Buckley argues that Donald Trump was uniquely positioned to take on what he calls “The New Class” (not to be confused with the old New Class of Soviet times).
The American New Class, Buckley writes,
isn’t the super wealthy top 0.1 percent of earners, who are surprisingly egalitarian and have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. They’re not the basketball millionaires or the high tech gazillionaires. Instead, they’re the top 10 per cent, the professionals earning more than $200,000 a year, whose toast always falls butter side up and who pass on their advantages to their children. They are skilled in the hyper-technical rules and adept in ever-changing Orwellian Newspeak that are employed to exclude the backward, the eccentric and the politically incorrect. Their beliefs are liberal, their speech is socially approved and they never tell jokes. They live in a world divided between people at the table and people on the table, between sources and targets. You will know them by their mating calls. Reproductive freedom. The world is flat. Demography is Destiny.
This New Class is a kind of aristocracy, Buckley contends. “Yesterday’s revolutionaries have come to power and become today’s counter-revolutionaries. They are Bourbons who seek to pass themselves off as Jacobins . . . They tell us that aristocracy is natural, that change is impossible, that they deserve their place at the top of the totem pole.”
“Against this,” Buckley writes, “Trump offered a way out.”
Obviously, it’s an open question whether Trump’s agenda succeeds or what will happen to the movement he inspired in the event he’s impeached and removed or loses reelection in 2020. Buckley for his part laments the president’s unforced errors, but believes (as I do) that there’s no going back now to the status quo ante. How the Republican Party might change in the “Age of Trump” is the subject of Buckley’s (fairly short) book—and well worth your time and attention.