James Carville says Trump is the greatest threat to America since the fall of communism. It is easy to laugh away such a declaration, but I think there is an invaluable truth expressed. Trump is as important in stature as the United States' most formidable military and political opponent of the twentieth century. Trumpism as an ideological force has the mass and acceleration of a Soviet Empire that threatened to conquer the world. Nobody speaks about the Bush Doctrine in such terms. Nobody confuses the Obama Doctrine or the Carter Doctrine as projecting that kind of power. Yet here we are, just three years after the election, and somehow the belittled and mocked hotel owner from Queens has stumbled into creating a movement that matches in strength and potency what took Marx, Lenin, and Stalin over a century to perfect. Consider the fear that Carville and his ilk must harbor about what is to come.
What does he see that makes him tremble so? In a word, greatness.
How could he not? When you see a man being endlessly ridiculed and scorned brush off those insults with ease and smile back, you know something is different. When you watch a 6'3" sack of energy bustling across the stage four or more times a day in suit and tie before tens of thousands of spectators watching his every move, and he seems more rested and comfortable than the press gallery a third his age, you know you haven't seen this before. When his enemies spend years using the combined forces of corporate media, the legal system, and the intelligence agencies to dispose of him one way or another, and the man responds with an off-the-cuff one-liner that shows he could not care less, you know you are dealing with something rare.
Carville hates the man because he knows what he is. Donald Trump is a world-historical figure. He is not merely a part of history; he is an agent warping it with his own gravity. His ideas and actions represent a firm break from the prevailing paradigms of the past. His is an original voice arguing aggressively against the status quo. If everything about this moment feels different, that's because it is. We are all witnesses to history's play, but few generations see a world-historical figure ascend to its stage.
The media are blind to the moment, but future historians will see. Almost everything in the public sphere is now defined in relation to Donald Trump.
He stood on the dais during his inauguration and practically said, "See all these Republicans and Democrats and their great plans for our country? I'm going to destroy them all and burn down most of what they've built since World War II." No wonder both sides joined hands with the Deep State and attempted to do by coup what Hillary could not. Winning the American presidency is one thing, but shining a bright light on what the American government has become is something else entirely.
Consider how many powerful ideas Donald Trump has cast into the national consciousness. He has exposed both major parties as socialist globalist cults more concerned with government health care and foreign nation-building than a policy for American freedom. He has exposed how free trade can never be free when based on slave labor. He has exposed how the silent destruction of towns across the Midwest came not from China's comparative advantage, but from American companies' use of slavery by proxy. He has redirected investment away from Wall Street and toward Main Street for the first time in over thirty years and has unleashed three decades' worth of pent up entrepreneurial energy in the very towns long deemed dead. He has questioned how the federal government can have any legitimacy if it fails at enforcing its very own immigration laws.
Not one Nobel laureate imagined this American renaissance of GDP and stock market surge, record-low unemployment, wage growth, and low inflation in one bubbling cauldron. It took a change agent. Not one foreign policy mandarin suggested unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of the American oil man in order to destroy our enemies' power over us permanently. It took a change agent. Not one State Department official questioned why the United States was still subsidizing Europe's generous socialist welfare system seventy years after WWII. It took a change agent. Nobody wondered why we were enriching China at our own expense and preparing for a world where a communist dictator would lead. It took Donald Trump.
Without worry or apology, Donald Trump stands before the world with a giant mirror, and the world does not like what it sees. At a time when Western governments have found common cause with murderous dictators in demanding limits to free speech and free minds, Donald Trump goes to Poland and excoriates European socialism as the newest iteration of human bondage. He celebrates the very Western civilization that the West now works to bury. More than anyone on the world stage, he argues for individual freedom as the indispensable ingredient for civilization itself and free nations as the essential bulwark against international governance and tyranny. In speech after speech across the globe, he stands alone and pushes back against the weight of history's currents.
The world has noticed. It is Donald Trump to whom Nigerian Christians turn for survival from Islamic terror. It is Donald Trump who has strengthened Israel by keeping promises his predecessors lacked the fortitude to see through. It is Donald Trump whose name is often whispered by freedom-fighters in Venezuela, whose American flag is respected by regime protesters in Iran, and whose image is waved by thousands demanding freedom in Hong Kong. Nobody clamoring for freedom is waving pictures of Angela Merkel in the air, but in Hong Kong and Taiwan, a photo-shopped image of Donald Trump as Rocky Balboa is easy to find. At a time when the German chancellor argues for limiting free expression, those people most desperate to escape China's yoke see the American president as the only fighter who might help set them free. He is our American president, but he belongs to the world now, too.
Because he is actively working to destroy entrenched ideas and institutions, his opposition is clear-eyed and equally aggressive. Rather than the traditional political tug-of-war that pits adverse interests against each other without significant movement toward any direction, President Trump as a world-historical driver of change is engaging in pitched battle with winner-takes-all stakes.
Whether he ultimately succeeds in shifting various equilibriums is irrelevant to his role in history. In victory or defeat, he represents a firm marker against which past and future events will be viewed. What his fiercest adversaries are only now realizing is that Trump has shifted the trajectory of history permanently. He is not operating on their terms; they are all actors in the Trump Era.
How do you go up against an era? That's like going up against a season. Whether you like it or not, summer and winter are with us. No wonder James Carville is afraid.