Congress • Democrats • Electoral College • Elizabeth Warren • Post

Democratic Candidates Aren’t on a Winning Track

Presidential candidates from both parties usually sound hard-core in the primaries to appeal to their progressive or conservative bases. But for the general election, the nominees move to the center to pick off swing voters and centrist independents.

Voters put up with the scripted tactic as long as a candidate had not gone too extreme in the primaries and endorsed positions too far out of the mainstream.

A good example of this successful ploy was Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. In the primary against Hillary Clinton, Obama ran to her left. But he was still careful not to get caught on the record going too far left. That way, he was still able to tack to the center against John McCain in the general election.

As a general election candidate, Obama rejected the idea of gay marriage. He blasted illegal immigration. He railed against deficit spending. And he went so far as to label then-President George W. Bush as “unpatriotic” for taking out “a credit card from the bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt.”

The result was that Obama was elected. After taking office, in cynical fashion he endorsed gay marriage, ran up far more red ink than did Bush, offered blanket amnesties and relaxed immigration enforcement.

Yet the current crop of would-be Democratic nominees has forgotten the old script entirely. Nearly all of them are currently running so hard to the left that the successful nominee will never be able to appear moderate.

Bernie Sanders leads the charge for abolishing all student debt. Kamala Harris wants reparations for slavery. Joe Biden talks of jailing health insurance executives if they falsely advertise.

The entire field seems to agree that it should not be a criminal offense to enter the U.S. illegally. The consensus appears to be that no illegal entrant will be deported unless he or she has committed a serious crime.

Not a single Democratic candidate has expressed reservations about abortions, and a number of them have fought proposed restrictions on partial-birth abortions.

Elizabeth Warren has said guns are a national health emergency and would not rule out the possibility of federal gun confiscation.

Early in the campaign, no major Democratic candidate has questioned the Green New Deal and its radical proposals. No one has much objected to dismantling U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or scrapping the Electoral College. An unworkable wealth tax and a top marginal income tax rate of 70 percent or higher are also OK.

Yet none of these positions currently wins 51 percent of public support, according to polls.

What are the Democratic frontrunners thinking?

Maybe the candidates assume that the present Democratic Party is so radical and so steeped in identity politics that everyone must run to the left of all other rivals, even if insincerely so. Then, once nominated, the survivor can back off from his or her earlier radicalism, move to the center in the general election and hope that voters prefer a centrist hypocrite to an unapologetic radical.

A second theory is that we are watching a sort of progressive feeding frenzy. Twenty or so candidates have become disconnected from reality. In their echo chamber, they have no idea that they are talking radical nonsense.

A third possibility is that the Democratic candidates believe the polling on these issues is wrong. They may assume that the American people either have moved hard left and really do believe in a radical agenda, or can be persuaded with enough time and effort.

There is a fourth hypothesis. It may be that the Democratic Party would rather lose in a fashion it considers noble than win insincerely.

Maybe the goal for Democratic candidates is to advance the hard-left cause, even if Democrats suspect it will mean that their nominee will lose to Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.

Such blind idealism is not unprecedented in American electoral history. Republican nominee Barry Goldwater knew early on that his hard-right positions would likely mean a big loss to Democratic incumbent President Lyndon Johnson in 1964, but perhaps Goldwater hoped to lay the foundation of a new conservative movement.

George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic nominee, may have suspected that he would be demolished by incumbent Richard Nixon. But the hard-left McGovern nonetheless sought to preach a new sort of progressivism rarely embraced by Democrats.

Goldwater and McGovern lost in landslides. Yet eventually, true-blue conservative Ronald Reagan became the heir to Goldwater in much the same way that Obama would become their heir to McGovern.

If all of these explanations seem far out, it’s only because the current Democratic candidates sound far out—as if they either don’t know how to win in 2020 or don’t care to win at all.

Photo Credit: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call


Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • The Left

The Anti-Trump Circus

We are now in the fourth year of an anti-Trump mania, and about reaching the point of caricature.

The Left should have learned something after the failed celebrity appeal to undermine the Electoral College, the initial articles of impeachment, the empty invocations of the Logan Act, the Emoluments Clause, and the 25th Amendment, the 22-month, $35 million Mueller investigation deflation, the periodical silly “bombshell” announcements of perennially wrong and comical Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the pathetic palace coup attempt of Andrew McCabe, the assassination chic from the likes of Madonna, Snoop Dogg, or Kathy Griffin, or the deification of the slimy prophet Michael Avenatti.

Not at all. An entire new cast of carnival characters has arrived on the scene to take up where the now imploded Left off. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) has replaced Schiff in the unhinged congressional investigative limelight. In his latest hearing, Nadler obtusely insisted on addressing former Trump White House aide Hope Hicks as “Ms. Lewandowski.” Even Democrats were puzzled—given that Nadler’s supposed “slip of the tongue” was repeated three times until Hicks finally corrected him.

Even in the age of gender transitioning and speech reduced to Twitter-like grunts, sane people still do not confuse the four-syllable name of the male Lewandowski as some sort of homophone for the one syllable name of the female Hicks.

Was Nadler in tawdry fashion then trying repeatedly to traffic in stale and unfounded rumors that the married Lewandowski had had an affair with Hicks? In the age of #MeToo was the enlightened feminist Nadler implying that Hicks was somehow the sexually compromised tool of the former controversial Trump aide? Or was he so unhinged in his hatred of the president to the point of conflating his make-believe enemies into some sort of composite delusionary specter? Did a Republican committee member ever repeatedly address witness Lisa Page as “Ms. Strzok”? That “slip of the tongue” or “confusing”of two one-syllable names at least would have been fueled by a real and substantiated affair.

Hillary Clinton, of “deplorables” and “I don’t feel no ways tired” fame has now faded. The Bill and Hillary conversation tour long ago ran out of gas. Her “Russia and Trump cheated me” tropes are worn and now embarrassing, as she descends into Stacey Abrams obsessive-compulsive fantasies that appeal only to 94-year-old Jimmy Carter. Meanwhile, her own party has finally concluded that a 71-year old white woman, prone to gaffes, who blows up her presidential campaigns, and is plagued with past failure and current scandal is no longer needed as a national emerita spokeswoman.

So Hillary has exited the carnival—only to be replaced by anti-Trump “elder statesman” Joe Biden. As the next 76-year-old white­-guy senior Democratic functionary, Biden has tried his best to bookend the Hillary example of twice destroying a presidential campaign, and in the fashion that he also did on two prior occasions through plagiarism, résumé fabrication, racist talk, and free association incoherence. For every “deplorables” and “I don’t feel no ways tired,” Biden trumps with “dregs of society” and “put y’all in chains”.

So far, Biden has informed his Democratic leftist, identity-politics diehards that he was once on good terms with the now long-dead segregationist lions of the Senate, that all his positions of the 1970s have been jettisoned, replaced, and borrowed from those of his current rivals, that he was only against busing because a non-existent Department of Education ordered it, that the first thing he will do as president is beat Trump (perhaps he means assault rather than defeat him twice in three months at the ballot box, and so will take him a third time out behind the rhetorical gym for a good thrashing).

Was anyone surprised that the man who thought FDR was president in 1929 and addressed the nation on TV about the Great Depression could also not resist appropriating slogans and ideas verbatim from others, or saying the silliest things about race, class, and gender—the progressive trinity. Biden still has trouble keeping his hands and breath off the hair and shoulders of women, especially teen-aged women. In sum, Biden is not the antidote to Hillary Clinton’s liabilities, but an overdose of them.

After the abbreviated strip tour of porn star Stormy Daniels, and the late, great media-driven presidential aspirations of her now indicted lawyer Michael Avenatti, and the “the walls are closing in” psychodramatic state’s evidence of Michael Cohen, a new Trump sexual accuser has come on the scene.

One E. Jean Carroll, advice columnist and misandrist (What Do We Need Men For? A Modest Proposal) is the most bizarre of them all. After announcing that over two decades ago Donald Trump “raped” her, Carroll assures that she was convinced that there was a video camera recording their meeting and that, pre-Monica Lewinsky-style, she still has the incriminating coat hanging in her closet untouched that she was wearing at the scene of the crime. Then she strangely admits that there is no evidence of the meeting that took place in a semi-public place. She offers no reason now to come forward other than to hype her current book. And she seems a sexual-Zelig, citing past parallel cases in which she just supposedly happened to bump into, and then was accosted by, the nation’s most powerful and richest men.

Carroll does not classify rape as a sexual assault, but rather describes it as something perceived to be “sexy.” Oh, and she says she found herself with Trump at the scene of the crime—a dressing room at the “posh” luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman—united by their shared interest in lingerie. Many on the Left are trumpeting her story, as the long-awaited sex “bombshell” that finally blows up Trump. In comparison, Carroll makes wild Stormy look like a sober and judicious truth teller, and has about as much credibility as the wacko Larry Sinclair, the gay hoodish coke-snorting accuser of Barack Obama who actually was let into the National Press Club in 2008 to gossip about his supposed past link-up with a younger Obama.

Then there are the two-dozen would-be presidents in the current Democratic field. So desperate is the desire for an anti-Trump messiah that each week someone, in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Great Stone Face” style, is declared the long-awaited heroic Trump destroyer. The once canonized “Beto” O’Rourke has descended into silliness after his loss in the Texas senate race to Ted Cruz. Like a scorched frog on a skillet, Beto jumps around the stage and makes strange noises that confirm as a rich, privileged white guy he is more than willing to pander far more than merely adopting a Mexican-American nickname, but lacks the knowledge and depth to know quite how to grovel other than apologizing in the abstract for his white rich upbringing.

Cory Booker still has not convinced Americans who know why he’s called “Spartacus” that he’s not crazy. Elizabeth Warren is in recovery, once she stopped showing DNA proof that she is not the Indian that for two decades she claimed to be for careerist purposes and whose lies Harvard was only too willing to promulgate. Bernie Sanders after 2016 seems as if he is going through the socialist motions—or rather suggesting that if things were once hard at 73 they are really hard at 77.  He honeymooned in the Soviet Union, but the once newlywed Bill de Blasio topped that with Cuba.

How do you pander beyond legal infanticide? Julian Castro believes he can by offering free abortions to transgendered females without wombs. Mayor Pete Buttigieg is proving that intersectionality is a destruction derby and that black activists are not especially keen to envision him as a gay victim. It is hard to know who distrusts the narratives of Kamala Harris more, her own father or her past paramour and former enabling San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. And on and on.

In the old Democratic days, Trump might have seemed vulnerable to charges that the national debt is now hitting $22 trillion and his annual deficits are ranging between $500 billion and $1 trillion. Or Democrats might have claimed that Trump has not yet offered a comprehensive substitution to Obamacare. Instead, the progressive alternatives offer only the same stale message:  Trump is bad and socialism is great.

So, the carnival continues. Expect the upcoming Robert Mueller congressional testimony to be a Kavanaugh-like circus. Expect the continual release of incriminating government documents to outrage Rachel Maddow and John Brennan as they somehow reveal themselves to be even greater fools and worse. Expect each day a Democratic candidate trying to dream up how much more free stuff he can give away to prove his left-wing fides, and how far more worried they all are about noncitizens than their own fellow Americans.

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Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Economy • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Identity Politics • Political Parties • Post • The Left

2020 Has Echoes of 1996 for the Opposition Party

The Democrats have assembled a field of candidates for 2020 as large as it is unimpressive. From the slick Robert “Beto” O’Rourke and the media creation Kamala Harris to the Woodie Guthrie wannabe Bernie Sanders, to the fake folksy chameleon Joe Biden, it’s amazing such a large group of candidates is collectively so devoid of charisma, intellect, or interesting ideas.

I’ve loathed the Democratic Party since junior high school, but even I could recognize the common touch of Bill Clinton and the cool, disciplined demeanor of Barack Obama. Hell, even Hillary Clinton was obviously bright, though so haughty and mechanical that she lost an election she was supposed to win.

It is telling that the best the Democrats of 2020 can come up with is the slippery retread Biden, whose 1987 run for the presidency ended in disgrace when news broke of his plagiarism. He and the rest of the bunch are not exactly the stuff dreams are made of, even with the demographic tail winds that spell disaster for the Republican Party and the republic before long.

The Electorate Is Similar to Past Elections
In spite of the changes to the country’s population, the electorate is a lagging indicator. While the country has been rearranged with a mass influx of foreigners, their ability to vote takes some time, as mere presence and even legal residence does not equate to citizenship.

Indeed, misunderstanding the persistence and importance of legacy America had much to do with the Democrats’ failures in 2016. They thought the coalition of the ascendant would take them over the finish line. They learned instead that lots of Americans were sick of being force-fed nonsense about transgenderism and being bullied about “white privilege,” as they struggled to maintain a middle-class existence.

Most elections since 1988 or so have the same basic feel. The South is mostly solidly Republican. California, Illinois, and the Northeast are solidly Democratic. The Midwest is what typically swings between elections, along with the mercurial bellwether of Florida, whose people are an amalgamation of the rest of the country.

Clinton won in 1992 by being a popular, moderate Southern governor. The addition of Ross Perot and a modest recession combined to keep the prize from the incumbent, George H.W. Bush. The elder Bush also had the demerit of being seen as a fair weather friend to “movement conservatives,” who dominated the Republican Party after Reagan. Even so, Republicans were angry at this turn of events, which seemed irrationally to repudiate the Reagan economic miracle and Bush’s Cold War victory.

