Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Identity Politics • Post • The Left • the Presidency

How Far Can This Campaign Go?

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Many of us saw and were mightily amused at the antics at the recent Democratic Party presidential primary debates.

Two incidents that stand out for me as absurdist gold are former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro advocating—in the vein of Eric Idle’s character in “Life of Brian” the right of biological males to have female reproductive organs and Marianne Williamson’s certifiably loony babblings every time she opened her yap.

Now if we lived in another time or in a nation with above average cultural and intellectual standards, they would have been laughed off the stage and into public obscurity. But we don’t.

We live in a time and place where the line between outright lunacy and acceptable discourse is thin. A time where there is seemingly no bottom to the abyss of irrational twaddle no one will take issue with, where adults can get away with channeling the emotions and wisdom of 13-year-olds, and many on social media can’t tell the difference between parody and news.

So I think the pertinent question that comes to mind is how far can it go before we reach heretofore unforeseen barmy levels of government and politics? How long before the candidate of a major party shows up at a debate in Zouave pantaloons and a wombat mask and is praised for his sartorial acumen and sensitivity to the needs of red-trousered marsupial voters?

I venture, not much longer. Williamson did the verbal equivalent with her “Hey, girlfriend” line about calling the prime minister of New Zealand and is enjoying a bump in nationwide donations from 50ish first wives with ’70s-era hairstyles.

Now, this is a societal trait not limited to the Left, as I see non-sequitur reader comments on my articles for various other conservative publications all the time. Mostly, no matter what the subject, responses that are entirely composed of “Trump 2020.” I could write a 10,000-word essay on Hobbesian trends in 19th-century Bosnian literature, and more than half of my populist-conservative readers would respond “MAGA!!!” Though the severest outbreaks come from our classic red pals.

I was able to experience this personally several years ago at a corporate dinner not far from Washington, D.C.

An establishment liberal firm invited those who they termed “community leaders.” How I got invited to a cocktail and meal repast at a rather tony Washington eatery I’ll never know—unless they meant leading in bourbon consumption. There were a couple of hundred people there and for some reason, they seated three of us, all men of Latin American ancestry, at the same table. Perhaps in their guilty white event planning, they thought we could start our own colorfully authentic barrio.

The three of us noticed this, were amused, and, being Latin males, headed for the open bar. To our surprise when we returned to our table it was filled out by five nice women of the past-40-and-gray-hair-parted-straight-down-the-middle variety. They were, appropriate to their likely lefty ideology, attired in semi-countercultural apparel and symbols. About 10 feet from the table, spying these ladies, one of us whose parents hailed from Ecuador whispered to the other two, “You guys want to have fun? Follow my lead.” 

When we sat, he said in his best rendition of Ricardo Montalban Spanish, “Do jew know, een Ecuuuador thee childrrren hab tails?” Now this guy was born here in the States and had no discernible Latin accent. He decided to see how far he could push the nonsensical ceiling by making patently idiotic claims and seeing if he’d get called on it. He gambled right. The ladies oohed and ahhed and told us their own ethnocentricity was to blame for their ignorance on the subject.

Imitating my Colombian cousins, I added: “Een Colooombeaaah, do jew know eees against the law to marry an oogly wohman?” An eyebrow raised here and there, but no pushback and general acknowledgment of the superiority of Latin culture. The game was up when the third guy opined that from a certain Andean peak you could see, under the right atmospheric conditions, five continents. Two of us laughed out loud at that. 

At that point, we switched to our normal voices and everybody acted as if our Cheech Marin impersonations had never happened. 

Such is modern America.

And it isn’t just too-tolerant ladies at dinners, as we discern on a daily basis the malady reaches into the highest levels of government.

The president doesn’t quite go the absurdist route. He prefers hyperbole, at times straining credulity, akin to a duck in water. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, as my political regard for him dictates, I think this is generally used by him to bait his Democrat opponents into fits of their own inanity. If so, this has been a highly successful effort on his part.

From Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s comparison of border facilities to Treblinka to the constant intoning, as we saw at both debates, of the incipient fascism allegedly inherent in the Trump Administration, the president has done to the opposition what Inspector Clouseau did to Chief Inspector Dreyfus. He has driven them barking mad.

It does not strike them, aside from one or two of the more cynical contenders, that if fascism was imminent they would not have the bully pulpit of a national stage. It fails to faze emotionally driven cretins that staged photo ops at border area parking lots probably would not be considered a fun day at the beach by Heinrich Himmler types and those other wacky sidekicks of an upcoming totalitarian regime.

You’re saying, oh c’mon. They are manipulating the message and playing to their crowd in the same way the president and the GOP does.

Nah, there is a big difference.

A Republican would be pilloried by the Democrats, the popular culture, academia, the news media, late night talk hosts, and so on. So, to escape the heat, not to mention the disdain of their own base, they rarely go full Kafka. 

The Democrats know they can get away with a smorgasbord of illogic and preposterous statements before being called to the carpet. That being said, various Democrats like AOC, Castro, and Williamson I believe have, in their ideological fervor, broken through that barrier and sometimes have been mocked by the plethora of usually reliable liberal mouthpieces.

Nevertheless, those Democrats keep up the insanity because they actually believe what they’re saying, which is my guess, or they know they will have to go as far as a Williamson, completely outside the political solar system of craziness, to pay a price. Either way, the boys in the white coats and big net can go home. What were once the confines of Gregor Samsa are now the leftist norms of cognition.

So, the answer to “how far can it go” is what pilots call “CAVU”: ceiling and visibility unlimited.

With declining educational standards, social media devotees willing to believe anything that fits their prejudices, and public figures straining at the leash to be the Chuck Yeager of ridiculous pronouncements, the outlook is bright indeed for unintentional humor and virulent schadenfreude continuing well into the foreseeable future. It will culminate on that great and glorious day when, shorn of all mortification and thrilled at the prospect, we can address the chief executive of this country as “Madame President Williamson.”

I’ll get the popcorn.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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America • Democrats • Elections • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • The Left • the Presidency

A Democratic Debate Report Card

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Unfamiliar faces dotted the stage or screen. That most of these candidates are still unrecognizable to the average voter is a testament to the absolute mess that is the 2020 Democratic primary.

Rather than focus on the highlights of each debate, or summarize the biggest moments, let’s take a look at the unremarkable spectacle each candidate managed to make of him or herself during this latest round of reality TV posing as a presidential debate.

Night One:

John Delaney: Delaney is easily one of only two genuinely sensible candidates in the entire primary field (at least out of the 20 who made it to the debate stage). He spoke out against universal healthcare, criticized the elitist mindset of the Democratic establishment, gave reasonable answers on foreign policy (naming China and nuclear proliferation the top two geopolitical threats facing America), and even boldly declared that average Americans do not care about impeaching President Trump (fact-check: true). But who is Delaney and will America ever find out much more about him? No. The former congressman from Maryland is far too rational to make a splash in Democratic politics.

Bill de Blasio: When the New York mayor drew the first blood of the night by going after Beto O’Rourke on healthcare, it appeared as though he would manage to be more active than the other candidates. It soon became clear, however, that his entire strategy was blindly to lob grenades and interrupt as often as possible. It was a strategy that most viewers and probably even the moderators saw right through. The defining moment of the night for de Blasio was the time he was cut off by a commercial break. It was like a mercy killing.

Jay Inslee: The governor of Washington state has staked his entire campaign on global warming. Unfortunately, that issue has been thoroughly appropriated away from him by just about everyone else. His candidacy now seems superfluous and vain. Aside from his quip that President Trump is the “biggest national security threat,’ he had no memorable moments.

Tim Ryan: The self-described Midwestern blue-collar moderate congressman from Ohio dropped the medicine ball on his own mantle. His first few statements were wasted in virtue-signaling to the far-Left, talking about Trump being a racist, and pretending that he was imparting new information by telling us the working class includes immigrants. Only after de Blasio (of all people!) stole his line about the party needing to avoid being the party of “coastal elites” did Ryan suddenly flip a switch and begin talking more like a moderate. But by that point, it was too late. His fate was sealed when Tulsi Gabbard destroyed him on foreign policy, especially when he confused the Taliban with al-Qaeda.

Tulsi Gabbard: Other than the congresswoman from Hawaii’s  strong insistence on anti-interventionism and her occasional appeals to patriotism that always referenced her military service post-9/11, there wasn’t much else to her performance—certainly not enough to endear her to the far-Left. At the same time, her support for universal healthcare and the Green New Deal prove that she’s really not the “moderate” she claims to be and leaves her undistinguished in the crowded field.

Julian Castro: Although the former mayor and Obama Administration cabinet member produced perhaps the most absurd line of the entire two-night ordealcalling for “transgender reproductive justice”he nonetheless had a strong performance whenever immigration came up, especially when he clashed with Beto. He shamelessly appealed to his own identity as the only Latino candidate in the race (sorry, Robert Francis), and it’s possible that he could see his star rise . . . but not by much. He’s actually running for another cabinet post.

Amy Klobuchar: There was hardly anything memorable from the senior senator from Minnesota, except for her one-liner in response to Inslee’s random declaration of his love for abortion, which boiled down essentially to, “Well, I’m a woman, so there.” Standards are low at Democratic presidential debates, however, so the audience met this line with thunderous applause.

Cory Booker: Like Castro, Senator “Spartacus” had a number of loud and energetic moments. He was all too eager to bring up his own background as a black man (in case anyone missed that), and even tried to one-up Castro in the trans-appreciation and oppression Olympics by calling for recognition of the plight of “African-American trans-Americans.” Other than his atrocious Spanish, the one other notable moment was when he was the only candidate on his stage to say he would not re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, which (to be fair) was a decent answer.

Beto O’Rourke: The losing candidate for Texas senator got pummeled by Castro and de Blasio, and even got a rough shaking from the moderators, with some of their questions criticizing his lack of policy specifics. His attempts at Hispandering were just as cringeworthy as Booker’s, and nothing else is memorable from his time on-stage.

Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator both won and didn’t win. Although debate organizers tried their best to hand her victory on a silver platterfrom giving her the first opening and the last closing statements (as well as positioning her at the center-stage podium) to tossing her softball questionsWarren started off strong, but then disappeared about 30 to 45 minutes in as the debate seemed overly conscientious about treating every candidate equally. But because no one else emerged as a clear winner, it was still a net positive for Warren. Because she nears the top of most polls, all she had to do is show up and not fall down. She did exactly that. She lives to fight another day.

Night Two:

Eric Swalwell: One would think that a candidate with a campaign as single-issue as his would be more forgettable (see: Inslee). But he managed to stand out just enough for being one of only two candidates on-stage to attack both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, declaring that the former needed to “pass the torch” to a younger generation, and the latter wasn’t tough enough on guns. In these cases, as well as other moments when he attacked fellow candidates, like Buttigieg over the recent police shooting in South Bend, he came across as more sincere in his attacks than in anything else. He may even have surpassed the human bullhorn, de Blasio.

Michael Bennet: Easily the most forgettable candidate on the stage, and that’s saying something, the Colorado senator, like Swalwell, stood out for attacking both Biden and Bernie. The former got it for extending the Bush tax cuts, and Bernie for falsely saying that a Canadian-style healthcare system could work in America despite the massive gap in population sizes between the two countries. But his attacks weren’t delivered with as much passion or sincerity as Swalwell’s. Even his comments comparing the immigration crisis to the Holocaust were rather cliché given the current climate…and that, too, is really saying something.

Marianne Williamson: As one of the two outsiders, the writer and “activist” had a huge opportunity to set herself apart and generate some interest. She got attention, but not at all the kind she needed. From her repeated “excuse mes!” to her downright nonsensical answers ranging from a phone call to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, to a hippy-dippy pledge to “harness love for political purposes,” most people were probably left with a similar sentiment about her: Why was she on that stage?

John Hickenlooper: The former Colorado governor is the other somewhat sane candidate emerging from this clown car of a presidential field. Along with Delaney , he was unapologetic in attacking socialist ideas such as universal healthcare and the Green New Deal. He will have all the same problems outlined above for Delaney but he got even less attention during the debate.

Kirsten Gillibrand: The senator from New York was to the second night what de Blasio was to the firstonly even more obnoxious. Her constant attempts to interrupt others were made even worse by her shrill voice and the fact that at least de Blasio occasionally had something new or interesting to say. Gillibrand comes across like that one substitute teacher who expects the class to take her seriously for absolutely no reason other than that she expects it. She offered nothing more than warmed over female identity politics of the most basic variety and peppered it with progressive talking points, also of common origin. You’ve heard it all before and heard it said better. 

Andrew Yang: The Silicon Valley baron is like a meme. He’s been around a little too long among the groups that might find him appealing. And soYang has long since lost his appeal. He spoke even less than his fellow outsider Williamson, and when he did, his points were mostly empty answers with only the vaguest hints at ways his more “moderate” rhetoric might appeal to Democrats who became Trump voters. The fact that his only actual mention of the “Freedom Dividend” in his closing statement elicited laughter from the audience says it all. He’s no more than comic relief at this point.

Kamala Harris: Like Castro on the first night, Senator Harris had a series of strong moments marked most often by loud answers and appeals to pathos, going for applause rather than specifics. But she absolutely dominated the second night by going after Biden with the toughest attack of them all: she went straight to his past support for segregationist senators. This drew the longest moment of applause for either nights. With this, Harris also did the best job by far of framing the crucial question of “old Democrats versus new Democrats.” Although both Swalwell and Buttigieg hinted at the theme, Harris was able to draw the starkest contrast on this topic by pointing out Biden’s past work with segregationists, and her own alleged experience as a student who was a victim of segregation. She will definitely rise in the polls after this.

