming the Freedom Caucus, Trump may have made it mission impossible to go back and pass the repeal – as they will simply dig their heels in further. He had a chance to fault Ryan and the GOPe for ‘business as usual’ (including the moderates who voted against it); now however, his errant attack has essentially doomed any chance of the repeal passing.

  • VDARE has an article on their website saying Trump has the authority to lock rogue judges up. The article says Lincoln did it. I would support that.

    I view the politics in the US like an argument – Trump and his supporters vs. as you say, Congress, the Lügenpresse, the Deep State and the federal judiciary. But in this argument, most of the name calling and insults are directed at Trump (you don’t hear about the deplorables anymore because that backfired) and Trump and some media criticize the Lügenpresse (they say Fake News). But I think it’s an unfair fight. Trump was winning points in the beginning criticizing the press, but I don’t think he can say it everyday. I think there needs to be something else to criticize them about that will hurt. Until we have mass rallies decrying the Lügenpress or a powerful Alt-Right media that more people read, it’s an unfair fight with Trump, Melania and their son being insulted and a few shots at Fake News won’t shut them up. There needs to be something the White House will focus on that will really hurt the enemy and will shut them up.

  • I said it almost a year ago and I’ll say it again:
    * Fire every non-White and Democrat working for the federal government
    * Hire White men at every top, middle, and bottom position of the federal government
    * End Section 8 Housing
    * Federal building program to build White neighborhoods for loyal Whites
    * Federal Red Pill program to inoculate young Whites against Cultural Marxism

    This would create a White nation within America. It can be done but it will need approval from the top.

    • The bureaucratic political class does need to be purged, but Trump isn’t going to be the guy who does that. This should red pill normal working class white folks as to the failure of the democratic process. These people do not represent the will of the people. For the Alt-Right to succeed, Trump has to fail. Hopefully a more radicalized white working class emerges as a result of this.

      • No. That’s not how a failed Trump presidency ends. What happens in that eventuality is that blue-collar and middle-class Whites say, “Screw it – we gave Republicans a chance to help us and they either blew it with petty bickering or conned us. Either way… might as well go back to the Democrats.”
        Trump’s election was *not* mainly driven by any sort of White awakening. It was driven by depressed Leftist turnout, and – to the degree that they switched from Team Blue to Team Red – blue-collar Whites voting for their economic interests.
        Worse is not better; it’s worse. If Bannon is the great strategist people once described, it’s time for him to start thinking and advising strategically.

        • You really think blue collar whites will go back to the Democrats? I don’t. It’s not like they’ve done anything since their loss to earn back the trust of white voters. If anything they’ve doubled down on their anti-white interests.

  • Man, that is blackpilling. About the refugees I mean. Can Trump do something about the courts? This abuse of power is so blatant he can’t just take it – right?

  • The Republic is clearly dysfunctional. It can no longer govern competently in its own interests, let alone in the interests of the people. The time for a Republic is past; the time for a Caeser is here.

  • There’s plenty he can do with control over departments like DHS, in particular. Law enforcement, focused not only on addressing immediate criminal activities, but putting in place much longer term deterrence.

    Dramatically increasing Customs, Border uniformed law-enforcement personnel for example. Field people that form a long-term “human” wall against the invading migrants.

    Getting good people into the government, especially in DHS and the like, should a huge priority that seems relatively achievable.

  • so Trump should just do a bunch of EOs and ignore the left wing courts and the cucked congress, i.e rule like a king, kinda like Obama?

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