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Could Donald Trump become an American folk hero? He's got what it takes: True believers.


You might think of folklore as a world of fictional characters from old stories and Disney cartoons, but in American folklore one finds legendary characters grounded in real people. Historical folk figures from Johnny Appleseed to Daniel Boone, and from Babe Ruth to Elvis Presley, are known to Americans as much by apocryphal stories as by their actual deeds. Will Donald Trump join this pantheon?

After the ransacking of the Capitol, Trump left the White House and was exiled by Twitter with a sigh of good riddance from many. Yet Trump’s “golden” presence and reception at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, suggest that he will not soon fade away. His future on the American scene taunts both Democrats and Republicans. Democrats perplex over the persistent enthusiasm of Trump supporters. Republicans agonize over a possible run in 2024, or worse, though he says he won’t do it, the still possible formation of a Trump-led third party. Without a doubt, Trump elicits both abhorrence and affection.  And without a doubt, he is a cultural force.


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