Pete Buttigieg: For all the previous weeks of media hype, the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana faded to a near non-entity by the time the debate finally took place. He didn’t even get much of a chance to talk about how gay he is, and he only hinted at his military service. Perhaps his biggest moment was a question from the moderators about the recent police shooting in South Bend, which subsequently drew simultaneous fire from both Hickenlooper and Swalwell. His reaction left him appearing confused and helpless as he was finally attacked.

Bernie Sanders: The Senator from Vermont was one of the biggest losers in the entire debate, as he utterly personified his newfound nickname of “Bern-out.” Just like in 2016, Bernie proved how oddly unwilling he is to attack fellow candidates, even if doing so would work to his benefit. Instead, he found himself being attacked more than attacking, and facing jabs from all sides; Hickenlooper called him too radical, while Swalwell argued he was too soft on guns. Like Inslee, Bernie also suffers from his once-unique platform being ripped off by just about every other candidate on the stage, thus rendering him obsolete.

Joe Biden: Like Warren, he started off as strong as he was expected to do. But unlike Warren, the former vice president’s fellow candidates were unafraid to go after him. After a few early shots from Swalwell and Bennet, Harris went straight for the jugular and proved that the Democrats’ anointed frontrunner does, in fact, bleed. He relied just a little too much on hearkening back to the “nostalgia” of the Obama years, which proved even more hollow when he couldn’t adequately respond to any of his attackers beyond more basic talking points.

In Summary . . . 

The Winners: Harris, Warren, Castro, Booker

Could’ve Been Worse: Swalwell, de Blasio, Gabbard

Neither Here nor There: Gillibrand, Delaney, Hickenlooper

Could’ve Been Better: Yang, Williamson, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Inslee, Bennet

The Losers: Ryan, Beto, Bernie, Biden

Overall Rankings (based on these debates alone):

  1. Harris
  2. Warren
  3. Castro
  4. Booker
  5. Swalwell
  6. De Blasio
  7. Gabbard
  8. Gillibrand
  9. Delaney
  10. Hickenlooper
  11. Yang
  12. Williamson
  13. Buttigieg
  14. Klobuchar
  15. Inslee
  16. Bennet
  17. Ryan
  18. Beto
  19. Bernie
  20. Biden

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America • Democrats • Elections • Identity Politics • Political Parties • Post • the Presidency

What’s Your Democratic Candidate Identity?

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National politics is always an adventure. And as every role-playing game hobbyist knows, to keep an adventure going, you’re going to need hordes of “NPCs.” 

If you’re not familiar with the world’s nerdiest hobby, a “non-player character” is anybody the gamemaster invented to further the plot, or for the entertainment of the players. The smith who makes the swords, or the gal who brings the beer at a fantasy tavern, is an NPC. Some gamemasters put a lot of thought into these minor characters. 

In other cases, however, say when there’s an epic scene and you suddenly need 300 Mongol horsemen, or all 13 members of a black magic cult, or a couple dozen Democratic candidates appearing on stage all at once—well, there’s not much point in personalizing short-term minor villains too thoroughly.

Still, the adventure is enhanced if they aren’t all identical. So for the aid of any roleplaying game aficionados who are thinking of using current politics as a campaign backdrop, here’s a quick-and-easy random generator for Democratic presidential candidate NPCs. Just roll a few dice to come up with a faux Democrat—one it is likely your characters won’t be able to tell from the real thing!

Ethnicity:             

  1. Black         
  2. Hispanic   
  3. Asian    
  4. Pseudo-Native American
  5. (and 6) Guilt Ridden

Gendericity:

  1. Female
  2. Transsexual
  3. Transmillennial
  4. Predatory
  5. Gay
  6. Metrosexual

Manner:

  1. Shrill
  2. Pompous
  3. Lugubrious
  4. Pervy
  5. Smug
  6. Frantic

Overcame:

  1. Being called names        
  2. A life of privilege and luxury     
  3. A low SAT score            
  4. The legacy of slavery        
  5. Pronouns              
  6. Fox News

Career:

  1. Mayor
  2. Governor
  3. Senator
  4. Congressperson
  5. Community Disorganizer
  6. Aspiring CNN Political Analyst

Outrage:             

  1. Babies
  2. Statues            
  3. The Second Amendment  
  4. Donald Trump 
  5. Conservative Speech 
  6. Making a Profit       

Obsession: Roll again on “Outrage” table! 

How it works: let’s say you’re planning an adventure—say, a Democratic presidential primary debate—and you need to generate some quick opponents. They won’t be part of the storyline long, and don’t actually have to have developed personalities, but they should have enough distinctions so that they can be kept straight (er, rather, so that you can distinguish them from one another).

No problem! Roll an ordinary six-sided die, for each random characteristic, and just fill in the blanks.

“You see a (ethnicity, gendericity) candidate approaching. Before you can react, your hand has been seized and the candidate fixes you with a sincere smile. ‘Hi!’ says the candidate, in a (manner) way. ‘I hope you’ll elect me to fight for you. I overcame (obstacle) to become a (career). But in a country where (outrage) is still legal, we must continue the fight! Help me ban (Obsession!).”

Or:

“You see a (guilt-ridden, transsexual) candidate approaching. Before you can react, your hand has been seized and the candidate fixes you with a sincere smile. ‘Hi’, says the candidate, in a (frantic) way. ‘I hope you’ll elect me to fight for you. I overcame (pronouns) to become a (Mayor). But in a country where (Conservative Speech) is still legal, we must continue the fight. Help me ban (Donald Trump)!”

These NPC’s can be used in a variety of game scenarios. Your players could be ordinary citizens trying to avoid politicians in a swing state, investigative reporters for Project Veritas, or ruthless debate moderators playing one NPC against another to further their own television careers. The possibilities are endless—and with this easy generator of plausible Democratic candidates, so is your supply of NPCs.

Just like the Democratic Party’s.

Photo credit:  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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Donald Trump • Elections • Greatness Agenda • Post • Republicans • the Presidency

Ron DeSantis is What the Trump Movement Should Be

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Could the 46th governor of Florida go on to become the 46th president of the United States?

It goes without saying that the excruciatingly narrow Ron DeSantis victory in the 2018 Florida gubernatorial race was one of the highlights of last year’s election cycle. But the victory did not end on election night; indeed, it had only just begun. DeSantis, more than any other Republican governor in the country, is showing the nation just how a Trumpian governor can operate in a massive swing state, with an astonishingly high level of success.

In a Perfect World . . .
Governor DeSantis’s tenure thus far has given us a good idea of what the presidency of Donald Trump would look like, if not for three factors: if the Democrats did not viciously hate Trump and everything he stands for; if the media were more fair in its coverage and held an objective viewpoint towards his actions; and if Republicans in the legislature were actually willing to work with him.

DeSantis thus far has done a good job of satisfying both traditional conservatives and populists. He immediately fired corrupt and incompetent Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel; appointed three conservative justices to the Florida Supreme Court (flipping it from a liberal majority to a conservative majority); pushed for greater cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration officials while banning sanctuary cities; and recently signed a law allowing teachers to carry concealed firearms on campus. And he’s only been in office for five months.

Despite championing so many firmly right-wing policies, DeSantis has also taken certain actions that, while not ordinarily considered “conservative,” have proven highly popular in his home state.

DeSantis has pushed for more than $3 billion in spending on environmental projects, including a restoration of the Everglades and water quality protection efforts, while also easing restrictions on the use of medical marijuana. Moves such as these have earned him bipartisan praise, and even glowing coverage from the media.

With his governorship, DeSantis has retained a strong following among conservatives, independents, populists, and even some Democrats. Combined with the genuinely fair media treatment he gets in Florida’s press, DeSantis enjoys astronomically high approval ratings—now sitting comfortably in the mid- to high-60s.

As a result, DeSantis is both one of the most popular governors in the country, and the most popular governor of Florida in over a decade. It’s no wonder, then, that his tenure as Governor has led some in the mainstream media to declare that Florida is now “Trump Country.”

From a Trumpian Candidate to a Trumpian Governor
Naturally, DeSantis’s rise has forced some in the media to scoff at the suggestion that he is governing as a pro-Trump Republican. One article at The Atlantic smugly suggests that upon being elected, DeSantis somehow abandoned the Trump mantle in favor of being a more “pragmatic problem-solver.”

But what this kind of coverage fails to note (perhaps deliberately) is that attempting to reach bipartisan solutions is, in fact, decidedly Trumpian. Both Trump and DeSantis are happy to present challenges to conservative orthodoxy if those challenges show respect for the governing decisions of the vast majority of the people who elected them. Both men respect the will of the people and their right to govern themselves within a constitutional framework.

DeSantis has even managed to tap into a significantly larger share of the minority vote than most Republicans—another thing he has in common with President Trump. The gubernatorial race tipped in favor of DeSantis when 18 percent of African-American women (roughly 117,000 out of 650,000 overall) voted for DeSantis over his African-American opponent, Andrew Gillum. Their primary motivation for this move was DeSantis’s support for school choice, thus leading them to be dubbed “school choice moms.” In a race that was won by fewer than 33,000 votes, this made all the difference.

President DeSantis?
The idea that DeSantis is suddenly shifting away from the Trumpian persona that he ran on in 2018 is rooted more in a fundamental misunderstanding of who and what Trump is than it is in the realities on the ground in Florida. DeSantis is embracing his identity as a new kind of non-ideological (which is not to say unprincipled) Republican and amplifying it as governor. With the media unburdened by irrational hatred and a burning desire to “get” him as they are with Trump, they tend to highlight both his bipartisan policies and his conservative policies in a more objective light. Things have been allowed to work and speak for themselves. As a result, DeSantis has been able seamlessly to thread the needle as a right-wing populist. He is now admired by a strong mixture of Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, populists, and independents alike. In what may be his most impressive feat yet, he has even earned the approval of the “Mikey” of right wing politics, Ann Coulter.

Perhaps this explains why the media is trying so hard to dismiss DeSantis’ Trumpian bona fides. They’d like to convince hardcore Trump supporters that DeSantis is somehow turning into a “moderate.” And the ultimate motivation behind such a false portrayal could not be more obvious, even if it is still rather far away.

If Ron DeSantis chooses to run in 2024, you would be extremely hard-pressed to find a single Republican who could match his record and broad appeal. Outside of the possibility of Donald Trump Jr. himself running and without the baggage of accusations of dynastic entitlement, DeSantis could very well be the most perfect successor to the Trump mantle—and, most likely, he would be the immediate frontrunner in the general election.

Photo Credit: Raedle/Getty Images

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America • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Middle East • Post • the Presidency

Give Tucker Carlson the Nobel Peace Prize

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After months of escalating tensions, Iran shot down an unmanned American military drone last week. In response, a retaliatory American airstrike had been planned. At the last moment, President Trump called it off, explaining in a series of tweets that it was unnecessary and disproportionate.

According to reports, he was influenced by severe criticism leveled against our Iran policy by Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. On his show early last week, Carlson called National Security Advisor John Bolton a “bureaucratic tapeworm” who seems to have learned nothing from America’s failed venture in Iraq. He also has privately advised the president against war with Iran as a mistake of policy and a serious impediment to reelection, according to numerous reports.

For this, Tucker Carlson deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, to be shared with every administration figure who quietly argued against escalation.

More important, President Trump deserves our respect and thanks for sticking to his guns and not being dragged into another war in the Middle East by the unwise “wise men” of Washington, particularly the out-of-step Bolton.

Drone Shootdown Last in a Series of Tense Moments
The destruction of the U.S. surveillance drone comes after several months of bad behavior blamed on Iran: sabotage, mining of ships, and several explosions on Japanese and Dutch merchant ships. These events have been accompanied by America’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran and escalating rhetoric from the U.S. “national security community.”

In this complicated situation, some—including me—have speculated that the various provocations were “false flags” by others interested in fomenting a war between Iran and the United States. Such a war would be a real mistake.

We have options short of war with Iran. Our tensions with Iran appears to be deliberately enhanced by Bolton, among others, and a war with Iran—like the earlier war with Iraq—would be unpredictable, expensive, and falsely conflate our interests with those in the region who have a strong interest in seeing Iran brought to heel.

The Facts Surrounding the Drone Shootdown Are Murky
The downing of our drone is a wrong suffered by the United States, but only if it happened in a particular way. Violating another nation’s airspace is technically an act of war. It is we, rather than Iran, who would be guilty of escalation if this happened. Iran claims the drone entered its airspace, but the United States says the drone was in international airspace. The airspace in question only permits a very narrow corridor where a drone, or any other military aircraft, could transit the Straits of Hormuz without violating Iranian territory.

There is no way any layperson could know for sure where the drone was when it was shot down, but it’s not beyond belief it had drifted or been flown deliberately into Iranian airspace. After all, Iran had captured another U.S. drone in 2011, and the wreckage was recovered over Iranian soil.

Alternately, as President Trump said, the shootdown could have resulted from an Iranian general acting “loose and stupid.” Iran has released detailed maps of the incident that accord with its version of events. Notably, in a far-from-stupid act of restraint, Iran declined to attack an American P-8 surveillance plane that was also in the area and, according to them, also violated Iranian airspace.

Trump recognizes something of critical importance. Our country can stumble into a war. Others below him are in a position to make such a provocation happen, whether for ideological reasons, a quest for personal glory, or mere carelessness. And that there’s a time to fight and also a time to back down, just as in any other conflict.

Trump’s conciliatory rhetoric in the wake of this incident—and even the threatened and then “called off” strike—may be part of a broader information operation to deter and de-escalate things. The message is clear: America can attack and is on the brink of doing so, and thus everyone needs to cool it.

Of course, Iran’s attack on the drone, but not the manned P-8 reconnaissance plane, sends a similar reciprocal message.

Trump Is Trumping the Wishes of Certain Swamp-Dwellers
Trump, in spite of the caricature of him in the press, is in much the same position JFK was in during the Cuban Missile Crisis, resisting the call to escalate tensions from short-sighted national security professionals. The post-Vietnam Republican Party has often abdicated thinking seriously about national security, instead saying that we should “just leave it to the generals!” This is both unconstitutional and stupid.

