Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Olivier Douliery, Pool / Getty Images

In this era of drones and driverless cars, President Trump often sounds and feels like a man from the bygone days of station wagons and smokestacks.

"He feels he’s the personification of the American dream. ... That means building things, going back to the era of his dad. He assumes the rest of the country pines for that. "
— A source close to President Trump

The source added: "He's not necessarily saying we need to go back to the past. He's saying we need ... the principles that made us successful in the past."

  • We see it in a "Mad Men" mentality that infuses his rhetoric, policies and personal life. 
  • We see it in his attention to coal over forward-looking international trade.
  • We see it in testosterone-tinged chest thumping, in person and on Twitter.
  • We see it in his focus on steel and aluminum, when the next great war may be cyber- and satellite-driven.
  • We see it in his push for a Pennsylvania Avenue military parade (with "a lot of plane fly-overs"), expected to cost tens of millions of dollars.
  • We see it in his response to #MeToo.
  • We heard it in Trump's wistful remarks about Route 66 when speaking last summer in Springfield, Mo., birthplace of the now-outmoded Mother Road: "For many decades, Route 66 captured the American spirit. The communities along this historic route were a vivid symbol of America’s booming industry."

Even his diet and health routine are retro: golfing as exercise (with a cart), and a diet heavy on burgers and thick steaks.

Be smart: Trump's instincts and measures of success look back, while our most fearsome competitor, China, is projecting ahead with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and globalization. 

  • But the nostalgia Trump evokes is a key part of his hold on his electorate —tapping into a lingering fear about a changing America that leaves many in his base feeling like strangers in their own land. 

P.S. The White House says President Trump will attend Friday's funeral for the Rev. Billy Graham in Charlotte, N.C.

Go deeper

America's Chinese communities struggle with online disinformation

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Disinformation has proliferated on Chinese-language websites and platforms like WeChat that are popular with Chinese speakers in the U.S., just as it has on English-language websites.

Why it matters: There are fewer fact-checking sites and other sources of reliable information in Chinese, making it even harder to push back against disinformation.

Pennsylvania certifies Biden's victory

Photo: Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Pennsylvania officials on Tuesday certified the state's presidential election results, making President-elect Joe Biden's win in the key battleground official.

Why it matters: The move deals another blow to President Trump's failed efforts to block certification in key swing states that he lost to Biden. It also comes one day after officials voted to certify Biden's victory in Michigan.