Historian Julian Zelizer gathered an esteemed group of American historians at Princeton to assess the Trump presidency. Here is a taste of Jennifer Schuessler’s piece at The New York Times:
From the day he took office, Donald J. Trump had America’s historians on high alert, as they took to news programs, Op-Ed pages and social media to help contextualize every norm-busting twist and turn (and tweet).
But last Friday, a group of 17 historians sat down for a calmer, more deliberate project: taking a first cut at writing a scholarly history of the administration.
Before convening via Zoom for two days of discussion, the members had submitted chapters on topics including immigration, foreign policy, race, party politics, media, disinformation and impeachment. After revisions and editing, the work will be published next year by Princeton University Press in a volume called “The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment.”
That might seem like an incongruously dry title for a summation of four years that ended with a violent assault on the United States Capitol. And before the discussion began, Julian E. Zelizer, a professor at Princeton and the project’s organizer, laid out a basic difficulty.
“The challenge with President Trump is understanding the foundational elements of his presidency as deeply rooted in basic features of American history,” he said, while also noting the places “where the presidency jumped the shark.”
The discussion included plenty of debate on big-picture questions. Was Trump’s victory (then loss) part of a political realignment, or an aberration? What was the role of bottom-up social movements versus top-down leadership in driving change? And how much did Trump’s personality matter?
More than one person suggested that among the norms upended (or at least seriously shaken up) was dispassionate scholarly objectivity itself.
Read the rest here. According to Scheussler’s article, the gathering included the following historians:
I really hope they had a historian write a paper on Trump and evangelicalism.