Such an approach is unconstitutional because we have civilian control of the military through an elected President, and Congress is supposed to declare wars. Thus, there are two layers of political control over military action. The Constitution recognizes that not merely the military, but the whole nation goes to war, and that the people’s elected officials should control when and how that happens.

The “leave it to the generals” advice is stupid because it outsources nontechnical questions of policy to the military and the intelligence community. This abdication by elected officials treats questions of war and peace as some form of arcane knowledge inaccessible to voters and even the commander in chief.

But such questions are ones where common sense matters. The best sources are history books, where we learn the generals have frequently gotten it wrong. And since foreign policy is not chiefly a technical question, there is no uniformity of thought among the “generals”; being both soldiers as well as citizens, they have diverse opinions on such things.

Trump Rightly Listens to His Friends
Without a doubt, Iran is not a friendly country. Keeping Iran (as well as its Sunni enemies) from acquiring nuclear weapons is beneficial to the United States. We also have a general interest in maintaining open sea lanes.

But America also faces a fiscal crisis, an immediate threat from mass immigration, as well as a developing one with China. In other words, there are many problems and threats in the world, and we have to prioritize.

Getting involved in another Mideast war would distract from other strategic priorities, such as maintaining our wealth and independence, and it would divert resources from both more immediate and more important threats. And to what end? Making things easier for Israel and Saudi Arabia by siding with them against their theological and regional competitor?

There are also broader considerations of justice in this incident, which implicate our national interest in husbanding “soft power.” Such power depends partly on our reputation as a country devoted to peace and justice, a reputation severely damaged by the Iraq War.

Are we 100 percent sure this robot was not in Iranian airspace? And, even if we are, is it worth 150 or more Iranian dead? Would Iran, which believes it was defending its own airspace, not create future problems for us and others if we got this wrong? Would sitting on our rights regarding the loss of a mechanical robot not cultivate some good will among the Iranian people, who are notably more pro-American than the subjects of our Sunni allies?

Somehow things got reversed between 2003 and 2019. The Republicans, who were “all in” for the Iraq War, now are split, and the larger portion appear to be in the peace camp. Tucker Carlson has his finger on the pulse of nationalist wing of the party. He not only reflects its views, he also often shapes them. He has undergone an evolution similar to many on the Right, an evolution that grew not only from the Iraq disaster but the later inconclusive interventions in places like Libya, Syria, and Yemen.

This evolution within the American Right and among the American people generally led to the rejection of the old interventionist caucus, as exemplified by such figures as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham. Instead, the evolution of beliefs within the GOP led to the nomination and election of Trump under the mantra of “America First.” We realized these wars did us little good and that our safety could be secured more readily by more sensible immigration policies. This is a popular position and also a correct one.

At various critical junctures, Trump has shown he’s responsive to counsel from his allies on the right and willing to fight the good fight. Ann Coulter’s criticism was apparently critical during the shutdown battle. Trump stuck to the Syria pullout (more or less) and let go of Defense Secretary James Mattis after the latter’s refusal to implement the president’s order to declare victory and go home. And he stuck by Brett Kavanaugh during one of the nastiest nomination fights in living memory, even after fellow Republicans were counseling him to withdraw the nomination.

We also know how the swamp is resisting him and pushing the president in the wrong direction, just as it has manipulated past presidents, both openly and covertly, to continue with business as usual. Trump’s voters and their proxies—party officials, guys like Tucker Carlson, and the rest of the right-wing commentariat—need to remind Trump that we voted for him chiefly because of what he said he was going to do, including not getting involved in useless wars that do not meet the criterion of America First.

As he did this week in Iran, Trump energizes us when he keeps his promises. If he keeps doing this, he will do a service for the country and the voters who elected him. And they will reelect him for keeping the faith and keeping the peace.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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America • Donald Trump • Elections • Greatness Agenda • Post • the Presidency

Trust Trump, But Not Too Much!

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What Donald Trump does America needs, but it does not exhaust the nation’s needs at this hour. When we speak of “draining the swamp” we intend significantly more than merely replacing recalcitrant public officials who fail to vindicate the claims of self-government. We mean also removing the policies and practices that maintain a boa-like constriction on the arteries of self-government.

When Washington, D. C., was to be built in the 1790s, the first thing that had to be accomplished was the draining of the swamp land (particularly in the neighborhood of Georgetown). What had to follow, however, was a filling of the swamp to establish a stable foundation for a major city.

Similarly, politically speaking, “draining the swamp” is only a prelude for the work of engineering and construction that will erect a healthy, self-governing polity in the United States. What President Trump is doing is preparing the way for that work of engineering and construction. Accordingly, while we should praise Trump for what he is doing, we should not lose sight of what still needs to be done.

In order to understand what needs to be done, however, we must first grant fulsome praise to Trump’s deeds, which in so many ways are laying the groundwork for rebuilding. We should not be influenced by those who refuse to praise Trump even for his good deeds. For those begrudging in praise are also those who are disqualified for encouraging fruitful labors. NeverTrumpers are the people who have decided to say, “Good-bye America.”

But consider the good that Trump is doing and discover the possibilities that he has opened for us. His removal of regulatory constraints opens pathways for affirming regulations that rely upon the good sense of the people to chart a course toward a healthy public and economic life. He seems almost by instinct to understand that necessity (falsely called populism).

Moreover, his overall economic and financial approach suggests that he is not a prisoner to the Smoot-reflex that has led several generations to discard the only tool—tariffs—that enables the United States to maintain its leverage in a global economy in which nearly every other state pursues industrial policy. Trump sees that to assimilate the United States to those practices only furthers the heretofore prevailing tendency of other states to milk us dry.

In addition, domestically he has understood that it is more important to encourage production than consumption—an incredibly important departure from the foundation of fiscal policy since the era of Franklin Roosevelt. Experts have too glibly assumed that Smoot-Hawley tariffs “caused” the Great Depression, paying no heed to the discouragement of productivity-enhancing savings occasioned by the recently introduced income tax.

That they have persisted in this explanation—and given rise to the Smoot-reflex—is all the more astonishing since the episodic experiments in reducing the income tax subsequent to this time have repeatedly reinforced the evidence that there is a direct connection between income taxation and economic performance. By adding a tariff regime to the episodic dynamic, Trump restores the opportunity to revisit our economic assumptions. In particular, he enables us to revisit the original “supply side” argument—from Alexander Hamilton—that moderate tariffs are effective simultaneously in producing revenue and fostering domestic manufactures. A new platform is implicit here, and it may include discarding completely the income tax.

In the arena of national security Trump has acted to reinforce the reality that only the United States is in a position to impose the discipline of self-government on the world. Jettisoning the vague and unrealistic aspirations to a global utopia spawned by Roosevelt, he acts on the principle of a United States engaged in the world from the perspective of protecting its interests while fostering mutual respect among states rather than noblesse oblige deference.

The importance of this resides in the fact that the preservation of self-government domestically is predicated upon the preservation of strength to ensure the nation’s capacity to bid defiance to the world when needed. At the same time he manifests the justice and peace loving restraint that gives encouragement to the world and confidence to the people of the United States that none need fear American power.

Moreover, in the all important sphere of civic unity, he casts aside the divisive practices of pandering to identity politics, while nevertheless serving in such a way as to enable him to boast that all benefit from the policies that he embraces. Whether the economic advances of heretofore trailing demographics in this economy or the criminal justice reforms that restore the promise of opportunity to what had seemed lost generations, or similar measures of civic rebuilding, he has been making decisions that lay down markers for future performance, including the defense of the right to life and the defense of freedom of expression.

Finally, the president reaffirms the sine qua non that a nation that cannot defend its borders is no nation at all. What matters here is less the importance of restricting the numbers of immigrants flowing into the United States (important though that may be) than reinforcing the nation’s right and power to decide for itself who will immigrate and how they will do so.

In all these ways President Trump is doing what is needful and he deserves to be praised for it. Because he is doing these things, even the most desperate among us have new reasons to hope for a regeneration of that healthy national spirit that makes pride in American liberty not a boast but a cause for celebration.

But, here, too, is the rub.

For while President Trump is doing what is right, and creating space for a healthy public discourse to form, it is no doubt also true that he is not the person who can articulate what he is accomplishing in such a way as to fire the public’s imagination with a renewed dedication to the fundamental principles of self-government.

While the swamp of “despond” is being drained, the rule of moral light has not yet emerged to fill it in. It was Abraham Lincoln who responded to a politics that was “blowing out the moral lights among us.” Lincoln responded with a re-illumination. The United States now critically stands in need of such a re-illumination.

Photo Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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America • Democrats • Elections • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • The Left • the Presidency

The Bloom is Off Joe Biden’s Rose

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Poor Sleepy Joe. He just can’t catch a break.

Recently the former vice president  abandoned his decades-long support of the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions, in favor of a more fashionably pro-choice, anti-baby stance. A no-brainer, right? Throw some red meat to the left-wing party faithful and reap the inevitable rewards…

Only it didn’t work. Once the grassroots got a taste of Biden’s red meat, they promptly bit the hand that fed them. They rejected Biden’s progressive overture as inauthentic, and they questioned why he hadn’t been 100 percent pro-abortion all along.

Biden’s problem is two-fold. First, he’s essentially a moderate, and he’s undeniably an elderly white male. The Democratic Party of 2019 doesn’t cotton to either of these descriptors.

The Democratic Party’s left-wing base castigates moderates as sellouts, as enablers of corporate greed, reactionary social policies, and possibly even Trumpism. A moderate Democrat is someone who doesn’t automatically spit in the face of Trump voters, gun owners, churchgoers, and other “deplorables”—and to fail to despise these villains with sufficient fervor is to be complicit in their (imagined) crimes.

Modern leftists demand total and unthinking submission to progressive values and to the left-wing agenda, along with the ostracism of all dissenters. With the notable exception of Bernie Sanders, whose socialist bona fides are not in question, an elderly white male would be a contemptible figure to this crowd. Failing to check every ideological box will spell Biden’s doom.

Although Biden can’t become any less old or white, he could theoretically become less male. That would be a start, in leftist eyes, but we can safely assume that Biden, at age 76, is too set in his ways to take the leap into transgenderism.

That leaves only one alternative: in lieu of changing his identity, Biden must ditch even more of his moderation. By migrating further leftward, he  theoretically could appease the Sanders-Warren wing of his party and rally more progressives to his side. But it won’t be easy.

Not only do today’s left-wingers demand total conformity with their radical views and agenda—they are also relentlessly historically minded. They consider it good sport to rifle through a person’s past statements, past relationships, or past political positions and decisions, to try to root out any deviation from current progressive standards. This is why statues are being toppled willy-nilly on college campuses and in city parks across the nation—liberals can’t abide the celebration, or even the normalization, of anyone who doesn’t toe the line politically (the whole line, mind you). Being dead for centuries is no excuse. In Biden’s case, being nearly dead elicits no sympathy either.

Simply put, liberals are out for blood, and even an act of abject submission or contrition, performed under duress or too late in the day, is likely to be rebuffed.

Mercy simply is not a virtue that left-wingers recognize. This makes it hard for the Bidens of the world to migrate leftwards, when liberals are apt to see it as mere pandering and as a sign of weakness. Their haughty, dismissive reaction to Biden’s abandonment of the Hyde Amendment proves as much. “Too little, too late” is their refrain.

So what is the lesson here for Biden? It may be that 2020 is just not his year (again). Biden was a useful source of legitimation and avuncular affection for the progressive superhero, Barack Obama, but those days are in the past. Biden’s relevance in the age of #MeToo-ism, identity politics, intersectionality, gender fluidity, and “democratic socialism” is highly questionable.

Biden’s easiest path to the Democratic nomination was always along the lines of a coronation. By simply grinning away and becoming a somewhat more pallid, skeletal version of his old, charming self, while the progressive wing of the Democratic Party formed a circular firing squad and destroyed itself, Biden might have walked into the Democratic convention relatively unscathed and as the nominee by acclamation.

The latest polls in Iowa, however, indicate that Biden’s appeal is already waning, and the hard-left is gaining on him. And this is before any of the other two dozen candidates for the Democratic nomination have even fired a broadside in Biden’s direction.

No, if Biden can’t keep his head above water even in this, the friendliest and mildest stage of the nominating contest, he won’t do well at all in the no-holds-barred phase that is sure to come.

Poor Sleepy Joe. He just can’t catch a break. He missed the presidential boat in 1988 and in 2008, and he seems destined to miss it again, and for the last time, in 2020.

Photo credit:  Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Democrats • Elections • Post • The Media • the Presidency

Biden’s Problem Is Not That He’s Old and White

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Joe Biden is the Democratic frontrunner for president. The big money donors say so. The pollsters all say so. The 95 percent of the media outlets that are little more than a public relations arm of the Democratic Party say so, too.

So where is he?

It is a mystery. The former vice president has no other job. Nothing distracts him from getting out there and maintaining a full campaign schedule. He has no Senate votes to attend, no committee hearings to yawn through, no international trips to make, no drone strikes to authorize, no congressional investigations to battle, no foreign dignitaries to host.

According to Biden, the 2020 election is a battle for the soul of the nation. One would expect him to focus all his time and energy on the campaign. And yet . . . Biden is virtually invisible.

Biden’s campaign website prominently displays a link to upcoming events. As of Monday, the page lists exactly four events through June 15. Two of them are in New Hampshire on Tuesday, one is in Pennsylvania (not far from Wilmington, Delaware, where Biden lives) on June 14, and the last one is in Nevada on June 15.

