Roman Parallels: Plutarch and the Trump Election
Plutarch’s analysis of statesmen and regimes through analogy and dis-analogy makes him a promising guide for reflection on what the election of a man like Trump reveals about the condition of contemporary America and its constitutional order. Examination of the Roman republican regime, and especially the role in it of the office of tribune, sheds light on a deficiency in the American constitutional order that Trump has exploited. Placing post-Cold War America in parallel with post-Punic War Rome reveals similarities in the conditions that set the stage for Trump and those that prompted the populist agenda of the Gracchi, as well as in their rhetorical appeals. Trump is no Caesar, but raises the specter of the possibility of a Caesar.
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