Trump is not a typical Republican


He is a nationalist.

Having watched his speech, and glanced at some of his policy positions, this conclusion is glaringly apparent to me.

Nationalism is, philosophically speaking, an outgrowth of people’s natural affinity for family and local community. In building this camaraderie up to the level of the nation state, nationalism intends to improve the nation as a whole. Thus, every citizen is considered a brother or sister, an aunt or uncle. This interpretation is the so-called primordial justification for nationalism.

There are two practical manifestations of this, one good, and one bad. By considering fellow citizens as comrades, whose plight must be bettered for national betterment itself, nationalists invest heavily in education, healthcare, and other social services. However, the dark side of this ideology lies in nationalists conjuring a vision in which non-citizens or ‘false’ citizens, like Muslims, are slimy pariahs to be persecuted in order to uphold national integrity.

Historically, nationalist movements include the Indian Independence Movement, the South African anti-apartheid struggle, and even Irish republicanism. More reviled groups, such as the Nazis and Italian Fascists, were also nationalists. Nationalism itself is neither good nor evil; its practical form is what matters.

Which side of the nationalist coin will Trump land upon? At present, it is too early to tell.


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