Clinton, Like Trump, Was Hated for His Style
From 1992 to 1996, the white hot passion with which Republicans loathed Clinton cannot be overstated. His style, his support for abortion and gun control, his uneasy approach to the military, and his push for national health care made him very unpopular with ideological conservatives and Republicans.

With the demise of the Soviet threat—a common enemy for conservatives of all stripes—Clinton became the substitute bogeyman. He was cast as an extreme liberal, which appears exaggerated in retrospect. He was merely a moderate, hated as much for who he was and his style as for any of his policies.

The Republican Party of the 1990s, like the Democrats of today, had a problem. Although the party was united in opposition to Clinton, it was divided internally between the “establishment” and its own far Right, exemplified by Pat Buchanan.

George H.W. Bush was no Ronald Reagan, and Buchanan challenged Bush in the 1992 Republican primary and pioneered a nationalist vision for the post-Cold-War GOP. Buchanan was critical of Israel, free trade, mass immigration, interventionism, and addressed other issues that make up the “national question.” He was, however, ahead of his time. Most of the effects of mass immigration and globalization would only be felt more fully in the future, and small government, pro-business, and low-tax views remained the consensus view among Republican voters.

In 1996, Buchanan at first represented a formidable force. He won the New Hampshire primary and, in doing so, scared the hell out of the Republican establishment. The establishment had several possible candidates to choose from, including Lamar Alexander, Steve Forbes, and Richard Lugar. But Bob Dole, a longtime U.S. senator from Kansas and previous presidential contender in 1988, had everything the establishment wanted: experience, predictability, and, it was thought, electability.

Dole was not a fire-breathing conservative, but a mainstream Republican with a distinguished war record, a long career in the Senate, and many friends and allies. He eventually became the nominee and lost miserably to Bill Clinton.

Clinton won for a variety of reasons. The main reason, despite histrionic Republican condemnation, is that he did not do such a bad job his first term. After 1992, the economy emerged from the recession and shifted into high gear during the “dot-com” boom. Clinton ended the pointless Somalia intervention and dragged his feet on getting involved in the Bosnian quagmire. While the military shrunk with the reduction of our Cold War commitments, the modest tax hikes of Clinton’s first term led to balanced budgets and eventually a government surplus. Employment went up, and many of the concerns of the era—tax rates, Monica Lewinsky, and welfare reform—seem picayune compared to today’s threats of Islamic terrorism, the hollowing out of American industry, or the illegal immigrant hordes pouring over our Mexican border.

Clinton carried more Southern states than is typical for a Democrat—Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida—but also won the Midwestern battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa. These Midwestern states are moderate and practical, defined as much by their largely German-American population and concern for order and efficient government than the more libertarian tendencies of the Deep South and the Mountain West. These practical, middle-of-the-road folks are not especially ideological or consistent in their voting patterns. They are the quintessential swing districts.

Trump Benefits From a Strong Economy and Relative Peace in 2020
The objective facts favor Donald Trump’s reelection for many of the same reasons Clinton was a favorite in 1996. The economy is doing quite well, and his tax cuts and regulatory reforms appear to be at least part of the reason.

Of course, he has not delivered on his main campaign promises, but he appears to his supporters at least to be trying, even in the face of bipartisan resistance. His deviations from promises appear aligned with rather than opposing public opinion.

Also, Trump rather decisively defeated ISIS’s caliphate in Syria, but has so far avoided calls for getting involved in another Middle Eastern war. Even Obama could not avoid this temptation, in spite of running as the “peace candidate” in 2008.

In short, we were warned that Trump would destroy the economy, the norms of good governance, and possibly act recklessly with his “finger on the button” in the event he became president. Instead, everything feels quite normal, prosperous, and predictable.

The gap between the Democratic Party’s hatred of Trump and his results mirrors the chasm between Republican Party’s Clinton hatred and the relatively modest evils of Clinton’s first term as president. Then, as now, there is some “outrage fatigue” among ordinary Americans, who are not nearly as partisan or engaged as the political press, volunteers, and donors who follow politics like a sport in both parties.

More important, by combining this background of ideological fervor and a “ho hum” candidate, Dole failed to excite the base, even as Republican rhetoric alienated those in the middle and within the Democratic Party.

The Democrats seem to be undertaking a similar strategy, coalescing around the well-known Joe Biden. Biden, Obama’s vice president, is avuncular and superficially moderate, having slowly followed his party as it moved further leftward while maintaining a connection to the Democratic Party’s past. He comes from working-class roots and makes much of his connection to middle America.

Of course, Biden is odd and, having been around a long time, he has said things directly contradicting his views today. Today’s Democratic Party, after all, is radically different from that of yesteryear. It underwent a shift to more identity politics, reflecting both the leadership of Obama and the party’s increasingly diverse voter base. But Biden’s status as a frontrunner demonstrates a combination of realism by Democratic primary voters arising from their desire to defeat Trump at all costs, as well as his exploitation of the divisions among the others.

The alternatives have significant obstacles and each only capture a portion of the party’s primary electorate. Sanders gets the alienated anti-corporate Left, Harris presumably garners a strong swath of the diversity voters, and someone like Beto appeals to the romantic spirit of Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” campaign.

Elizabeth Warren has already been flummoxed by her “stolen valor” with regard to her Indian heritage, even though she otherwise would have been a compelling voice for economic populism. So, if Biden wins the nomination—which appears likely right now—he will do it for reasons similar to the ones that led Republicans to unify around Dole. Biden, like Dole, would be a familiar, older, predictable figure in a party unified in its hatred of the Republican president, but strongly disunified on ideology and much else.

Biden’s Hurdles
Biden in 2020, like Dole in 1996, would face an objectively similar presidential legacy. The economy is doing well, and no new wars are underway. Clinton himself won by saying, bluntly, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Everyone knows the economy matters and its fortunes are attributed to the president, as irrational as this may be.

Biden’s attack on Trump will focus chiefly on his character and demeanor, his style, and scandals familiar to partisans, just as Republicans obsessed over “Slick Willie” and his Whitewater and travel office imbroglios. Republicans deemed Clinton the apotheosis of Baby Boomer self-absorption, but his record was not bad by any objective measure.

Biden also has to fashion a positive policy message, now that the failing Iraq War or the media-generated romanticism about Obama can no longer can be the centerpiece of Democratic campaigns. This will be a problem, as the Democrats’ redistributionist message thrives on economic anxiety.

But Trump’s hybrid policies—standard Republican approaches to taxes and regulations coupled with aggressive negotiating with trading partners—appear to be working. We were told his election would tank the stock market, instead the market as well as the broader economy have continued to improve, despite Trump inheriting the mature recovery of Obama’s second term.

Criticism by Biden of Trump’s immigration and border policies would also alienate middle-of-the-road voters in both parties uneasy with mass immigration. Even Trump’s tariffs would prove a wedge issue, as they are pro-worker and were once a popular Democratic issue, particularly among the party’s working-class voters in the industrial swing states of the Midwest. Tariffs also have garnered respect among Republicans, who are increasingly aware of the national defense aspects of our trade conflict with China.

Further, no Democratic policy agenda can easily unify the various identity and economic factions of the Democrats, while simultaneously appealing to the “woke capitalism” of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, while also appealing to moderate swing voters in the swing states of Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The Democratic coalition is full of ideological die-hards who easily may opt to stay at home when too much is done to appeal to opposing factions within that coalition. In other words, there is a lot of inherent tension between urban career women, destitute welfare cases, “woke” ethnic chauvinists, and cozy government workers, and whatever unites them may prove too much for the fringes and also swing voters to bear.

Clinton touted his economic achievements and the absence of foreign policy failures in his 1996 reelection campaign. In so doing, he could appeal to objective facts. Dole and other Republicans could only invoke highly abstract ideological arguments against him or appeal to some risk of a future economic or national security disaster.

Dole, like Biden today, had the benefit of being familiar and well liked within his party. But like Dole, Biden also has the demerit of not appearing to stand for anything in particular and failing to inspire his party’s ideological fringes. Biden’s message, like Dole’s in 1996, seems to be that it’s his time and that he can win.

A safe candidate appears to make a certain amount of sense, logically speaking. But, for the same reasons, it also makes sense for voters to retain an incumbent when the country objectively is better off than ever before.

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Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Identity Politics • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • The Left

The 2020 News Cycle Will Look Very Different

The Russia collusion narrative and associated Robert Mueller hysteria are all but over.

Mueller’s obstruction of justice narrative involving the non-crime of collusion is ending, too.

Donald Trump’s tax-return psychodrama is going the way of the Emoluments Clause, the Logan Act, the 25th Amendment and the comical in-house coup attempt of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

What takes the place of Mueller and “the noose is tightening” bombshells? Perhaps the new narratives involving Inspector General Michael Horowitz and FISA abuse, or Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into the origins of the Russia collusion probe—far quieter, far more serious.

The media for three years obsessed over a false “Trump did it” story. But in the next 17 months, the storyline may change from the myth of the “walls are closing in” on the president to the reality that Obama-era officials committed serial felonies—from perjury and lying to federal officials, to leaking classified documents, spying illegally on a political campaign, deceiving a FISA court, and obstructing justice.

As we have already seen with the flare-up between former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who signed a FISA writ, who wrote the memo for Comey’s firing, who appointed his old boss Robert Mueller as special counsel, and who, McCabe says, joined him for a moment in contemplating removing Trump) and former FBI Director James Comey (who likely lied under oath, deceived a FISA court, leaked classified documents and ordered informants placed in the Trump campaign), at some point, these culpable grandees will start turning on each other, and it will be hard to stop.

Even Christopher Steele is rumored to be offering his expertise about the birth and life of his fallacious dossier. And perhaps even the British government will confess behind the scenes that members of its intelligence services may have had suspicious contacts with their U.S. counterparts who were intent on destroying the current U.S. president.

Once federal attorneys present all of these players with real legal exposure, it may be that John Brennan, James Clapper, Comey, McCabe and the rest will fall back to the classic he-ordered-me-to-do-it defenses. And as the next two years wear on, the effort to find who commanded the commander below to command felonious behavior will introduce us to an even more newsworthy group of miscreants.

There are still other possible news narratives in the two years ahead.

The Non “Non-Crisis” on the Border
The old “there is no crisis on the border” progressive reassurance is untenable. The question is not whether hundreds of thousands (1 million so far this year alone) of illegal aliens are crossing the border, with far more on the way, but why and why now?

The obvious answer is not something in the interests of the majority of American voters—as opposed to remittance-receiving Latin America and Mexico, the profit-minded cartels and drug dealers, the captains of our identity politics army, the new demographers of the Democratic Party, and the hate-Trump crowd that is for anything that Trump is against.

Trump is not wrong that support for an open border translates into bad optics and worse ratings.

The Fading Ancient Liberal Regime
The Democratic field is not really Democratic as we used to define the party. Rather, it is a mix of socialists, identity-politics activists, and angry hard-core leftists—and front-runner Joe Biden, who appears to be freeze drying his entire political past in order to microwave it back once he wins the nomination.

In American politics, if the candidate is not an intrinsically charismatic JFK or Ronald Reagan, the trick has always been during the primaries to veer to the hard-core base to get the nomination, but without going on record with too many vapid and embarrassing concessions that will dog the nominee in the general election, as he veers back to the center to pick up independents.

Most of this new party don’t seem to understand that old canard. At least, most of the candidates seem to be fearlessly embracing the Green New Deal, reparations, virtual infanticide, “Medicare for All,” a wealth tax, a new 70 percent top income-tax bracket, free college, the abolition of student debt, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, and the Electoral College and more still that no one can run on even at this late date in America.

Yet the “centrist” Biden is polling in front of the pack precisely because he ostensibly has not embraced what he more or less is insidiously now beginning to embrace. Bottom line: we are going to witness a strange drama in which a party that has had it with white males has no Barack Obama to replace them with.

A party that systematically turned off the “bitter clingers” and “deplorables” needs just those irredeemables in the general election to restore the blue wall. And a perennially reckless, foot-in-the-mouth, ethically challenged Joe Biden must be recalibrated as a sober and judicious wise man and all-knowing Yoda that smiles at, but does not embrace, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s puerility.

All that is a volatile drama that does not necessarily translate into a supposedly serious, measured, and calming alternative to the Trump presidency, which, after all, in 2020 will likely still have a solid record on the economy and a foreign policy of restored deterrence.

Hating the Most Loyal of Democrats
Valerie Plane was back in the news cycle a few weeks ago. The former CIA agent announced her bid as a Democratic candidate for Congress from New Mexico and opportunistically offered some context for her prior tweets that endorsed (“very provocative, but thoughtful. Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish . . . Read the entire article and try, just for a moment, to put aside your biases and think clearly”) an article titled, “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” The essay, inter alia, stated that Jews “own the media,” and embrace views that are as toxic as “a bottle of rat poison.”

About the same time, news reports noted that Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn continue to be attacked regularly on the street—and, when covered honestly, mostly by black and Latino youth.