One of the New Hampshire events is at the Berlin City Hall Auditorium. Berlin is a fabulous town, I am sure, but it is a town of 10,000 residents. Judging from images in Google StreetView, the Berlin City Hall is about what you’d expect:

According to the Berlin municipal website, the city government has a number of departments—many of which are presumably housed in the same building, including: assessing, water works, the city clerk, city manager, code enforcement, emergency management services, the finance department, health department, housing, the inescapable human resources department, planning, and public works. And that’s only a partial list. How big could the city hall auditorium be? 150 seats? 200?

Now, pressing flesh and meeting New Hampshire voters in small venues is, no doubt, important (even if you can’t sniff their hair or massage their daughters), and New Hampshire is a small state with no expectations of 100,000 people showing up to a rally. But this is the best that Biden can do? Hoping to fill a tiny auditorium? Even the local elementary school’s gym is probably bigger.

Then, the same day, Biden moves on to Concord. Big campaign rally planned? No, not quite—it’s a small event at a union hall. Here is the venue:

How many people could fit into an event at that place? 75? 100? 150? The Democratic frontrunner can’t do better than a small union hall?

There is nothing wrong with trying to shore up your union support—but, in a city of 43,000 people, wouldn’t there be more people who want to see Biden? Sure, as the fake descendant of Welsh coal miners, Biden wants to emphasize his union “roots,” and Biden is (according to Biden) a “beloved figure” within the Democratic Party—but a tiny union hall is enough to fit all the Concordians who want to hear Biden speak?

Then Biden disappears from view for 10 days, until the next campaign event in Media, Pennsylvania (a 30-minute drive from his house in Delaware), on June 14. It’s not clear what exactly he plans to be doing those 10 days. Fundraising out of sight of the voters? Thinking big thoughts? Hasn’t he had two-and-a-half years since the 2016 election to think those big thoughts? This looks like a Rose Garden campaign strategy—without the Rose Garden.

Biden is certainly not burdening himself with the rigors of a national campaign, because the June 14 event in Media is a volunteer-organized “house party” at Sligo Irish Pub. Here is the pub—the tiny red and yellow one in the center:

According to the Sligo website, an upstairs room can accommodate up to 100 guests. There is nothing wrong with meeting your campaign volunteers, giving them a pep talk, shaking a few hands, and having a beer or two to pretend that you are just a regular guy (unless, of course, you’re Senator Elizabeth Warren trying to drink a beer to show that you’re just a regular gal—then you look manifestly ridiculous). But Media is a suburb of Philadelphia. Surely Biden could better spend his time addressing the tens of thousands of Philadelphians who desperately want to see him?

Pennsylvania is a swing state. What better time to try to make it swing your way (unlike 2016)?

Then Biden heads to Henderson, Nevada, a suburb of Las Vegas, for a “community event” on June 15. No venue information is listed on Biden’s website, but if it’s anything bigger than a local Barnes and Noble, presumably it would have to be reserved in advance. So let’s figure on another small venue for maybe 100 people.

No other campaign events are listed on Biden’s website. Nothing. Nada.

What the hell, man?

After doing his Hamlet routine for almost a year, Biden announced his run on April 25 in Philadelphia. His campaign claims 6,000 people showed up to his announcement. People who were actually there are deeply skeptical of that number. But this is Biden country! The bluest of the blue cities in the state where Biden was born! And Biden is making the Big Announcement! In a city not far from Scranton, where he came from!

And yet . . . maybe 4,000-5000 people showed up. In Philadelphia.

Where are the worshipful throngs, waiting in long lines to see their man? Where are the adoring crowds, eager to see their hero? Where are the mobs of supporters, desperate for a glimpse of their savior?

This doesn’t make any sense.

The Washington Post on May 26 claimed Biden has held 11 events since he announced. That’s one every three days—and from what I can tell, that number includes fundraisers. This is not just taking things slow and steady; it’s downright soporific.

The number through June 15 would be about 15 campaign events for about 50 days of campaigning. That’s less than one event every three days—surgery patients under anesthesia are more active than Joe Biden. But those patients aren’t running for president.

As an almost-octogenarian, doesn’t Biden think it’s important to show voters that he has what it takes, for a long, tough, brutal campaign? You can bet Trump won’t be doing one house party every three days for the next 18 months. With his schedule, it seems that getting out of bed in the morning is already a big achievement for Biden.

Biden’s PR flacks say he doesn’t need to campaign hard. Everyone knows who Uncle Joe is, they claim. He doesn’t need to introduce himself to voters—they already love him. His voters don’t come to rallies, they just come to vote for him. And he is, after all, the frontrunner in the polls (somewhere in the mid-30s now that his post-announcement bounce is fading—but that’s still well ahead of everyone else), so he must doing something right.

Perhaps.

Much has been said about Biden’s lack of intersectional bona fides. It is true that he is not a woman, he is not black, nor is he gay. He is not even Hispanic. But Biden’s problem is not that he is white—Biden’s problem is that he is dead.

Photo credit: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Immigration • Post • the Presidency

Mexico Is Key to Resolving the U.S. Asylum Crisis

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With border crossings at their highest level in more than 12 years and congressional Democrats intent on blocking desperately needed humanitarian aid and border security resources, the Trump Administration is once again left as the last line of defense at the border.

On Thursday, the administration rolled out a new policy aimed at encouraging Mexico to do more to crack down on the thousands of Central American migrants passing through their country on the way to the United States to claim asylum.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan described the three efforts the United States wants to see from Mexico:

  • More vigorous efforts by Mexico to secure the border between Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The Guatemala-Chiapas border is approximately 500 miles—small as borders go. For comparison, the U.S.-Mexico border is close to 2,000 miles.
  • A crackdown on the organizations that help migrants travel through Mexico to the United States. These organizations range from the criminal—a RAND corporation study estimates that Central American cartels made $2.3 billion on human trafficking across the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017—to the activist groups organizing massive surges toward the U.S., to the bus lines that have arisen to facilitate entrance to the U.S. There’s a reason why more migrants are appearing in large groups—Customs and Border Enforcement report that they’ve found 180 groups of more than 100 people since October, compared to only 13 in the previous 12-month period, and only two the year before.
  • Finally, McAleenan says he wants “align with Mexico on asylum.” This is a reference to the “safe third country” agreement that is common practice throughout the rest of the world, but with which Mexico refuses to engage.

This last point touches on a number of critical areas about how our asylum laws work that are worth unpacking.

It is now well documented that many of the Central American migrants are coming to the United States to claim asylum—despite the fact that border interviews suggest that most of these migrants are simply coming to America for work, rather than fleeing persecution.

So why are they claiming asylum? Because our asylum process has two glaring loopholes that are easy to exploit. First, an asylum claim automatically gets you into the country. Second, if you come with a child, you will be allowed to enter the country and then be released, due to the long-standing Flores legal settlement, which does not allow children to be detained more than 20 days.

Though the executive can tinker with enforcement, Congress would need to change existing statutes to make permanent fixes—and both parties in Congress have, for years, stubbornly refused to address these obvious problems.

This is where the “safe third country” doctrine comes in. Under international law known as the Dublin Regulation, migrants seeking asylum are required to claim it in the first safe country they enter. The theory behind this is that if migrants are truly seeking shelter from persecution, rather than simply trying to use the system to reach a specific destination, they will stop in the first place they find relief.

The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky explained it this way,

Passing through another country without seeking asylum undercuts any claim made upon arrival at the U.S. border. For example, a Honduran who claims he was forced to flee due to political persecution has no compelling reason to go further than Mexico. He obviously has no credible reason to fear he will be persecuted by the Mexican government. Thus, ignoring Mexico’s asylum process is prima facie evidence that a claim for asylum in the U.S. is bogus.

This “safe third country” is the prevailing legal standard for the entire European Union under the Dublin Regulation. The United States has a similar agreement with Canada.

Mexico, however, refuses to sign a “safe third country” agreement with the United States—this despite Mexico having incredibly generous asylum laws that are even broader than our own. To be declared a refugee in Mexico, one simply has to claim to have been threatened by “generalized violence” or “other circumstances which have seriously disturbed the public order.”

Though parts of Mexico are indeed unsafe due the Mexican government’s unwillingness or inability to challenge the drug cartels’ control, much of Mexico is still free of violence and thriving commercially, with cities like La Paz and Tulum boasting lower murder rates than that of New York City or Chicago.

In fact, more than 40 million tourists visited the country in 2017—myself included. In April, I rented a house from a local in the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca and spent a week there, exploring the city and surrounding countryside without incident.

All of this to say, it is not unreasonable to expect migrants seeking asylum to be able to find safe places to reside in Mexico. This could be why, according to statistics from Mexico’s Commission for Refugee Assistance, asylum applications have doubled over in four years.

Mexico has a role to play in helping the United States control migrant flows that pose a humanitarian crisis and threaten our sovereignty. Moreover, Mexico has the ability to do it, which is why the Trump Administration is right to call out the Mexican government for its lax enforcement.

As long as Congress continues to make itself irrelevant to the pressing issues surrounding illegal immigration, the Trump Administration is both the first and last line of defense in trying to surmount a border crisis that is now impossible to ignore.

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Administrative State • America • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • History • Intelligence Community • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • the Presidency

Deep Throat and Donald Trump

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You have to give it to Democrats; they are organized.

As soon as Attorney General Bill Barr refused to commit a crime by releasing a fully unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the Democrats’ talking-point team was drafting the mandatory soundbites.

In a flurry of interviews over the past few weeks, everyone has been on message: If they work for, or are related to President Donald Trump, just jail them.

Whether it’s the ongoing calls for the attorney general to be imprisoned  or Da Nang Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.)—the only senator in office who lied about serving in Vietnam—calling for the imprisonment of the president’s son or whether Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying she doesn’t have enough prison cells to lock up all the “criminals” in the Trump administration, the refrain has been remarkably consonant.

Just a reminder friends, this is America in 2019. Not Russia in 1918. Or Cuba in 1960. Or Venezuela today.

As a legal immigrant to this the greatest nation on God’s Earth, I find this shocking. It’s all the more shocking given what my family suffered during the 20th century, with my parents surviving as children under a fascist occupation and then persecuted under a Communist regime before escaping to the West and to freedom. The recent actions and statements of the Democrats are so surreal, so over-the-top, that it feels like we’ve crossed into new and very dangerous territory.

But then I read the latest issue of the superb Hillsdale publication Imprimis and I realized I was so very, very wrong. I had lost all historic perspective. This is the Left. This is who they have been for a very long time.

In his essay, “Politics by Other Means: The Use and Abuse of Scandal,” John Marini of the University of Nevada, takes us back to Watergate and juxtaposes the conventional wisdom about who Richard Nixon was and the significance of Watergate with what actually happened and why the then President had to be neutralized. He writes:

The popular understanding of the Watergate scandal—that it was somehow rooted in Nixon’s flawed personal character, and that it was essentially a legal matter—remains unshaken after more than 40 years. But I was not convinced then, nor am I convinced today, that Watergate can be properly understood in either personal or legal terms. By promising to use his executive power to bring the executive bureaucracy under his control, Nixon posed a danger to the political establishment after his landslide re-election. In response, the establishment struck back.

And how did they do that exactly? If you ask anyone of the right age, or even a Millennial who has received the requisite indoctrination (or happened to see the film version of “All the President’s Men”), the same answer is the same: The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein risked their all for the truth in a fight with the “criminal” in the White House.

But that’s not really what happened. That’s a narrative that has been drummed into the public psyche thanks to the Noam Chomsky-Howard Zinn-Oliver Stone-Michael Moore machine intent on falsifying our history for political ends.  

The real story is that an incredibly vain self-appointed “elite” who fancied himself a Guardian of the Good and who became notorious as “Deep Throat,” spoon-fed information to the Post duo for over a year. (Remind you of anyone called Jim you know? Possibly a very tall former FBI director?) Woodward and Bernstein didn’t investigate anything. The deep state was in control the whole time. Who was the puppet master? None other than FBI Associate Director Mark Felt.

As Marini writes, the media merely “served as a conduit by which the bureaucracy undermined the authority of the elected chief executive.” He adds, fascinatingly, that  “Geoff Shepard, a young member of Nixon’s defense team who has continued investigating Watergate using the Freedom of Information Act, has recently established as well that the prosecutors and judges involved in Watergate violated the procedural requirements that ensure impartiality, acting instead as partisans opposed to Nixon.” Can you say FISA Court? Can you say “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”?

What was the catalyst for this series of seditious leaks that led to a president’s downfall? Marini has done his homework and provides us an answer from the Congressional Quarterly of the period:

When the 93rd [Congress] first convened in January 1973, President Nixon’s sweeping assertions of executive authority posed a threat to the viability of the legislative branch. Even as Congress braced for confrontations with Nixon over spending, war powers, and other issues, its defiance was tempered by doubts as to whether it was indeed any match for the newly re-elected President. But by the time Congress adjourned [on] December 20, 1974, the balance of power had shifted dramatically. Both Nixon and . . . [Vice President] Agnew had been driven from office in disgrace—replaced by men whom Congress had a hand in selecting. 

The opening sentences may as well be a description of Congress today and the cries to impeach President Trump must be put into this broader, more strategic context.

This is not a case of the Democrats lacking imagination and not having a platform for the 2020 election and simply defaulting to “Impeach, Impeach, Impeach!” This isn’t just a delayed act of revenge for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, a settling of scores with the GOP. The Democrats couldn’t care less about the Clintons today. Just look at the fate of the Clinton Foundation or the pathetic spectacle that is the Clintons’ speaking tour fiasco.

This is about one thing and one thing alone. It’s yet another case of the deep state deciding that the will of the American people must be overridden and an election nullified with the help of their domesticated lackeys in the media.

Richard Nixon was never supposed to be president. And the billionaire from Queens most certainly wasn’t. Donald Trump is a threat to the Comeys, the Brennans, the Nadlers, the Schiffs, the Pelosis, and the Mark Felts of the world. Just who do the American people think they are to threaten the power and control of people who have made up the modern professional political class since the 1960s?

