The following is an excerpt from Isaac Chotiner | February 8, 2017 | Slate.com |
The national divisions that emerged in the runup to Donald Trump’s election were largely unseen in one group of Americans—namely, the overlapping and generally liberal ranks of college professors, writers, and intellectuals. Mark Bauerlein is an exception. An English professor at Emory University and a senior editor at the journal First Things, Bauerlein supported Trump’s candidacy, hailing it as a response to political correctness, which he views as immensely damaging to American society. He is also a hawk on immigration and a fierce patriot.
A religious Catholic, Bauerlein once wrote a short piece about how disturbed he was about swearing, which included the line, “When we hear obscenities in closed public places, we should recognize conscience as an ally against degradation.” One wonders how someone horrified by vulgarity could vote for Donald Trump. Yet, as he told the New Yorker before Trump came to office, “There are some things in politics that you say, ‘This runs against what I believe.’ You have to suck it up.”
Now that the Trump dream has become reality, I wanted to talk to Bauerlein about how the president has behaved since Nov. 8. Bauerlein had hailed Trump’s rise as a deliverance from the status quo. Did he feel that deliverance has been worth the cost? During the course of our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed the different forms of disdain elites can show, Trump’s brand of identity politics, and the role of racism in American life.
Isaac Chotiner: How do you think Trump’s time as president-elect and president have gone?
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