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) offered an Ilhan Omar-like anti-Semitic riff that won sympathy from Democratic stalwarts such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), afraid that an Ocasio-Cortez-style candidate might primary him next year. Tlaib had been called out for her unhinged revisionist narrative that she had been proud of her Palestinian ancestors for offering sanctuary to Jews fleeing to the Holy Land from the Holocaust—a recognition that explained why Tlaib had offered that thoughts of the Holocaust had a “calming” effect on her.

Hoyer was angry that some literate Americans were angry at the illiterate Tlaib for suggesting the fascist efforts of Palestinian leaders of the 1940s, such as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, to destroy Jews not just in Palestine but in fact throughout the Middle East and beyond, had been recontextualized as support for doomed Jews.

I could go on, but the point is that in the age of Louis Farrakhan, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Linda Sarsour, Keith Ellison, loud members of the Congressional Black Caucus (e.g., Rep. Hank Johnson and “termites”) and the not-to-be-forgotten Ilhan Omar, leftists are no longer shy about announcing their anti-Semitism. Far more importantly, the geriatric hierarchy of the Democratic Party has made a choice to go with the anti-Semitic progressive Left—thus Hoyer’s grandstanding and the recent failure of fossilized Democrats to pass a simple condemnation of Omar’s serial anti-Semitic views.

Such appeasement likely will only encourage more overt anti-Semitism. At some point, the Jewish community will realize the new, hard-left Democratic Party—especially its minority and youthful members—largely despise Israel. They resent Jews for infringing upon their monopoly victim status for daring to suggest the Holocaust was . . . well, the Holocaust. They conflate Jews with wealthy white privileged Western oppressors. By November 2020, the weekly anti-Semitic narratives and the appeasement of it might finally siphon off at least some of the traditional overwhelming Jewish support of the Democratic ticket.

The News Cycle
We do not know what the economy will be like in 2020. But there is little likelihood of roaring inflation and ascending interest rates.

For all the tariff frenzy, China remains far more vulnerable to the Trump showdown on trade than is the U.S. economy, which remains twice the size of China’s(achieved by a population one third its size), far more versatile, energy and food independent, and not dependent on technological theft and espionage. More importantly, even Democrats and Europeans know that China cheats in trade and America does not. China steals patents and copyrights and America does not. And no one yet has dared to call China out except Trump.

No one knows whether there will be war abroad or backlash at perceived failing U.S. foreign policy as we saw in 1979 and again in 2007. But Trump has understood two things about the world abroad and the American electorate: they do not like to be pushed around, to apologize, or to appease, and they do not want to invade, occupy, and nation-build another country, especially in the Middle East.

That paradox means that if an Iran or North Korea believes it can stage an incident to embarrass Trump during his 2020 reelection campaign, he will likely retaliate, but in a way that minimizes American exposure. For example, if Iran hijacks an American boat or lands a missile a few yards in front of a carrier, or puts a drone hole in an American flagged merchant ship, Trump will likely not invade Iran or try to convert it to democracy.

Nor will Trump ignore the attack. Nor will he respond at the point of contact. Rather he will likely bomb the base that launched the rocket or ship—and do it again and again in tit-for-tat fashion for each fresh assault.

Scandals, unpopular wars, and recessions sink presidencies and reelection efforts. The absence of them reelects incumbents.

Back to the 2016 Future
Trump is currently enjoying polls that are about equal to or better than where both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were at this juncture in their respective presidencies. His midterms were not as damaging as either of theirs. His record is substantial heading into 2020 where in 2016 it was nonexistent. Trump is polling at or above where he was when he won in 2016.

The press, the progressive machine, and the punditry are all writing Trump off in the manner they did last time, on the theory that lightning never dares to strike the aware, woke, and sophisticated twice. We are once more warned, as in 2016, that the size of Trump’s rallies, his zealous and enthusiastic supporters, and his animal energy and cunning matter little compared to sophisticated polling, esoteric analytics, and expert modeling of the Silicon Valley masters of the universe.

In contrast, few consider whether Trump will receive more minority votes than in 2016, whether he will raise more money, or whether the NeverTrump diehards are now irrelevant.

No “There” There
Hillary Clinton, for all her pathologies, was more or less an advertisement that Clinton, Inc. would return and continue the Obama agenda but with some attempt at centrism, and wink-and-nod old-girl machinations. In 2020, if Bernie Sanders or Beto O’Rourke or Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren is not nominated, it is likely that a Biden or Pete Buttigieg will have either an agenda or running mate that would make Joe Biden look circumspect.

If one is progressive and in dispassionate fashion calibrates the present Democratic field, and anticipates the likely quite different news cycle that is emerging post-Mueller, then one logically would escalate the rhetoric of “Trump should be impeached,” “Trump is a racist,” “Trump is a fascist,” “Trump is mentally ill,” and “Trump is a cheat.”

Otherwise, the Democrats and the media have nothing.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

Photo Credit: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Democrats • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Identity Politics • Post • Progressivism • The Left

Only Five Democrats Have a Serious Shot at the Nomination

If the run-up to the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries were a television series, it very easily would have made for one of the most entertaining shows of all time.

Unfortunately, like a script that’s gone on for a little too long, at this stage almost 80 percent of this series is now pure filler. And the majority of the cast consists of pointless stock characters who make “Star Trek’s” redshirts seem useful by comparison.

Come One, Come All . . . Come On
Those who thought the 2016 Republican primary field was excessive—with its 17 total candidates—were probably right. At the time, it set the record for the largest presidential primary field in American history, reaching a total that surpassed even the crowded Democratic presidential primaries of the 1970s.

In comparison to the current field, however, those numbers are dwarfed. The number of candidates declaring for the 2020 Democratic field has gone far beyond comical, and now borders on being downright surreal. With the campaign announcement of Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) on May 2, the field has now reached 22 major candidates.

But, wait! There’s more! Both Governor Steve Bullock of Montana and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City are expected to announce their bids within the next couple of weeks. So this field is only going to grow larger and more ungainly as time passes.

The field features senators, representatives, governors, mayors, former Cabinet officials, and even a number of political outsiders. There are has-beens and rising stars. There are progressives, socialists, moderates, and even (depending on Bullock’s decision) some borderline conservative Democrats.

And there still remains almost a year before the Iowa caucuses. As Conrad Black put it, so simply yet so accurately, this field increasingly looks less like a primary and more like a lottery.

Flavor of the Month . . . or Week
There is no better evidence of this purely chance-based dynamic than the fluctuation in media attention from one candidate to another. As each one announces, that candidate is successively described as a “rising star” or “insurgent,” only for the media hype to die down within a few weeks as another takes his or her place.

In the aftermath of the 2018 election, the first “flavor of the month” candidate was Beto O’Rourke, fresh off of his shockingly close U.S. Senate race against Ted Cruz (R-Texas). With seemingly all of Hollywood backing his candidacy, O’Rourke turned out to be the political world’s equivalent of Justin Bieber, and proved every bit as obnoxious with his shameless attempts at pandering to young voters on social media.

But once O’Rourke joined a race that included more fellow Democrats than his previous bid for higher office, he learned the hard way how fickle the media could be as it favored even bigger darlings like Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

As unsettling revelations about his personal life emerged—from a perverted poem about a cow and a demented fantasy about running over children with his car, to his participation in a “furry band” and membership in a hacking group—Beto’s electoral currency was as devalued as other terrible pop culture trends. His numbers and media focus have since faded dramatically.

After Beto’s fall, the next media fascination came with the curious case of Andrew Yang, whose strongest base of support was (and arguably still is) the Alt-Right. Yang’s candidacy, which emphasized such genuinely pressing issues as the rise of automation, gained a boost in attention after his appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast, which subsequently led to an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s show and other outlets to promote his message.

Although Yang tried to put all of the focus on his signature campaign promise—a universal basic income (or what Yang calls a “freedom dividend”) of $1,000 a month for all Americans—the coverage was limited almost exclusively to the vigorous support for his candidacy among white nationalists, who highlighted comments he had made in the past that were supportive of the white working class in the context of the opioid crisis.

Naturally, Yang quickly denounced his unexpected fan base, and has since gone on numerous bizarre anti-white rants in order to prove his identity politics bona fides. After deliberately pivoting away from the unique elements of his campaign in order to make himself seem more like his fellow candidates, the spotlight soon moved off of the political outsider and onto the next media sensation.

That sensation, currently, is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. At just 37 years old, Buttigieg is the youngest candidate, and is also the only openly gay candidate in the entire field. And he is actively working overtime to utilize his identity to the fullest; indeed, his status as a gay man was arguably the catalyst for his current “insurgent” status.

As described by Politico, Buttigieg saw an increase in his poll numbers and media coverage after his vocal criticisms of Vice President Mike Pence during a CNN town hall. Buttigieg’s campaign, however, was not prepared for the sudden rise, and did not have the sufficient resources to adapt to the newfound national fame. At the time of his premature spike in the polls, Buttigieg technically was still only in the exploratory committee phase, and had not yet “officially” declared.

As some observers have pointed out, his current place on top of the social media scene doesn’t necessarily mean he is in the strongest position to win the early primaries, as many of his rivals’ campaigns have already built a superior ground game to his campaign’s bare-bones infrastructure. And again, considering how far off the Iowa caucuses remain, it is not impossible to imagine that the ever-shifting news cycle could soon move right along from “Mayor Pete,” just as it did from Beto and Yang.

Don’t be at all surprised if, in a few weeks, the coverage suddenly shifts to another young “sensationalist” candidate who seems to comes out of nowhere, like Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Florida, or former HUD Secretary Julian Castro of Texas. There’s plenty of flavors for the media to sample before moving on to the next one.

The Top Five
Beto, Yang, and Buttigieg may find some consolation knowing that their names were known, for a little while anyway, by more than just a few thousand people on Twitter. That’s certainly more than can be said for the handful of utterly pointless candidates who, if you mentioned their names to the average voter, would elicit blank stares.

Mike Gravel, Jay Inslee, Marianne Williamson, Seth Moulton, John Delaney, and Michael Bennet most likely will not see a sudden surge in attention in the way that the other “flavor of the month” candidates have. And even if eventually they do, they are extremely unlikely to channel that energy into long-term and sustainable support.

In the end, a serious presidential campaign requires a lot more than a couple of trending hashtags and a few weeks of primetime appearances and interviews. Fundraising, support from the party leadership, a core base of loyal and lasting supporters, and a carefully-constructed national profile are all required to secure one’s chance of actually remaining in the race for the long haul.

To that end, one need look no further than the polling averages to see who occupies the highly-coveted A-list of candidates. Only five candidates truly have what it takes to remain there. And those five are: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders, Harris, Warren, and Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

It’s true that our system gives these candidates an advantage that accounts for their status as A-listers. It goes without saying that being vice president for eight years all but guarantees one’s seniority in the party, and includes immediate nationwide name recognition. After all, there’s a reason why six presidential nominees from 1956 to 2008 were incumbent or former vice presidents.

Although the name recognition associated with having been vice president will get a candidate to the upper echelons of the polls, without question, the vast majority of people who say they’d vote for Biden over any other Democrat are most likely only saying so because he is (currently) the most familiar name. So name recognition may not be enough over the course of a long campaign as other candidates increase their own.

The Senate, too, can be a good place to build a national profile. As for Sanders, he has an edge over the other three senators due to his near-upset of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary. This continues yet another presidential election tradition where the primary runner-up of one cycle returns, hoping to win the nomination in the next cycle (this pattern proved successful for Ronald Reagan, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Hillary Clinton).

While the remaining three have never had any occasion for national prominence beyond the Senate, and have never run for president before, they have all made the most of their turns on national stage from the Senate to solidify their status as frontrunners.  Similarly, they have all made the most of their various “minority” designations and touting their progressive credentials. Their far-left rhetoric increased tenfold in the age of President Trump, and these three—Harris, Warren, and Booker—arguably have done more to position themselves on the front lines of “the Resistance” than other Senate Democrats.

As the Democratic caucus shifted alarmingly to the left on matters such as immigration, gun control, college tuition, and health care one or more of these three senators was sure to be  leading the charge. Harris and Booker, particularly, took full advantage of the Kavanaugh hearings to appeal to the “Me Too” crowd, while Warren has staked out a unique position as the first Democratic presidential candidate openly to call for the impeachment of President Trump.

Thinning the Herd
If Joe Biden’s sudden shift to the left upon announcing his candidacy is any indication, the dominant force behind the current Democratic field is a hard-left progressivism.

Those who have been championing such a platform for at least the last few years, and from a national stage, are more likely to have built the necessary campaign structure for a long-term candidacy. Only a few have done that, while the vast majority of the field is likely to start dropping out after the first few debates and right before the Iowa caucuses, just as happened with the 2016 GOP field.

True, a handful of candidates remain just outside the reaches of the A-list and may end up performing better than expected—primarily the aforementioned three “flavor of the month” candidates who have managed to retain some followings despite their overall decline, as well as the other two senators (Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota) who have a national profile but have not capitalized on it the way the other four senators have.

Nevertheless, do not be fooled by the media’s fickle flirtations with whomever they deem the “hot new candidate.” This is all an attempt to generate excitement where none exists, and should tell us more about the field than almost anything. Only five candidates are serious contenders for the nomination, and—barring the sudden entrance of an equally unprecedented candidate like Trump in 2016—the nomination will most likely go to one of those five.

