When we decided to publish Getting to Green during the 2016 presidential primary season, we anticipated that figures such as Jeb Bush would be serious contenders, leading an effort within the party to frame a GOP platform that included more mainstream positions on climate change and the environment. Despite strong support from many corners of the party for conservatives to pursue a strategy of engagement rather than denial, the Trump revolution destroyed any chance of a serious discussion of environmental policy during the primaries or at the convention.
Following the election, however, Republicans will face the task of shaping the party or parties that emerge from the rubble of Trumpism. Many will advocate that the new GOP reject the voices of the far right that have forced the party to maintain positions on the environment that the party "establishment" has understood for some time now need to be modernized to achieve electoral success in the decades ahead. I believe that the first half of 2017 will present the best opportunity in a generation for conservatives to revisit their anomalous quarter-century of opposition to conservation, and my plan is to resume an ambitious schedule of events and appearances in support of this goal toward the end of the first quarter.
Because my main objective this year has been to promote Getting to Green’s call for bipartisan cooperation on the environment, I have refrained from making comments that could be construed as partisan. The time has come, however, when silence regarding the forthcoming election is no longer a morally supportable option.
Accordingly, for the balance of this year, this blog will focus on the issues presented by Donald Trump’s candidacy. Many of these comments will be informed by my research and writing of Christian Nation, which anticipated the rise of a populist demagogue on the right, explored the circumstances under which such a candidate could prevail in an election (many of which circumstances are the same ones that have propelled Donald Trump), and then showed why our constitution and courts might not provide the barrier we assume between such a demagogue and the implementation of his or her program. My next book involves a main character with a pathological lack of empathy and explores how our popular and political cultures reflect the current epidemic of narcissism. My research and thinking about these subjects also inform my perspective on the Trump phenomenon. I hope readers of my books will find that this blog does what my books aim to do: offer an independent, historically informed, non-partisan, and pragmatic perspective on topical issues with a moral and political dimension.