These are the stakes involved and this is why 2020 will be even more important than 2016. The Republic hangs by a thread. Remember that when next you hear the Speaker of the House laugh like a despot about jailing those who support the president.

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Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Economy • Elections • Post • the Presidency

Will the Good Economy Be Enough to Carry Trump to Reelection?

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The conventional wisdom treats presidential elections partly as referenda on the economy. If things are going well, the incumbents usually win. It remains to be seen if this takes Trump across the finish line a second time.

Bill Clinton famously won in 1992 by pointing to the effects of the recession then underway: “It’s the economy, stupid.” Ronald Reagan won in 1980 at the height of the stagflation crisis under President Carter. His reforms stopped inflation, and, while his inflation hawk policies initially set off a deep recession, a roaring recovery began and unemployment dropped by 1984. He won an enormous landslide for his second term, frequently asking during the campaign, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”

Obama also won reelection in 2012, but the anemic recovery following the stock market crash and recession of 2008 was not the main issue of that election. He later stated that significant economic growth in the future would require a “magic wand.” Hillary defended this mediocre record, emphasizing her ability to be a stable caretaker in the face of a risky Trump. But she did not prevail. Trump’s persona as a brash and successful businessmen combined with his economic and culturally nationalist message exposed the uneven distribution of benefits from Obama’s “tech economy” and commitment to globalism.

Trump’s economic policies have included standard Republican tax cuts, indifference to cutting deficits, and some strong-arm tactics against competitors on trade. He has also reduced the burden of Obama’s aggressive environmental and regulatory policies, as well as the expensive “individual mandate” of Obamacare. The economy, already in the midst of a mature recovery, has exceeded expectations, with the stock market, unemployment, and wages reaching record highs. If this continues through 2020, he will have the results—relative peace and a strong economy—with which to counter the Democrats’ calls for changing course.

That said, the economy may matter less than in elections past.

The Uneven Economy
Several generations ago, politicians spoke mostly of the “standard of living.” Around 1970, the “economy” became the term of choice. The switch concealed the relative stagnation of working class wages. An economy could grow by adding more people or through wages accruing to recent immigrants, even as the fortunes of large cohorts within the heritage nation lost ground. The Trump victory illuminated this phenomenon.

While the economy certainly was better in 2016 than it was in 2008—the product of a long and slow recovery from a global recession—many of the gains went to those already established, particularly stockholders in the middle and upper-middle class who had 401Ks, as well as the mega-rich in finance and Silicon Valley. The traditional manufacturing sector and the working class remained in decline.

The elite’s indifference to the fortunes of the middle and working class was fertile ground for Trump. The working class correctly blamed their fortunes on globalism, which was indifferent to outsourcing of jobs and wage pressure from immigration. While many homeowners faced foreclosure, voters saw that Obama, in spite of his stated economic populism, provided large banks relief unavailable to middle America and did little to punish wrongdoers on Wall Street. Hillary Clinton exemplified the elitism and lack of empathy of the Democratic Party. Even Obama’s signature health care law was perceived by many of those with jobs as an expensive swindle that led to fewer choices and higher costs. It created some winners, but many losers.

A Changing Electorate
Government workers, as well as the large dependent class, are less impressed by the economy than they might have been in 1984 or 1992. Both are insulated from economic cycles and benefited from declining prices during the 2008 recession. One barely noticed the last recession in the Washington D.C. area, where well paid government workers and their entourage of lobbyists and lawyers enjoyed the fruits of stable employment and above-market wage. These government-dependent voters remain a core Democratic constituency and have become proportionally a larger part of the electorate than in the days of the Reagan miracle or the Clinton economic boom.

The economy also may have less impact on the nation than in years past due to the decline of education and critical thinking. While the president only has some impact on the economy, and there is a business cycle only partially impacted by policy, broadly speaking the president and his policies do matter for the economy. It is treated, however, as something out of his hands—or entirely his fault—depending upon the partisan biases of the media. Whereas Obama’s mediocre employment and economic growth numbers were touted as products of his greatness, Trump’s much better numbers are alternately denied or downplayed.

The Republican Party also has become less articulate on the low regulation, low tax message of the Reagan years, while ignoring emergent phenomena that have impacted the middle class standard of living. Republicans now engage in rote repetition of the slogans from the Reagan era, but they are no longer able to connect them with the broader conflicts of the Cold War. More important, while free market beliefs have been the de rigeur Republican philosophy since Reagan, other challenges have arisen, including a great deal of uncertainty, stagnant wages, and rising healthcare costs among the working and middle classes. Trump’s policies certainly have helped, and they, along with a broader increase in confidence, have much to do with the Trump boom. But there still remains a great deal of economic anxiety, and, as in the Obama years, many of the gains of the Trump boom have accrued to immigrants, the very wealthy, and groups otherwise ill-disposed to Trump.

Culture War Issues Cut Both Ways
Finally, the country has become more political and embroiled by culture wars conflicts than in decades past. One’s economic station only partially predicts voting patterns. Well-heeled professionals, particularly on the coasts, care a great deal about gay rights, abortion, multiculturalism, affirmative action, gun control, and other fault-line issues that have little to do with tax rates or a president’s impact on the economy.

In addition, racial and cultural identity renders the perceived honor accorded to one’s affinity group as being more important than unemployment and tax rates, as well as other indications of economic good health. Here too, Trump’s 2016 victory is illustrative. While he emphasized economic issues, he also emphasized issues of identity, decrying the replacement of “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays,” the need to build a wall, and the legitimacy of American heroes like Andrew Jackson and Robert E. Lee. There is a mirror image series of “dog whistles” employed on the Left, to include issues like police brutality, global warming, and, now, the transgender craze. In a more unified America, bread and butter issues like economic health predominated. But, as in periods of rift like the 1850s and the 1960s, broader issues of identity eclipse nearly everything, including a record economic performance that has only partially alleviated the economic and social malaise of Middle America.

Trump can and should campaign on his economy. It is an issue that appeals to the less partisan and independent voters in the middle. But, as his own 2016 victory showed, there is a lot of conflict and rift within the nation. His election, far from bringing the country together, has encouraged his supporters while fomenting demonic hatred among his opponents on the Left. Their hatred for him is pure and intense, as he is a symbolic stand-in for all they aim to erase in the older America, which they deem unjust and unworthy of preservation without radical change. For them, the good economic results will matter little, and for the undecided this news will have to compete for notice with the daily reports of his gaffes, tweets, and malapropisms.

The winning strategy of 2016 was not a traditional Republican message of tax cuts, whose benefits chiefly accrue to the wealthy, but rather a rededication to the flourishing and dignity of the nation’s economic and geographic middle, which has endured more costs and enjoyed fewer benefits from the bipartisan commitment to free trade, open borders, and globalism. Trump should keep this in mind, both rhetorically and with regards to policy, as 2020 comes into view. So far, he has governed as an effective Republican president. But he was elected to be a radical rejection of both parties’ anti-American globalist consensus and to share some of the prosperity of the coasts and of the globe with the forgotten “deplorables” of Middle America.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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Center for American Greatness • Donald Trump • Immigration • Post • the Presidency

Trump Is Surrendering on Immigration

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In the first days of May, two Californians were killed in collisions with drunk drivers. In both cases, the culprits were illegal aliens.

Hector Manuel Polanco, a Mexican, killed Raul Gulliver when he drunkenly slammed his truck into the 34-year-old Riverside County resident while Gulliver was riding his bike.

The next day, Arnulfo Santos-Reyes, a Mexican, ran a red light and rammed an SUV in Fairfield, California. Santos-Reyes critically injured two passengers and killed 85-year-old Margaret Abudawood.

All of this is news only insofar that it adds to a long litany of atrocities perpetrated daily by people who shouldn’t even be in the United States.

Recall that in North Carolina this March, an illegal alien named Neri Cruz-Carmona failed to yield while making a left turn and slammed his van into Jamar Beach’s motorcycle. The collision decapitated Beach. Instead of stopping, Cruz-Carmona drove off with Beach’s headless body attached to his vehicle—a crime for which he was sentenced to just 14-months.

Not a month after Beach’s death, North Carolina Republicans proposed legislation that would provide illegal aliens with “limited IDs,” for which they would need to complete a driver’s license application. Remind me, which party is against illegal immigration?

It was for reasons like these that I defended Trump’s campaign rhetoric suggesting unfettered immigration means crime and mayhem. The Republican Party has long been culturally impotent and politically worthless on critical issues like immigration. I thought Trump might change that.

So it came as a relief when the president declared a national emergency to address the crisis on the border. When troops were deployed to augment immigration control operations, however, they were prohibited from directly enforcing domestic laws and absolutely forbidden from detaining any individuals. In other words, they were deployed to report and observe a national emergency.

Be patient, I thought, the tide eventually will turn. So it has. Just not in the way I expected or hoped.

American troops now have official instructions to do even more to facilitate illegal immigration than prevent it. A spokesman for the Defense Department made this fact painfully clear in a statement:

DoD personnel will assist in driving high-capacity CBP vehicles to transport migrants; providing administrative support, including providing heating, meal distribution and monitoring the welfare of individuals in CBP custody; and attorney support to ICE.

DoD personnel will not perform any law enforcement functions. In any situation that requires DoD personnel to be in proximity to migrants, DHS law enforcement personnel will be present to conduct all custodial and law enforcement functions, and provide force protection of military personnel.

To recap: Troops are not allowed to detain illegals but have instead been instructed to transport them in bulk to processing stations—opened in the heart of American communities, without the input of residents in those communities—within the United States, where they will receive care and comfort, before being released into the country by the tens of thousands—all against Trump’s word that “Tens of thousands of illegals are being apprehended (captured) at the Border and NOT allowed into our Country.”

All paid for by you, the taxpayer.

What is President Trump doing? What is Stephen Miller doing? How do all-expenses paid trips from the border into the United States for illegals figure into making America great again?

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is over, and its conclusion means an end to what many assumed was Trump’s chief distraction from his single most powerful campaign promise: “Build the Wall.” Not merely a physical construct, the “Wall” was understood by millions to mean that Trump would deliver America from foreigners and the swamp that beckons them.

So far, not only has Trump has failed to keep that promise, but now the federal government is doing more to help than to hinder illegal immigration. Your guess is as good as mine as to why.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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2016 Election • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Post • the Presidency

The ‘Tessio Waiver’ in Presidential Leadership

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Many of us are familiar with the character of Salvatore Tessio in the film “The Godfather.” Portrayed by Abe Vigoda, who also later played Fish in the television show “Barney Miller,” Tessio was the Corleone family capo who betrays Michael Corleone after the death of Don Vito Corleone. When unmasked by the family and being led way to his grisly fate, he tells his captors, “Tell Mike it was only business . . . ”

What better serves effectiveness in the office of president of the United States: a leader whose personality is admired or a leader who, with manifest personal faults, is effective at business? From the Left, it’s Jimmy Carter versus Woodrow Wilson. From the Right, Jerry Ford versus Donald Trump.

What makes a better chief executive, character or results?

You want to say, “both.” But in the cutthroat realities of politics  with the need for any president to surmount the pinnacle of the system, can a person who puts a classic notion of personal integrity first make it to the top? I would venture that it’s not likely. Forced to choose, I would go with results. I would thus give that kind of president, in regards to spotless deportment, “The Tessio Waiver.” Because for that guy, it’s “only business.”

Yes, there have been exceptions and theoretically there may be some in the future. Ronald Reagan for the Republicans and Harry Truman for the Democrats were men of character who many think were proficient in office. But many more men took a different approach to the presidency, adhering to a flexible attitude. Perhaps that turned out better for the country, even in the moral sense. For as we recall in the case with Carter, seeming integrity can easily slip into self-righteousness and sanctimony.

Ah, yes, remember Jimmy?

Walking in the inaugural parade (past presidents had been driven in limos), and carrying his own luggage for all the cameras to see, Carter was the supposed fresh broom after years of the Watergate scandal and Vietnam. He succeeded Jerry Ford, who himself had succeeded the ultimate (at least in his first term) argument for results over moral stature, Richard Nixon. Carter went as far as to assure voters during the election campaign, “I’ll never tell a lie. I’ll never make a misleading statement.”

Yeah, you read that right.

Carter quickly went to work cleaning house. In the era of post-1960s liberalism, that meant putting into effect nostrums promulgated by the shaggy Left. So, he gutted U.S. intelligence capabilities, reduced the strength of the military, and established the Department of Education. He had the bad luck, though his policies did nothing to ameliorate the situation, to be sitting in the Oval Office when a global energy crisis hit in earnest, creating massive resentment and frustration amongst consumers, as they often had to wait in line for hours at gas stations. And that was when there was gas to be had. The economic reverb sent the country spiraling into severe unemployment, higher inflation, and skyrocketing interest rates. The confluence of these indicators became known as “the misery index.”

On the national security front he indulged in appeasing the Soviets, much to the cynical amusement of the Kremlin. The Soviets ran rampant from Africa to Central America. Carter confronted them with pleas for peace and understanding, though in a less lyrical manner than Elvis Costello. In the face of such weakness, the Russians redoubled their efforts. In 1979, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and Carter was appalled. How could they do that, he seemed to wonder like a scorned lover, after all I did for them?

Through all this, however, he maintained the aura of a naïve Sunday school teacher who couldn’t be bothered with the evil inherent in a portion of mankind. Realpolitik was for the sclerotic and old-fashioned. We needed to get over our “inordinate fear of Communism” and embrace the new age of rainbows and lollipops.

And as the sanctimonious usually do, Carter was constantly reminding us what a good man he was by, well, saying what a good man he was.  During a television speech he blamed the national malaise on the American people. Coming from the architect of said malaise, that was rich.