Photo Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP/Getty Images

America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Cultural Marxism • Elizabeth Warren • Identity Politics • Obama • Post • Progressivism • The Culture • The Left

The Game of Pseudo-Authenticity

Americans always have been prone to reinventing themselves.

We now live in an age of radical social construction—a sort of expansive update on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American notion of becoming anyone one pleases.

One common denominator, however, seems to govern today’s endless search for some sort of authenticity: a careerist effort to separate oneself from the assumed dominant and victimizing majority of white heterosexual and often Christian males.

Ironically, the quest for a superficial separation from the majority comes at a time when the majority has never been so committed to the promise of the Declaration of Independence and when equal opportunity has become a reality rather than an abstract ideal.

Yet in our new binary society, we all have a choice to be seen either as victims or victimizers. And thus we make the necessary adjustments for the often more lucrative and careerist choice.

Victim Chic
At the most buffoonish, sometimes activists simply construct identities out of whole cloth. Ward Churchill did that pretty well, when he fabricated a Native American persona and parlayed it into a faculty billet at the University of Colorado that was otherwise unattainable for such a mediocrity with pseudo-credentials.

Rachel Dolezal, recently charged with welfare fraud, became Spokane chapter president of the NAACP by falsely claiming she was African-American.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for years leveraged old family yarns about a high-cheekbone, Native American heritage into Harvard’s first authentically Native American law professor. Her self-invention was much more likely a route to advancement than more dreary publication, better teaching, or just being Elizabeth Warren, middle-aged white female scholar.

Sometimes the self-transformation is subtler, and made through inference, not the wholesale construction of a new identity. Robert Francis O’Rourke, from a wealthy and well-connected Texas family of Irish descent, was a more or less a nondescript Democrat, three-term congressman backbencher—at least until he ran for Ted Cruz’s Senate seat. But in the midst of the national anti-Trump “Resistance,” “Beto” (Robert = Roberto = “Beto”) became a sort of veritable Latino identity politics and hard-left progressive sensation. O’Rourke’s Latinate emphasis too was a wise move, in that most longtime obscure congressional white male representatives do not become national figures and would-be presidential candidates in less than a year.

The oddity of Beto’s efforts at social construction was that Senator Rafael Cruz ran as “Ted.” In other words, he campaigned as what he really was: an assimilated Latino of half-Cuban heritage. In contrast, an Irishman without any Latino ancestry reinvented himself as a veritable Latino. And note that while most so-called white Texans voted for the authentic “Latino” Ted, most Latinos voted for the fake Latino Beto.

Barack Obama grew up as a middle to upper-middle-class student in prep school in Honolulu, the child of a visiting Kenyan student and a white middle-class mother. His sometimes privileged childhood was due largely to the talent and hard-work of his white grandmother from the Midwest who rose through the ranks to become a successful banking executive.

At various times in school Obama was known as Barry Obama or Barry Soetoro before returning to his given name as Barack Obama as a college student. Part of the reason why the later so-called unhinged “birther” conspiracy theory took hold (i.e., that yarn that Barack Obama allegedly was not born in the United States) was that Barack Obama’s own literary agency Acton & Dystel, in one of its own promotional pamphlets produced in 1991, identified Obama as “born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii.”

His publicist likely created that myth—and Obama himself either did not correct the mistake or was not consulted about the attribution—not because Obama was a native of Kenya but because such a false claim was seen as useful in offering greater authenticity of the author’s “otherness.” The editor later confessed error on her part.

Recent California senate candidate and former state legislator, Kevin Alexander Leon was born to Guatemalan immigrants. He later changed his name to Kevin de León by adding the de and an acute accent mark apparently to emphasize his authentic generic Latino and perhaps pseudo-Mexican-American fides, in a manner his Irish first name apparently did not sufficiently convey. “Kevin” apparently sounded too suburban in the manner that Barry lacked the ethnic gravitas of Barack. And Leon, without the de, perhaps was prone to be mistaken as too generically European (in fact, it derives from Greek “leôn,” lion).

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest congressional representative in history, grew up in a mostly upper middle-class family in Yorktown Heights, an affluent suburb in Westchester County, New York. Her parents were Puerto Rican immigrants, her father an architect. Alexandria herself graduated from the upscale Yorktown Heights High School. The suburb was 90 percent white and the average median household income was nearly $110,000, placing it among the most affluent communities in the nation. Ocasio-Cortez graduated from the private Boston University.

In other words, Ocasio-Cortez’s family’s story is one of higher education, upward mobility, and integration into the majority population (somewhat similar to Kamala Harris’s upbringing in Berkeley and Montreal, the daughter of a cancer research scientist, and a Stanford economics professor).

While Ocasio-Cortez described herself as working-class and brought up in the Bronx, her family in fact moved to Yorktown when she was 5 years old. In her meteoric political career, she has presented herself as a Bronx barista (where she moved after graduation), and an often impoverished activist, who seeks social justice on behalf of the poor. While her message is certainly mainstream socialist (abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service, ban internal combustion engines by 2030, Medicare for all, etc.), it gains credence by the working-class patina that Ocasio-Cortez wears.

Affirming American Identity in Denying It
There are logical inconsistencies in all these quests for greater authenticity, ranging from the outright fabrications to the more nuanced efforts of largely middle class and upper middle-class individuals seeking greater minority authenticity and by association claims on marginalization. But at the same time, a number of familiar explanations account for our epidemic of constructed identities.

First, racial, ethnic, or class appropriation seems to work, at least if the perpetrators do not push the envelope and earn too much scrutiny. Ward Churchill attracted too much attention in the aftermath of 9/11 with his unhinged rhetoric. Elizabeth Warren did the same by running for Senate and earlier allowing Harvard to advertise her ancestry as the law school’s first Native American professor, or testing fate with her misguided attempt to silence critics with a DNA test.

Second, what exactly is a 21st-century American identity? After all, if Churchill, Dolezal, and Warren for years were able to convince their employers that they were not part of the white oppressive majority, how did they pull off such bold “cultural appropriation”?

The easiest answer is that in a multiracial society like ours no one is usually quite sure of any ancestry that he claims (ancestry companies run TV ads precisely on the notion that we will all be surprised by our DNA results). And when superficial appearance is no guarantee either of minority status (given that we have not yet established DNA badges or quite reestablished Old Confederate racial purity standards), almost anyone can say he is anyone he pleases. Nor is class much help, since thankfully it has become more or less divorced from race and ethnicity. (Most white deplorables and irredeemables did not grow up in upscale neighborhoods nor did they have educated parents like those of Harris and Ocasio-Cortez.)

Is race then becoming a mere construct that we put on and take off as though it were a suit of clothes? In our collective effort to create difference where it does not always exists, we would have to invent an Elizabeth Warren or Ward Churchill if they did not exist—given the perceived advantages of white suburbanites in gaining a part time minority cachet deemed advantageous in terms of career and psychological well-being.

How odd that our establishment insists that being “white” is synonymous with unearned “white privilege,” while millions of whites in job and college applications for decades have been trying to con fake minority-identities and while upscale minorities have no desire—even when intermarried, assimilated, and integrated into the majority culture—of emphasizing the partial white ancestry that is so frequently part of their heritage. The old idea of “passing” now means hoping to be tagged as non-white, not white. The effort is certainly similar to the lunatic racial obsessions of the past, but the conditions under which advantage is measured have flipped completely.

Third, the process of appropriation nonetheless is constructed within the safety net of a comfortable and bourgeoisie middle and upper middle class. Warren was not so foolish as to emulate Ward Churchill and dress up in beads and buckskin (it would amuse but not impress Harvard Law School). Instead, she found authenticity far more subtly by submitting a bogus Native American recipe (lifted from the New York Times) to a cookbook anthology (Pow Wow Chow) of minority recipes, in which she signed off as “Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee.”

Barack Obama’s epicurean, sartorial and culture tastes were decidedly upper-middle class (e.g., “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately? See what they charge for arugula?”). Ocasio-Cortez may be a hard core socialist representative of the masses, but she still had no objections to appearing in a $3,000 designer suit and posing for a tony photo-shoot.

Minority identity has become a brand for the upper middle class in the manner of a luxury car. One strives to drive a Mercedes or Jaguar not because it is more reliable or even all that much more drivable than a Toyota or Honda, but because it signals a particular cachet. And so too wealthy suburbanites often find emphasizing non-white identities useful even if it means occasionally constructing them.

Progressive Posers
Most of the constructed identity movement is deeply embedded within progressive and identity politics of the Left. In our strange society, a Shaun King, who appears to be as white as his birth certificate seems to suggest, is considered a more authentic African-American than a conservative and quite darker Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas, who grew up in poverty and discrimination in the Jim Crow South and yet is often despised by progressives as inauthentic. Is there some unspoken rule that the more one is of an authentically poor and of an unquestioned minority background, the more he wishes to assimilate, while the more one is upper-middle class and of dubious minority bona fides, the more likely one is to exaggerate them?

In other words, in almost every case of cultural or racial appropriation, the effort is largely one of a progressive seeking to be more even authentically progressive by identifying more genuinely with perceived victims of majority biases and discrimination. (In defense of the aging white liberal constructionist like Warren, if your race-obsessed party operates on principles of a perceived appearances, and grows obsessed with rooting out “white privilege,” and so often boasts that a new demography is at last replacing a spent and tired white majority, then it is perhaps logical to reinvent yourself, to identify with the rising rather than the perceived to be setting sun.)

In contrast, in a past multiracial rather than multicultural society, the common norm was radical assimilation into the purported American middle class to square choices and tastes with identities. That’s why arriving Juan Garcias became “Johnnies,” African-Americans were christened Eloise rather than Lashawndra, and Haruki Yamatos became “Harrys,” on the premise that Americanism was desirable—and anyone could become anyone he wished, which so often was an unhyphenated American.

We still can shed our ethnic and racial identities to become simple Americans, but the point now is not to appear part of the great American middle class with its whiff of the country’s Waspish founding, but rather to construct an identity in opposition to it—even if the construction is merely convenient and partial.

By “partial” I mean in court-jester fashion to deprecate more than appreciate, but most certainly participate in and benefit from, a rare democratic, free, and prosperous society as envisioned by the Founders. If there exists an alternate non-Western, non-American superior tradition (Chinese? Latin American? Nigerian? Russian?), then America should be the least desirable, not the most sought out home, of non-Western emigrants.

In the past, immigrants of all classes and backgrounds sought to identify as Americans and did so authentically, on the premise that one left one’s old country for a reason and had no wish to replicate its failures in a new and preferred homeland.

Now many immigrants and natives often wish to distance themselves from the perception of belonging to American majority culture—but many do so as inauthentically as their less well off forefathers once authentically sought to join it.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

Photo Credit: Getty Images

2016 Election • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elizabeth Warren • Post

Warren’s Palatable Radicalism Could Win

One can’t digitally swing a cat on Facebook. No space. All those memes. Thickening in their japery.  Emboldened, strengthened, armored, by like after like after like.

We learned this week that Elizabeth Warren is exploring a run for president in 2020. And she, “Fauxcahontas,” as the jibe extends, is destined to fall stupendously.

You see, social media is designed skillfully to convince one of a world in which each and every bias is not just confirmed, but seared, Fight Club-style, onto the frontal cortex. I’ll like your nonsense. And you’ll like mine.

That Warren is all but running against Trump is this week’s laugh-riot. “She’s toast already,” said one. The Crying Face emoji peppering a relentless riptide of memes. Some of them, admittedly funny.

In the interest of the dying art of contrarianism, and as one of its few remaining devotees, I don’t quite agree. Have people forgotten that Donald Trump is president?

Announcing her bid on New Year’s Eve, Warren dropped a video online. The content of that video sounded more like President Trump’s bleak inauguration speech, than the hopeless ravings of a presidential campaign tourist.

Talking almost convincingly of American families slipping “through the cracks and into disaster,” Warren from her plush kitchen alleges that the middle-class is “under attack.”

It runs over four minutes. Which, in the internet age, is a smidgen shorter than War and Peace. The point is: there’s more than enough to keep watching.

She goes as far as to say that the thimbleriggers on Wall Street haven’t learned a thing since 2008. “Today, corruption is poisoning our democracy,” decreeing it all as “a scam.”

But what is most poignant? That, as Warren convicts: “Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie, and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice.”

“They crippled unions so no one could stop them, dismantled the financial rules meant to keep us safe after the Great Depression, and cut their own taxes so they paid less than their secretaries and janitors.”

Warren’s sprawling accent lacquers such highly charged rhetoric with a sheen of folksy concern. She’s not ranting. She’s stating in professorial manner what many Americans agree is the case.

After all, President Trump forced his way into the White House with essentially the same message.

He won on trade skepticism. He won on sensate immigration controls. He won by convincing millions of forgotten Americans that there was a swamp in Washington, and he had the Drano.

Warren’s pins her campaign on the reality of a shrinking middle-class. In that video, she points out that her janitor father, and retail-assistant mother worked hard to raise a child who became a Harvard law professor and United States Senator.

That was not in a country where half of its citizens deemed the American Dream to be a cruel myth. It was 1960s America. A different astral plane, to all but a few.

Americans still want to believe that dream. Indeed, that dream soaks up over a million people every year. But less than a quarter of Americans tell pollsters that one could work their way out of poverty and into promise.

