From First Things: "I want to read something to you. I want you to really listen to this.” Rush Limbaugh opened his radio show on January 20, 2016, in the tone he normally reserves for breaking Clinton scandals. But his topic that afternoon was less sensational, and he would spend the next thirty minutes reading passages from a five-thousand-word magazine essay. It warned of globalist “elites” who “manage the delegitimization of our own culture, and the dispossession of our people.” It complained of leaders who “drag the country into conflicts” and “preside over the economic pastoralization of the United States.” It encouraged Republicans to campaign on limiting immigration, saving blue-collar jobs, and restoring Middle Americans to their central place in the nation’s life.
The essay was titled “Principalities & Powers,” and Limbaugh hailed it as the Trumpist manifesto that no one, including the candidate, had been able to formulate. It described a voting base, misunderstood and exploited for decades, that more resembled a “proletariat” than a propertied middle class. “Nationalism and populism,” as Limbaugh put it, not free-market orthodoxy, represented the Republican party’s best way forward. Yet the essay, despite anticipating the presidential inauguration exactly one year later, had not been written by an observer of the 2016 primary season. It had been published in 1996, and its author was not available for interview, because he had been dead for more than a decade.
When he died in 2005, Samuel Francis was nobody’s idea of the most prescient observer of American politics."