In a pre-election issue of The New Yorker, the editors placed a cartoon on the cover of the magazine depicting George Washington and Abraham Lincoln looking in horror at a television screen showing Donald Trump delivering one of his campaign speeches. The message was clear enough: Mr. Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, if they could be with us today, would be appalled at the spectacle of the billionaire mogul running for president as the authentic voice of the people. Many commentators on the left and right, and in between, joined in agreement to say that the Founders designed the Constitution precisely to prevent populist demagogues from getting anywhere near the presidency. There was considerable confusion in these circles as to whether they judged Mr. Trump to be an authentic populist or just another standard-brand candidate claiming to speak for the people—or, indeed, if they were...

 

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