Which is why the silly attacks on Warren’s admittedly tenuous claim to Native American ancestry won’t mean a jot to anyone but those who would never consider voting for her. The Fauxcahontas jabs are as blunt as “Cheeto Hitler.” Nobody persuadable cares.

Donald Trump is president. Ducal comportment is old hat. Yes, Warren is often marmish, hectoring, and jabby. But what tone is she expected to take when discussing a dying American Dream, and a country in decline? These are not topics that naturally lend themselves to joyous trilling and rapture.

That’s not to say she will win the Democratic nomination. Twenty others are keen to show just how much they hate the president, even when he says things their “thought leaders” were saying just a few years ago. Indeed, the likes of Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand seem intent on turning the nomination battle into a sociology lecture at Berkeley.

Of course, Warren herself is a progressive, and a lecturer, but in a party shifting leftwards. The average Democratic voter has since moved way to the left of the 1990s Democrat.

But Warren’s economic prescription bestrides the middle of the party. Her Accountable Capitalism Act harks back to a post-World War II settlement when bosses and workers shared the spoils of the world’s highest living standards.

Of course, the nutty obsessives of “true conservatism” will deride as “communism” anything that helps workers. Warren’s insights are hardly the glimmers of a moonbeam socialist.

Those over at Jacobin might not like her compromise either, but Warren offers what the far-left and establishment wings could swallow as a palatable radicalism. She is not afraid to call herself a capitalist, either.

But perhaps Warren’s prescription is too sober for the Trump-sozzled Democrats. It certainly beats chanting “Orange Man Bad!” and hoping for the best.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Cultural Marxism • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elizabeth Warren • feminists • Foreign Policy • Identity Politics • Obama • Post • Progressivism • Republicans

The Circus of Resistance

The resistance to Donald Trump was warring on all fronts last week.

Democratic senators vied with pop-up protestors in the U.S. Senate gallery to disrupt and, if possible, to derail the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) played Spartacus, but could not even get the script right as he claimed to be bravely releasing classified information that was already declassified. I cannot remember another example of a senator who wanted to break the law but could not figure out how to do it.

Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former Harvard Law Professor who still insists she is of Native American heritage, called for the president to be removed by invoking the 25th Amendment. Apparently fabricating an ethnic identity is sane, and getting out of the Iran deal or the Paris Climate Accord is insanity and grounds for removal.

Barack Obama decided that ex-presidents should attack current presidents, and thereby reminded the country why Trump was elected. The author of the Russian “reset” and the hot-mic collusionary offer criticized Trump for being soft on Putin. The president who never achieved annualized 3 percent GDP growth (and is the first president since 1933 who can claim this “distinction”) also claimed Trump’s roaring economy was due to Obama-era policies (e.g., raising taxes, Obamacare, more regulations, and “you didn’t build that” commentaries). Fresh from trashing his successor in a funeral speech, the ever audacious Obama called for more decorum.

Bruce Ohr, once number four at the Department of Justice, and whose wife was working with Christopher Steele on the Fusion GPS file (a fact he has never disclosed willingly), now more or less has made a mockery of the FBI narrative of when, why, and how it began surveilling American citizens and infiltrating the Trump campaign. Ohr apparently has testified that well before the election, and well before the application of FISA warrants, he was working with the FBI, the already discredited Christopher Steele, and a Russian oligarch either to smear candidate Trump, or to facilitate the entry into the United States of a once barred and questionable Russian grandee, or both.

Nike hired NFL renegade Colin Kaepernick to peddle its sports products. For all its billion-dollar market research, it apparently did not know what Donald Trump’s animal cunning had almost immediately surmised: a majority of Americans do not appreciate the pampered multimillionaire Kaepernick sanctioning violence against the police by wearing “pig” socks, or mocking the National Anthem by taking a knee. Nike could just as well have hired Bowe Bergdahl to push its sneakers.

The Deep State Emerges
Then we come to an insurrectionary “resistance” op-ed in the New York Times, an insider scoop about a collective “undercover” effort to nullify the current presidency.

Contrary to popular opinion, there was nothing “newsworthy” about the recent anonymous op-ed, written by an unnamed “senior official” about the supposed pathologies of President Trump.

Or rather to the extent the op-ed was significant, it confirmed what heretofore had been written off as a “right-wing” conspiracy theory of a “deep state.” The anonymous author confessed to being part of a group that is trying to use subterranean methods to thwart an elected president, not because his record is wanting (indeed, the author admits it is often impressive) but because he finds Trump unorthodox and antithetical to the establishment norms of governance and comportment.

To cut to the quick, the op-ed was published to coincide with the latest Bob Woodward “according-to-an-unnamed-source” exposé, Fear. The intent of anonymous and the New York Times was to create a force multiplying effect of a collapsing presidency—in need of the Times’ sober and judicious handlers, NeverTrump professionals, and “bipartisan” Democrats of the sort we saw during the Kavanaugh hearing to “step in” and apparently stage an intervention to save the country.

Had the Woodward book not been in the news, neither would be the anonymous op-ed. And of course, the Times, in times before 2017, would never have published a insurrectionary letter from an unnamed worried Obama aide that the president was detached and listless—playing spades during the Bin Laden raid, outsourcing to Eric Holder the electronic surveillance of Associated Press journalists, letting Lois Lerner weaponize the IRS, and allowing his FBI, CIA, and Justice Department to conspire to destroy Hillary Clinton’s 2016 opponent.

Woodward’s book is a more refined and establishment version of Michael Wolff’s and Omarosa’s volumes I and II in the ongoing “inside Trump” saga. The game is either to talk off the record to Woodward about one’s own brilliant (but unappreciated) efforts to avoid catastrophe, or else one will get talked about for causing catastrophe by someone else who talked off the record to Woodward to avoid being talked about by someone else. So Woodward is a Washington ventriloquist who keeps straight the strings of the talking puppets.

More Beltway Fantasies
The op-ed is the latest cartoon of Trump, the Road Runner, finally, at last, and for sure driven off the cliff by the Resistance as Wile E. Coyote—infuriated by yet another Road Runner beep-beep.  There were earlier and serial Looney Tunes efforts to nullify the Electoral College, to sue about election machines, to boycott the Inauguration, to introduce articles of impeachment, to invoke the 25th Amendment, to try out the Emoluments Clause and the Logan Act, to sue by cherry picking liberal federal judges, to harass officials in public places and restaurants, to warp the FISA courts, to fund a foreign spy to do opposition research, and to weaponize even further the FBI, NSA, and Justice Department—along with the now-boring celebrity assassination chic rhetoric of blowing up, stabbing, shooting, burning, hanging, smashing, and decapitating Donald J. Trump.

After the latest hysteria dies down, this chapter in the ongoing psychodrama will be revealed for what it is: a fantasy of a wannabe coup that is not going to happen. The commentariat’s silly claim that the op-ed was “extraordinary” and “newsworthy” is laughable. There are hundreds of “senior officials” all throughout every presidency, no doubt more so in the outsider Trump’s, who are disgruntled. On any given day, any newspaper could root out a “senior official” to write anonymously anything it wished to fit a preconceived narrative. What is extraordinary is not an op-ed from some sort of a mad David Stockman taken to the woodshed or defrocked Don Regan losing a war with Nancy Reagan, but that the New York Times hunted down someone of #theResistance to create a hysteria that an unhinged Trump must be removed.

By the scale of past White House melodramas, this is no big deal. It is not as if an off-the radar, rogue band in the White House was caught selling arms to Iran and using the profits to fund resistance to Daniel Ortega’s Marxist regime in Nicaragua. The gossip about Trump’s mental processes are no more dramatic than the rumors were about a doddering Reagan in his second term, which later were trafficked by his own son, Ron Jr. (“Father had Alzheimer’s in office”). Trump is not, in Woodrow Wilson fashion, near comatose and locked up in a White House bedroom, while Melania takes over the country. His aides are not covering up the fact that Trump’s blood pressure is peaking at 250 over 150, or that some mornings he cannot get out of bed—as was true of FDR as he campaigned for a fourth term in 1944.

We are not witnessing a sitcom in which the president has serial, and often perverse sex with a White House intern in the Oval Office bathroom. Nor we are being treated to an interview by a senior Ben Rhodes-like official who brags how the Trump Administration deliberately fed a cadre of rookie idiot reporters all sorts of “echo chamber” narratives necessary to pass a dangerous deal with Iran that sidestepped the Senate’s constitutional obligations. Nor is Melania confessing that the presidential calendar of speeches and trips is calibrated to an astrologer’s chart of lucky and unlucky days. No one is suggesting that Ivanka leads séances (“imaginary chats” or “brainstorming exercises”) in the East Room to call down the spirits of Calvin Coolidge and Ayn Rand for imaginary conversations and pep talks.

The writer’s chief complaint is that Trump “is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision.” Flesh that out. That would imply something along the lines that Trump ignores advice from New York Times op-ed writers and instead thrashes about and cancels the Iran deal. Or he dangerously and rashly gets out of the Paris Climate Accord. Or he stupidly insists that the U.S. embassy be moved to Jerusalem in helter-skelter fashion. Or he insanely demands massive deregulation, tax cuts, and new oil exploration without following any overarching principles in achieving 4 percent quarterly GDP growth or a record high stock market. Worst of all, madman Trump screams, yells, and ends the sacred idea that after 70 years the Palestinians are still refugees.

Trump’s One Principle
Certainly, there are principles behind such Trump moves, but they are not always those of the Washington establishment, whose agendas the writer reflects. Trump’s initiatives are often long overdue moves that would never have happened in either a “sober and judicious” Democratic or Republican administration, however much they might have been polled and discussed.

Trump has mostly one principle: he was elected to pursue a conservative populist agenda without too much worry what the Washington establishment said or did, whose record on the economic front since 2008 and in foreign policy was not especially stellar. In that sense, he is far more principled in carrying out his promises than many past presidents whose stump speeches on taxes, illegal immigration, trade, educational reform and a host of other issues were either never reified or flat out broken.

So far, for all the crudity and Twitter antics, we have not had a “read my lips” or “you can keep your doctor” moment in the sense of a deliberate effort to break a campaign promise.

Anonymous huffs: “In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the ‘enemy of the people,’ President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.” Again, Trump has said repeatedly he would prefer no tariffs if trade was just reciprocal. On trade issues, he has made progress with the EU and Mexico and likely soon Canada and China, all of whom enjoy trade surpluses which Trump throughout his campaign claimed were harmful to the United States and would diminish under his presidency.

As for as Trump’s loud anti-media tweets, worry not about what he now says, but when he orders his attorney general to start monitoring on the sly the communications of Associated Press reporters or the private emails of a Fox correspondent, or when his Justice Department and FBI hierarchy deludes a FISA court in order to spy on American citizens.

As far as “anti-democratic” and a Russian-appeasing Trump, he has not yet claimed that Putin was trustworthy and genuine based on a soul-gazing stare into his eyes. Nor has he been caught on a hot mic promising to give up U.S. missile defense programs in Eastern Europe, if Vladimir would just give him “space” during his reelection bid. Trump has said silly things about Putin, but so far his actual record is certainly not of the reset sort that greenlighted Russian entrance into the Middle East, Ukraine, and Crimea.

Somehow it’s “news” that a senior, unnamed official claims all the bad stuff that we don’t know happened, or actually never quite happened, was due to Trump alone. And, of course, all the good stuff that we do know happened was only because of noble, smart, patriotic, and visionary officials like the writer and his friends.

Anonymous finishes with an encomium to John McCain, whose politicized and unfortunate funeral we have just witnessed, and the likes of which we have not seen since the travesty of Paul Wellstone’s own hijacked services 16 years ago. Tragically, the McCain funeral speeches most certainly should not serve as model of how to honor a distinguished U.S. senator in the future.

McCain’s final deification by his erstwhile critics and enemies was mostly a result of his own bitter feud with Donald Trump that in his 11th hour sanctified him to those who had earlier smeared him as a libertine and reckless in 2000—and vilified him in 2008 as a near-demented racist. In sum, in death McCain was transmogrified into angelic status by the very architects who in life were responsible for his demonization.

The recent op-ed is yet another episode in an endless resistance cartoon, another pathetic effort of self-important grandees to undo by fiat what the voters did by voting in 2016.

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Democrats • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Immigration • Law and Order • Post

Lessons from Mollie Tibbetts and Other Murder Victims

A Mexican illegal alien who supposedly “blacked out” after abducting Mollie Tibbetts still managed to lead Iowa police to the body of the 20-year-old University of Iowa student. A trial date has yet to be set but the accused murderer has already resolved some mysteries.

Cristhian Bahena Rivera “was not who he said he was,” according to Dan Lang, co-owner of the farm where the Mexican national worked. Lang knew him by a different name, which he declined to reveal. And this fake was not, as even National Review described him, an “undocumented Mexican immigrant.”

Rivera, or whatever his real name is, had plenty of documents. As with all those who enter the country illegally, the documents were fake. They were either manufactured or stolen from a legitimate citizen, in the style of Gustavo Araujo Lerma, who ripped off the identity of a deceased U.S. citizen. In more technical language this is called “document fraud” and “identity theft,” and it is not a victimless crime.