When he was clobbered by Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election, his defeat was due to many left-of-center voters who had switched their support—not because they thought he was a bad man or too liberal. They switched sides simply because, by their own lights, Carter was an ineffectual loser.

A Crippled Devil
Contrast Jimmy Carter with Woodrow Wilson. Of course, as a conservative I loathe Wilson and find him to easily be the worst president in the history of the republic.

Still as the progressive he was elected to be, Wilson was generally effective. But, what a jerk!

He was a proud racist, a nasty pedant, and a supercilious little man who would not compromise out of sheer bloody mindedness. When he fell gravely ill, becoming an incoherent invalid, he went along with his wife and his aides and hoodwinked the country about his illness. Those who knew him well, both personally and politically, could not stand to be in his presence for more than a few minutes. His few friends made allowances because they recognized his will to power and shared his ideology. He campaigned on “keeping us out of war” and almost as soon as he was reelected he shipped hundreds of thousands of Americans off to World War I.

But if the people wanted a progressive president, they got one good and hard. Wilson got them women’s suffrage, the income tax, ratification of the constitutional amendment allowing for the direct election of U.S. senators (a mistake that reduced an upper house to the 100-member supercharged House of Representatives we deal with today), and a host of other indecent liberal fantasies between 1913 and 1921. The biggest and most idiotic, of course, being Prohibition.

True to himself, Wilson authorized the authoritarian Palmer Raids that went after his enemies to the left with vicious abandon and muffed approval of the League of Nations in the Senate because he cut all the Republicans out of the process.

Nevertheless, you got to give the senile, crippled devil his due. His changes were permanent and altered the way we do government business top-to-bottom. Bad guy, but an effective president for the Left.

Plodding with Ford
In contrast, consider Jerry Ford. He’s the guy who really took the brunt of the Watergate and Vietnam fallout because he was vice president during that time and succeeded to office after Nixon resigned. Saigon fell during his watch. The oil embargo hit him in office, as did an increase in the inflation rate. This motivated him pathetically to advocate the wearing of “WIN” buttons. “WIN” stood for “Whip Inflation Now.” Attempted government by lapel logo. That PR campaign fell very, very, flat.

Ford’s style could be plodding and he pursued détente with the Soviets, but he wasn’t crafty enough to make it work to America’s advantage, as had Nixon. In many ways he was a quiet man who had made his way up the GOP House ladder before getting the nod to be vice president because of loyalty and perseverance. He also pardoned Richard Nixon, to his own political detriment. Thus the nation was spared a Watergate encore that the bloodthirsty Democrats would have loved to have acted out.

Ford’s perceived clumsiness (in fact, he was an accomplished athlete) made him the subject of sport all over the popular culture and there didn’t seem to be a month that went by when a lunatic wasn’t trying to shoot him. Yet, he kept his moral equilibrium and his rock solid integrity. He never degenerated into self-righteousness, as Carter did. Ford laughed at himself along with others and brought an honest stability to the office much lacking after the Shakespearean drama of the Nixon epoch. In the 1976 presidential election, with all the GOP baggage of Watergate and the loss of Vietnam, he still managed to come within a hair’s breadth of beating Carter.

That being said, history is a cruel narrator and he is remembered as a good man engulfed and overcome by a worsening economy, the legacy of Watergate, and the embarrassing morass of the end of Vietnam. Recall the helicopter on the roof scene at our CIA annex as the NVA was closing in? That belongs to Jerry Ford.

A Tremendous SOB
Now we come to the current occupant of the Oval Office. Where to begin?

Not a consistently good husband like Carter and Ford, not a rhetorical grownup like Wilson, and not an amiable warrior like Reagan. Donald Trump is at times childishly petulant and vindictive, morally ambiguous, and spins and jukes on policy like the swiftest of running backs. His use of social media can be amazingly self-defeating and bombastic. In this White House, facts can be altered and manipulated to suit political needs, as in any White House, and the chief is more of an entertainer than an administrator.

So what?

We don’t go to the polls every four years to elect a school marm or a cleric. We attempt to elect a successful leader who can don the mantle of the presidency in all its forms, including the dramatic. We elect a leader who we expect to guard our safety and make government work, or at least get out of the way.

Those of us who are conservatives expect more than that, and in Donald Trump we have a president who will tackle those things with a fighting style, confident demeanor, and an effectiveness that leaves his opponents choking on his dust. Yeah, he might be a tremendous SOB. But he’s our SOB and he’s a damned good one.

Trump has to be that hard as today’s opposition. The “long march through the institutions” has made its mark and the Left of 2019, as we see in the Democratic Party today, is a collection of grievance mongers, socialists, and national masochists who would like nothing better than reshape America according to their dark and twisted vision. This kind of political fight is not well suited to a quiet and effacing gentleman who plays by Marquess of Queensbury rules. It takes a brawler, a bully, a quick on his feet tactician who can set traps and bait the Left to walk into them. In those attributes, and to protect the traditional America he and the rest of us cherish, the president does not disappoint.

Sal Tessio, as he was being led away by Corleone goons, would have understood. Ergo, the Donald gets a waiver. The difference between President Trump and Sal Tessio is less in style than in result. In the end, Sally lost in the first installment of the trilogy.

Though Donald Trump is already in the third year of the drama, he is not losing. In fact, my guess is that he’s on his way to an even better sequel.

Photo Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

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Congress • Donald Trump • Post • The Constitution • The Courts • the Presidency

The Supreme Court Can Stop a Trump Impeachment

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Fueled by the recent release of the Mueller report, the Left, including many Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, has ramped up its longstanding call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The president—arguably the best counter-puncher in American political history—has responded by tweeting, “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Not surprisingly, in response the Left has issued a blizzard of replies to the president’s tweet. Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe, for example, retorted in the most frequently repeated of the replies that it was “idiocy” for the president to think the Supreme Court would have jurisdiction over an impeachment proceeding.

I disagree. Although it is true that the nation’s highest court held in 1993 that the question of whether the Senate had properly tried an impeachment of federal judge Walter Nixon was a political question that could not be resolved in the courts, Justices Byron White, Harry Blackmun, and David Souter wrote separately to voice their concern about foreclosing the impeachment process from judicial review. While the three Justices agreed that the Senate had done all it was constitutionally required to do during Judge Nixon’s impeachment trial—namely, appoint a committee of senators to hear the evidence against Nixon and later report to the Senate as a whole for a vote on his removal from office—they insisted that the court must retain the power to review cases in which the Senate removed an impeached officer summarily without a hearing, or through some arbitrary process such as a coin toss, or because the Senate thought the impeached officer was “a bad guy.”

Moreover, the House is not the Senate and despite Gerald Ford’s embarrassing boast in 1970 as a member of the House that an “impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history,” the Supreme Court unquestionably could enjoin any impeachment proceeding that is nothing more than a thinly veiled coup d’etat.

An attempt to impeach President Trump at this point would be precisely that. After all, the Left has been trying to overturn the 2016 presidential election from the moment Trump won it, and they haven’t stopped trying in the two-plus years since the election. Tribe himself, in a May 13, 2017 op-ed in the Washington Post, wrote that President Trump “must be impeached” for “obstruction of justice” after firing FBI Director James Comey: a conclusion recently rejected by the Mueller report itself.

Revealingly, Tribe tried to explain why, in his not-so-impartial opinion, what President Clinton had done when he was president was not an impeachable offense. “In Clinton’s case,” Tribe wrote, “the ostensible obstruction consisted solely in lying under oath about a sordid sexual affair that may have sullied the Oval Office but involved no abuse of presidential power as such.”

I strongly suspect that the Supreme Court would not be indifferent to the fact that the Left’s attempts to undo President Trump’s 2016 election victory have taken on the appearance of throwing-anything-and-everything-against-the-wall-to-see-what-sticks. Recall, for example, that the Left has argued that the president should be impeached and removed from office for violating the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, an obscure provision addressing corruption and curry-favoring at the hands of foreign governments. That attempt has gone nowhere.

The Left also has insisted that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office for, in the words of former Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich, “unfaithfully executing his duties as president” in faulting President Obama on several occasions; for his alleged violation of the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion with his travel ban; and for his alleged violation of the First Amendment protection for a free press in criticizing the media for criticizing him. Reich has gone so far as to accuse President Trump of treason against the United States. None of those scurrilous accusations have stuck either.

I also suspect that the Supreme Court would not be indifferent to the related attempts by the Left to insist that President Trump is not “mentally fit” to serve and should be stripped of power under the 25th Amendment, especially when that frivolous charge was based on the “diagnoses” of so-called mental health professionals who have never met, let alone, treated the president.

In short, I am confident that the Supreme Court would see any formal move by the House to impeach President Trump for what it is: a blatant attempt to overthrow the legitimately elected President of the United States. I am likewise confident that the Justices would comply with their oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and put a stop to it.

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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America • Democrats • Donald Trump • Elections • Identity Politics • Political Parties • Post • Progressivism • race • the Presidency

Can Biden Overcome Being an Old White Guy?

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Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign launch last week was an attempt to run to the front of the white privilege caravan. He must succeed at this, or it will run him over—and he knows it. The Democrats have hitched their wagon to grievance groups and lost control. A brave man with true leadership qualities would denounce his party’s obsession with skin color and call for a return to colorblind fairness to all. Biden is not that man.

“White privilege” is an encouragement and a fig-leaf for attacking, demeaning, and discriminating against white people. It is as morally disgusting as racism against blacks or any group. It is also sacrosanct among Democrats. Every single white Democrat presidential candidate has already groveled at this satanic altar of anti-white bigotry.

Biden understands his fellow Democrats well enough to know he has to make white racism the center of his primary campaign.

Biden sees the odds are against him winning the primary of a party hooked on identity politics. All the younger, hotter candidates have weak or nonexistent qualifications and crazy platforms, but they get to check off a key identity box: gay, female, black, or even, black and female. Biden has nothing but liabilities in this competition. Not only is he white, he’s a groper, and he’s old.

White privilege and patriarchy disqualifies Biden from running among huge voting blocks of Democrats. Biden’s tactic to avoid being destroyed by the anti-white, anti-male, and anti-heterosexual sentiment in the party is to join it. Call Charlottesville the defining moment of your decision to run, the defining moment of American identity, and position yourself as the hero fighting the white racists.

Joe Biden’s choice of the Charlottesville hoax on which to center his campaign message is a sign of desperation. It tells us Biden thinks he is in trouble in the primary for being a white man. He’s right. So his campaign launch was entirely about race-baiting and hating Trump. This well-worn Democrat path failed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and it will fail Biden today. But it’s the only path open to him. So he’s going all out, to the point of absurdity.

Not only is Biden playing the race card, he’s playing it more brazenly than President Obama ever did. Biden claims that Trump (and by implication all Republicans) are a “threat to this nation unlike any I’d seen in my lifetime.” Biden tells voters he is called to run for president, in order to fight the very face of evil, “crazed faces . . . veins bulging and baring the fangs of racism, chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard in the 1930s.”

Biden calls Charlottesville the defining moment in his decision to run, and a defining moment for America—a moment that “stunned the world” and launched a “battle for the soul of this nation.” The unstated message is, don’t hate all of us as racists, just Trump and everyone who votes Republican. Sadly for Biden’s strategy, that subtext gets a little lost. White America Bad comes through loud and clear.

Democrats said in public they loved Biden’s Charlottesville focus. Biden was praised for coming out swinging against Trump. But the message that America is a white supremacist nation in 2019 was not aimed against Trump, and doesn’t hurt him. It’s actually so offensive to fair-minded people that it helps Trump with his base and with many independents. The focus on race was aimed to overcome Biden’s liabilities with his primary voters.

Besides, what else does Biden have? Biden’s record leaves him little to boast about, as he has few achievements to show for it. He can’t run on the Obama-Biden performance on the economy, foreign affairs or even bringing down the cost of health care, as they failed on all fronts. Trump’s successes on jobs and foreign affairs dominate.

Biden’s boasting rights that he’s the most experienced candidate among the Democrats can only take him so far. Millennials don’t seem to care about job qualifications, or they wouldn’t consider Pete Buttigieg’s work as mayor of South Bend, Indiana a stepping stone to the White House. These are youngsters raised on participation prizes and affirmative action. They’ve been taught that qualifications are racist, privileged, mean, and unfair. Starting in kindergarten, they were raised on shame about being white, and anger against heterosexual males.

Biden’s strongest suit is that normal Democrats find him not scary and generally likable. Less so, perhaps, after all the groping videos. His creepiness comes through strongly, and the videos cannot be buried.

The trouble is, no Democrat wants nice in 2020. Hence Biden’s decision to launch the campaign swinging at President Trump. Ha! Good luck with that one, Biden. You are not in the same fighting league as the president. When President Trump decimates opponents with a label, like Pocahontas, it’s devastating because it’s true. Claiming President Trump praised the KKK is such a stupid, easily debunked slander, it just makes Biden look like a desperate, lying Democrat.

Biden has made crude race-baiting remarks before, as in his well-publicized attack on presidential candidate Mitt Romney, telling a black audience in a fake black accent, “they’re going to put y’all back in chains.” Still, what makes Biden more appealing to suburban and white working-class moderates is that he is an alternative to race-obsessed identity politics.

Painting President Trump as a supporter of neo-Nazis based on lies about Charlottesville throws that advantage away. It tells us that Biden sees his own skin color as his biggest challenge to winning the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Biden is in a bind. He has to put white racism front and center, with himself as the hero fighting against it. It’s the only way to overcome his liability as an old white guy in the primary. It’s not likely to work with primary voters. And it will doom him in the general election.

Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • The Constitution • The Media • the Presidency

Let Me Speak to the Manager!

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We’re all familiar with the petulant customer constantly demanding to speak to successive managers at a store until she gets what she wants. And some of us have been there when the final manager comes to put a stop to the commotion.

