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What a smarter Trumpism sounds like

Michael Lind and I discuss class warfare, China, Trumpism, and the possibility of political compromise on The Ezra Klein Show.

A Trump supporter at a rally holds up a “Keep America Great” sign.
The audience listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a “Keep America Great” rally at the Monroe Civic Center on November 6, 2019, in Monroe, Louisiana. 
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, the co-founder of the New America Foundation, and an important contributor to American Affairs, a journal originally created to imagine a more Trumpist conservatism.

Lind is by no means a supporter of Trump. But, for decades now, he has been developing a coherent intellectual worldview around many of the same issues that Trump intuited, however crudely, during his campaign. He’s one of the intellectuals that the nationalist conservatives trying to imagine a Trumpism after Trump tell me they read most closely.

There are three big pieces of Lind’s thought that I think help to illuminate this era. One is his idea of the “new class war,” which builds a deep cultural component into class identity and maps much better onto populist resentment. The next is his approach to China, which has long been skeptical of Washington’s optimistic consensus. And the third is his insistence that political conflicts — be they class wars or partisan ones — don’t end in victories, they end in “settlements.”

You can listen to this conversation — and others — by subscribing to The Ezra Klein Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

Michael Lind’s book recommendations:

The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom by James Burnham

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy

Lind’s writing that we discuss here:

”The New Class War”

”The Return of Geoeconomics”

”Classless Utopia versus Class Compromise”

“Donald Trump, the Perfect Populist”

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Why my politics are bad with Bhaskar Sunkara

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