The accused Mexican reportedly has been in the United States from four to seven years. A window like that should confirm that federal, state, and local authorities have not the slightest clue how many false-documented illegals are in the United States. The default figure of 11 million is probably not even in the ballpark.

Remember Cally Jo Larson
Besides “undocumented,” the default media description of Tibbetts’ accused murderer was “immigrant.” He was not referred to as a Mexican national or even a “Latino,” a term always positive in the lexicon of the illegal lobby.

“Latinos” are all hard working dreamers who want to be brain surgeons and help baby pandas. And as the illegal lobby endlessly repeats, such Latino “immigrants” are supposedly less prone to crime than legitimate citizens. Skeptics might check out “The Music Case,” a Forensic Files episode from 2004.

Twice-deported Lorenzo Sanchez, an “illegal immigrant” from Mexico, had served jail time but was allowed to remain in Waseca, Minnesota. In the course of a burglary, the Mexican tied up and raped 12-year-old Cally Jo Larson before stabbing her in the chest. The Mexican then wrapped an electrical cord around Cally Jo’s neck and strung up her bleeding body from a staircase bannister.

The Mexican claimed U.S. authorities violated his rights by not telling him he could consult with Mexican officials, so the killer knew how to work the system. The court found him guilty but authorities dropped four charges, including criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping. Sanchez, or whatever his real name is, will be eligible for parole in 2030.

Mollie Tibbetts’ autopsy says she died from “multiple sharp force injuries,” but other details of the crime remain unclear. As the trial awaits, politicians have been speaking out.

“Nothing To Do With Illegal Aliens”
In an interview with CNN, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has falsely claimed Indian heritage, failed to mention the murder victim’s name. “I’m sorry for the family here,” Warren explained, but the great need was to focus on “real problems,” such as family separation at the border. That is hard to top but a California judge may have pulled it off.

In 2011, false-documented Mexican nationals Saul Isidro-Aucencio and Francisco Delgado chased down Americans Jamir Miller, 15, Richard Ward, 16 and Robert Corpos, 20. Delgado, or whatever his real name is, shot them in the head, from behind, with an AK-47.

In court Melissa Jellison, Jamir Miller’s mother, expressed anger that her son’s killers were in the country illegally. Superior Court judge Helene Gweon, an Arnold Schwarzenegger appointee, told the grieving mother the case “has nothing to do with illegal aliens.”

Mexican officials did not weigh in on the case and thus far have remained silent about the Mexican national accused of killing Mollie Tibbetts. The record $26.1 billion sent back to Mexico last year might help explain the silence. Illegal entry to the United States is an integral part of Mexico’s economic planning. For their part, American Democrats are eager to import voters.

As a State Department investigation discovered, Gustavo Araujo Lerma used false documents to vote in at least five federal, state, and local elections. Technically this is known as “voter fraud” and this fake is hardly alone.

California’s voter registration law kicks in when people obtain a driver’s license at the DMV. More than one million illegals have received such licenses, and secretary of state Alex Padilla refuses to release voter information. So any legitimate citizen or legal immigrant could believe that most if not all of those one million illegals will be voting in November.

Right now it’s all about the election. So false-documented illegal criminals can do just about anything they want and leftist Democrats will look the other way and change the subject.

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Progressive Regression

Donald Trump has certainly changed the rules of presidential behavior, through his nonstop campaign rallies, tweets, and press conferences. What his critics call lowering the bar of presidential decorum by unfettered and often crude invective, Trump dubs the “new presidential.”

His style has become a sort of “don’t-tread-on-me” combativeness. In truth, Trump at home and abroad is mostly retaliatory. His theory seems to be that no slight should go unanswered. When Trump retorts in kind or trumps the original attack, he believes he adds yet another brick to his wall of deterrence—and exposes the sometimes dormant and disguised irrational hatred of the Left.

But what the Left loses in its slugfests with Trump are some once-supposed cherished leftist principles, justified by the short-term advantage of nullifying the Trump agenda.

Indeed, it is eerie that almost all the canons of progressive orthodoxy no longer apply. And they will no longer be taken seriously after Trump is long gone. Certainly, those lost principles will be impossible to reassert when Democrats return to power and seek sanctuary in the very ideas they have now so utterly trashed.

Liberals, who now warn of Trump’s “war on the press” long ago excused Eric Holder’s monitoring of the Associated Press reporters and Fox News’s James Rosen. And they had no problem with John Brennan lying under oath when he claimed the Obama CIA had not monitored the computers of Senate staffers (he would lie brazenly again under oath about drone collateral damage and his role in seeding the Steele dossier).

Likewise, they snoozed after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress in his denial of government surveillance of U.S. citizens. Both were seen at the time to be useful liars. Their partisanship and exemption from any consequences for past lying under oath led to lucrative cable news gigs—proof, as it were, of their innate Trump hatred. Their legacy is that lying under oath now is not a sin, much less illegal.

So Much for Civil Liberties
When Trump appeared on the national scene, an all-out assault on civil liberties followed, in a manner that is now irrevocable. The Left destroyed for good the idea that progressives are the protectors of constitutional freedoms.

In fear of Trump, some connected with the National Security Council under Obama helped to surveil American citizens, unmasked them, and leaked their names to the press. The press, hand-in-glove, complied in spreading such unsubstantiated dirt.

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice flat out lied in her denial about her involvement in unmasking. The Obama FBI and Justice Department officials deliberately misled FISA courts, on the premise that spying on American citizens even with flimsy or fabricated evidence was OK—if it at least neutered the Trump candidacy and presidency. Had they just told judges something like, “We present, as justification for these warrants of surveillance, opposition research compiled on candidate Donald Trump, and paid for by Hillary Clinton during the present campaign,” they likely would never have been able to spy on American citizens.

No one again will have much confidence either in the FISA courts or any rationale for spying on any American citizen. They will logically assume FISA requests are political efforts to spread dirt on the opposition—in the fashion that we now have no idea, in the era after Lois Lerner, what prompts an IRS letter in our mail. The legacy of the Obama Administration is that if one is not progressive and loud in the public sphere, he may well be monitored, audited, or investigated.

Reputations Stained Beyond Repair
The FBI may not recover its reputation. Certainly, the brand of its Washington office is shredded. Watching new Director Christopher Wray stumble about to reassure us about his reforms inspires about as much credulity as a pre-war French general touting the invincibility provided by the Maginot Line.

The Left more or less has canonized a parade of disreputable FBI officials. Peter Strzok violated almost every canon of professional conduct, in his personal comportment, in his blatant prevarication about his own text messages, and in his dogged pride in his conflicts of interest in using his authority to pursue a political agenda. His superior Andrew McCabe, according to the inspector general, likewise lied on several occasions.

So did former Director James Comey when he denied under oath the prominent role of the Steele dossier in FISA warrant applications. Leaking a classified government memo with the expressed intent of prompting a special counsel investigation is not what FBI directors do. Nor do they deliberately set up a president by not informing him that base accusations against him are the result of opposition campaign hit pieces, subsidized in part by the FBI.

FBI directors do not politicize investigations, in the manner Comey warped his conduct toward Hillary Clinton on the rationale she would be elected. Comey alone has pretty much destroyed any idea that in the near future the FBI Washington office can again be trusted to be disinterested.

Add in the conduct of Lisa Page and various other FBI officials—James Baker especially—who have either resigned or been reassigned. FBI apologists on the Left are excusing the very weaponizing behavior that they used to rant about in the days of J. Edgar Hoover—who, we think at least, never sought to alter the outcome of a U.S. election.

The Left is fine with the idea that the FBI, with a wink and nod from the CIA, can insert spies into an ongoing presidential campaign, on the rationale that embarrassing information might be collated, leaked, and thus useful to “insure” that a supposedly dangerous man would not be president. Should a right-wing FBI do the same with a candidate Bernie Sanders, reminding us that Sanders went to Moscow on his honeymoon and therefore was under suspicion, what would the Left say?

Any notions of conflict of interest are gone. The Obama Justice Department, FBI, and CIA destroyed that concept entirely. When Loretta Lynch met Bill Clinton on the tarmac in the course of investigations about his wife’s likely illegal behavior or the Justice Department and FBI gave immunity to Clinton’s top aides after making false statements, all credibility was shot.

Justice Department official Bruce Ohr communicated with a political campaign’s opposition research team that had hired his own wife. The deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe oversaw the Hillary Clinton email investigation shortly after his wife had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Clinton-related political action committees. Rod Rosenstein was knee-deep in the Uranium One investigation, the Clinton email investigation, the FISA warrant applications, and the Trump-collusion mythologies. He should have been recused long ago. If Rosenstein was not recused, there is now no such thing as an idea of recusal at all.

Liberals do not care much whether Bill Clinton received a $500,000 honorarium in Moscow or that Russian interests gave millions to the Clinton foundation shortly before Hillary Clinton urged the government to approve the sale to them of 20 percent of U.S. uranium.

If there is someday a special counsel appointed to monitor the possible illegality of the Obama FBI, Justice Department, CIA and NSC, and many of its legal team proves to be Trump donors, and a few of them are found out to be veteran counsels for Trump-related defendants, or two members are caught texting their hatred for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and bragging how they had schemed to stop such a 16-year envisioned Obama-Clinton continuum, apparently no one is going to complain of any “bias” or conflict of interests.

More Norms Annihilated
Is there still any notion of a confidential lawyer-client special relationship or disdain for stealthily taping private conversations of a client? Apparently not. Former Clintonite Lanny Davis knows the Left saw nothing wrong when the FBI seized legal records from Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen or that lawyer Cohen taped the phone calls of his own unknowing client Trump. Instead, the Left’s shrug is that if Trump was stupid enough to hire such a creepy rake, then he deserves what he gets—legal precedent and civil liberties be damned.

It used to be a progressive truism that “words matter”—as in the warning not to give voice to violent things because they may happen just because you said them. Actually, words today no longer matter at all. If they did, Madonna, Johnny Depp, Kathy Griffin, Robert De Niro, or Peter Fonda would all be socially ostracized for their threats of bodily violence to the president of the United States or his family. God forbid that such eliminationism rhetoric will spill over to the next Democratic presidency. But if it should, the Left has now lost all moral authority to condemn it.

By the same token, there is no longer any accepted limitation on presidential hate speech. No one will have a problem with calling any president a Nazi, the new Hitler, an abject traitor, treasonous, or his conduct tantamount to the mass death of Pearl Harbor, 9/11 or the Holocaust. Those who compare Trump to the worst monsters of history regularly appear on cable news and enjoy vast Twitter and social media audiences. I fear theirs will be the new standard: For every Trump Hitler who killed 6 million, we will one day hear of a new anti-Trump Stalin who killed 20 million. All one now needs to say is “President X or President Y is a threat to the United States, and so deserves what he gets.”

Security Clearances-as-First Amendment Right
We have also established a new code of behavior for ex-security and intelligence officers.

From now on, they will really never leave office. Instead, their opposition to the new administration begins the moment they become private citizens—while drawing on and sometimes monetizing their vestigial security clearances to enhance their invective against the sitting president.

Imagine the following: that as soon as Trump leaves office, a paid Fox News contributor Mike Pompeo or Dan Coates begins trashing nightly newly inaugurated President Elizabeth Warren as despicable, treasonous, or the worst something in the history of America—while still privy to some of the top-secret communications of her administration. And they will wink and nod at their clearances as proof of their seriousness and of direct conduits to “sources tell me” gossip. To question why they would do so or expect security clearances at all will earn cries from Republicans of “enemies list!”

There is no longer any sense of public and private first families. If Barron Trump can be smeared and ridiculed in print and cartoons, if the president can be accused of incest with his daughter by mainstream reporters, if the first lady can be demonized as everything from an illegal alien to a former call girl, no first family is off limits. The next time a Democratic president takes office, any call for “restraint” or “have you no decency” to recreate the bubble that once protected the Obama family would be laughed at—and understandably so.

Endless Unchecked and Unaccountable Investigations
Special counsels will have no restraints. They will be sacrosanct Roman tribunes about whom any criticism will be tantamount to unpatriotic behavior. They can ignore their original mandate and wander wherever they wish on the principle that they have found their criminal and need only find the crimes by which to destroy him.

The special counsel will stock his team with partisans who hate the object of his investigation, with law firm cronies who share his views. If he fires one or two of them, he will hide the reasons for their departures and stagger their severance to avoid the appearance that they were connected—in the style of belatedly and separately disclosing the career ends of Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

From now on, the accusation that a president is a traitor, a colluder, a lackey, a pimp, a whatever of the Russians, or a dupe of the Chinese, or of who knows what else, will be an accepted way to help stall an opposition administration, to smear it as unpatriotic, to use any low means necessary to achieve a supposed high end of destroying it.

Just watch soon what the Left has birthed. Thucydides, writing more than 2,400 years ago about the civil strife on the island of Corcyra, observed that “men too often take upon themselves in the prosecution of their revenge to set the example of doing away with those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity, instead of allowing them to subsist against the day of danger when their aid may be required.” They are not going to like the results when in their “day of danger” they cry foul and no one listens.

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America • American Conservatism • Conservatives • Democrats • Economy • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Europe • Government Reform • Identity Politics • Immigration • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker)

Abolishing the Democrats

It’s almost as if the Democrats cultured their newest and shiniest pet in a petri dish. Person of color? Check. Not male, pale, or stale? You bet. Millennial? Goody. Tenuous link to the struggles of people Democrats used to care about? Gotcha.  

Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez is the “future” of the party, at least according to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. Her shock primary win in New York certainly stirred a denuded Democratic Party eager to marry the narrative of the enbubbled, to the “oppressed” they’re keen to “help.”

But while the political equivalent of organic bulgur wheat might excite the Democrats’ frothing base of left-wing miserablists disdainful of anything that could make someone, somewhere happy, most Americans—by a frightful margin—prefer steak.  

The pace of this change is dizzying, and perhaps telling of how desperate Democrats are for a morsel of positive news. Ocasia-Cortez enjoyed muted support within the pages of The Nation and The New Republic, but non-groupies hadn’t heard of her until a few weeks ago. The votes rolled in, and New York’s 10-term 14th district Rep. Joe Crowley rolled out.  

Immolating Themselves Over ICE
Busying themselves feverishly, each 2020 hopeful now cleaves to a new litmus-test position virtually nobody on Main Street agrees with. To Mark Lilla’s
crumpled brow, Democrats haven’t eschewed the radical politics devouring their once ostensible dominance. They’ve gone large.  

You would be forgiven in thinking that the calls to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service were the trollish indulgences of the presumably uber-niche, pro-global warming movement. But no, Democrats lunge leftward in fealty to their infernal base. Abolishing ICE as about popular as abolishing the North Pole.

On the Left, however, this is no longer just the preserve of iPhone insurrectionists or the Buzzfeed Bolsheviks. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is in support. So is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). And, of course, the curator of fine grievances, California’s Kamala Harris is warming. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), meanwhile, is no longer progressive enough. He never was. But, we knew that. Open-borders is a “Koch brothers proposal,” right, Bernie?

Guiltily simmering in their white privilege, Warren, Gillibrand, and the Democratic high command have fastened suicide belts around their waists and stolen for the White House. But, there are barely 72 votes, let alone 72 virgins. Paradise has a strict guest list. Abolish ICE? It’s a thing, now.  

Extremism on the Left
As usual, the new Democrats burrow themselves tick-like within the cranium of ordinary America. The outrage thing, no doubt, is becoming a little wearisome. But they’ve no choice. Democrats are now beholden to an extremist sect bent on 
intifada. Mainly because democracy tends to disappoint half a nation.

Those professional placards bobbing atop protesting throngs may denounce the president as a “fascist,” but his immigration four pillars are about as mainstream as it gets. That is according to the American public, anyway, 63 percent of whom supported Trump’s offer to legalize DACA kids in exchange for a merit-based system, elimination of the visa lottery, and border wall funding. Oh, and the same percentage of Democrats agreed.  

The same poll asked whether illegal border crossers should be allowed to stay or be sent home. 64 percent (including just under half of Democrats, and two-thirds of independents) said they should be sent home.  

Meanwhile, 69 percent of Americans said ICE should not be abolished. The party’s intellectual Brahmins might want to know that 59 percent of their voters and three-quarters of independents don’t agree with their barmy ideas.

Of course, they don’t want to know. The Democratic Party stopped listening to most of its troublesome voters long ago. Instead, they side with the grievance farmers, whilst jostling for the throne in a feudal microcosm of everything they posture and pose against.

They know it’s too late. Worse yet: their old voters are defecting rightwards. This is true of the GOP. It’s certainly true of the Conservatives here in Great Britain, and center-right parties sweeping up Europe—Sweden being next.  

Misjudging the Voters 
This is what happens when a party stops listening. And what happens when the purists finally get their way. It happened here. Motley socialists ground their teeth to dust while “their” centrist Labour Party actually won three
elections in a row, after 18 years in the wilderness. Then they seized power through now-leader Jeremy Corbyn. This tribute act won’t win an election in my lifetime. (I’m barely 30, by the way.)

That’s not to deny that the emerging Left doesn’t have some appeal. It’s just that they misjudge their support. Politics since the financial meltdown has changed. Rumble against the status quo, and you’ll do nicely.  

But the hankering for a different approach to the bankrupt economics that laid waste to the West in 2008 isn’t an endorsement of full-blooded socialism. Populist parties across Europe get this—voters want strong controls on immigration, and an end to the specter of Markets Über Alles. Call it “Trumpism.” (Or not.) Just don’t call it “conservatism.”

So, Democrats can hail the future they’ll never own. But, abolish ICE? Perhaps they should cool down.  

Photo credit: Astrid Riecken for the Washington Post via Getty Images

2016 Election • America • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Europe • Hillary Clinton • Identity Politics • Post • Progressivism • race • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)

Do Even Democrats Believe What They’re Selling?

Donna Brazile was 9-years-old when she cut her political teeth. After hearing that a local candidate for New Orleans city council pledged to build a playground in her hardscrabble working-class neighborhood, Brazile joined the campaign and pamphleted every block. The candidate won. Brazile’s neighborhood got the playground.  

Impressive, but the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee came to Hay Festival in Wales last week as a loser. Meeting long-time friend Helena Kennedy, the bolshie Brazile discussed her tell-little book Hacks to an audience of Guardian readers, and one perma-grinned, tweedy deplorable.   

“How did you let him win?!” asked Kennedy. “We were counting on you guys! Democracy was counting on you guys!” prattled “Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws,” an unelected member of Great Britain’s unelected House of Lords. Indeed.

Brazile deflected the charge. “There’s just 962 days until Donald Trump is removed from office!” she boomed, rising from her seat. A barely audible murmur lengthened, before an onset of sickly skin-creep one gets when vicariously embarrassed. Tough crowd. After all, isn’t the blue wave just a few months away?  

What struck about that moment was the comparison with Senator Bernie Sander’s appearance exactly one year previous. When the Vermont socialist proclaimed this year’s midterms would prematurely sever the president’s umbilical cord, the reaction was riotous, and chilling.  

Brazile soft-soaped for an hour. Her mellifluous New Orleans lilt the highlight of a political menu serving freeze-dried tofu to those clawing for bleeding Wagyu, or at least confirmation that Russia elected President Trump. She doesn’t believe it herself. The audience neither.

Because that is what liberals do these days, isn’t it? Play along? Make-believe? Disneyfy and sanitize until the narrative salves and soothes.  

After all, there was little mention of President Trump’s economic achievements. Brazile could and should have celebrated the fact that black unemployment is at its lowest point ever. The old Democratic Party would have.  

Of course, such a ruthless truth only proves noisome if one’s political interests are invested in keeping black Americans beholden to your leadership for all advancement. The Democratic Party is dependent on the placentas of misery, resentment, and poverty to feed its host body—the neglect of those voting blocs ensures the umbilical cord remains intact.

But this isn’t the old party. Brazile’s flaccid insistence that Russia has taken over the GOP belies the insurgency raging in her own.

The daily convulsions of liberal angst played out so helpfully in the sympathetic media aren’t just the spasms of the unhinged, but the tactics of radical Saul Alinsky.

Alinsky’s succès de scandale, Rules for Radicals is the battle manual for the Democratic Party’s burgeoning hard-left championed by the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren—likely frontrunners for 2020.

Alinsky commands his followers to “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it,” and disregard anything the target—in this case, President Trump—does that could be conceived as positive. Working-class Americans with more money in their paychecks? “Crumbs.” Record-low unemployment for blacks? Meh.

It is this cognitive dissonance motoring the modern Democratic Party. The rich irony being that those most concerned with inequality and “social justice” are often the high priests of a system which entrenches the former and negates the latter.

Far from upturning that system, they seek to cement its unquestioned permanence, the radiant privilege which deprives them being foisted upon those charged with possession of the Y chromosome and a lack of melanin.

As Patrick J. Deneen put in a fearsome essay for First Things:

The ruling class denies that they really are a self-perpetuating elite that has not only inherited certain advantages but also seeks to pass them on. To mask this fact, they describe themselves as the vanguard of equality, in effect denying the very fact of their elevated status and the deleterious consequences of their perpetuation of a class divide that has left their less fortunate countrymen in a dire and perilous condition.

Deneen then underlines the abandonment of noblesse oblige—“obligations of the nobility”—which offered some tone of legitimacy to the ruling class of old. Today’s elite, despite paying lip service to such a notion, treats the idea of the unfashionable voter breaking rank with unmuted disdain.

This is evident in the Democratic Party’s makeup. After all, Bernie Sanders was bilked of the party’s presidential nomination. The game was indeed “rigged” in favor of Hillary Clinton—anyone unafflicted with the Democratic malady can see that.

Of course, Brazile didn’t indulge. The “correct” reason why Donald Trump is president is that Vladimir Putin rigged the election, and, strangely, forgot to massage the popular vote which Trump lost—just for laughs.

So, the president’s many detractors saunter off to the midterms utterly convinced of a blue wave and of his looming impeachment. Meanwhile, if the California primaries are anything to go by, #TheResistance is indeed futile.

Photo credit: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

Congress • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elizabeth Warren • Post • Satire • taxes • The Left • The Media

Pelosi Reacts to the Republican Tax Cut

In those ubiquitous YouTube videos riffing on that famous scene from “Downfall,” Hitler flies off the handle when he learns that all is lost and there has been something of a cottage industry of adapting that scene to the every perceived political “downfall.” I happened to obtain a transcript of another delusional leader, Nancy Pelosi, after she had a similar reaction upon learning that the Republican tax bill was passed into law.

Nancy Pelosi is seated at a desk at the front of the room. Standing directly in front of Pelosi is House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The rest of the group consists of deeply concerned Senators and Representatives.

Schumer places a large poster on her desk. It’s a list of the GOP tax bill highlights.

SCHUMER (pointing out the various items): Here it shows that a typical family of four earning the median family income will receive a tax cut of $2,059. And see how they’ve lowered the tax rates for everyone, from zero to 37 percent. They say people will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money. As if that was a good thing. It also significantly increases the standard deduction. And, of course, they lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

Pelosi looks it over and manages a wry smile.

PELOSI: Well, it’ll never pass the Senate. Corker, Flake, Murkowski. Now even Rubio doesn’t like it. And Collins. She really did a number on them when she voted against the Obamacare repeal bill. Naturally, I called her courageous. She had to love that. I’ll come up with something even better this time around.

HOYER (nervously): Nancy…

PELOSI (annoyed, interrupts him): Call me Leader instead of Nancy. It’s just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title.

HOYER (even more nervous):  Leader Pelosi, Collins…

Hoyer freezes. Schumer continues.

SCHUMER: Collins voted for the bill. So did Rubio. They all did. The bill passed the Senate. Trump will sign it into law.

Pelosi is visibly shaken. She slowly removes her glasses, and speaks without looking up

PELOSI: All staffers leave the room. Only elected Representatives and Senators should remain.

Many people file out of the room.

PELOSI (screaming):  How could they get 60 votes? Who betrayed us?  I’ll bet it was Manchin and Heitkamp. (Looking right at Senators Manchin and Heitkamp.) You were so afraid you’d lose in 2018 because Trump won your states big time. So what? Where’s your loyalty?

SCHUMER: They didn’t vote for it. I did my job. I kept my people in check. It was only the Republicans who voted for it. They got 51 votes.

PELOSI: What? You mean to tell me they eliminated the filibuster. I knew it! That damn Harry Reid. He fiddled with it just to get judges, and now they got rid of the whole thing.

SCHUMER: We couldn’t filibuster. They used reconciliation. They only needed 51 votes.

Pelosi is enraged. She stands up and erupts further.

PELOSI: Reconciliation! For something as important as this. How did you let that happen?

SCHUMER: That’s exactly how we passed Obamacare. And let’s face it. We completely violated the rules to get Obamacare passed with just reconciliation.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee suddenly yells out.

LEE: Hey, that’s racist!

PELOSI (losing it completely): You know health care is life and death. But this is the end of the world!

WARREN: So you know this wasn’t just a tax bill?

Pelosi turns to Hoyer.

PELOSI: What is she saying?

HOYER (sheepishly): My Leader…now that they passed it, we can see what’s in it.

PELOSI: That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.

WARREN: He means the Republicans got rid of the individual mandate in Obamacare.

LEE: Those racists!

Pelosi, astonished and appalled, sweeps everything off of her desk and begins to rant.

PELOSI: This is Armageddon. You know how hard it was to get that in there? Obama had to lie through his teeth: If you like your plan, if you like your doctor. Blah, blah, blah.

LEE: That is so racist.

WARREN: Just remember, they have the smallest of majorities. We’ll get it back.

PELOSI: And how is that supposed to happen Little Bull Sitter? Just because you can pow wow in Massachusetts doesn’t mean your act will play in Peoria. And you know that. Or else you would have challenged a pathetic candidate like Hillary.

SANDERS: I’m telling you, we will win in 2018. This bill raises taxes on 86 million middle-class households, and hands 83 percent of its benefits to the wealthiest one percent of Americans.

MANCHIN: Come on, Bernie. You don’t really believe that fake Marxist crap. I know my people in West Virginia don’t believe it. Trump won my state by 40 points. Soon they’ll see more money in their paychecks. What was I thinking? I’m toast.

Towards the back of the room, we see two women, Senators McCaskill and Heitkamp. They are despondent and are crying.

HEITKAMP (wiping away her tears): I let Schumer intimidate me.