Ultimately, the customer is trying to get her way and is willing to make a scene until someone comes to tell her she’s right. When that final manager refuses to acquiesce, she will look for any other authority—the corporate office, the wrathful pages of Yelp, occasionally even the police—to force the store to submit to her whims.

Ever since the 2016 election, media pundits and Democratic political operatives have been playing the role of the petulant customer having a full-scale meltdown in the checkout aisle. And it hasn’t been pretty. Initially, they pinned their hopes on “Russian collusion,” a phrase the media repeated so much as to warrant a remix, and their friend—who happened to be a manager—who was going to investigate it.

But when Mueller finished his report and sent it to his manager, the media and the Democrats were confused and upset. They wanted the friendly manager to make the final determination—but ultimately it wasn’t his call to make.

In a press conference coinciding with the release of the Mueller report, Attorney General William Barr had to re-familiarize journalists with the way government works.

The penultimate question Barr answered demonstrates the confusion that journalists seem to have.

Reporter: There’s a lot of public interest in the absence of the special counsel and members of his team. Was he invited to join you up on the podium? Why is he not here? This is his report, obviously, you’re talking about today.

Barr: No, it’s not. It’s a report he did for me as the attorney general. He is required under the regulation to provide me with a confidential report. I am here to discuss my response to that report and my decision, entirely discretionary, to make it public, since these reports are not supposed to be made public.

The media has a difficult time understanding that Mueller was not the free-floating deistic savior they had imagined him to be. Mueller was an employee of the Justice Department and as such he was working for the attorney general.

Members of the press are in good company. Even Democratic politicians have difficulty with this concept.

In a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Barr had the following exchange with Congressman Charlie Crist (D-Fla.):

Crist: Did you contemplate having the special counsel’s office help you with the preparation of your March 24 letter, or did you?

Barr: We offered to have Bob review it before putting it out and he declined.

Crist: I didn’t ask you about reviewing, I asked if you thought about having them help prepare the March 24 letter. I mean they did the report after all.

Barr: No, I didn’t think about that.

Crist: Why not?

Barr: Because it was my letter.

A long, cringe-worthy pause follows this exchange as Crist presumably processes the fact that Barr is, in fact, the attorney general and that Mueller reports to him, not the other way around.

When they do finally process this piece of information, media pundits and Democratic operatives go off the rails and immediately start casting aspersions on Barr’s credibility. If they could, they would no doubt have their own Saturday Night Massacre to find someone who would indict President Trump.

Editorial pages have been littered with denouncements of William Barr and calls for him to resign. Presumably, the media and the Democrats will soon want to speak to Barr’s manager. Unfortunately for them, the Attorney General serves at the pleasure of the President of the United States who happens to be Donald Trump.

No Shortcuts
Politics is filled with hypocrisy. Opposition groups relish in digging up old footage of politicians using the exact logic they now denounce. Just think of the competing statements from Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) circling around the internet where they appear to espouse views on impeachment and report redactions diametrically opposed to the ones they hold today.

But the Democrats’ hypocrisy is striking because it is laced with a myopic imprudence that lacks a fundamental understanding of why our system of government is set up the way it is.

They venerate the Supreme Court as an arbiter of morality, not as an arbiter of law. They view the electoral college and the disproportional representation of the Senate as an impediment to democracy, not as a check of smaller states on larger ones. And they view impeachment as a way to reverse a political decision they didn’t like, not as a last resort against a truly despotic leader.

For some, these confusions come from an obsession with power. But for many, they come from an overly idealistic view of morality and politics. And in a group that largely views both morality and politics as merely social constructs, this idealistic view is especially misguided.

Many in the media and in the Democratic party are convinced that President Trump is bad. But since they also hold that morality is a subjective social construct, they do not have to articulate any clear reasons why they think he is bad. And since justice is a subjective social construct, anything they think is bad should be illegal. And since politics is just a subjective social construct, they are happy to warp the fabric of politics to achieve their ends. Which they believe are good. Even though good is a subjective social construct.

This is the same chain of logic most Democrats apply to issues as disparate as immigration, abortion, gun rights, and socialism.

But this logic fails to account for why politics was created.

Politics exists to settle issues without having to resort to violence. We made a calculation that an ordered, authoritative, and nonviolent system to adjudicate political questions was worth the intermittent political losses. Violent battles gave way to far less bloody wars of words and ideas. But the ongoing success of politics requires us to engage our fellow citizens and occasionally to acquiesce to opinions we hold to be misguided or wrong.

When we stop acting within the political systems we built, the kindling builds up. Some may make the calculation that the political system no longer works or that peace isn’t worth preserving at the cost of tolerating these actions by the government. They may write off a group of their fellow citizens as irredeemable and beyond the pale. But when they make this calculation, they must understand that they are inviting violence and civil war.

There are no permanent shortcuts in politics. Any attempt to circumvent actually engaging your fellow citizens will only ratchet up tension and contribute to the political strife that all too easily gives way to violence.

Never Enough
It’s increasingly clear that the media and the Democrats will never be happy with any result from any investigation into the current administration that does not establish President Trump’s guilt. They will continue to exhaust us all with their continued petulant whine on the supermarket floor. They will continue to try to get their way by employing every shortcut they know.

President Trump could have fired Robert Mueller. Congressional Republicans could have cut funding. Attorney General Barr did not have to publish the report. The executive branch could have exercised executive privilege. They did not. They humored the Democrats and tried to engage their “concerns” and address them as best as they could.

But we have patiently humored Democrats for years on the whole collusion narrative. It’s time we politely yet firmly tell them to get stuffed so we can get back to dealing with the problems that actually matter.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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America • American Conservatism • Democrats • Donald Trump • Political Parties • Post • The Left • the Presidency • Trump White House

How Trump Masterfully Frames the Ilhan Omar Debate

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Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to the American Right in a good long while. The second-best thing to happen to the American Right is Ilhan Omar.

If Omar had been elected to Congress under previous Republican administrations, she would stand as yet another example of how Democrats’ hypocrisy regularly flies under the radar as it is dismissed by the mainstream media and Democratic leadership without a second thought.

But in the age of President Trump, the freshman from Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District has proven just how effective Republicans can be if they hold their rivals’ feet to the fire over their own bigotry—with the added bonus of forcing the media to talk about it.

Where Republicans Failed

Omar should have been cause for immediate concern the moment she won the nomination to succeed departing congressman and Democratic National Committee deputy chairman Keith Ellison. It was a monumental feat to see a girlfriend-beater, a supporter of Antifa, and a friend of Louis Farrakhan upstaged by his successor in the hate department, but Omar managed to pull it off.

The Somali-born Muslim has been as open as possible about her own anti-Semitism, dating back to a (now-deleted) tweet in 2012 in which she declared that Israel had “hypnotized the world,” and she hoped that Allah would “open the world’s eyes” to the “evil” of Israel.

And who can forget the suggestion that Omar may have married her brother in order to manipulate the American immigration system and gain citizenship; a move that would have made Caligula blush.

And yet even as Omar won her election and was sworn in on the Koran, Republicans in Congress instead chose to focus all their energy on what they do best: attacking one of their own. Rather than go after the real anti-Semite, House Republicans caved to media pressure over veteran Representative Steve King (R-Iowa). King appeared to endorse white nationalism in an interview with the New York Times.

King explained himself later on the House floor. He charged the Times with deliberately taking his words out of context, changing the punctuation to give his words a different meaning. It didn’t matter. Republican leadership could not abandon him fast enough. They worked overtime to bow down to the media and the Left, passed a meaningless resolution basically calling King the devil, and stripped him of all his committee assignments.

And while the media and the GOP engorged themselves in the feeding frenzy over King’s comments, Omar sailed right into Congress, hijab and all.

Where Trump Succeeded

But then, after another round of anti-Semitic comments accusing members of Congress of being paid off by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Omar made a grave mistake that differed from the ones she made in her previous vile comments: She dared to make such a public statement in the age of President Trump.

Trump responded swiftly, not bothering to wade into the mess of semantics and second-guessing. Instead, Trump simply declared that Omar should be removed from her committee assignments and resigned. By doing this, he skipped right over the pointless question of whether her comments were anti-Semitic and turned it into “She’s clearly anti-Semitic; the question is what should be done with her?”

And that’s exactly what happened. For the next month, the national coverage of the story was not focused on whether or not Omar was guilty; it was focused on the deep internal divides that her comments had generated, and the response from both sides in the Democratic Party’s civil war. A similarly pointless resolution was passed condemning anti-Semitism was amended many times over to remove mentions of Omar’s name. Of course, it had to include examples of other forms of bigotry and was largely seen as insincere. Some even turned to the question of whether or not Democrats should support Israel in the first place. The debate also drew clear lines between the Democratic presidential candidates, with some supporting Omar and others criticizing her. Similar divides emerged in the House Democratic caucus.

And just like that, Trump had turned the media narrative away from the oft-repeated lie that Republicans are “the party of Hitler,” and instead forced that same media to discuss the ways in which Democrats are plagued with anti-Semitism.

Exposing Evil

But even after manipulating the news cycle and the national debate surrounding Omar and the Democrats for an entire month, Trump still isn’t finished with the most vile member of Congress. As public opinion shifted further against Omar and manifested in massive protests outside her appearance at an event with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Omar proceeded happily to throw fuel on herself even as she was already burning. Discussing alleged “Islamophobia” in America, she described 9/11 in a terrifyingly casual and dismissive tone—as “some people did something.”

The backlash was swift enough on its own, but then the New York Post issued a blistering cover story, including an image depicting the second plane crash into the World Trade Center, with Omar’s quote as a caption followed by “Here’s your ‘something.’ 2,977 people dead by terrorism.”

It wasn’t long before the divides emerged again, as the helpless Omar ran for cover behind her much louder and more social media-savvy friend, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

The socialist poster child immediately responded by calling the Post’s cover “horrifying [and] hateful,” before launching into several absurd tangents in a shoddy effort to defend Omar’s comments; among them were the laughably hollow claim that Omar’s prior co-sponsoring of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (yet another largely symbolic move) somehow excused her comments, a false equivocation claiming that the GOP’s refusal to support socialized healthcare is somehow as bad as neglecting 9/11 families and survivors, and even the perpetuation of the idiotic conspiracy theory that right-wing extremism is on the rise in America (hint: it’s not).

President Trump once again seized this golden opportunity to get ahead of the media and frame the debate himself, posting a gut-wrenching video on Twitter that contrasted Omar’s comments with the horrifying images and sounds of that fateful day.

And once again the floodgates of internal Democratic division were opened, as there was no shortage of prominent Democrats—from the 2020 field to the halls of Congress—who rushed to the defense of someone who literally downplayed the severity of 9/11, just to score political points against Trump. The trap was set, and many a gullible quarry were caught.

All Politics is Local

Trump’s handling of every single stupid comment that Omar makes is twofold. On the national scene, he is shining a spotlight on her bigotry and anti-Americanism in order to keep the Democrats on defense, as they are forced time and again to answer for the vile rhetoric of their most radical member of Congress. This already is a lose-lose for them: They either condemn her and anger their growing far-left base, or they begrudgingly excuse her and lose moderate voters as they expose their true colors.

But his strategy is also effective at the local level too, primarily because of the fact that his target in this latest battle is in the House of Representatives, and thus from a small portion of a larger state. That state, of course, is Minnesota; a state that Trump only narrowly lost in 2016, coming closer to winning it than any Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984.

As one look at the state’s electoral map will tell you, the vast geographic majority of the state is dominated by rural counties, populated by farmers and other working-class voters, AKA Trump Country. And yet these days, Minnesota is only ever in the news not because of the conditions of the working class or the benefits that Trump’s protectionism have brought about for its population, but because of the stupidity of Ilhan Omar making the state as a whole look bad. There is arguably no greater tactic for really firing up the Trump base in this crucial Rust Belt state going into 2020, with 10 electoral votes at stake.

The importance of local politics as a result of Omar’s latest slurs may even provide the long sought-after silver bullet that could finally take down Ocasio-Cortez, who is the true political threat from the socialist wing of the Left.

Previous Republican efforts to criticize her over such trivial matters as her “three chambers of Congress” gaffe have been remarkably ineffective, and understandably so. But Ocasio-Cortez has made the very grave mistake of focusing more on her own national profile than on representing her own district. Just ask Eric Cantor (R-Va.), or even Ocasio-Cortez’s predecessor Joe Crowley (R-N.Y.), how that worked out.

It goes without saying that New Yorkers can be quite nativist when it comes to their city’s identity being attacked by outsiders; just see the response to Ted Cruz’s “New York values” comments against Trump during the 2016 Republican primaries. And there is no greater subject that can possibly tug at the heartstrings of New Yorkers more than the wounds of 9/11.

And yet here we are, for the first time ever, seeing a member of New York’s congressional delegation unapologetically agreeing with someone who said that 9/11 essentially wasn’t that bad. Ocasio-Cortez, for all her boasting about being “a poor girl from the Bronx” (not really), has proven eager to eschew her supposedly beloved identity as a New Yorker in favor of defending a member of her “squad,” morality and reality be damned. Her potential opponents in 2020, both in the primary and the general election, could not ask for a greater gift with which to really whip up voters into an anti-AOC frenzy.

Trump Takes More Pawns

It is all too clear that in the post-Mueller era of this presidency, President Trump has truly been unchained and is finally free to go entirely on offense against his political opponents, without having to worry about defending himself against a bogus investigation.

As such, we are now frequently treated to the Trump we saw on the campaign trail, uninhibited by conspiracy theories of collusion and with multiple targets around him all ripe for a sniping. The master persuader is back and ready to start framing the latest national debates on his terms, and whether or not Democrats are ready to admit it, this is a battle for which they are not prepared in the slightest.

