The title, "master of negation," could be a reference to only one person, the president of the United States of America, the terrible tempered Donald J. Trump.
As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump appealed to Republican primary voters who were less ideological than the avowed conservatives who flocked to Ted Cruz and other more doctrinaire candidates. He did so by presenting himself as a master of the art of negotiation. Yet his real talent, then as now, has proven to be his knack for negation, as Martin Gurri, author of The Revolt of the Public, has argued. According to Gurri, the politics of negation is a style perfected in online communities. By way of illustration, he writes, “if you asked an indignado or an Occupier or a Tea Partier what they stood against, you would get long, long lists of grievances. If you asked what they stood for, you’d get throat-clearing noises and generalities like ‘social justice’ or ‘the Constitution.’” The creation of a positive program of reform is almost beside the point. Revolt is its own reward. Even when Trump’s policy prescriptions are perfectly banal, he frames them in an exaggerated and pointedly polarizing manner, as if it were his goal to stoke outrage. And for now, a decent-sized slice of the electorate welcomes his politics of negation, or is more fearful of the new modes of negation that are arising in response to Trump than they are of him.Trump is plainly obsessed with tearing down anything someone else has built. He would rather have rubble heaped in a vacant field than an edifice. It's why he goes after Merkel, the E.U., NAFTA, even Justin Trudeau.
Even Trump's spiritual blood brother, Recep Erdogan, got the treatment over some detained American pastor, the sort of person Trump does not give a crap about except as a handy pretext. Trump wanted to take Erdogan down (not that it's a bad thing) and so he used the excuse of some preacher to slap tariffs on Turkish exports in order to destabilize the local currency and undermine its economy. Voila, Trump the Indignado.
If the Democratic landslide does come this November, rest assured that Republicans will blame the president and his politics of negation for their fate. Know that this will be at best only half of the truth—the deeper fault lies with a congressional GOP that has utterly failed to rise to the challenge of binding America’s wounds.