MCCASKILL: Hashtag MeToo.  

HEITKAMP: He’s clueless. He doesn’t know a thing about North Dakota. To make matters worse, I gave this lame excuse about how it would increase the debt by $1.5 trillion. Like anyone cares. Anyway, everyone knows Obama increased the debt by 9 trillion. And still gave us the worst economy in decades.

LEE: Racist!

Pelosi sits back down, stares at the ground, defeated.

HOYER (reassuringly): It’s not so bad. Your constituents love you.

PELOSI: Yes, San Francisco and the Bay Area. They’re great. Like Lincoln said: You can fool some of the people some of the time. But you can fool those people all of the time. And I don’t even have high cheekbones.

HEITKAMP: But what about us?

McCaskill, Manchin, and other Trump-state senators nod in agreement.

Pelosi looks up and brightens.

PELOSI: We’ll always have collusion.

Administrative State • America • Democrats • Economy • Elizabeth Warren • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Republicans • Trade • Trump White House

Elizabeth Warren Is Fighting the Wrong Fight, Part 2

In her newest book, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), makes the case that the Reagan-era tax cuts were the thing most responsible for the decline of the middle-class. As I noted earlier, Warren and her fellow Lefties conveniently ignore serious underlying trends that began well before Reagan’s presidency. In fact, technological advancement, globalization, demographic shifts, cultural changes, and highly restrictive educational policies are the real culprits behind the decline of the American middle-class. What’s more, onerous taxes and burdensome government regulations are to blame for the loss of economic opportunity for most members of the middle-class.

These were all policies that Warren and her fellow Democrats have, for the most part, championed. Warren is undoubtedly fighting the wrong fight. Even still, she has an incredible platform from which to spout her wrongheadedness. And that’s what makes Warren and other Democrats like her so dangerous.

The creation of America’s postwar middle-class did not happen in a vacuum. Warren fails to mention how America’s industrial capacity during and after World War II played heavily into the creation of that strong middle-class. The war devastated virtually every industrial center in the world except for those in the United States and Canada (and Canada had nowhere near the population necessary to support a postwar industrial boom as America did). Great Britain, France, Germany, the USSR, and Japan were all laid low by years of total warfare and carpet bombing. Only the United States retained its pre-war industrial capabilities. In fact, the war spurred the expansion of America’s industrial might, as the United States became the “arsenal of democracy.” Once the war ended, America repurposed its industry to more lucrative peacetime endeavors.

America was well positioned to be the dominant economic force in the world. Additionally, the United States used its economic power to bind as many countries as possible to itself. Only the Communist portion of the world stood as a true competitor. As history has shown, Communism is incapable of competing against capitalism. So, America was the real force in the world in the last half of the 20th century.

Thus, the postwar generation was primed for unprecedented levels of prosperity. And, since the United States was the virtual center of the world order while all others were slowly rebuilding, average Americans were the greatest beneficiaries of this economic reality.

In the 1950s and ’60s, an American with only a high school diploma could find gainful employment. That person could go on to provide for a family of four comfortably. Regardless of America’s tax policies or America’s social welfare programs, America’s middle-class was given unprecedented opportunities for advancement—with few hurdles in its way.

And when the government did “make investments” in developing the middle class (e.g., the G.I. Bill, which allowed for U.S. servicemen to attend college tuition free), the opportunities for career advancement were far greater than what they are today. Global competition was nothing compared to what it is today. Again, America had competitive advantages in terms of human capital and industrial might that few other countries had at that time, after their economies had been decimated in WWII.

Yet, by the mid-1960s, the story of a vibrant, growing middle-class was already being called into question. Many of America’s Cold War allies were witnessing their own industrial reinvigoration. Indeed, in many cases, these countries were being rebuilt by American wealth and foreign aid (in order to prevent their turn toward Communism).

However, countries like Japan, manipulated American policymakers into signing sweetheart trade deals, even after the Japanese had effectively rebuilt from the devastation of the war. These deals hurt American workers. This also explains the early rapid growth of Japan’s technology sector.

In fact, these trends continued well after the Cold War ended—and today are applied to many other countries. When Trump castigates the leaders of both parties in America for bad trade deals, this is what he’s talking about.

Warren’s policy preferences would constrain the middle-class. High taxes, massive regulations, and expansion of government spending all contribute to creating an anti-business environment. Businesses—both large and small—are the sources of employment. If doing business in America becomes too difficult, larger companies will move to other areas and the smaller ones will simply go out-of-business. While Warren may think that businesses didn’t build our infrastructure or provide the most jobs for the middle-class, she would be wrong.

Moreover, if Warren really believes that lambasting Ronald Reagan for his tax cuts is worthwhile, she would also do well to save some ire for John F. Kennedy. After all, before Reagan, it was the JFK tax cuts that were the largest of the postwar era. As Larry Kudlow outlines in his book, both the JFK and Reagan tax cuts stimulated the overall growth of America’s economy as never before. And, you can be sure that America’s middle-class benefited from this as well. These cuts allowed for the greatest diffusion of wealth in America’s history (a rising tide truly lifted all boats).

By misrepresenting history, then, Warren and her allies on the Left misdirect the American people. Indeed, if one were to look objectively at the situation, one would quickly surmise that the Left largely has been responsible for the decline of the middle-class. After all, the surest way out of poverty; the best way to ensure that the middle-class survives, is to have an abundance of easily accessible jobs. That is the one thing that is lacking in today’s America. Far from being responsible for the decline in jobs, tax cuts usually spur a renaissance in entrepreneurial activities and create an explosion in employment.

Warren’s policy preferences would constrain the middle-class. High taxes, massive regulations, and expansion of government spending all contribute to creating an anti-business environment. Businesses—both large and small—are the sources of employment. If doing business in America becomes too difficult, larger companies will move to other areas and the smaller ones will simply go out-of-business. While Warren may think that businesses didn’t build our infrastructure or provide the most jobs for the middle-class, she would be wrong.

Warren and her acolytes believe that government must involve itself in a litany of vital industries, in order to lower costs for most consumers, thereby preserving the middle-class. But how is it that the more involved government becomes in a given industry, the costlier the products that that industry produces become? Over the years, government has intervened in housing, healthcare, and education…and each have seen an explosion in costs.

As we’ve seen during the Obama years, a rapid decline in the middle-class, coupled with massive increases in government spending and regulations are positively correlated. Of course, don’t expect Warren to acknowledge this fact. She’s too busy fighting for “the people” (most of whom she is helping to impoverish). If Warren and her cadre want to really fight the worthy fight, they should pick up a history book (written by someone other than Howard Zinn) and see these trends for themselves.

Until then, the Left will continue fighting the wrong fight…and harming the middle-class in the process.


America • Democrats • Donald Trump • Economy • Elizabeth Warren • History • Political Parties • Trump White House

Elizabeth Warren Is Fighting the Wrong Fight (Part I)

While promoting her new book, This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) explained why America’s middle class was disappearing. In Warren’s view, the reason is simple: it’s all Ronald Reagan’s fault.

The crux of Warren’s argument is that from 1935 until 1980, the country’s gross-domestic product increased exponentially and “90 percent of America—everybody outside of the top 10 percent got 70 percent of all income growth.” After 1980, Warren says, although GDP continued to increase, 90 percent of Americans got “zero percent of the new income growth. One-hundred percent of the new income growth in this country goes to the top 10 percent.”

Warren and her comrades on the Left are simply wrong about the cause of today’s middle-class decline. The reason has little to do with Reagan-era tax cuts. If anything, those tax cuts bought the middle class some time before the bottom fell out on the neoliberal project of the last century. Stated simply,  the neoliberal globalist policies of the Democrats are to blame for the decline of the middle class.
The senator’s narrative suggests that economic opportunity did not exist in the United States before 1935. This is a patently absurd claim. Fact is, a middle-class life as we understand it today did not really exist in human history until the industrial revolution was well underway. So, it’s a bit disingenuous to pick 1935 to prove her point.

It sets up a false narrative: according to the Left, President Franklin D. Roosevelt saved the middle class when he created the New Deal to combat the Depression. And then, of course, that greedy Republican, Ronald Reagan, came in and killed the middle class. But this is demonstrably false.

After all, in 1939, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. (a close friend and confidant of FDR’s) testified to the House Ways and Means Committee that, despite the Roosevelt Administration’s best efforts, the Great Depression was not abating. Morgenthau explained,

We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work […] We have never made good on our promises…I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started…And an enormous debt to boot!

As Burton Folsom, Jr. concluded in his phenomenal book, New Deal or Raw Deal? “Average unemployment for the whole year in 1939 would be higher than that in 1931, the year before Roosevelt captured the presidency from Herbert Hoover.” To be sure, there were some good things to come out of that era—notably the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial banking from investment banking. And Warren is right to point out the growing income gap.

As you can see, these long-term trends have more to do with the decline of America’s middle-class than the Reagan tax cuts did. In targeting the policy of tax cuts and laying the blame for that decline at Reagan’s feet, Warren and her Leftist cadre miss the real trends driving this decline. Worse, they are advocating dangerous and self-destructive policies.

But if Leftist policies were so effective, then why didn’t unemployment decline between 1935 and 1939? Why did joblessness worsen? If increasing government spending, taxation, and regulations were the way out of an economic downturn, why didn’t Obamanomics return America’s economic prosperity to pre-2008 levels?

Warren makes the claim that more people did well under higher tax and regulatory regimes than they do today. Not true. In fact, these policies likely exacerbated the crisis. Not even the government’s massive spending to fight World War II saved America from the Great Depression, as so many claim today. What ultimately saved the economy was when Republicans (and some Democrats) in 1945 insisted on tax cuts and spending reductions.

As Folsom argues in his book, FDR could have twiddled his thumbs from 1934-41 and the economy would have done just as poorly (although financial writer and publisher James Grant would argue that doing nothing actually would have been better for the economy).

The real damage to the middle-class came about during the 1960s and ’70s—well before Reagan was president.

What happened during this period?

First, the sexual revolution, simmering since the early 1900s, exploded with the invention of the birth control pill. Virtually overnight, the conventional male-female dynamic in society was upended. Over time, women started going to college and working at increasing rates, while men started to work and go to school less. Also, beginning in the 1970s, the American fertility rate began to decline precipitously (as it did in much of the rest of the Western world). This is important, because native-born Americans having fewer children means a decline in human capital (which, by definition, means a decline in overall demand and, therefore, productivity). If not for immigration, the U.S. economy would have ground to a halt. Of course, increasing immigration further exacerbates the employment issue for non-college-educated American workers.

Alongside the sexual revolution emerged the revolution in information technology. The first silicon-based computer chips went into production and the Internet began taking shape in labs funded by the Pentagon. Before long, people were buying personal computers, then smart phones. This set the long-term trend for the disruptive effects of the World Wide Web and automation.

Third, President Richard Nixon opened China up to the West. What began as a short-term strategic initiative to help turn the Cold War in America’s favor ended up evolving into a full-blown economic pact (“Chimerica,” as Niall Ferguson dubbed it). This pact ultimately saw the beginnings of globalization and the long march of middle class, blue-collar jobs out of the United States and into China (and other developing economies). These jobs never returned. America’s middle-class declined, as China’s grew.

Lastly, with the sharp decline in readily available, well-paying blue-collar manufacturing jobs for most Americans, middle-class parents did what their parents in the Great Depression had encouraged: they sent their kids to college. Most middle-class parents were savvy enough to recognize that their way of life was deteriorating. They assumed that a college degree might allow their children to do better in the world than they had done. They reasoned that their children needed to compete in the new “knowledge” economy and that this was the way of the future.

Unfortunately, over time the cost of college increased with the rising demand (a paradoxical phenomenon, perpetuated by the presence of the U.S. government in the student loan business). This, coupled with globalization—where our kids had to compete with all other children in the world—meant that standards became almost impossible for all but a handful of students to surmount.

Education was once seen as the great equalizer. It was the road to true freedom. Today, however, it has become one of the surest paths to poverty as students become mired in debt for degrees that promise the world (at a premium) but fail to provide adequate training for the jobs most students are seeking.

What’s more, the formation of the post-industrial “knowledge” economy has created a bifurcated class system. In today’s America, primarily because elementary and secondary education have so deteriorated, one cannot usually find gainful employment without having a college degree—even when the justification for said degree is dubious. What’s more, if that degree is not in a technology or business field, one’s chances of financial success drastically decrease. This is not equality. It is also not freedom. This fact has also helped undermine the middle class.

As you can see, these long-term trends have more to do with the decline of America’s middle-class than the Reagan tax cuts did. In targeting the policy of tax cuts and laying the blame for that decline at Reagan’s feet, Warren and her Leftist cadre miss the real trends driving this decline. Worse, they are advocating dangerous and self-destructive policies.

The path to economic freedom does not reside in increased levels of taxation and regulation. That is the road to serfdom. What America needs to do is to make better trade deals that put Americans first, protect critical industries for American producers, and get rid of government involvement in higher education. Americans also need to comprehend the link between Leftist social policies and economic decline (since social policies determine the health of human capital). In addition, Americans must understand how science and technology are fundamentally altering the way that our economy works and seek to adapt.

This is the right fight. This is also the fight that President Trump has been waging since he announced his candidacy for president.