Whether it’s the latest garbage spewed by Ilhan Omar, or the Democrats’ blindingly fast 180-degree turn on sanctuary cities, Trump is once again ready and able to prove that he will outsmart the Democrats at every political maneuver, taking out their chess pieces one by one as they scramble wildly around the board.

And as the 2020 presidential election draws closer and these battles have a clear impact on the crop of Democratic candidates vying for the nomination, their continued displays of hypocrisy, radicalism, and obnoxiously insincere self-righteousness will further drive moderate voters away from them while also firing up Trump’s base. The subsequent results will leave the Democrats even more humiliated than they were two years ago.

Photo credit:  Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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Donald Trump • Immigration • Post • the Presidency

March Border Apprehensions: Apocalypse Lite

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Customs and Border Patrol reported March apprehensions at the US southwest border at 92,607. This represents an increase of 25,723 (+38 percent) over February and 55,217 (+148 percent) over March last year. It is 7.6x the level of March 2017.

On the other hand, it is less than the 100,000 number which had been floated by DHS.

It is virtually impossible to make a reasonable forecast at this point, in part because the pace of apprehensions appears to be increasing at an increasing pace. Consequently, on the graph below, our April forecast represents our best guess based on current trends, representing 1.285 million apprehensions for calendar year 2019.

Inadmissibles were also ahead of forecast for the month, coming in at 10,885, almost 2,500 above expectations.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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America • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Economy • Elections • Post • the Presidency

No Time to ‘Move On’: Trump’s Michigan Triumph

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Grand Rapids, Michigan, might be my new favorite city. I hadn’t remembered that it was the president’s last stop on the 2016 campaign trail until he reminded his huge (yuge!) audience there on Thursday night. At 1:00 a.m. on November 8, 2016, he drew some 30,000 cheering people. Some hours before that rally, he recalled, Hillary was waddling (my word, not his) across a stage before 500 or 600 kale-eating advocates for wind power and open borders. I’ll wait while Politifact weighs in with the important correction that Hillary actually drew 687 supporters.

That was no big deal because, you see, she had Michigan sewn up. Trump couldn’t win the nomination, certainly couldn’t win “blue wall” states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio. The well-pressed establishment Geist, incarnated in the Clinton-Obama dynasty, would thrive for at least another generation. The blob was safe. Time for a final Chardonnay and a nap . . .

The rally in Grand Rapids on Thursday night was classic Trump. The braggadocio, the calculated shamelessness—our accomplishments, their stupidity—the off-the-cuff, rhetorically roughhewn delivery, not eloquent, exactly—at least not by traditional rhetorical metrics—but surgically precise in gauging and playing to the emotional temper of the crowd.

There were some vintage Trump insults. I suspect “pencil-neck” Adam Schiff will be changing his style of shirt collar soon. (The optimist in me hopes he will be changing his wardrobe tout court, but I understand that is utopian.) How immature! you can hear the Grecian-formula “conservatives” sigh, How unpresidential. If I were president, I wouldn’t call Adam Schiff “pencil neck.”

It is at this point that an unkind observer whispers to that gallery of Walter Mittys that, in point of fact, none of them is the president nor ever will be, not even the plump, red-faced fellow in the corner tweeting furiously about a “dignified” and “elevated” conservatism.

The point is that Trump can connect with his audience as few politicians can. It drives his opponents nuts. “He’s a demagogue,” they splutter, forgetting that demagogos is simply Greek for “popular leader.” Pericles, for example, was a demagogos, a fact that I would mention if people like poor Gabe Schoenfeld wouldn’t start jumping up and down shouting that I said that Donald Trump was a rhetorician on a par with Pericles.

The president’s opponents keep warning that he is an “authoritarian” personality, dangerous to the republic. How many gulags have you discovered in your neighborhood? The only pre-dawn police raids I can recall in the last couple of years were conducted by Robert Mueller against dangerous geriatrics he hoped might help him convict the president of something.

Quick quiz: what president weaponized the administrative apparatus of the state, deploying agencies like the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency against his ideological opponents? It wasn’t Donald Trump.

The rally Thursday night was part pep talk. It was part opening salvo in the 2020 election. And it was partly a reminder of what the country has just been put through by the deep-state perpetrators of the “Trump is a traitor/Russian agent/stooge of Vladimir Putin” fantasy.

What were the takeaways from last night’s performance? I think there were three—one symbolic, two pragmatic.

The symbolic take-way was simply an exhibition of political potency. There Donald Trump was, deep in traditional blue-state territory, and he conjured as if out of thin air tens of thousands of enthusiastic supporters who like what he’s done for the economy, for their state, for the car industry, for America. Were I a Democratic strategist, I would have absorbed that spectacle, cast my eye over my own stable—whinnying Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, and the rest of that tin-eared crew—and then I would have taken a cab to the airport where I would have bought a one-way ticket (first class, of course) to darkest Peru, where I would have taken up llama farming in some mountain fastness until 2025 when it might be safe for people like me to return to Washington.

But I digress. The first pragmatic takeaway from last night’s rally concerned Trump’s central campaign promise to build a wall. He is, he said in no uncertain terms, pushing that through. He will build The Wall. He is going to call it a “wall.” And it will be an indispensable adjunct to his determination to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants across our Southern border. The Democrats, putting partisan advantage over national security, tried everything to stop him. They failed. The Wall is happening.

The second pragmatic matter concerns the aftermath of the Russia-collusion plot to destroy Trump. The Mueller Report, upon which the Left had pinned such high hopes, was not only a crushing disappointment to them—No collusion; no obstruction; end of story—it was also the signal to start asking some hard questions about what precipitated this national nightmare.

I think my friend Karl Rove is a very smart man. But I dissent categorically from his judgment a couple of days ago that the president ought not to “obsess” over the “origins” of the investigation because that was not an effective strategy to win over swing voters. Rove said Trump should let bygones be bygones and “move on.”

On the contrary, the president, to the unalloyed delight of the crowd, made it clear last night that “moving on” was not part of his agenda. Or, to put it more accurately, move on he would, but not without making sure that those who weaponized the intelligence resources of the United States against him (and, more to the point, against them) were called to account. This is not a matter of vengeance. It is a matter of preserving the central core of our democratic republic, which turns on the integrity of our elections.

As I have said on many occasions, the whole Russia-collusion narrative represents the biggest political scandal in our history. Why? Because a cabal of officials in the Obama Administration, aided at every turn by an hysterical media, decided that the candidacy and then the election of Donald Trump was not to their taste. They used every expedient to challenge his campaign and then to attack his presidency. Senior officials in the CIA, the FBI, the Department of Justice, and Department of State decided that they had a “higher loyalty” than their loyalty to the Constitution. The people may have spoken on November 8, 2016. But they made the wrong choice. Therefore it was incumbent upon people like James Comey to correct the mistake. They would lie under oath and leak classified material to the press to damage President and people close to him. Perhaps most stunning, they would employ a legal instrument designed to be used against suspected foreign terrorists and repurpose it to open a conduit into Donald Trump’s campaign and then into his administration.

The whole Russia-collusion fantasy, of which the Mueller investigation was only the desperate centerpiece, has cost the taxpayers untold millions ($30-$40 million for the Mueller investigation alone), it has destroyed the lives and careers of several people whose only “crime” was to have been in the orbit of Donald Trump, and it has gravely damaged public faith in the impartiality of our intelligence and security institutions to say nothing of what public faith remained about the media. It is imperative that people like John Brennan, James Clapper, Andrew McCabe, and James Comey are made to understand—and that the public can see that they have been made to understand—that the heads of the FBI or the CIA or the Office of National Intelligence do not have a veto over who gets to be the president of the United States.

John Brennan never missed an opportunity to say he regarded Donald Trump’s behavior as “treasonous.” James Comey cannot stand in a forest looking up at the sky without reminding us that he regards Donald Trump as someone who is “unfit” to be president.

But here is the catch: it doesn’t matter what they think. The awful truth is that they do not get to pick the president. We, the people, we “deplorables” and “irredeemables,” do. The president is right. There must be an accounting. Those public servants who broke the law must be investigated and, if warranted, indicted.

Those journalists who abandoned their responsibility to report the news in order to campaign for one side must be exposed and shamed. The fact that Chris Matthews fails to experience a gratifying frisson running up his leg when he contemplates Donald Trump does not relieve him of the elementary responsibility to report the news fairly and accurately. This he, along with so many of his peers, has failed to do, and they have failed spectacularly.

The president was right to call for an accounting last night. He has to power to make sure that it happens, that it happens quickly, and that it happens fairly. Now is not the time to “move on.” It is time to clean house. Then we can move on.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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Administrative State • America • Deep State • Donald Trump • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Russia • the Presidency • Trump White House

The Mueller Dud

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The release on Sunday afternoon of Attorney General William Barr’s four-page summary of the Mueller report confirmed what everyone with a few brain cells and common sense knew two years ago: there was no collusion between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government. While the charge was ludicrous on its face, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report has now removed all doubt surrounding it.

The shame of it is that the Mueller investigation—driven by hyperpartisanship and using the power of the legal and justice system to litigate political and policy differences by those who refused to accept the 2016 election results—spent $35 million, employed 19 attorneys, 40 FBI agents and staff, issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed more than 500 search warrants, got 230 orders for communications records, and made 13 requests to foreign governments, and interviewed roughly 500 witnesses to prove there was no collusion.

While some on the Left have tried to spin all of this and say the last two years of investigations were never really about collusion, that of course would be a lie: this was always about the hazy concept of collusion, that our duly elected president somehow conspired with a foreign power to win the White House, that he was potentially a puppet or stooge for Russian President Vladimir Putin. While preposterous on its face, many in the mainstream media, the Democratic Party, and the Leftdriven by absolute derangementfervently believed it was real.

Consider how absurd that is for just a moment.  

Now those who have perpetuated this hoax are confronting reality: there never was any evidence of collusion because it was always a fairytale, and no matter how hard you try, no matter if a team of partisan lawyers equipped with the awesome power of the special counsel spends tens of millions of dollars, you can’t turn a fairytale into facts.

Exposing the Corruption in the Deep State

So now Mueller—who many of his fans said would do exactly what it appears he has done: a professional job—returns to private practice or retirement, no doubt with Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) camping out on his front lawn screaming in frustration. Leaving aside the enjoyment of watching Schiff and the entire Democratic Party’s presidential posse’s heads explode on national television, consider how appallingly stupid this entire exercise has been: the fact that a team of deeply partisan hacks, given incredible powers, couldn’t even come up with one piece of evidence regarding collusion, much less a series of events which is actually what is needed to prove collusion.

Now, after nearly two years of an investigation spun up by a fake dossier and corrupt members of the deep state like John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and others, and put on steroids by the various bureaus of propaganda still masquerading as news organizations, the attempt to take out the duly elected president has failed. Completely and utterly failed.

While the Mueller investigation was built on a foundation of lies and constituted an appalling use of our legal and justice system to litigate policy differences, it did have a silver lining: it showed how corrupt the Justice Department and FBI were under Obama. It showed the process of obtaining warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is in dire need of reform. It showed that we have a bifurcated legal system and that equal application of the law is a farce. It showed that beyond a shadow of a doubt we have many in the mainstream media who aren’t reporters or journalists; they’re just political operatives masquerading as such. We’ve seen the media annihilate whatever reputation it had left because of their loathing of Trump.

The Damage Done to the Republic

It cannot be understated that all of this all took place in an attempt to push  Trump out of office, a childish but deeply damaging exercise. The Left put on full display its idiocy: even if the House of Representatives were to impeach Trump, he would never be removed by the Senate. And even if he were removed, in the one in a trillion chance, Mike Pence would become president of the United States and pardon Trump.

But as is usual with immature children, nothing is terribly logical. It’s all emotional, in the moment, with no forethought about what comes next—no consideration to the damage being done in the moment and the future implications of what it means for us as a society.

The attempt to nullify the 2016 election results, described by some as a silent coup, has had a destabilizing effect on our constitutional republic. As all of this terrible charade comes to an end, those guilty of pushing this conspiracy theory think they’re going to walk away scot free.

A word to them: your attempted arson of our republic must have consequences. Your attempt to take out a sitting president of the United States should end your careers.

The Manu Rajus and Natasha Bertrands and Ken Dilanians of the world, the mouthpieces of Fusion GPS CEO Glenn Simpson’s substance inspired delusions, don’t get to keep pretending they have any journalistic reputations. Every time they write or open their mouths, they should be dismissed out of hand as conspiracy theorists and political hacks. The same goes for the Chris Matthews and Stephanie Ruhles and a gaggle of other CNN and MSNBC hosts. Sorry, you don’t get to simply say, “Oopsies!” and not be shamed for your stupidity and or expect to be treated with any seriousness or respect. You were played for fools and should be treated as you demonstrated yourselves, in fact, to be.

But more importantly, those like John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe, men entrusted with great power and responsibility, should be investigated. You cannot use the awesome powers of the surveillance state to take out a president of the United States and walk away as though this was all a great misunderstanding. It was not a misunderstanding. It was intentional. It was systematic and it was evil. They must be fully and thoroughly investigated, and, face prison time if appropriate.

Finally, if there is to be a real return to the rule of law, and a belief in the equal application of the law, the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server must be reopened. There was no real investigation, merely the sham of one. There must also be an investigation into the Clinton Foundation as to whether it was nothing but a charity fraud. It appears, from a multitude of information, that the foundation was really nothing but a vehicle for influence peddling. People go to jail for charity fraud and a former secretary of state is not above the law.

If we are to return to something resembling normal life, the American people deserve a full and complete accounting on all of this, from the FISA applications to the original memo that laid out the scope of the Mueller investigation and the justification for it—if any. They must also be shown that while many have played fast and loose with power and the truth and the law, there are consequences for such actions. The future happiness of our republic depends on it.

Photo credit:  Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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