“His attention span is too short, his eye too firmly fixed on momentary advantage…”

The idea of describing Mr. Trump with any word ending in “ist” has always struck me as risible. The suffix connotes the conscious holding of a principle or doctrine, whether good or evil—socialist, Dadaist, impressionist, Platonist, meliorist. But Mr. Trump doesn’t do principles and doctrines. The only “ist” word that can tenably describe him is “nationalist,” and that fits loosely and only sometimes. A racist or a white supremacist must at some level consciously hold definably racist or white supremacist beliefs; otherwise the terms are useless. Mr. Trump may have a neurosis that makes it impossible for him to abide by social conventions, but that does not make him a racist. His attention span is too short, his eye too firmly fixed on momentary advantage, to adopt a creed more complex than “Make America great again.”

—Barton Swaim writing in the Wall Street Journal.

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