Wednesday, January 9, 2019

"Trumpocracy" by David Frum

It's no secret that I'm not a fan of the current U.S. president, and there were a number of Trump-related books on my reading list last year. I expect that will continue in 2019 (particularly since I still have a number of relevant books in my TBR pile).  ;) 

In fact, my first pick of the new year -- begun on my Kobo e-reader on the plane home from Christmas holidays -- was "Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic" by David Frum.

Slight digression:  Frum is well-known these days as a political writer and commentator (for The Atlantic, among others), and as a former speechwriter for U.S. President George W. Bush, but I've been aware of him for much longer. David and his sister Linda (now a Canadian Senator) are just slightly older and younger (respectively) than I am, and I remember reading about them and their involvement with U.S./Reagan-style conservative politics (he at Yale, she at McGill) when we were all university students in the early 1980s. Their father, Murray, was a wealthy Toronto dentist-turned-real estate developer; their mother, Barbara, was (and remains) one of Canada's finest and best-loved broadcast journalists, first in radio & later in television. (I attended a political convention as a student delegate in 1983 and got to watch her in action, broadcasting "The Journal" from the convention floor -- it remains one of my greatest journalism-related thrills.)  Sadly, she died from chronic leukemia at the far-too-young age of 54 in 1992.

I don't always agree with Frum's opinions, and he sometimes come across on camera as condescending. But compared to some right-wing/conservative commentators (Trump apologists) out there these days, he brings some welcome sanity and rationality to the discussion.

And he can write! 

"Trumpocracy," published almost exactly a year ago, in January 2018, is a mid-term look at the first two years of the Trump presidency and what it is doing to America. (It's not a pretty picture.) "If it's potentially embarrassing to speak too soon, it can also be dangerous to wait too long," Frum writes, explaining his decision to write this book now.

Frum chronicles how Trump and his government are eroding the basic, commonly accepted tenets & practices of American democracy, and what the potential consequences could be, not just for America but for the world.  While Frum warns that the damage may be long-lasting, he ends on a hopeful note in the final chapter:
Perhaps the very darkness of the Trump experience can summon the nation to its senses and jolt Americans to a new politics of commonality, a new politics in which the Trump experience is remembered as the end of something bad, and not the beginning of something worse. 
This was a well-written, clearly laid-out book that deserves wide readership -- one of the best-written and best-argued critiques of the Trump presidency I have read so far. I gave it four stars on Goodreads.

This was the first book (#1) that I read in 2019, bringing me to 4% of my 2019 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 24 books.  I am (for the moment, anyway...!) one (1) book ahead of schedule to meet my goal. :)


  1. David Frum caused a war in Iraq that killed 600,000 people and cost American taxpayers $2 trillion. Trump is not a warmongering neocon like David Frum. Trump wants to pull out of Syria.

  2. I'm not sure I could bear reading an entire book about the Trump presidency. I admire your ability to do so!