I think Trump had this general populist agenda but has not been particularly adept at using the levers of power in Washington.
Like most places, America has always had potent strains of anti-Semitism - crude and polished, K.K.K. and country club. But unlike many places, we have always had important strains of philo-Semitism as well; there is a long American tradition, with both Protestant and Enlightenment roots, of really liking Judaism and the Jews.
Our immigrants joined a settler culture, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant, that demanded assimilation to its norms.
When immigration proceeds at a steady but modest clip, deep change comes slowly, and there's time for assimilation to do its work.
I think you can see a clear link between certain kinds of Christian nationalism and support for Trump. Then, I also think that Trump is benefiting from the weakening of religious participation. He's winning evangelicals who aren't in church.
I think that liberalism and the centrist governing elite of this country need to learn lessons from the Trump phenomenon. It is part of the way that the country is governed and the country is shaped that induces spasms of populism, including spasms of bigoted populism.
I think generally, Pope Benedict did a good job cleaning up the way the church handled abusive priests but didn't go far enough in how he handled bishops who enabled them.
In fact, the religious right consists of an alliance of several groups that, without experiencing anything like the oppression visited on black Americans, have consistently occupied lower rungs in the American social hierarchy.
To analyze Trump is to discover only bottomless appetite and need, and to carve at him is like carving at an online troll: The only thing to discover is the void.
Even Warren Buffet is allowed to have an awful year from time to time.
Celibacy used to offend family-values conservatism; now it offends equally against the opposite spirit.
That clerical celibacy doesn't guarantee asceticism is obvious, any more than attending Mass guarantees prayerfulness (trust me on that one). But it preserves the call even when the system is corrupted.
There are all kinds of great things that megachurches and successful fundraising appeals can allow you to do, especially in terms of overseas charity work, and so on. I'm just arguing that American Christians need to recognize the temptations that can expose you to as well.
If you live under a system that claims to have high ideals but seems ineradicably opposed to your own people's flourishing, the desire for idealistic reform within the system has to coexist with an openness to more radical possibilities.
Every elite seeks its own perpetuation, of course, but that project is uniquely difficult in a society that's formally democratic and egalitarian and colorblind.
When a newspaper columnist wants to write about a novel, the rule is that you're supposed to have a 'hook,' an excuse, a timely reason to bring up the book in question.
It is not white nationalism to believe that growing ideological uniformity in the commanding heights of culture makes American politics more polarized.
Modern conservatism was forged in the crucible of the 1970s inflation crisis, and in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash many conservatives were convinced that there was nothing the Federal Reserve could do about the vast army of the unemployed without touching off a similar inflationary spiral.
The best time to make deficit reduction a priority is when the inflation rate and the bond market give you some indication that you are headed for a dangerous inflationary spiral.
Now fiscal responsibility is generally a good thing, and so a centrism mindlessly focused on tweaking legislation away from deficit spending has its uses.